Friday, February 4, 2011

The Arabians, the Quarter Horses, and the Journey Part 10

The story begins here

With the situation at LF's not working out, I struck up a deal with J - working five days a week after school cleaning his stalls and pastures, as well as feeding when requested in exchange for board or partial. J agreed, but a bit reluctantly as they were trying to stop boarding to people and only had one boarded horse left. I made extra money through house sittings for J (they frequently left to visit relatives across the country) and was making ends meet.

Things were working out great, and I was extremely appreciative of the help I was getting from J and his wife. I enjoyed my horse even more and he had morphed into a lovable teddy bear, whom everyone adored. Koalt would try to please me in any way I asked of him. I continued to grow in my show "career" and started moving away from the hunters and into western pleasure. Koalt always did as I asked and tried hard for me. We seemed to always place right around the center of the class and originally, I was pleased. I had joined the National FFA organization at my Junior High and was able to compete at the local county fair that summer. I was having a blast.

Note my "show saddle" a $500 barrel saddle, actually. But to my juvenille eyes it looked like a show saddle. This was my first year at County Fair, 2005

As many competitors do, I began to get hungry for blue ribbons. I started to learn more about the classes I was entering in, even investing my small extra income into show outfits and tack. I watched fellow competators, and asked lots of questions. I no longer received lessons from anyone so all knowledge was gained through video, watching, and asking. As always, Koalt faithfully tried his hardest for me. I will admit though, that as time went on I would get frustrated with him and wanted to expect more out of him, not always taking into account that hewas not trained or bred for these disciplines. He was a bit underappreciated in that department, at least until I got older.

I continued to show in western classes and on my 16th birthday attended a "B" rated show, entering into the reining class. Koalt tried his hardest for me and we placed somewhere in the 50s, giving us third of three entrants (but I was naive to how the class was scored anyways). After that class however, I had a bug for reining, just no real clue as to how to get involved with it. But reining always stayed in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do.
Our attempt at a spin. July 29, 2006

After that show however, it became apparent that Koalt was really struggling to keep up with my demands. He was now 20 years old and his arthritis was really beginning to slow him down. Then after an accident in the pasture (I believe Rocky was to blame for this!) Koalt developed a strong lame step. With limited funds, I never did have it truly diagnosed, but it was suggested that he might have received a bone chip in his knee from a hard kick in the pasture. I continued to provide the supplements keeping Koalt comfortable, but he was never truly sound again. After a hard but forced decision, I officially retired Koalt.


Angelina said...

Aww, poor guy... He was lucky to have you as his owner, though, so he got to enjoy being retired.

You sure were brave to just keep going and even compete, even though you didn't get any help with training and lessons!

Rising Rainbow said...

Somehow I knew that Koalt would turn into a "pocket pony" for you. All he needed was some love and fairness. Good for you, converting the old grump into a prince with you kindness.

in2paints said...

I'm impressed! No wonder you and Milo have such a wonderful relationship... you've always been good with horses and made sure you did what you had to do to make sure they were happy and safe.

Koalt was very lucky to have you!