Well, it never occurred to me to have one of the horses get a job… but Gwen may have done just that!
(Gwen is Mama Tess’ first foal. She was trained by me when I had very few horses – so she got a lot of attention! I rode her as my second horse to Aladdin. After Aladdin passed, she was my first horse who was then replaced by Finn when Gwen turned 18.)
OK, back to the story… as you all know, we are moving… and I feel very worried that my 10 horses will not like Paso Robles because our new grounds are very different than the horsey paradise that we have here. In Grass Valley, the ground is rich, we have lots of topography, seasonal creeks, grass, hills and lots and lots of trees. In Paso, we have open space with no trees. And, it is hot.
So, I’ve been contemplating figuring out a way for some of the horses to stay in Grass Valley — or something like that. But, I hadn’t really come up with any plan and I’ve been so busy, I figured I wouldn’t come up with any plan before it was time to move everyone.
But then… an email came across my desk from our local trail riding club. A well-established kids horse camp (in a good area) was looking for older, well trained horses.
HMMMM. GWEN IS AN OLDER, WELL TRAINED HORSE…
Without even thinking, I replied to the email. I said that Gwen was an older (20 years), well trained mare. She loves kids and actually does better with kids than adults. Gwen is in great shape, she loves the arena and has excellent ground work skills and she is very well mannered.
Hmmmmm. Gwen could do this.
Gwendolyn is the type of mare who gets bored easily. She always demands to be let out or fed or entertained. Having a bunch of kids around would really keep her on her toes. She wouldn’t be in the extreme heat, she’d have a lot of attention and she’d be let down during winter in a lovely part of Northern CA. The camp is well established and has counselors from UC Davis as well as many other horsey colleges. The photos on the website looked promising. It all sounded good.
I was starting to like the idea. So, I added a few photos to my return email and pressed SEND.
HOWEVER… I WASN’T OK TO NOT GET HER BACK
I really didn’t think about it again until the phone rang as I was driving down to Paso last week. I was stuck in some traffic glut around Carmel, so I was able to chat.
The woman on the phone asked all the right questions about Gwen and I was very candid with her. I told her that Gwen hadn’t been ridden in 3 years, but that Gwen was actually the best trained saddle horse on the ranch. Most of all, Gwen had excellent ground manners.
I asked that if Gwen went into this program, I’d like her back when it was time for retirement. I didn’t want her to be an elderly, non-working horse with no place to go. They thought that was a wonderful idea and said it could be arranged. I to see the contract. I also asked to have regular visits or photos sent so that I knew she was OK. And I asked for vet references, etc. All was fine with them.
They asked to see videos of Gwen before they made the trip out to see her.
Yikes! I didn’t have any…
TODAY I MADE VIDEOS
Making videos is a pain when you are alone.
First you have to set up the camera on something at the right height and visual circumference. Then, you have to make sure you are doing your work quickly (not too quickly) and within the sights of the camera.
I decided to make it simpler and create the video in phases.
Phase 1 was in the barn with her tied. I brushed her, flysprayed her, messed with her mane and tail and picked up her feet.
Phase 2 was after I had totally groomed Gwen, I walked her up to the trailer (she was very calm) and tied her to the trailer easily and she just stood there.
Phase 3 was her in the arena, saddled, doing basic ground work with me. (This was difficult because I had the camera on my mounting block and had to make sure I was always within camera sight.)
Phase 4 was me riding at a walk trot. (I had to mount using the mounting block so the camera didn’t see us at first, they only heard me mounting. Funny!) This was very interesting because I didn’t ‘pre-ride’ her and Gwen hadn’t been ridden in 3 years! I wasn’t sure how she would be or if she was sore in places I couldn’t test. But, she was fine. Gwen sneezed about 30 times, getting the cobwebs out of her riding bones!
Phase 5 was Gwen, naked again, trotting around the arena after our tiny workout. She is a very pretty mare. Mama Tess would be proud.
I WAS SO TIRED AFTERWARDS!
I think I put so much thought into it, I exhausted myself! ;)
Anyway, then I had to download all the videos from my camera and then upload them to You Tube and sent all five links off to the Camp so the Director of the Camp could see Gwen.
Shortly thereafter, I received an email from the Camp saying they think Gwen would be perfect but just need one more sign off.
HAPPENING SO FAST!
I wish my fences/shelter at the new place happened this fast!
Anyway, I’m waiting to see the contract and hear from their vets. I want it to be really, really clear that Gwen always has a home here and that the Director (who has been there for 43 years) guarantees me that Gwen will never get lost in the shuffle.
If it all works out, the good news is that Gwen will have a fun job, with a lovely barn, kids, great weather and lots to do while I am figuring everything out in Paso Robles.
And, I think this is very, very good.
To be honest, my heart feels sad to part with her. But that is probably how every Mom thinks when the kids leave home… Bittersweet.