I've been pondering all weekend about the subject of my next EI post and couldn't think of a thing. After reading Laura's last post, it occurred to me that I'd never told the story of Broker, a story very similar to Ready's.
Eleven years ago before I bought my current horse, Gailey, I had a wonderful Morgan/Quarter Horse named Moses. Well, Moe was 18 and not inclined to be good at dressage, too short-strided, too stiff, and too lazy, and now too old. I loved Moe. You could do anything with him, and I did; but his story is best saved for another time.
A very good friend of mine had bought a horse for a foreign exchange student staying at her house. The boy had ridden hunter/jumpers in Europe. The plan had been that he'd train the horse to be passed on to her daughter after he returned to Europe. Well, that didn't quite work out, and she decided to sell the horse. She offered him to me for a VERY reduced price. I checked him out. He was a big, beautiful mover and wonderful on the ground. Under saddle, he seemed a little piggy. I put my leg on him. He sucked back instead of moving forward. No big deal, I thought. He just needs some training.
I paid her and took him home. I decided to rename him, Stockbroker, and called him Broker (Mistake Number One}. If there ever was a prophetic name, that was it. A few weeks before I purchased him, I remember commenting to a friend that I'd never been injured on a horse in all of my years of riding (Mistake Number Two).
I bet you see where this is going.
The first day I rode Broker in my arena, he slugged along and refused to move. I decided to take him for a little trail ride on my trails. We didn't get more than twenty feet out of the arena gate when he quite calmly stood on his hind legs. I slid right off his butt onto the ground. Surprised and pissed. I caught him, got back on, and rode him back out on the trails. I was ready for him this time. As soon as he started to rear, I whipped into a circle then drove him forward. This continued for several minutes before I took him back to the barn and contemplated that I'd been had. My "friend" had to be aware of this behavior. The horse was obviously quite talented at rearing.
The second time I rode him was in a lesson taught by a clincian who is also a trusted friend. We lasted about five minutes. He was slugging along, again, and she told me to take the whip in one hand and give him a solid smack. He started bucking in a way that would rival any rodeo bronc. Again, he knew what he was doing. I went flying. Unfortunately, I heard a snap as I landed. I'd broken my collarbone in two places and two ribs.
Giving Broker the benefit of the doubt, since I hadn't really given him much warm-up time, I asked the working student at my trainer's barn if she'd ride him while I was laid up. She could sit a buck a lot better than me and was fearless. She lasted about ten minutes before he dumped her. She tried to ride him one more time, same result. Next came another friend, equally talented and fearless. Same result, again.
Not wanting to risk these girls getting hurt, I took the horse to a trainer with a reputation of being able to rehabilitate problem horses. She had him one month and suggested I try to sell him to a rodeo. She didn't want him anymore and considered him dangerous.
Now, my dilemma. Here I was with a horse I didn't like, and I was afraid of him. I wasn't the one who ruined him. Someone else did. Yet, I was stuck with him. I called my "friend" who sold him to me. Of course, she didn't want him back. I ended up doing something I never thought I'd do. I took him to an auction. I put a note on his stall that he was not a beginner's horse and needed an experienced rider and that he bucked and reared. I paid a girl to keep an eye on him and show him in the arena then I left. I understand some cowboy bought him for a sheriff's posse horse. I have no clue how that worked out.
Broker left a legacy that I live with to this day. I have a fear of being hurt that comes out under pressure. I don't like riding horses I don't know, and I'm often stiff and defensive when I ride. I'll never buy another horse without trying it several times in different situations.
I called my next horse, Gailey, because I wanted to make sure that her name had a positive connotation. You live and learn. And what happened to the friend? I haven't talked to her since. I understand she divorced and left the area.
Oh, and by the way, I just discovered that The Gift Horse is now in print, as of this weekend. You can find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.