Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Settling In

Miss Halo is quickly learning to love her new home. I get the impression that she relishes being out in the pasture all day snacking to her heart's content. I bring her up for dinner on the nights I go out, and while she eats I brush her and work with her feet. I've already picked out her feet twice now, and from now on it will be part of our daily routine. She's a smart filly.

Seeing how quick Halo is to learn makes me wonder if that is what my old horse Callie was like when he was a baby. He was a purebred but unregistered Morgan, and I got him when he was 4, green as grass...or so I thought. Later in his life he picked up on showmanship so quickly that I wasn't surprised to find out from his breeder that he had extensive halter training as a baby. What happened in the three years between then and when I got him, who knows - but none of it was good. He was smart, but spirited, and made a point of reminding you at every opportunity that he was merely allowing you to come along for the ride and that he could abort the mission at any time. Frequently he did, and I would wind up on my butt in the dirt, on a rocky trail, or embedded in a blackberry bush. But he taught me how to ride, even if he tried my patience at every turn.

I wish I knew where he is today. He'd be 19 years old this year. With how many horses go to slaughter, I worry for him now. I imagine he's still sound and as spirited as ever, but he was always difficult to keep weight on. When I sold him I wish I'd been a more aware horse person, aware of the lack of dignity with which horses are sent to slaughter every day. I wish I'd planned better for his future, and made sure to stay in touch with his new owners. At the time, I was just happy to move on to my new two year old Thoroughbred, who was a much better personality match for me. Even so, I have more respect now for that spunky little horse than I ever did at the time. Callie taught me most of what I know, and even if it can't be said that he was sweet, he was canny, athletic, and put his whole heart into every obstacle...whether it was an enormous jump in the arena or figuring out how to get a pesky girl out of the saddle so he could run free.

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