Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Welcome, New Boy!

The week before last I got a text from my trainer: "Small, bay, TB gelding, needs home. Good mover. Go look at him."

Guess where this is headed.

My response: "Small, bay, TB geldings are a dime a dozen, why do I need to go look at this one?" (Always the skeptic, me.)

Trainer: "Here is the number for the lady who has him, just call."

Fine. I call. I find out that the horse has been abandoned at this dressage training barn, and the barn owner is looking to find him a good home with someone who loves and understands Thoroughbreds (I'm assuming that's how my name came up). Also, he has an old bowed tendon. Also, no one knows how old he is or what his name is. This is just looking better and better!

But, my trainer insists that this horse is a good mover and worth a look. And, his asking price is my favorite number: 0. So, I hook up the trailer (because the horse is located two hours away and I'm not going back if I like him) and go see him.

I pull up to an absolutely immaculate dressage barn full of lovely horses and introduce myself to the owner. We walk down the aisle and stop at a very plain, very bay Thoroughbred. My immediate response was "Meh."

But, I look him over anyway, because I came this far.  He's a sweet boy, and I get a good enough look at his tattoo to see he's a 7 year old. The bow is noticeable, but it's old and he's sound on it. I find out the person who abandoned him there had been riding him for the last year with no soundness issues and was somewhat of a beginner. She had only done WTC with him, but he was solid and sane. They call him "Lovey" at the barn because of his sweet disposition. I ask if he lunges. The barn owner shrugs and says "Let's find out."

We walk him down to the indoor, the owner throws a lunge line on and asks him to move out. He trots out in the most beautiful, floaty, knee-popping trot I've ever seen on a TB. It was here that I decided he was going on the trailer, but I played it cool while she cantered and trotted him in both directions. He's a lovely mover, both directions, and didn't take a single bad step. So, we load him on the trailer.

He loaded perfectly, and off we went. Even when we got home, and my nincompoops started running and neighing, he stood quietly on the trailer and waited for me to lead him off and to his new paddock.  He trotted around a couple times, sniffed noses over the gate with the other boys, and settled right in.

Jack has no chill.

And now we have four horses again.

I still haven't gotten around to reading his full tattoo and finding out who he is. Part of the tattoo is faint, and part of me is lazy. We've just been calling him "New Boy" and he seems OK with that.

Of course, it's been a total monsoon here since I brought him home so I haven't been able to ride him. I have found that he leads fine, cross and straight ties, tolerates fly spray and integrates well into the herd. He's also much more interested in people than he is the other horses, which I like.

Jack also has no sense of personal space.

Everyone who I've told about him so far has been shocked and/or appalled that I would just go pick up a random abandoned TB with an old bow (They clearly don't know me very well.), so I'll offer a bit of explanation. I've been tentatively looking for a fourth horse since I lost Spider because four horses are actually easier to manage than three. When I need to split up the herd to manage pastures or use two horses, having only three leaves one horse by itself. It's much easier to have two and two. I have my own farm, so board is not an issue and four horses don't really eat or poop that much more than three.

He was free, so I'm not out much if he ends up not staying sound.  Not that I think he won't stay serviceably sound: bowed tendons aren't the end of the world for lower level dressage and/or trail riding. I'm also not looking to make him into my future Olympic mount, I'll be quite content if he only stays sound enough for trail riding (I'd trail ride Jack, but if I have to dismount I can't get back on Jack without a tall mounting block). And if he does end up being a good dressage horse, well, that's a bonus!

Even if he ends up not being reliably sound for riding, he can still be a companion for Jack. Spots and Beau do not play stupid TB games, and Jack has missed playing with Spider. New Boy has already shown himself to be an excellent playmate for Jack, and Spots and Beau are very happy to no longer be harassed into playing games with Jack.

In short: he was free, a nice mover, good personality and needed a safe place to land. What more do you want?

TBs: You can't just have one!


  1. Kind of fun though! Hope he continues to do well.

  2. He's super cute! :-) Hope you have fun with him.

  3. Most of us dream of getting offered free horses, let alone free horses that aren't dud problem horses without the availability of just making them pasture puffs. Can't wait to see him in action. He's a lucky boy.

    1. It hasn't even been a week, there's still time for him to be a problem dud! :D

  4. Aw- good for you. He's sweet looking and you will give him an excellent home. congratulations.

  5. Sounds like a good deal to me. How does that work with the abandonment though? Will you be able to get his papers transferred to you?

    1. Honestly, I've never transferred the papers of a single horse I've owned. (Actually, many of mine didn't even have papers.) USEF and USDF have never asked about papers when I register the horses with them, and neither did JC when I got Jack his TIP number. They're all geldings, and I don't do breed shows, so it's never been a concern.

  6. Ooh he looks sweet! Looking forward to seeing how he settles in and develops!!

  7. I love it! He looks so sweet, and sometimes those surprise horses end up being the best.


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