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Connor's new frontier: The Great Indoors

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:47 pm
by cat_67
I managed to borrow an itty-bitty English girth today, allowing me to ride Connor. We longed a bit, just enough to get the hump out of his back at the canter, and then I got on.

While it's obvious Connor is generally very quiet and few things spook him, it's equally obvious that indoor arenas are a brand new experience for him. He eyes the shadow horse following him along the wall warily. He does the green horse wiggle down the wall (me: we're going down the wall. Connor: but no, there is a horse in the middle I want to say hi to! me: DOWN the wall IN a straight line *leg* *leg* *leg* Connor: you're mean. When do we go on a trail ride?) and stops if you fail to pay attention. In general though, he deserved a MEDAL tonight. We had wild OHSET kids careening around and doing things like suddenly running their horses backwards and he did not blink. He is going to be SUCH a bomb proof show pony! By the end of the ride, he had managed to accomplish trotting all the way around the warm-up arena at roughly the same speed without breaking several times in a row. We were bending well to the left and somewhat to the right although it's obvious he prefers left!

He really is a neat little pony. Everybody drools over him. He's getting more affectionate with me, too, now that he realizes I am the Food Lady. :)

Miss Sanka trucked around with a 6 year old in a beginner lesson today. Our trainer said she was WONDERFUL, much better than her usual lesson horse. If the eventing barn does not take her, I think the little girl's family today is next in line.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:30 pm
by seahorse
Thank you so much Cat for your continued updates! I must confess to being a "worried mom" for both of them even though I know in my heart it is the right thing for them to move on. Sanka's useful life will be greatly extended by packing kids instead of my fat arse up and down hills(she is in her 20's you know) and she genuinely likes kids so this is the right thing. And little Conman will have a much more secure future with more training under his belt before he leaves my protection so I know that what you are doing for them is the absolute best. Thank you so much again for helping to place them! Also little Four Hoofed Clover continues to thrive and will meet her geriatric herd(Sarge and Dally) tomorrow so she will have buddies! She was trotting the fenceline watching the other horses today so she is ready!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 8:45 am
by ptownevt
I feel like such the fool. I've been practically in tears over Conner since Juliane left him at Cat's; and then there's Miss Sanka. I so hate to see any horses have to move on from people they love to new situations. I know it is the best, but I will so miss Conner when the right person sees him and snatches him up. If these horses go to show/lesson barns, what will/would happen if they weren't able to perform at that level? Would they go back to Chelsea? I would hate to see them just shipped to auction again, but I know that commercial barns can't afford to keep horses that don't earn their keep.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:44 am
by cat_67
Right now, the interested party on Connor is a friend of Squirrelsrule's who also keeps her other horse (a warmblood) and trains at the same barn. (SR keeps her horse here and takes lessons at a really nice h/j barn). So SR would be around to keep tabs on him and ensure that all goes well with him in his new life.

We have an eventing barn interested in Sanka and their oldest school horse is 33 and still sound and working. They just lost a 30 year old, hence the opening in the beginner lesson area. The horses from their barn that they brought to the show all looked excellent. It is a very upscale facility (they also breed Lipizzans) and I believe Sanka would have a permanent home there.

You can never 100% guarantee horses' futures but you can make the wisest possible choices about placements - placing them with people who (a) can financially afford them and all of their needs (b) want to do something with them that suits their talents, so they are likely to be successful and maintain that good home. They have training and show experience now that they didn't have when they were at the lot and those things make them more valuable and more likely to be safe forever. You do the best you can, but at some point you do have to move them along and have the space to save the next one.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:00 am
by Juliane
You are so right, Cat. It is really, really difficult to move on with each horse we help, but how can we continue to help more horses if we don't let the ones we've rehabilitated move on? I still tear up when I look at Connor's pictures - he was really special to me. I love that little bugger and I am so happy that he is doing well at NWEQ. But, like Chelsea, I worry about him. Unfortunately, I can't continue to protect them all :(

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:59 am
by ptownevt
Can't there be some sort of buy back clause or something? Are they really just gone with no way to help them if they need it. I've been involved with horses all of my life and I've personally seen horses dumped if they get hurt or something and are no longer able to earn their keep. I'm not trying to start anything. I guess I was just surprised by your answer. I really did think they went out on some sort of adoption contract that included some way for them to be returned if the new owner wasn't able or willing to keep them any longer. In fact, in my experience, it is the show/lesson barns that are the very worst for dumping horses that are not sound or just right for some reason. Look at all the retired show horses clogging up the rescue network. Now I'm worried. Conner might make a wonderful show pony, but what if something goes wrong and he is not able to be a show pony any longer? Will this new owner keep him for the rest of his "natural" life?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:23 pm
by Juliane
The tough part about my situation is that each horse I work with has a different scenario. For example - Sydney is 'mine'. She was a GA through CBER. I have cared for her, trained her and am 100% responsible for her adoption. I do not have a buy-back clause or anything like that in a contract. However, her prospective adopter understands that Sydney will always have an unconditional home with me. I try to keep in touch with people I adopt my horses out to, to make sure things are working out. If they aren't working out, I try to help them (for example, Rex having issues with Caleb). If the horse isn't working out, I will take them back (for example, Rex having issues with Sydney).

