Sunday, October 10, 2010

A dark time for the rebellion

I am enjoying looking back through my pictures! Here's one that's pretty representative of the trails:
My faithful steed

A lot of riders hated the four wheelers, but if they didn't ride back there, we'd lose the trails within a year. Things grow so fast in Memphis! The four wheelers made trails and ruined trails and moved on to make new trails, and we just rode where ever we could.

It was beautiful in the spring and summer.

So for some reason I thought it'd be a good idea to buy my friend's 4 yo Percheron gelding when she put him up for sale. He was unbroke, but very sweet natured. Poppy was a great name for him - I thought he acted like he'd been hitting the opium. I thought that maybe my husband would like to ride a total stoner of a horse, and if G never wanted to ride, I could get Poppy broke and resell him later.
Me on Poppy

He was an easy fellow to start, even with as little experience as I had. Our first trail rides blew his mind, maaaan. He didn't realize that the world was bigger than the stable, that it just went on and on, with hills and trees and ponds and rivers. And he didn't know how to follow a trail - he'd get all big-eyed and just start walking straight ahead, plunging through weeds and small trees and ditches.

My best friend James was starting a really rank, hateful, insane stud at the same time. We went out together on our green horses pretty often, with good success, til that son of a bitch kicked me and Poppy. Chip was the kind of really dangerous horse who had gone crazy from confinement and hormones, and he calculated ways to hurt humans. His idiot owners loved him and thought he was a sweetheart, even though he regularly hurt everybody who handled him.

Well, not James. James was way too smart and fast to get hurt by Chip, and Chip actually rode pretty well for him. Anyway, we were out in a field, letting the horses graze for a minute on the way back in, when with absolutely no warning or provocation Chip just double-barreled Poppy as hard as he could. He caught Poppy in the ribs and me just behind the knee - another inch forward and he'd have seriously jacked me up. While I was wondering if I'd really just been kicked and if my leg was broken, Poppy wheeled around and tagged Chip right back, and THEN I woke up and got control of my horse. James was just as startled as me, but he probably recovered faster - we got the horses separated and headed back to the barn. I was lame for a week or so, with a huge purple bruise, but nothing seriously got hurt.

So things went along with three horses for a while. Then that summer, about a year after I got Champ, my husband got cut in the third round of layoffs from his job. This was back in the halcyon days of 2007, when we all thought the housing market was a little overpriced but everything else seemed to be ok. Ahhh, innocence. G looked for three months, but everybody in his area had a hiring freeze on, and he had to take a job as a consultant in Ohio. We decided I should stay in Memphis and finish school, so he packed up his car and drove away to Ohio and I packed up our stuff and moved to a cheaper place.

A much cheaper place. It was, in fact, the kind of place where there was no heat. The owner had just picked it up as a foreclosure and rented it promptly to me without really ascertaining that MLGW would hook up the gas again. Turns out the entire gas line had been taken out to the street. It doesn't get really cold in Memphis in the winter, but it gets cold enough. I spent a month fighting with the landlord about getting the damn gas turned on, sleeping on the couch fully clothed, with all the animals draped over me, taking finals, and working 40 hour weeks.

I accidentally got a puppy then, too.

And I bought a revenge-horse. See, G called me talking about getting a TV, and I was all "you don't need a TV you have a computer." Then he called again, a couple of times, while I was riding in a Christmas parade and didn't even have my phone on me. I didn't answer, so he called his best friend and said "If you were Funder and I asked if I should get this sweet TV on sale, what would you say?" His BFF, of course, said "Well if I were Funder I would love you and want you to be happy, so you should get the TV." And lo, G got a really sweet big HD TV at Best Buy for like 50% off, 24 months no interest.

I was pretty annoyed, because I was living in a house with no heat and he just bought a TV. And this big classy slightly crazy mare was for sale, ALSO for no money down no interest, and... well... I bought Dixie. I am a paragon of adult problem-solving skills, yall. Sigh.

Look how dark she was! And her mane actually is longer now than when I bought her. Here's a really horrible cell phone pic:

Her feet were pretty jacked up.
Dixie front left

Her brain was completely fried. All she knew how to do was rack - no woah, no other gaits, no slowing down or speeding up, no matter the terrain. She didn't know how to stand to mount - it took someone holding her head for me to vault on. She came from a padded show barn, so she was broke to ride at 18 months, then had a show package put on - her feet had another 6" of hard rubber pads strapped on. She didn't work out there - too diagonal, and no doubt too stubborn - so she was sold to a friend of mine who did the rehab to get her flat-shod again. My friend, who was kind of a low-level horse trader, thought I should have a really nice mare - she thought my two bays were scrubs.

Anyway, I was really over my head with Dixie, but that hadn't stopped me from anything yet, so why should it matter with her?


  1. I totally get everything do you "accidentally" get a puppy?

  2. Wow - and I thought Dawn was a project horse! You guys have come a long way.

  3. Great history there Fund!
    I too have a 'James" friend that I rode with...two greenies out and about...probably made the mare what she is today...a leade. His would not go, so I had to lead. Of course now...she demands it!

    Is that pup your C?
    Well, I am soooo glad that you got your mare..look at you now! She is amazing and you two together, pure magic!

  4. I didn't know these backstories. I've REALLY enjoyed the last couple of posts, they had me laughing out loud. Maybe one day I'll write the story of my very first pony that my parents bought me for $250.


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