Tillie came into my life unintentionally. (She was everything I wasn't looking for - a red head mare) If I was smarter, I would have leased something or gotten something that had done the upper levels to learn on. But with my limited budget and not knowing any better I began looking at OTTBs.
I tried so many horses and brought home two different ones on trial. Both ended up having soundness issues leaving me very frustrated. I finally just asked an acquaintance at an OTTB rehoming organization to give me whatever they had that was sound.
When I had gone there early in my search, Tillie had just been returned from trying a career as a polo pony but had too much sass. She was recuperating from an abscess so was not available. But this friend insisted I try her.
So Tillie arrived. She seemed willing and quiet for the most part. So quiet that about a month into owning her, I took her to her first event doing elementary. She was brave, came right back after every fence and I was excited about our journey. What a smart pony!
Unfortunately, the first winter I had her she contracted a bad case of cellulitis. It took about a year and a half of on and off rehab and intermittent riding. Finally, we were able to stay in consistent work starting August 2014. We last minute tried an Intro event where we aced the BN dressage test with a 29 but had two rails in stadium finishing 6th overall, 2nd in dressage.
She is a classic trouble maker and is often riddled with minor injuries or blips that always seem to stop us just as we make headway. BUT we have been able to get out to two BN events this year and trying to get more miles before we move up the levels.
Mack The Ripper (2012-2013)
When I got back into riding as an adult, I acquired a freebie TB gelding that I was told was in his young teens, never raced and mostly was a pasture puff. I decided I wanted him as my own and let him be used in lessons to help compensate for costs. My very first horse that was solely my responsibility. All own my own!
He wasn't the most attractive horse, but he was mine. The picture to the left was few months after getting him. He was scrawny and underweight with a parrot mouth. He was the grumpiest horse on the ground, but under saddle took care of his rider. He sort of felt like riding a boat. He was large and clunky, but all in all a good guy that took care of me.
We were able to do some hunter shows and we did well despite neither of us ever having shown before. I became hooked in wanting to be better and started taking lessons myself and realized riding was more then just sitting there.
Then, because other people at the barn were going, I decided to try cross country schooling.
|Mack and I's second time XC schooling ever|
The thrill was so similar to that of fox hunting I was completely smitten. So we went again and did even bigger stuff which led to us signing up for our first event.
|Mack and I's second time XC schooling ever|
We came home and began taking serious lessons where I learned all about the sandbox and the thing we call dressage. I learned just how much of a passenger I was and how much more I needed to be doing...and that was only scratching the surface!
But I really focused and began riding everyday with the mindset of training.
|Mack and I the last month I had him|
Around that time I began to notice he was not even behind. The vet came and did his thing and low and behold there were arthritic changes in his hocks and right ankle. I started joint supplements the whole works for him and again really assess how we rode to ensure he was moving the best way for his body.
Nothing quite seemed to make him 100% comfortable until I tried injections. Voila it was like having a new horse!!! So we returned to the same event a month later and I took my trainer at the time with me. I was starting to get serious about this eventing thing and was hungry to learn.
Turned out, we placed FIRST after dressage! My trainer was so excited she thought for sure we would be ready to move up the levels. But we still had stadium and XC. Stadium proved to be rough, it was hot the ground was sticky and thick after a rain making it soft and hard to really push. We had a rail, which for Mack I could count on one hand the number of rails he ever took down even at home schooling.
|Mack and I at our first event|
Humiliated and possibly needing the equine ambulance I watched as the vets there looked over my horse. Luckily he was ok, as was I, but it was clear he needed a much easier lifestyle.
|When I went to try Romeo before bringing him home|
|Mack and Romeo meeting|
Unfortunately, Romeo came to me with terrible feet and despite help from my vet and farrier spent most of the time dealing with thrown shoes, sore feet, abscesses etc. Meanwhile Mack began requiring injections for his arthritis so something had to give. I concluded that I needed to sell Romeo and focus on Mack (prior to Mack indicating injections wouldn't be enough).
|Right after bringing Romeo home|