In my recent post – The Itch – I confessed how much I miss riding and lamented the fact that, with Nibbles away in training, I am horseless and not left with enough in the budget to afford lessons more often than once or twice a month. I finished by posing the question:
Anyone know of a horse in northern Indiana I can adopt until March?
Quite literally 24 hours later, Nibbles’ trainer Elise (otherwise known as Trainer E), posted something on Facebook. I messaged her about that something and she came back with an incredible offer that is, quite literally, a prayer directly answered.
Long story short is that with changing the barn she was training at, Elise needed someone to indefinitely lease her horse Joker. I can’t figure out a better way to describe Joker than what Elise wrote in her “wanted” post so I’m going to cheat and share part of that here.
I am looking for a new home for Joker! He is 14.3h and 21 years young, very sound, takes very minimal upkeep. He is barefoot, UTD on teeth, shots, and worming. I have owned him since 2001 so would prefer to free lease indefinitely to a friend instead of selling outright.
He LOVES trail riding and I have ridden/shown him English in 4H, taught lessons and has been a staple in the GPHC summer camp program. He is very patient with first time riders just learning to steer (including riders as young as 3-4yrs) and then does best with advanced beginners to intermediate riders only because he gets quick at trot and canter. He goes best in an English hackamore. Jumps up to 2′ but is not a complete schoolmaster in this area.
Joker is very, very easy to handle, goes out with anyone (no fussing/dominant issues), stands for vet/farrier/worming, loads like a dream, trail rides solo or in a group, knows natural horsemanship, and generally loves to be around kids and people. He is an easy keeper and his only “bad thing” is that he needs a cough supplement (I just ordered one from SmartPak, nothing prescription), if the hay is especially dusty. We also wet his hay down when his coughing gets bad. I only had him on one month of the supplement before the coughing went away and he went the rest of the summer/fall without.
Are you laughing out loud yet? Joker is quite literally what the doctor ordered. Elise made me an offer that is just incredibly, incredibly generous which means that I will not have to kill myself financially to do this. Nibbles will stay in training until March as planned while I lease Joker. I’m not a cryer but you better believe I cried when I realized this was really happening.
Last week, I had a barn lined up that said they had space for Joker. Two days before he was to arrive, they called me to say the horse who was on his way out is now staying and they don’t have the space. I was crushed. The area I live in is very literally the middle of no where and barns with winter riding facilities are not common. I called five more barns that day (which is probably half of what is in a 30 mile radius; the other half I didn’t call because they were very pricey and stall board only). The same day, just after lunch (when I felt like my soul was being crushed from the weight of knowing I had this amazing opportunity slipping away), one of the barns called me back.
I went to see the barn on Friday and wow. I can’t believe something like this exists here. Their website doesn’t do what they have justice. It’s a 30 minute drive and worth every single second. They have 30 acres of extremely well-kept and rotated pasture space (including offering 24/7 turnout which is what Joker prefers), 90×150 outdoor arena with jumps, 80×116 insulated indoor arena, climate controlled tack rooms, heated bathroom/shower (!!), and – wait for it….
Neighbors with 500 acres and maintained horse trails (as long as you don’t ride on top of their crops, of course).
500 acres and an indoor arena.
The real kick in the pants is that the barn’s name is Faith. Did I have faith? Not nearly enough. The whole thing leaves me shaking my head because my prayer was answered in dramatic, beyond-wildest-dreams fashion. I needed a horse I could ride multiple days a week that would keep me safe: check. I needed an indoor place to ride over the winter: check. I needed it to be in my budget: definitely check.
Now that he really does have a spot at a barn, Elise is bringing him down this Saturday.
Nah, I’m not excited at all.