The last post wasn’t some random teaser- the big guy is mine!
See what had happened was…
Trainer B had to have looked through dozens of horses on his own, not even including the millions I was sending him, and was declining each one. Even the one I sat on and really liked immediately received a 👎 (that one may have caused me to then consume half a gallon of chocolate ice cream), but in the process I learned how to tell a lot about a horse from a picture or video.
So when, out of sheer desperation, I sent him a video of a 3 year old OTTB and got back a 👍 I was a little shocked. But also a little hesitant to act on it because, ummm…THREE.
Then a fellow boarder, who knew I was debating the 3 year old, sent me an ad for a 5 year old the same seller had just gotten in. If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of Jessica Redman of Benchmark SportHorses, you need to get on that ASAP. Trainer B watched the 5 year old’s free video and immediately called to tell me we needed to vet the horse.
But then I REALLY couldn’t decide. See, the 3 year old had been with Jessica for a little over a month. There were more videos of him, more information was available…all things my adult ammy brain craves. The 5 year old was a virtual unknown.
So we contacted her about both and she said they were riding the 5 year old that afternoon and would post the video. So I refreshed her page like a crazy person all day until the video was posted, and as soon as it was, sent it to Trainer B, who immediately said, “DO IT.”
So after driving Husband crazy going through my exhaustive pros/cons list, I decided to vet the 5 year old. We contacted the vet last Wednesday and they said they could do the PPE Thursday late morning. By the end of the day on Thursday, we still hadn’t gotten the vet’s report and I was freaking out that I had spent another large sum of money on vetting another injured horse. Trainer B contacted her around 8 PM to see what was taking so long and she told him it’d be an hour or two before she emailed him the x-rays and report, so we figured we’d know something that night or the next morning.
Then Friday was an absolute train wreck of a day. The vet couldn’t get a hold of Trainer B because he was riding like 6 horses at VAHT and she had for some reason not emailed him the x-rays or report the night before. So she called me at 8 AM and started talking about clean x-rays but structural abnormalities, specifically his navicular bones are both shaped a bit differently than normal. Trainer B called her and then me in between rides and said it shouldn’t be a big deal, but she just needs to send the x-rays so we can get a 2nd opinion. As it was, it took until after 2 PM to finally receive the x-rays, but still no report.
Trainer B was going to have a vet he knew who was at VAHT look at the x-rays, but as it happened, our vet (we use the same clinic) was coming to check on P’s eye anyway, so I made her look at all the x-rays and tell me her opinion. She noted the shape of the bones, but also said they were the same on both sides which said he was in all likelihood born like that, and he’d clearly raced successfully for awhile, so that plus the fact that flexions were all good, hoof testers were negative, etc, said she wouldn’t worry about it.
So that made that decision. Now I just had to let the seller know and figure out where my dear Husband was with my horse trailer (he was using it to haul stuff for a work event).
I called the seller, no answer.
I called my husband. No answer.
So I despaired that Husband had wrecked my trailer in a ditch somewhere and the seller had grown tired of waiting for an answer and had sold the horse (a line had already formed behind me for him).
Then, pretty much the second I stepped through my door, it all turned around. Husband called and said he’d be home shortly and 5 minutes later the seller called and I officially purchased the horse.
So how did he get home? Well, normally I would’ve taken Trainer B up on his offer to arrange a shipper but there was the little detail that I had C at the barn still. His owner was having issues getting down here to get him and I needed the stall before I could bring another one home. But that weekend was already super busy- we had a friend’s wedding Sunday and lots of plans on Memorial Day. And it was now 6 PM on Friday.
So Husband got home, we traded vehicles, I drove to the barn, loaded C and his gear , and headed to VA, where I pulled into his driveway at 3 AM. By 3:15 I was back on the road and got to Delaware at 5:40 AM, where I promptly passed out in the GN of my horse trailer in a Best Western hotel parking lot.
8 AM I was up and drove the 20 minutes to the seller’s farm, saw the horse for the first time, signed the bill of sale, put him on my trailer and we were out of there at 9:30 AM for what Google Maps told me would be a 7 hour drive.
Thanks to 95, which I have never had the pleasure of driving (and never will again), we finally pulled into the barn’s parking lot at 7 PM, 24 hours after I initially set off.
He was insanely good at travelling, and would’ve had every right to not have been so good. He last raced May 10th, then got on a trailer from TX to KY for a short layover, then KY to DE, where he spent a week before I shoved him onto my trailer and drove him 10 hours to NC. He ate hay, drank water, stood quietly- not much more to ask for.
It took him awhile to get him off the trailer, as I’m not sure he’s ever had to back off and down a ramp. But he was quiet about it, went right into his new stall and ate all his grain, then walked all gentleman-ly like down to turnout, where P & his pasture mate decided they needed to impress him. Thankfully the 5 year old was more sensible than they were and merely trotted/cantered a couple of laps before deciding to ignore them.
Then we had the issue of the name. He didn’t come with any name other than his JC name, Dark Harbor (which will DEFINITELY remain his show name). One of the boarders threw out the suggestion of Thor, which I quite liked, and anticipated Husband approving of. I was wrong.
Husband immediately dubbed him King Leonidas, as in the movie 300, and due to the minor fact that Husband didn’t divorce me when I said I wanted a second horse, that’s his name. Well, he’s Leo to me. But to hear Husband call for him is priceless.
I did some stuff with him in the round pen last night and have taken him on some walks to get him used to leading properly, and while he’s definitely still in his shell, he’s starting to show a hint of personality. He has no idea what treats are or how to eat them, and really isn’t sure about walking past the geese that hang out at the pond next to his pasture, but seems to have a well-screwed in brain. Even when he was trying to show off for P last night and P was like, “Y tho?” and L was all, “I watched YOU do this the other night,” and P went, “Nope, not me, You must have gotten me mixed up with some other bug on the farm.” And L was like, “Oh ok. I’ll have some grass then.”
As long as Husband comes home from his work trip today in time to get kids, I do plan on sitting on him tonight, then I’m taking him to Trainer B’s on Saturday. Providing he gets in the trailer, of course.