Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - Rhythm's Story Continues - Part 2

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

Rhythm's Story starts here

The very next day, I called my vet to set up an appointment. I would take the Arabian horse down to his office so we could get things going as soon as possible. If we had to wait for an available farm call, it would take longer.

We would have to do blood work for a Coggins test and get back those results. Then we could apply to the state for a Health Certificate. It would take about a week for those papers to come back from the state vet but the horse could not cross state lines without them.

The next thing I knew I had the hauler calling me on the phone wanting to come and pick up the horse. He was kind of pushy and not really listening to the fact that I didn't have the health papers all in order yet. I did get his attention when I told him I didn't have money yet and the horse wasn't leaving my place without it.

The party in Massachusetts was having problems getting the money in order. It's not that they didn't have it, it was all of the usual red tape that happens when you're trying to get "your" money. It seemed like every little thing that could happen did.

In the meantime, I had my hands full here. The date was drawing closer and closer for my annual open house. I had been working on conditioning the horses ever since the ground had dried up enough that I could use my round pen. I was also working on their coats and manes and tails with lots of currying for the coats and conditioning and braiding on their manes and tails. The manes on the younger horses are still trying to decide which way to lay. Braiding them helps get them trained in one direction and helps them lay down better. (For show horses, manes should always lay to the right side of the horse. That is so the judge gets a clean look when entering the ring. Many times that first impression is very important.)

In addition I was trying to get the farm in order. This is just a little very ordinary farm with some pretty high end horses. Making it look like a million bucks takes a lot of time and energy. And to top it off, the work force for that job is me.

So I was busy planting pots of flowers to go outside the barns and presentation area, sprucing up the gardens and overall tidying up the place. As if that isn't enough, then there is the picking rocks detail. I swear they could put a rock quarry on this place. I'm sure they must reproduce because they just seem to keep multiplying. It's an ongoing task but really makes a difference in how this place looks.

Not to mention the whole time this was going on, I was blogging here. Telling you all about the twins, the new foals, Rachel and Grandma and my preparations for the open house. I didn't breath a word about the people coming to look or even the pending sale. I really didn't want to jinx it!

The buyers were doing a great job of keeping me informed of all the little screw ups that kept things from going on schedule. Even with the problems I felt like we were actually going to get this thing done. Rhythm could be gone before my open house.

Through our updates on the phone, I actually got to know both father and daughter better. The more I learned the more I felt comfortable that this would be the right home for Rhythm. These people really loved their horses and don't see them as just merchandise.

Finally, the money was in the mail. Well, actually it was on it's way here with an overnight service, DHL Worldwide Express, not Uncle Sam. Only problem was it didn't show up overnight. It only needed to cross the country. BUT it got lost. It ended up in Vancouver, if I recall.

DHL did finally locate my farm in Graham the following week. Everything else seemed to be in order as well. The health papers were also ready and the van was heading back into town. I began getting Rhythm prepped for shipping.

I had already begun putting standing wraps on the horse. I'd leave them on for a few hours and then take them off. Put them back on overnight, etc. I wanted the horse to get used to them before he was shipped. With him travelling over 3000 miles, it would be good for him to have the added support.

I also began giving the horse a bran mash each day. I mixed up dry servings in zip lock bags to send with him on the trip. All the drivers had to do was add water and they were ready to serve. One for each day of the journey would help keep everything in his gut working right. That should lessen the risk of colic. For a horse who'd never travelled more than about twenty miles in the horse trailer before now this seemed like a wise thing to do.

The day before the horse was scheduled to leave I also bathed and show clipped him. Even though it was going to be a long hot trip (it was 90° to over 100° most of the way), I was hoping he'd be in an air conditioned van and arrive looking like the star "dad" had paid for. This, after all, would be his first impression of this horse he'd paid an arm and a leg to get.

Early the following morning, I got a call from the driver. He was already on Meridian and heading my way. We had expected the van to arrive closer to noon. The horse hadn't even eaten all of his breakfast yet but we began scurrying around getting his leg wraps on and his stuff in order.

