Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Remember This Guy?

Some of you who followed the great horse search may remember this guy:


Here's his pedigree.  His name is Drifter, and I went to visit him in October of last year - here's my write-up on the visit.  Although he was very close to what I wanted, I ended up turning him down because I have no indoor facilities permitting consistent arena work over the winter, and some of Drifter's issues would have required that work.  I kept looking, and found Pie, and he suits me very well and is already able to take me down the trail.

But for some reason, I haven't been able to stop thinking about Drifter.  I really liked him - he's got fabulous legs and feet, is beautifully sound with athletic movement and has an intelligent, responsive mind (proved by some of the work I was able to get done with him in the one ride I had).  He does have a number of holes in his training, and he's learned some things (like bracing in the bridle) that he needs to unlearn.  I liked his owner too - she was very honest with me and cares a lot about what sort of home he goes to.

I'd kept his information and was planning to contact his owner in February to see if he was still available. Over the weekend, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from his owner asking if I had found another horse or if I was still interested in him.  I replied that I was still interested, despite having found Pie, and we have arranged that I will vet check him in early March and, assuming all is well, he will come home with me then at a time of year when I can start more consistent work with him.

Here's my thinking on getting another horse, and this horse in particular.  In 15 years I'll be in my early 70s.  If all goes well, I should have about 15 years of time to do some good solid work with several horses with the objective of ending up with great equine partners.  After that, who knows?  I may be up to that sort of thing in my mid-70s and I may not - I sort of feel like this is the last significant stretch of time in my life when I can really focus on my horse work. I like Drifter enough to take a chance on my ability to work with him, building on his strengths and dealing with issues he has.

In the scheme of horse work challenges, Drifter to my mind is an Intermediate.  He'll take a good bit of work, but he'll be a good horse to work with and I have a pretty good idea of how I want to get from A to B to C and so on with him.   I suspect that Pie is going to be an Easy - there's plenty that needs doing but he has no bad habits trained in and already has a good basic foundation, and he is strong in the horse "virtues" - which means they haven't been "trained" out of him (see yesterday's post about this).  Dawn's an Advanced - one of those ski slopes with the black diamond.  Working with her is a real stretch for me - she takes great care and attention - it's a bit like defusing explosives - and I'm still feeling my way although I think she's already made amazing progress and I'm getting a clearer idea of where we're going and how to head there.

In 15 years, if all these horses are still with me, healthy and sound, and I'm still physically able to ride, Dawn will be retired in her late 20s, Drifter would be about 25 and close to or at retirement and Pie at 20 would probably have some trail miles left for an older lady.  That sounds about right to me.  In addition, I believe that Drifter as he's trained up will make a good trail alternate for Pie, and I intend to do a lot of trail miles.  Having a back-up horse isn't a bad idea anyway because we all know that horses can have ailments and injuries that take them out of action for periods of time.  I don't know if Dawn and I will make it onto the trails or not, even when she gets into her 20s, but that's for the future - we just may make it there someday and there's a lot to do with her that doesn't involve the trails.  This whole scheme, with whatever modifications events require, makes sense to me - I've got the time (I'm retired), I'm ready to step up with my horsemanship and this provides the opportunity, and I think it would be fun, fun, fun, and isn't that what my life with horses is really all about?

So if all goes well, Drifter will join us in March.  I'm looking forward to that, and to spring!

41 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I remember that horse. I was rooting for him! It's funny how things have a way of working out.

    Obviously, Drifter was meant to be with you. It will be a lot of fun having two great horses to work with! (I'm jealous!)

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  2. I glad to hear this, I always rooted for Drifer and much liked him myself. I also agree about this being the last stretch of life. Take advantage of it!

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  3. That is wonderful. He must be the real deal, to have lingered in the back of your mind all this time. I admire your ability to plan ahead (15 years!) and, I have to admit, I also envy a little bit your freedom to pursue all of it. Lucky Drifter!

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  4. Well if you ever get tired of him you can send him to me ;)

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  5. That is so great!! I'm glad you're getting Drifter. :) Having three horses will keep you active and young so even when you're seventy you'll still be out there on those trails having a blast! :) I'm excited for you and for Drifter because he's getting such a fabulous home. Congrats!

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  6. Kate! You are something. Drifter will be a very lucky boy to become part of your herd. He is gorgeous. If you are able, I say go for it. You have more commitment than most people I know or have read about.

    Good for you!

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  7. Wonderful! Congratulations. Spring is not that far off....really....it isn't! :-)

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  8. Love it! I'm even excited for you!

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  9. You're reasoning seems sound. Betty and I hope to ride as long as we can and we're 65. We were inspired by a story I read years ago in some horse magazine. It said, "Mrs. So and So of Such and Such, Texas died last month from a fall off her horse. Mrs. So and So was 103 years old."

    Not a bad way to go.

    Dan

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  10. If anyone can do it, you can! He sounds and looks like a wonderful horse--I can see why you couldn't stop thinking about him.

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  11. I'm so excited for you, Ms. Kate! I can't wait to hear about your future with both of your wonderful boys.

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  12. I'm a big advocate of when you just can't stop thinking of something long after you've let the impulse buy moment pass, it's probably the right thing to do. I hope all goes well with the vet check this spring, and I am looking forward to your posts about all of your horses this year.

