Goosiversary Year Eight
Eight years and one week ago Goose stepped foot onto the property for me to try. He was a starry dappled grey and exactly what I remembered from when he had come in briefly three years prior for some training. I never had been able to get him out of my mind from that early visit, so when a friend showed me videos of the big grey Gabe as he was known, telling me to let my friend who actually was horse shopping that he was a prospect, I arranged to take a look at him myself.
|Yup, I bought this.|
I was 20 and very good at making poor life decisions, as one does when they're 20 and faced with an adorable grey goon. When I tried him that day, he spooked at everything, the only time I cantered was when he was running sideways across the arena with me, and seemed a bit like a lumbering idiot to be frank. All I could think about was how dreamy his canter was
as he was running away with me and I was smitten.
|One of our first rides together|
I went back and forth on the decision for a couple days before deciding that I absolutely needed him and made my offer. For a dollar (okay one thousand dollars) and a dream, I was the proud new owner of a bumbling goon of a horse as of July 7, 2012.
|BUT THOSE DAPPLES|
For anyone who hasn't followed my spotty blogging over the past few years, here's a little of Goose's history. Ever heard of Last Chance Corral, the foal rescue that takes in all the nurse mare and PMU foals and tries to place them? Goose was one of those little faces you see plastered over Facebook. His previous owners got him when he was two weeks old and kept him in their backyard until I bought him when he was eight. He'd had some training but was nowhere near broke, and he had a lot of gaps in his ground manners. This is pretty par for the course when horses are hand raised, I'm never surprised to learn that a naughty or mouthy horse was raised by humans because they tend to come out a bit spoiled. What he lacked in ambition and manners he made up for in being absolutely the friendliest goofball I'd ever met.
|I have many baby pictures of him, but this is one his previous owners just sent to me a few months ago. |
My initial plan for him was to put some training on him, get him jumping around a course, and sell him in a year or two as a kids' or adults' packer. He had a good brain and I thought he'd be a good first training project. I knew he was never going to be a fancy upper-level anything but that was okay. He was cute, had a good personality, and should have been a easy resell, even if I didn't profit.
The first six months were a lot of fun, then I studied abroad in NZ for six months and when I came home I was lost. I hated being back in the states, I was miserable at the barn I was at, I was not coping well with coming back to reality. So I made a change and found myself a working student position at a dressage barn closer to campus where I hoped we'd get the training we so badly needed and it would be a fresh start. At this barn, we fattened him up, put some ring miles on him, and it turned out to be the best situation I could have asked for at that time in my life. It's also where we met our best friends Marissa and Tucker, and they haven't been able to get rid of us since (even though I moved ten hours south, sorry about that!).
At the dressage barn, I learned Goose could be fancy. I also learned that he could be a dangerous asshole when he wanted to be. After pulling up my big girl pants I learned to ride him through it, and learned when to get off and give him some time to get his brain cells back in order. I often joke that Goose is really really good, until he's not. It's a rarity I need that phrase these days, but every once in awhile he still sees red, grows three hands taller, and that's my cue to exit the tack.
I stayed at that barn through college graduation and then some, got my first real job at Weatherbeeta, and moved barns to a more affordable local place since I could no longer give the hours needed for my working student rates. Over the two years I'd owned him I'd thought about selling him a few times, but no sales plan really stuck. At this barn I contemplated it again, but I never could post that sale ad.
|For sale: Jumping grass hippo|
The next few years in NJ saw us at a new barn where we found ourselves in training with Kendra, who has made the absolute biggest difference for our training in the eight years we've been together. I still bug her all the time for tips and tricks and at some point hope to get her down here for a clinic. Kendra also hunted him for a season with the Amwell Valley Hounds, and there was talk of me selling him to one of the masters. Alas, he broke his splint bone, needed surgery, and then I couldn't find it in my heart to sell him and decided he's mine forever. We moved to NC in early 2017 and lived happily ever after, the end.
Well, not quite the end, but he is still with me and is certainly my forever Goose. What was supposed to be my short-term resale project turned into my heart horse. My last post was all about how he is exactly what I need, and though sometimes we still have "$5 on Craigslist" days, he's my best pal and I'm lucky to be his human.
Last Friday, we went to the Ark with Amanda and Zena. It's a bit of an interesting place - they have a petting zoo with a literal camel, llamas, and these weird deer/rabbit looking things Amanda and I took to calling dabbits. I don't have pictures of any of them because while there I'm doing my best to avoid these things and not die in the process. However, the Ark has a huge open field with cross country fences, so we've gone a few times to toodle around and jump a few things, and it makes for a fun day off property without having to drive too far. The one thing I don't like about this area is that there seems to be very limited opportunity to trail ride unless you're willing to drive for a few hours, so we make due with what is close. A couple videos of our maiden jumps are below, Facebook kills the quality but they're fun for me to watch anyway!
Goose and Zena are best buds and travel and ride well together. Goose and I caught a few jumps and we met up with a friend who keeps her horses there and she showed us the Alyssa-friendly (aka baby) jumps. Goose was perfect and we had a blast. I didn't do too much since the ground was hard and I haven't jumped him much lately but it was the perfect first outing for us this summer, and we were able to stay far away from everyone else (looking at you, 'Rona).
In eight years, my starry dappled grey has morphed into a flea-bitten grey with infinitely better ground manners, a slight attitude problem when it suits him, and is a whole lot of fun. He's a horse I trust to take care of a four year old and my friend's mom. He's a Very Good Boy, my forever Goose. Happy eight years buddy, here's to many more.