Nothing could have prepared me for putting Rhythm on that air-ride van. It was a big and beautiful brand new air conditioned rig, so big they parked it in the street. They opened up the ramp to load the horse right onto my driveway. None of that really mattered. All that I could think was this might be the last time ever I would see this horse.

But I gave the drivers his paperwork and bran mash packs with approriate insturctions and then went to get Rhythm. My feet just as heavy as my heart as I retrieved the horse from the barn. This is definitely the hard part about being a breeder. It tough to torn between not breeding anymore because we have no room, and selling them so we can breed more. As much as we love babies, at times like this, that doesn't seem important.

I've sold horses before but so far they're all here close to home. I see them at horse shows or I can drive by a pasture and get a glimpse. Just like my kids who have grown and left home but aren't really gone, the horses are close enough to still feel like part of the family. Or at least that's how it was on the day they left here. Rhythm was going so far away he might as well be on the moon.

It was with a heavy heart that I walked Rhythm up that ramp. As much as I needed the money to feed the rest of my herd, I struggled with the sacrifice I was making. I had dreams about showing this horse at Nationals swimming around in my head.

The only thing that kept me moving was knowing that Rhythm was going to a great home. I headed the horse towards the ramp where the driver to the lead. At first the horse looked at him and that ramp like you have to be kidding. There's no way, Jose, I am putting one foot up on that thing!"

It only took another attempt and the horse walked right up the ramp. Once he started moving, the horse walked right along like he'd done it a hundred times before.

Once in the van, they turned to the right and headed to the back of the van. The driver put Rhythm into a big box stall at the very back . Since he was going the farthest, they decided that was best for him. I was glad to see the horse would be travelling most of the way in equine luxury.

I took a couple of pictures of the horse inside his fancy box stall just for the readers here on this blog. Then we watched as they closed the doors up and headed on down the road. I raced into the street taking pictures of the rig as it pulled away while Dave was back at the driveway sobbing. I had never imagined it would hit him so hard.

I shed a few tears across the course of getting the horse loaded and then a few more as they pulled away. But seeing Dave as distraught as he was, I didn't dare cry. I didn't want him to feel any worse than he already did. No way I wanted him to know my heart was breaking too.

A master a stuffing my feelings, I pulled out the phone and called Rich Baker to let him know that his daughter, Brittany's horse, Scandalous Rhythm was on his way home.

To be continued..................

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  1. Wow......That is hard....I needed to sell my first horse as as much as I loved him, we weren't a good match and I left to my best friend to find a good home for him. I trusted her to do that. It was difficult and a relief as well. My two girls will never leave this place. I also had to sell our little pony and that brought tears, but he went to a very nice family. A GP and GM for their grandchildren to enjoy. It's always hard.

  2. Awwww...I'm in tears! Being an ex purebred cat breeder I can understand some of how that felt just with a different animal. Thankfully most of the kittens went to homes fairly close (within an hour or so) but a few went to places across the country. To this day driving by the airport sometimes gives me a sick feeling. So are you going to blog more about him and how he's doing? Anyway...((HUGS!!))

  3. Wow, Dave cried too? I knew from reading this story Dave liked Rhythm a lot, but now I know Dave loved Rhythm :) it's a good feeling to know, that the person your married to, loves your horses as much as you do.

  4. Callie, that would be hard to but understandable if you weren't a good fit.

    equinespirit, me too, this was a hard post. I would have problems sending kittens across the country as well. I love me critters. The problem with a horse those is you have them a lot longer than a kitten. So there's so much more time to get entrenched in your feelings towards them.

    I am going to be blogging more about Rhythm. We are in regular contact and there is alot going on with the future of this horse.

    kim, yes, Dave sobbed uncontrollably. He was absolutely devestated and moped around here for weeks. The only thing that could make him smile was Storm. I haven't told his story yet, but it's coming. Dave does get attached to certain horses more than others. Rhythm and Storm are two of Dave's favorites.

