October 19, 2015
I'll Take a Chance, Please!!
Dani has been alone on our property since she arrived at the end of September. Luckily the one pasture is near other horses but when I moved her to another pasture she got so upset and worked up a sweat pacing and neighing of the horses that were too far away. We needed to do something to find her a buddy. I contacted several people locally that had a horse for sale and even thought about a free lease on this older unrideable companion horse. Nothing really appealed to me since I wanted a permanent friend and also a useful horse for Steve and I. We have just under 4 acres so we'd be limited to how many horses we can keep here.
I went onto a local, well two hours west of us, horse rescue. They had several horses in the rescue and then many others that individual owners listed to rehome. One in particular stood out to me. His name was Chance. He was a handsome little Arabian, 17 years old and well trained. He was ridden on trails a lot and sounded like a great minded horse.
His owner had a smaller property with a little donkey and a younger horse, she needed to rehome Chance since she was planning on doing more intense riding with her young horse and also the two horses didn't quite get along as well as she'd hoped so Chance was in a neighboring paddock. I drove 2 hours to the Winston-Salem area to meet him. The whole time I was nervous....what if he's too much, what if he's spooky....what if he's like Arabians I test rode before? But then the thought kept coming back. What if he turns out to be amazing like Willy?
When I met Chance there was something so soft in his eye, something soft but also intelligent. His owner cared for him so much and told me all about rides she has done with him and how he's reacted to many new situations. She studies Parelli and he was very responsive to her. We trailered over to a friends home where there was a small arena. She worked him on the ground and he was certainly feeling his beans but a good thing was there was not the redheaded mare attitude I'm often confronted with when my horse is fresh.
She rode him and then it was my turn. I worked him on a ground for a few minutes and found him very willing and supple in his movements. Not so much the ton of bricks I have to move when working Dani sometimes, LOL. I was unsure and definitely nervous to mount up but I took it slow and rode him at the walk doing serpentines and many turns. He seemed to sense the nervousness but he just hesitantly moved onward. As we both grew more comfortable we got in sync and he moved off better with my cues. I was pleased he wasn't going to react and run off with me, he was just calming awaiting leadership and not running off in terror. That is a good thing in a horse for someone with fear issues. I know being a leader is the most important thing but it's good to have a horse that is secure in themselves when their human has a little bit of nerves from time to time.
I slept on it and then emailed the lady that we would love to give Chance a home. We agreed on the following Saturday as a good day for her to bring him over. We worked out a contract and the day of signed and paid the rescue agency for his adoption. All was very smooth. Even the horses meeting was smooth. I kept Chance in the small stable yard while Dani was in the pasture. The two could meet over the fence at first. Dani did her usual sniffing of nostrils and then her mare squeal. Then, the two just chilled together. We opened the gate about half an hour later and there was another couple squeals but then the two went on to grazing. As they moved around the pasture Dani pinned her ears to move her little gelding around the fence line and then the two would settle into a new location for grazing.
With only a couple days of having the two together they seem inseparable. If I move one out of the field first and into a stall for feeding there is a little upset until they can see each other again, if Steve is hear we try to move them together. I want to get into a routine where I can just open a gate at feeding time and the two will go into "their" stall for their grain/supplement. Chance seemed unsure at first but he is now starting to understand it's okay to go into the stall since that is where his food will be and that he's not going to stay in there forever. Chance has a senior feed he is on so he receives more at each feeding. I want to keep them apart so he gets all his food and Dani doesn't try to steal it. We'll see how this works and if we need to try another system for feeding we can do that.
I'm so happy though, Dani seems very content to have a pasture mate and now we can put the horses in the other pastures without any upset. She doesn't need to see the horses across the way since she has her very own that she can boss around. It will be awesome getting to know Chance and seeing his personality and learning how to work with him. I'm also excited that Steve will have a pony of his own to ride!