I’m marking this day, Feb 22nd, as the best day of the year yet, and a very, very special occasion. Not only did this day bring us heaps of joy and happiness, but in the end, we also did a very good deed, and that felt mighty good. The whole report was shot with the Zeiss 16-70/4, that actually blew me a little away…
Today was one of those days when the world seems to revolve around a perfect axis of mutual help, companionship, and just plain good and happiness. All day long we were surrounded with help, friendliness, and care from our horsey community, and that was just wonderful. The day started by meeting Gwen at her boarding stables, to go fetch Pirouette, Marla’s new pony from the riding school she lived at, and bring her back to her new home. We did so borrowing Gwen’s husband work vehicle, and tethering our friend René’s spanking new trailer.
We were buying Pirouette from a down on its luck riding school, that I don’t give over 18 months until they have to throw the towel and close down for good. Business has probably be bad for years now and money is cruelly lacking, meaning the equine working force is ancient, unkept and not eating as it should. Pirouette was one of the very few remaining “useful” and desirable ponies, at 10 years old, with a flawless conformation and lovely disposition. She was priced to sell, with additional cost to plan due to bad care, and though the sellers wouldn’t budge from their asking price, I just followed my gut and bought her.
These stables we brought her from have been operating for many years, successfully at first. The facilities aren’t half bad, with some pretty strong points like a huge indoor arena, and a nice geographic location. However, reinforced concurrence from nearby schools, probably poor economic decicions early on, and inclination for the bottle is now rapidly bringing the place to its fate. All horses/ponies used during the lesson when Marla got to try Pirouette were overaged, severely underfed, unkept, with unfitting tack, while only four larger and younger, so called “competition” horses by the owner, were properly fit and clean. Meaning that the very working force of the place is going down fast with old age and poor maintenance, to keep afloat a handful of high need inviduals who bring in no income. It was TIME to get our mare out of there.
Take a second to check the expressions on everybody’s face… Marla had gone back to sit in the truck with Chivas as she said she was cold. The old place people look dejected or even hostile, and Gwen starts to have a smile forming, seing how structurally sound and in fact beautiful the mare is. Pirouette is trustful, and the dogs just don’t care…
Not all was truly in order with her vaccines and microchip, original papers were all lost, her feet were a painful mess and a few other things, but I was feeling the more and more imperious desire to just get her the hell out of there asap.
She said “wait a minute, I ain’t going nowhere. It may be a dump, but it’s my home”. Gwen just did the right thing. Took her feet and moved them one by one up that ramp, while the girls were feeding her a carrot and my role was to prevent the seller to ruin all our efforts by pressuring and scaring her, as he tended to. The whole operation took less than 15 minutes. We said our good-byes, reassuring the mascara streaked kid the mare would be taken the best care of, and she could even visit if she wanted to.
- Wait. That wasn’t that easy. Far from it actually. She was fine and open to all new things, but the ponies she was supposed to join didn’t see it that way. The four mares, all more or less her height (but much heavier due to better maintenance) bossed her around the pen a bit, but nothing out of the ordinary to establish pecking order, or nothing she didn’t bow down to and complied. But to my dismay, Vidji’s, Eclaire’s son, a taller gelging, attacked her repeatedly and viciously, to the point she *broke lose* from the pen, into the farm’s OPEN courtyard (giving on to the road). I was *petrified* she was lose in a totally unknown environment, with no halter nor lead on, and with passing vehicles less than 200 yards away. My heart did skip a bunch of beats, during the mad dash Seb, one of our friends, made for the entrance, blocked it, and managed to lock the gate, while Camille went quietly to get her, and Pirouette was all too happy to be back in her custody as by then, she had figured in this new place, humans were friends, but equines were foes.
So Gwen swapped her to a slighlty smaller pen, home of mainly smaller ponies. The mares weren’t overly friendly (but OK) and Caramiel, the only male and therefore king of the place, took and *instant* crush on her, and from then she was safe from any harm. Here Marla explains to Caramiel to be nice with her
We paused for lunch. Gwen had promised to treat the teens to Mac Donald’s, and I was to lazy to drive back home so we joined in. Marla was in 7th heaven to hang with her older friends and her coach. Of course, Chivas did come along
I positively love to see him work. He’s a master farrier and just a super nice person, and the ponies usually trust him very fast. Pirouette was a model patient, never flinching or moving an ear. She just stood them and took in her surroundings while he worked on her feet.
Of course Marla wanted to be a part of it, she jumped in and supervised while she talked quietly to her new friend. Look closely at the pony’s eye and you’ll see she’s relaxed and comfortable, already
Marla then asked Gwen if she could ride her new pony. Both Gwen and I thought it was a bit premature, so we just set her free in the indoor barn where she’ll work with Marla, so she could get acquainted and familiar with the place. I expected her to run around, get apprehensive of a few things, act silly, whatever. But the most incredible thing happened…
She ran back to us. Or more specifically, she wouldn’t let go of Marla. She did a quick run around the barn, but then followed Marla everywhere, nudging her gently with her nose, as close and familiar as a dog
Meanwhile the girls were “sandskiing” in the just completed huge new manège, courtesy of René, our entrepreneur sponsor. That is a huge contribution to the stables and everyone is immensely grateful to him
Next morning : the sun is shining, Marla’s first words upon waking up “are we gonna ride my pony today ?”. You bet, Sweetheart.