Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Arabians, the Quarter Horses, and the Journey Part 9

The story begins here

Sell Koalt? I was heartbroken and begged and pleaded with my parents to buy him for me. Mother stood firm ground saying absolutely not. But in a ironic swing of fortune, my Dad decided to purchase the old Quarter Horse for me. Whether it was due to the fact that he knew how attached to the horse his daughter was, or that my parents were beginning to go through a divorce and Dad saw a great opportunity to really tick my Mother off, all I knew was that I was going to have a horse of my very own! The agreement, however, was that Dad would pay for the initial cost of the horse, but I had to find a way to pay for his boarding, vet, supplements, feed, and farriery as needed. This posed a minor problem to my then thirteen year old self, but I agreed figuring I could find some way to make it all work.

Dad made $100 payments every month until the $500 asking fee was clear. I was ecstatic and delved deeply into the workings of horse ownership. I read even more books on horsekeeping then even before, and devised a plan for how I would pay for Koalt's necessary bills.

For boarding, I exchanged some feeding and minor work for a discounted price at LF's. I soon learned that Koalt in his old age had arthritis and I should start him on a joint supplement program - $50 a month. Plus six week shoeings at a charge of $60. I got lucky, however, and not only did I save every penny possible for my horse, but even got some "clientel" and began giving lessons off my horse. They were always simple beginner lessons and it amazes me to this day that the parents of the small children actually paid me to give them lessons.

J had called me shortly after our purchase of Koalt and said his property was finished and we could start coming back to his farm if we pleased. He even offered me a job of cleaning the stalls and pastures which greatly helped pay for my bills. I would take the bus from school after work to his house, and would be picked up by my Dad after he got off work. It was a good deal and things were working smoothly.

Looking back on those early horse ownership years I really have to wonder how on earth I made ends meet.

As I learned more about horse care, it became apparent that none of the lesson saddles would fit Koalt's sharp withers and sloping back. I was now on the hunt for a saddle of my own. I found the perfect saddle in Country Supply's magazine (now called Horse.com). It was a synthetic black cordura saddle for the rich price of $300. I saved for that saddle for six months. Any extra cash was stowed into my modest bank account. Finally making that payment was one of the proudest moments of my young life. I cherished that saddle and cleaned it diligently every week.

I started showing at schooling and local shows, not entirely successful, but I was having a ton of fun.

My first show at the Bainbridge Saddle Club, August 7 2004. In 18" cross rails, we took sixth place.

As more time passed, and my horse husbandry knowledge continued to grow thanks to books, chatting with farriers, vets, and other horse riders in the area, it was becoming glaringly obvious that the conditions at LF's were not only unsafe with uncapped t posts, and makeshift gates tied together with baling twine, but also a lack of good horsecare. Repeatedly I would find empty water buckets, unfed horses, wormy bellies, and to top it off, usage of not only my equipment for lessons, but also my dear horse! This situation was not working out any longer.

Then I made a phone call to J.

Part 10

4 comments:

Molly said...

Oh Koalt is getting new home! A happy one!

Rising Rainbow said...

I was beginning to think that LF had set you up with this horse. Now I think she did. Unscrupulous people in the horse industry make me want to gag. And why is it that who they exploit the most is kids! That really galls me.

Mare said...

Geez, I want to strangle this LF lady, taking advantage of you like that...I'm hoping J is going to save the day!

Angelina said...

Oh, i love this story! I read it all in one go now. Very cool to see how you got into horses.

I hate how people take advantage of young, eager horse lovers, just because they can. They create so many dangerous situations, not to mention how unfair it is to treat people like that.