Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dreaming of Horses

It has always been a dream of mine to have horses. I wasn’t sure how, when or where I would have them, but I knew, one day, I would have my own. Aunt Catherine shared this same dream. Considering she moved her home to the farm, she has a better chance of figuring out how to have a horse. She purchased one a few years back, a beautiful Paint that she named Shadow. Shadow was never really trained for riding and has been grazing on the farm ever since.

Aunt Catherine and I often talked about how we would like to have a couple of horses when the kids were older. With them being older, it would be easier for me to leave them at home and be able to take trips with her around the country to go trail riding. We talked of carrying tents and supplies in saddle bags and heading off into the mountains. The dream didn’t seem unachievable but it did seem that it would be a long way off.

One afternoon I got a call from Aunt Catherine, asking me to talk her out of buying some horses. Uncle Jerry was driving a bus for Waco Transit and had met a woman with horses that she wanted to sell. There were 2 Paints, (a stallion & a mare) and a Quarter horse (a bay mare). He thought it would be a good idea to buy them but she was unsure that she could handle them and also worried about having more untrained and unbroke horses.

It is funny how life works some times. I had just received an unexpected bonus from work and so did Jeff. Between the two of us we had enough money in bonuses to buy all 3 horses, transport them, vaccinate them & train them. After thinking about it over night, Aunt Catherine decided she wanted to purchase the Paint mare and that I could purchase the other two and keep them at the farm. I was so excited, I jotted down the number and called the horse owner right away and made arrangements to drive down the following day to meet the horse.

The small farm was very run down and the horses were in very weak fences with little grass. The first thing I noticed, though, was how beautiful they all were. Instantly, I bonded with the stallion. We stood and stared at each other for the longest time and I just felt an instant connection with him. While, I was enamored with all of them, there was just something about him.

The horse owner explained that she was unable to care for them anymore and that she had been turned into the state by her sister for neglect. She was issued a warning. Considering her health issues were consuming both money and time, she decided it was best for the horses to sell them quickly.

We purchased the three horses that day. We made arrangements with a family friend, Spring to transport them for us. Aunt Catherine and I knew it would be a lot for us to handle since we have very little experience, the horses have no training, and were in poor condition, but together we would be successful.

20100412_austin_trip_0025 This pictures shows the poor condition Abby was in the day we brought her home. All of the horses coats were in bad shape because they had not been wormed in a very long time. Their ribs were showing and they just looked depressed.


This is Cheyenne, formerly named Stormy. I decided the second I saw here that her name would be changed. I wanted names that we could relate to and she just looked like a Cheyenne to me.


This is Waco, formerly Dandy Don. That is definitely a name that had to be changed. Such a masculine looking horse needed something a little stronger. I tossed around lots of names and decided I wanted something that represented the farm or my family. We settled on the name Waco because this is where our family is really rooted.

After getting the horses home, we worked on grooming them a little bit and trying to get them acclimated to their new surroundings.


2010_March 121

Here I am with Cheyenne.2010_March 128 Aunt Catherine is giving Waco kisses.


The very first task at hand, once they were home to have the vet come out, perform a Coggins test, vaccinate them and castrate Waco. It was interesting to watch the castration procedure and I took lots of pictures. Of course, they are graphic and would not make a good Blog. In this photo, the doctor is documenting the procedure. We all got a kick out of seeing him sit on Waco like a chair.

Waco’s procedure went without incident and he was soon up and walking around. It would take another month to 6 weeks before the testosterone would be out of his system. All of the horses passed their Coggins test, thankfully. We were unaware that you are not supposed to buy a horse without being first presented with a Coggins certification. This is a disease to horses that is much like AIDS to humans and it is highly contagious. If one of our horses had it, they would have to be put down immediately. In addition, all horses within a 5 mile radius of our farm would have to be tested. Because the Coggins testing is so rigid there hasn’t been an incident reported in this part of Texas for many, many years. We were still nervous. Thankfully, they were all just fine.


Once we were sure we were Coggin’s free and everyone had their shots, we sent them off to training. They would stay in training for 6 weeks. It was a long process and we were anxious to get to ride them.


This is Cheyenne in training. Look how healthy she is.


Abby has gained around 100 pounds and still has another 100 to go but such an improvement can be seen here.


Here I am on Waco. He doesn’t want to go very fast but he is progressing.


Kai riding Cheyenne after she came home from training.

2010_June 126

This is one of my most favorite photos of Waco. Compare it to the picture above and you will notice that his ribs are no longer showing.


Cheyenne and Abby are much healthier too. They all still need more training and we will tackle that next spring. Then we will hopefully be trail riding before the end of the riding season. Today, the horses have free roaming all over the farm and visit the river frequently. Letting them roam has completely changed their personalities. They act like loving and affectionate dogs, rather than horses.