In other cases, the horse isn't mine and it's not my place or right to institute adoption procedures, rules and contracts. Cassidy was a CBER horse - his adoption was completely handled by them. So, while I may worry about him and his future, there really isn't alot I can do.

I have complete trust and faith in both Chelsea and Cathy that they are doing what they can to make sure Connor's future is stable. I would hope that since Cathy is well known in the horse world there, she will be able to keep tabs on Connor once he is placed. I do know for a fact, that if anything did not work out with Connor, both Chelsea and I would step up and take him back. I think that goes without saying for any horse that we have rescued or rehabilitated.

I hope my answer above didn't sound callous. I certainly didn't mean to imply that I didn't care about a horse once it moved on. But only that I've found myself going crazy by trying to control a horse's situation once it moves on from my care. All I can do is make sure that I am a resource for the new owner and do what I can to verify a good match.

Is there anything that I could be doing differently?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:35 pm
by seahorse
Hey Pam I completely understand your concerns. The eventing barn that is interested in Sanka and I have already discussed that I would take her back if she was no longer able to give lessons- they assured me she could live out her days there. I have an excellent "feel" for these women- they are older, offered to show me their facility, offered to take her one a trial, and were open to me continuing to visit. As far as Connor goes there was a family that was going to come to the schooling show and give me money for him right there and I called them and told them no. After seeing him at Cat's I realized that he did not have enough training for me to feel comfortable with him not still being in my protection. Cat and Jelly graciously agreed to ride and have him ridden by students to get him going solidly before being sold. I have considered branding him and doing all I can to keep tabs on him but the sad reality is unless he falls into a home where they have lots of kids he will get rehomed throughout his life. I would of course take him back in a heartbeat if something did not work out and will try to structure that into his purchase but with any luck his little legs(and he has solid bone and legs) will stay sound for a long time and he will live a good life packing kids over fences. I wish I could keep them all but in actuality I have 3 here that are "lifers" with lamesness issues or are just old. And Juliane and I recently took in another one that will probably be a one-eyed pasture pet with ringbone. :roll: My goal is to continue to help the older sound horses and hopefully continue to work with Cat and Jelly to place them into good safe homes. This barn is a friendly atmosphere. It is not a hard core H/J barn. There are lots of families, kids and the horses all look good. I wish I could keep them all but as much as I would like I do not have the resources to do so. I have had just this month 15 horses I could have helped if I had the room, time, and resources. I have to let some of them go - even if it breaks my heart. Connor and Sanka were not easy and if Dally had been happy in that barn it would have killed me to leave him. I have to trust Cat and the people that take Sanka and Connor to do the right thing by them. It will not be a case of the first person with money. It will be a good home and I will do my best to keep tabs on him. Sometimes we have to let them go and as long as we have done our best to set them up for success hope that a bit of karma goes with them.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:01 pm
by ptownevt
I know it's hard, especially with ponies. My daughter has a pony now that I look at and wonder what I am going to do with him for the next 30 years. He's about 12 and this will be the last summer she will be able to ride him. In our case, I will probably try to find a 4-H lease situation so I don't have to let him go and wonder if he's okay. He's a real stinker so his future wouldn't be guaranteed. :roll: I know you'll be careful. I don't know why but it seems that everyone falls in love with this guy; we don't even have to see him in person. That is probably what will keep him safe. Heck, he even got to old Chuck.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:21 pm
by seahorse
Yep I have t confess I leaped into Connor with my heart more than my head! Imagine that :roll: I never thought about the fact I have no children and what the hell am I going to do with a pony?!?
If he was a hand taller he would never leave and would be my perfect trail pony! Sanka was an ATV but I am not a small woman and she is getting older and her useful life will be greatly extended by giving kids rides as opposed to hauling fat women up hills and across creeks! As it is I am happy Connor stayed with Juliane the whole time and is now at Cat's because it was hard enough to leave him and I had only actually been around him 5 or 6 times! Don't ever stop being a voice of concern for is what we are all here for and I am very happy that you care enough to make sure we are doing the right things by these guys. Kidholly is a good one for that too and I think more highly (if that is possible) of both of you for it.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:48 pm
by cat_67
The best way of keeping them safe is keeping in touch, IMHO . I keep in touch via e-mail with some of my old horses' owners as well as with people who adopt cats from me. They need to know that (a) I will always take them back (I am taking back a cat from Los Angeles even though I'm in Portland now - his adopter is going into assisted living) and (b) it will be easy to reach me to make that happen.

If they know that all they have to do is shoot me an e-mail if they can't keep the animal, that makes it simple and easy for them to do the right thing. It's worked for me on numerous occasions. It's also good to keep jogging their memory about the fact that YES you will take the animal back, promptly and without recrimination. A lot of rescuers respond to returns by arguing or trying to convince the person to keep the animal, which I think can be a problem because it gives people a motive to just dump the animal rather than go back to the rescuer. I would rather cheerfully take the animal back with a smile than have to worry, so I do!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:09 pm
by LorsaDoon
Cat, where is the barn that Sanka might go to? Is it on Hattan Rd? There is a gal up there who raises Lipizzans. If it is, I have bought hay from one of the gals. She is very nice.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:17 pm
by cat_67
It is on Williams Road in Beavercreek.