UPDATE DECEMBER 2001/JANUARY 2002
Who wrote that stupid song, about 'that it never rains in California'? It is the last day of 2001. The skies are grey and it has been raining on and off all day. Mud is everywhere. A new shower starts - the few people in the stables are running for cover. I'm in the arena, a tall woman on top of a small grey horse. We are both dripping with rain and mud. I ask him to trot, and he does. Only a few steps, still not in balance, but it is a trot. We come to a stop, I pet the horse like crazy, and there we stand: Davy looking very smug, and me beaming like a lighthouse.
HOW NOT TO BUY A HORSE
A bit over a month ago I surprised myself, my husband, and maybe also Gail, by calling her and asking about 'the little grey Arab on the feedlot'. After that things went very fast. The ransom was paid, a stable found and the transport arranged (thanks again, Jerry!).
Now I sheepishly have to admit that this was exactly the kind of transaction I always warn my students against - namely, buying a horse without even trying him&hellip or, in our case, even seeing him (except for on the TIER website)! But I find Gail's descriptions of horses very accurate, so I trusted her on this one and just kept my fingers crossed.
It was also raining the day Jerry's enormous trailer (by European standards at least) swung into Davy's new home. Inside stood the little grey horse, looking even smaller than I expected. Jerry told me he had loaded and traveled without any problems. The main problem was to get him out of there he stood shivering in the shavings in the front of the trailer and was very wary of the shiny black rubber mats in the back. After we kicked some of the shavings over the rubber he decided that it was safe footing, after all, and was persuaded to follow us to his new stall.
AND HIS NAME WILL BE&hellip.
Jerry drove off, and there we were: one excited human, one fairly overwhelmed horse. The first week he had to be in quarantine (luckily together with another new horse). This gave us the time to get to know each other. The first thing was to find a name. In my mind his name was to be David, but everybody we told this to gave us a very strange look. Calling an Arab horse David is maybe a bit optimistic, or is it just a strange name for a horse in the USA? Anyway. After a few days of this my husband, Hermod, and I spent a morning discussing alternatives and came up with Da Vinci. The reason behind this is a story in itself, but let's just hope he will be as much of a genius as the original. For daily use: Davy.
FIRST STEPS FIRST
The problem with getting a horse you don't know anything about is that - well, you don't know anything about him! In Davy's case this meant gently trying to find out what he was familiar with. The answer was, as Gail (accurate again) had already mentioned: not much. At the time of his arrival he seemed to know almost nothing and was afraid of almost everything. It took him a few days to at least stop jumping a foot in the air everytime something moved. The good thing, however: even if he gets startled he will jump but not run. And even if he jumps he jumps in place, not on top of you. (Very, very helpful in keeping medical bills down.)
Haltering was no problem. Catching him&hellip let's just say it is very easy to catch a horse that does not go away from you. Gail said he was 'very personable' and he certainly is. Being turned out seemed to be something new and scary, so Davy preferred to stick to us. Even in the (really big) big arena it took some days before he seemed to understand that he could run around. As far as you could call it running - head in the air, tail curled over on his back, he just raced to the other side of the arena in some mad bunny-hop and then straight back to us. Look ma, no strides!
It was mentioned in his description on the website that he might have been used in Mexican rodeo's. After Gail explained what that could mean I was worried that he would be extremely scared of humans or maybe even aggressive. But whatever happened to him in the past, it has not made him dislike people. In the weeks he has been here now we have never seem him lift a foot as a threat or even flatten his ears. (If they tried him as a tripping horse I can imagine they didn't want him - it's no fun if they don't run&hellip.?)
It has been very helpful that he is such an easy horse in this respect. Especially so in the first week, when we had to give him a crash course in EVERYTHING: being tied, being led, being lunged, being groomed, giving feet and so on. He didn't know apples (now of course he chomps them like an old pro) but luckily he did know what carrots are. The fridge and our pockets promptly got filled and we have been using them as bribery/award ever since. At least something to make up for having your feet trimmed, your teeth floated, and vaccinations and worm paste administered.
Besides giving him his shots and floating his teeth, the vet confirmed his estimated age (around seven) and gave him a clean bill of health. The only remark was a slight irregularity in the left hindleg when he trots. Maybe a result from a fall or 'trip'? It is still noticeable when he is trotting, and he also does not really want to lift his right hind leg (and take the weight on the left). The vet will come back next week to check it again and maybe do some chiropractic work on it.
David is doing well at his new home with Michelle. He is settling in and putting on weight.