  5. MiKael I know how hard this must have been for you to write about and post. I am so glad that you are in contact and privvy to what is happening in his life.

    I was also in tears, and that is how I am whenever one of our horses leave here.

    How long does a journey like this take?? It is hard to imagine 3000 miles!



  6. My heart sped up as you were walking up the ramp...thought you might change your mind for a minute. You write suspense so well! I haven't had a to sell a horse yet...I cried enough buying one, I can only imagine the tears selling one:-)

  7. I was so relieved to read he would be taking the trip in air-conditioned luxury....had me worred for a second or two :)
    Love your blog.

  8. Haven't been able to post until this story was all wrapped up just because I was so anxious to see what happened. Selling horses is so so hard especially when they are stars like Rhythym. Does he travel unrestrained in the box stall? I bet my horses would love that.

  9. Lori, I can't remember if his trip was 4 or 5 days. I do know that he had a layover in Kentucky before he went up to Mass and I think it ended up a day longer than expected. That would have been five days.

    Maybe Rich or Brittany reading this will anwer that question for sure. I know it's three full days of driving that's why they have two drivers.

    photogchic, You don't know how bad I wanted to change my mind. But I keep my word as much as it broke my heart. Selling horses has been enough to make me think maybe I wasn't meant to be a breeder afterall.

    darlene, me too. At least the horse went in style.

    I'm glad you like the blog. It's fun to write. LOL well, most of the time.

    beckyz, yes he did travel unrestrained in the box stall. He was a king back there. I went all the way back there and checked it all out. He was perfectly comfortable with the whole situation.

    I don't know how he did when they added horses along the way. He is such a studdy thing. But the drivers had that information and were placing horses in the load like he was still a stallion.

  10. Ahhhh..... I hope he went on to have an awesome show career.

  11. I hope these people send pictures for us. I think we all love this little stinker now.

  12. I'm having trouble seeing the keys as my eyes are welled up with tears. I don't want to be bawling when my computer guy gets here in a few minutes! lol! I have regretted selling the two horses that I sold. It was the right thing to do but I still regret it because I am such a baby and get so attached to them. I couldn't do it as a business as I would want to keep the ALL! ha! Right now I have one that should be sold to a show home as he just isn't doing anything here, he's too small for me and too big for my grandkids but I just can't seem to part with him. I know, I'm a wimp.

  13. I could never be a breeder (although I've considered it). It would just be too heartbreaking to sell them after you have worked with them for so long and bonded, I am glad to hear he got a good home with a loving family,I hope that makes you feel a little better even though you will miss him. What a beautiful horse he is, I am sure his new owners will love and care for him as you did.

  14. It's obvious by how you write, you love your horses. It must have been horribly hard to let him go, but it sounds as if you made a good choice in where you sent him. I will definitely be back to see if there's more to the story!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  15. I hate seeing horses go. I won't go with my husband when he takes them back to their owners. I say my goodbyes the day before :0(
    I did go once to deliver my parents gelding who had been in the family for 10 years...I wanted to make sure he made it safely. That was so hard to take off his halter and let her put on his new one. I cried like a baby lol.
    Also on the banana bread recipe...1 tsp of vanilla does wonders...I forgot to add that :0)

  16. And this....letting the babies go, even to people you KNOW will love them, is why I no longer breed dogs.

    It just tears me up.

    I'm so glad he got to a home that would love, cherish and spoil him the way every horse and cat and dog and kid deserves.

    and I'm so glad they kept in touch with you.....that is incredibly important.

  17. This is why I think I could never breed and sell horses.
    I bred and sold a few rabbits when I was a teenager and I got attached to them and thought that was hard!! I couldn't imagine parting with a horse I raised and trained myself. I give everyone that can do this sort of thing lots of credit -- because I know it's hard.....and I also know I don't think I could do it.

    On the bright side -- that van was awesome!! If the new owners could afford such nice accomodations for their new horse to travel in, you know he's got to be going to a good home!!

    (aka. Campin' horseluvr)