Monday, June 6, 2011

Miracles do Happen

It is sometimes very funny how somethings works out in the end. As many of you know, I have been looking for a new competition horse for a very, very long time. On and off for over 3 years. My beloved equine son Pete is now 22 years old, and though he still has the heart of an upper level dressage horse his body is not quite up to the task. As I am sure Jami and Francesca know, the Internet can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to searching for horses to buy. You have access to hundreds of prospects but searching through ads and looking at videos can be very time consuming (something I never have enough of) not to mention the investment in flying here or there to look and ride the potential new mount.

My biggest problem was that on several occasions, by the time I identified a horse I was interested in and could make the time and arrangements to fly to see the horse, someone else would get there first and swoosh, the horse was gone. I also went to see and rode several horses that were either nothing like their owner's claims or just simply not a good fit for me. You see part of the problem is that I had been very spoiled by Pete. Pete was and still is very light in my hands and very sensitive and responsive to my aids. So I don't like a horse that leans on the contact or that I have to kick or use a whip/spur endlessly to get him forward and/or into a particular movement. Therefore, I was looking into a very narrow window for potential horses.

I have been teased and a bit badgered by several friends and my sister and niece about being too picky (like they claim I am with men- a whole other subject in itself) and that I was looking for a phantom horse that did not exist or at least not in my price range. Well, I have now proved them all wrong (well maybe not about the men thing). I have finally found and purchased a new dressage horse and amazingly enough he was practically in my own back yard, well at least in San Diego county. After finding out that a horse in Florida that I was interested in had been sold, I was on the verge of agreeing with my sister (something that would be a hard pill to swallow) when I decided to take one more look at a couple of the sales websites I frequented and walla, there he was, a horse whose ad had just been posted a few days before and he was only a 45 minute drive away from me. It was a miracle!

After watching his video online I was even more excited and sent an e-mail to the horse's trainer and waited (not so patiently I might add) for a response. The horse was at a stable near Del Mar, CA which is known as Dressage Mecca in my area since it is home to several incredible dressage riders and trainers including Stephen and Shannon Peters. The horse I purchased was in training with David Blake, who also works with the Peters' so I can tell you that I was more than just a little bit intimidated to go ride at this facility. But everyone there could not have been nicer and I rode 2 different horses that David Blake had in his sales barn. They were both incredibly beautiful, talented and well-trained horses but there was just something about the bay gelding that I could not stop thinking about. After a second ride on both horses, I knew the bay was the better fit for me and the rest is history as they say.

His name is Uiver (pronounced Iver) and I brought him home last week and since then I have fallen in love with him even more. Uiver is a 10 year old Dutch Warmblood Gelding who is currently competing at 4th level. The photo of his canter above is with David on him. As you can see in the photo of me on him below, I look a bit tentative because this is my first ride on him and I am thinking, "holy cow this is a huge trot"!

I have a lot of work ahead of me but I hope that Uiver will be my ticket to finally be competitive at FEI and perhaps even make it to Grand Prix. His trot has enormous cadence so my first order is to get stronger in my core so I can sit up taller and still keep up with his trot. His canter is amazing and you could ride it all day, although I need to ask for the flying changes a bit differently then when I was on Pete. None the less, Uiver is going to teach me a lot and hopefully take me to the next level of my journey as an equestrian. Another nice thing is that Uiver's personality at the barn is blossoming. You never really know a horse's personality until you get them home and Uiver is very sweet and affectionate and already looks at me like I am a cookie dispenser. He is very good around the other horses, is calm and level-headed and did not even care when he saw my neighbor's cows. What a bonus!

I am a strong believer in karma and cosmic forces and that is the other interesting part of this story. Twelve years ago when I bought Pete, it was money I inherited from my father (who had passed away several years prior) that financed his purchase. When I found out that his barn name was Pete I considered it a sign from my father whose name was Peter. My dad was a doctor so Pete was shown under the name - Dr. Pete for my father. Now this many years later and after all my trials and tribulations, the purchase of Uiver was finalized on May 31st, my father's birthday. Another sign from above????

