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RE: [RC] [RC] ? In the eye of the beholder - David LeBlanc

... I got a little appaloosa mare in exchange. We traded at a reststop in
the middle of a snowstorm. Roha is a roaning red with white socks and a big
bald. My mom has always had appys, and I vowed to avoid them and do my own
thing. But I've come full circle.
What I thought was a plain little mare is actually a intelligent, intrepid
new mount, with incredible movement and sooooo much potential!!!! 
...

I've got an appy story - over 10 years ago, my wife went horse shopping, and
saw a 1/2 appy, 1/2 Arab red roan. At the time, she said it was the ugliest
horse she'd ever seen. She ended up buying her, and she turned out to be an
attitudinous, stubborn little mare with a ton of heart. Over the years, they
reached an understanding, and Jennifer came to love Ozar. Oh - did I mention
she doesn't look like an endurance horse - she's short (14.1), kind of round
and stocky, but somehow has great recoveries and just never quits.

Then about 6 years ago, I came along. Ozar was the alpha mare, and
constantly picking on my horse - an elderly QH. She was a bit obnoxious, and
I didn't like her, and she didn't like me. Not quite hate at first sight,
but certainly dislike. At one point, our attempts to deal with Ozar's
problem with pulling back when tied nearly got Jennifer badly injured, and a
friend and I tried to convince Jennifer that Ozar should be sold. No dice. 

I ended up buying a 5 year old Arab - great horse, but I wasn't enough rider
back then for a newly trained horse. We moved up to the NW, and right before
the horses were due to be shipped, Skipper died. So here I go on Ozar.
Numerous battles ensued. The first time I rode her without Jennifer anywhere
nearby, she pulled nearly every stunt she knew. Bucking while cantering
downhill was a highlight. We then started out on our 2000 season, did lots
of rides, and came to an understanding. Once you had her respect, and if you
asked her nicely, she'd do anything for you.

Towards the end of the season, we went to a ride in Idaho. It was really hot
that day - 95 or so. We had a problem with our other horse, and we ended up
walking the first loop where Jennifer pulled. This put me out on the 2nd 20
mile loop at noon - heat of the day. So off we went - all by ourselves,
seriously tail end. I didn't carry enough water, and by the time I was 15
miles out, I was suffering from heat exhaustion. Dipped my shirt in a stream
and sponged Ozar and myself with the cool water - being from Florida, I knew
exactly how much trouble I was in. That kept me going a little while, but
not very long. After a while, I started getting dizzy and almost blacked out
a few times. Ozar would walk until we got to a turn, then wait for me to
tell her which way to go. The horse basically got back to camp on autopilot.
She could have dumped me, done anything she really wanted, but she took care
of me. I promised her carrots for life if she'd just get me out of this one.

When we finally did get back to camp, everyone was worried. I'd taken close
to 5 hours to cover 20 miles. I nearly pulled RO, but Jennifer and my friend
Walker spent more time cooling me down and feeding me fluids than they spent
on the horse. Good thing they don't vet check the riders. Another friend
cajoled me into going back out. Rejuvenated, we went out and finished the
ride with 30 minutes to spare.

The last ride of the season we did a 75 in some of the most awful weather
I've ever dealt with - it rained the whole time, and we were out from 6 AM
to 10:30 that night. That ride just barely pushed us over the top into top
10 horse-rider points for NW.

Unfortunately, Ozar's now retired - but she delivered, and I'm keeping my
part of the deal - carrots for life. She might be fat and short with a mane
that sticks straight up, and she's still got an attitude, but to me she's
the prettiest horse we have.



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Replies
Re: [RC] [RC] ? In the eye of the beholder, Elkenchild