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  13. Ha! I knew you were going to get Drifter too... lucky fellow :) Good for you Kate!

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  14. How exciting!!! He looks like a lovely horse.

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  15. How exciting to have both Drifter and Pie as you head into spring. :)

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  16. Being almost the same age as you and with the same mindset I say go for it while you can and good luck.

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  17. You obviuosly have thought this out very well Kate, more then once. There is something to be said for waiting on a decision, and then still coming to the same conclusion - that makes it right. Hope the vet check comes back favorable. Sounds like destiny, and a whole lot of fun to me!

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  18. How exciting! What a great little surprise! How nice to have another fella show up in the spring...

    Hope he vets through ok and we get to hear lots of stories about your work with him.

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  19. Well, HE is just stunning! :) Congrats and here's hoping for a clean vet check. Can't wait to hear more about him!

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  20. LOL, you know, you have to leave some of the good ones out there for the rest of us advancing (in age)riders.

    He looks like a really nice horse. Can't wait to see how he does with you.

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  21. Drifter is GORGEOUS! I love the color, his conformation and everything you have written about him makes me believe this was meant to be. So exciting! Congratulations!!

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  22. I am so happy for you. I was kind of hoping you'd manage to get Drifter as well to add to your little herd of training challenges. Sounds to me as if he will be the perfect "middle skill" addition to the mix.

    Now I have all the more reason to look forward to Spring! Your posts are going to be fun!

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  23. Knowing you, you'll be 90 and riding :) I'm so glad Drifter gets to potentially come home with you. What a lucky guy.

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  24. I remember Drifter! I really liked him, from your write-up. I think this goes to show that despite your thinking at the time that you didn't want a project, you genuinely enjoy a bit of a challenge. Pie has been so easy for you, I don't think he is providing much of that! Not that that's a bad thing -- Pie seems like an absolute sweetheart -- but I think you like to have that challenge, too.

    And you're also right that a backup horse is a good idea. I was actually wishing for one last week, when Panama smashed his face on something and got a big goose egg right where the bridle would cross his cheek!

    Good luck with the vet check!

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  25. Exciting! I think I am going to present your case for needing 3 horses to carry me through my 70s to my husband. :)

    I've got Keil Bay, who at 22 is like a 10-year old with the clean joint radiographs to prove it, Cody who will be 8 and since he won't be doing eventing with daughter and already knows how to piaffe, he can do dressage with ME, and that leaves one very empty slot that I feel needs filling!

    We will see how this goes over. :)

    Looking forward to reading about Drifter and the work you'll do together.

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  26. Sounds great! Thats so good you are able to take him in March and provided, make him into an acceptable member of the equine community with a solid foundation :)

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  27. Exciting - In the spring you might have a pair of handsome chestnuts!

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  28. Congratulations! Sounds like Drifter will be a great addition to your little herd!

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  29. Oh how exciting ....good for you!!!!!. He looks like a cool little horse

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  30. It's amazing how they get into you isn't it. There is always one you can't stop thinking about.. I have one of those and if he ever ends up on the market I'm snagging him!

    Congrats Kate !!! Drifter is a gorgeous boy.

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  31. That's so exciting!! I'm glad Drifter will be getting a great home with you at your place! :)

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  32. Kate! Congratulations - this is very exciting news. I can't say I am at all surprised! You cracked me up earlier in December when you said, "someone slap me" or something like that when you mentioned that you were still thinking about Drifter. It was then, I knew you were hooked. And, now, with the serendipitous weekend email from Drifter's conscientious owner - how wonderful for this all to come together! I told my husband at dinner tonight that I can't help but wish that sweet Pie might be the perfect mount for your "long suffering husband" since he already loves him and you can ride Drifter along side! Sorry - I am incurable with my horsey romantic meddlings! Seriously, I am so happy for you!

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  33. Oh my goodness! Congratulations!!! That's very exciting.

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  34. Yeah! Congrats! That is very exciting and makes a lot of sense! Can't wait to hear how it all goes!

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  35. Horses are like potato chips, you can never have just one or two. Think of him as company for Dawn while you're riding Pie, or company for Pie while you're riding Dawn, or Pie and Dawn can keep each other company while you're riding Drifter, or...
    Yep, that'd work for me :o)

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  36. I think we are about the same age. I;ve been thinking along the same lines lately; Beamer is going to be ten this year, and in 15 years, I'll be in my 70's and he'll be 25. Chickory is 3 this year, and is probably the last youngster I'll start. Now that I'm getting Gussie back, I'll have the perfect set of horses to ride; Gussie is 7 and I can ride her anywhere, and in rides that I don't want to take a stallion on.

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  37. Congrats! You are off on amazing journey! I really hope I will get the chance to do what you are doing right now.

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  38. Congrats!

    Good for you thinking far ahead and where you'd like to be in regards to horses and riding.

    ~Lisa

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  39. I haven't been blogging in the last week and oh my what I have missed!! drifter is chiming!? I am SO EXCITED! I remember him too, maybe because his name is so western and intriguing. Cannot wait to hear more about him. how great that his owner trusted you enough to follow up!!

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