Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How I got Cruiser

Every horse has his story. If you see a horse in the park, you may want to ask the owner what the story is. I usually do. Sometimes I find a horse that had been rescued from abuse or starvation or was a loser on the track but a winner in his new owner’s heart. Maybe the owner has had the horse from the time of his birth—twenty-five years ago, and they have been constant companions since.

Here is Cruiser's story.
When my first horse, Brandy, fell victim to a serious case of colic. The initial crisis passed, yet he just wasn’t getting any better. He wouldn’t eat or drink and was extremely depressed.  All I could do was wait and see what transpired.  He was up there in years, and his age probably made recovery much more difficult.  About a week later, he took a turn for the worse and started having trouble breathing.  That night, the owner of the boarding stables I kept him at told me about a colt she heard of through the grapevine that was for sale at an extremely reasonable price.  He was half Arabian and half Morgan, a combination that I always heard was very good.  I told her I would keep it in mind, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking of anything except Brandy.

The next day, Brandy was doing so poorly, I knew he couldn’t recover.  I called the vet to see if he agreed that we should put him out of his misery.  He told me that Brandy would only get worse and would only live a couple more days.  I couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering so much; it was worse than the thought of losing my dear companion, so I told the vet to go ahead.  As I fled the barn in tears, I asked for the phone number for the colt.

I called on the colt that evening and arranged to see him on the weekend.  He was only 2 years old, and the current owners said they didn’t have the knowledge to train him to be a riding horse.  I was anxious to see him.  Could this horse possibly fill the empty space in my heart?

That morning, they brought him out of his stall, and I looked him over.  My inexperienced eyes could not see anything wrong in his build, and I liked his enthusiastic attitude and friendly personality.  The owners told me they called him Satan because he was so wild before he was gelded the year before, but they insisted he was fine now.  They just didn’t come up with a new name for him.  He had tagged along when they bought his mother two years previous and now that he was grown; they didn’t know what to do with him.

I wrote a check for $300.00 and arranged to have him brought to me.  I realized that in the state I was in, I could be making a very foolish mistake.  I did rationalize that if things didn’t go well, I would always be able to get his purchase price back.  I had never trained a horse from scratch and I was possibly biting off more than I could chew.  In fact, I had only owned my first horse for 2 ½ years and was very much a novice.  This was going to be a challenge.

The first thing I did when I got my new horse was change his name to Cruiser.  I sure wouldn’t be owning any horse named Satan.  I quickly realized that he was barely halter broken.  I really was starting from scratch.  Though he was easily excited and startled, he did have a good friendly attitude as I originally suspected.  I felt I could do it.

With the help of some good books for guidance, a lot of patience and a good dose of determination, I was riding him by the following summer.  Before I knew it, we were spending much of our time out on trail.  In time, he turned into a fantastic trail horse and a real joy to ride.  He has an unending amount of patience with children that I always marvel at.

Sometime afterwards, I found out the real reason that his previous owners sold him.  They continued to call him Satan after he was gelded because he persisted in acting like a wild, devilish horse.  They had to sell him because he was too wild to do anything with.  I burst out laughing when I heard this.  I began training him with a preconceived notion that he was a typical, tame horse, and he responded as such.  If I had known the truth, I may have been intimidated and treated him differently.  Chances are, he would have then lived up to his reputation.  By remaining unprejudiced, I was able, with little experience, to train Cruiser to exceed all my expectations.  I learned that most horses can succeed if treated correctly and given a fair chance.

Cruiser is now 23 years old.


achieve1dream said...

Awww what a beautiful story! Cruiser was so lucky to have found you. Why would anyone seriously call their horse Satan? That's awful. I'm glad things worked out so fantastically for you two. :)

lytha said...

great story and very encouraging to me because if i ever buy a horse in germany it will have to be a baby because only babies are affordable (if a few thousand euros is affordable!)

Caitlin said...

This story definitely made me smile and I must admit, if I ever get another horse I want a morab. Met several out here and their wonderful. Yours are definitely handsome enough!

The barn I got Rose from named her half brother's Brat and Ivan (the terrible) so I feel you on Satan names.

equineobsessed said...

Haha, glad you have a Cruiser instead of a Satan. Never name your horse Buck either...