Regardless, I am like a kid at Christmas with a new toy and I feel more in sync with Uiver every ride. I am going to continue to train with David Blake and will start going to shows in a few months when Uiver and I have figured each other out. As for my other horse Pete, well he is a bit jealous (a fact that I am very sensitive to) so I am careful not to pay too much attention to Uiver when Pete can see. I am hoping that Pete will come to see Uiver as a part of the family and that Pete will always be #1 in my heart. I am open to any tips as too how best to make Uiver feel loved without upsetting Pete and making him feel usurped.


Minus Pride said...

Congratulations on your new horse!!! He's very handsome!!!
I can't wait to hear more stories about him.

Laura Crum said...

Congratulations Terri! What a lovely horse. A bay gelding--my absolute favorite combo.

As for the jealousy thing, the only thing I would know to do is keep giving Pete a lot of attention and maybe take him on short easy rides when you can. And I agree about not giving your new horse a lot of attention while Pete can see. I have gone through this before--when I bought Sunny and basically retired Plumber--and after time the shift just became the norm. Plumber liked getting caught to be turned out rather than ridden, so that worked for him.

HorsesAndTurbos said...

Yes, give Pete extra attention...when I got Friday, Starlette was also upset she was not the only riding horse. I made sure there were days I just rode her. Even now, when I play with Friday before I turn them out (he is a clown and makes me laugh), she will stop and stand in front of me to get her attention too!


Terri Rocovich said...

Minus Pride - Thanks I think he is handsome too and believe me you will hear more. I can't stop singing his praises and it is so much fun building a bond with him.

Laura - I am so glad that you understand the jealousy thing. I know that some people think that I am crazy, but I noticed a change in Pete from the moment I unloaded Uiver from the trailer.

I hope in time that Pete and Uiver will be friends and that Pete will see Uiver as the horse that will take the pressure off him. I think that Pete is torn between liking his partial retirement and still wanting to be the star.

HorsesandTurbos - great idea to have days that are just about Pete. I will plan those for Uiver's days off whenver I can.

Laura Crum said...

Terri--Whatever happened to Hank? Do you still have him? How is he doing?

Terri Rocovich said...

Yes Laura I do still have Hank and always will although a career as a dressage horse (or an event horse)does not seem to be in the cards for him. As I blogged previously, Hank's sidebone had progressed to the point that the vets only reccomendation was to have him nerved. I just could not morally bring myself to do it and I thought I had beaten the odds because he was sound and progressing slowly back to work until about 3 weeks ago. Something spooked him and he bucked me off and somehow in the maylay he came up 3 legged lame. I am heartbroken because I think he has refractured the wing of the sidebone which is exactly what I feared in nerving him in the first place. Xrays are set for next week and if he has, I will find a cushy pasture for him to live out his days. I will let you know what happens but if he has to be retired I think he will be happier out in pasture rather than watching everybody else get ridden at my place. One way or the other I will take care of him and just want whatever is best for his happiness.

Laura Crum said...

Terri-- I was pretty sure you would always take care of Hank--I just kept wondering what happened to him. That is sad--but not so sad as it could be if he didn't have you. I have a couple of these--two horses that for different and unpredictable reasons crippled up at seven and nine respectively, just as they were really coming into their own. They became pasture sound, eventually, and I still have them--Danny and Rebby. One is fifteen now, the other in his twenties. They are still living the good life. I am glad I could give that to them, but it does make me think about the "what could have beens" almost every time I look at them. So sorry to hear that Hank had this setback.

Francesca Prescott said...

Terri: no wonder you think it's Christmas, he looks amazing! I'm thrilled for you, and how nice to have a horse with a good level of training (I don't know what 4th level is as it's totally different over here - what does he know?). I know what you mean about having to work on your core for those big trots; Kwint's was a real test of mine! Qrac's is far less big and bouncy, but I think my core is even stronger from having to half halt every ten seconds!

Major congratulations on your new horse. WHat was the other one you tried like? I'm just curious!

Alison said...

Congratulations Terri! It will be exciting to read about your progess with Uiver. I echo Laura--a bay gelding is my favorite, too!

Jami Davenport said...

Wow, Terri, beautiful horse. Enjoy him!!!