Friday, January 10, 2014

Second Chance Ranch

The Ranch gets a lot of horses given to it as a sort of " retirement" or second chance at a new life. I can't tell you how many ex-show horses have come here and tried to become trail horses.  Some were older and had minor lameness issues that prevented them from being competitive anymore.  Two whose owners really wanted them to work out were both warmbloods that had been jumping horses, but neither of them could handle the lifestyle change of living in a pasture with a large herd of horses. They were just too use to living solitary and being stalled.  One gelding settled into trail horse mode nicely, but couldn't handle the seperation anxiety of the herd or stand very calmly tied for saddling which the guests do themselves. After a trial period, they went back to their previous owners to find new homes. We try, but sometimes it's just not a good fit.

Two horses that worked out and are worth their weight in gold were an Andalusian gelding and an older OTTB. The Andalusian quickly became Ranch Boy's mom's favorite riding horse (she doesn't ride often) and top dog within the herd. As a former dressage mount and just a big powerful horse up front he has a lot of forward motion and super fun to canter!

The OTTB arrived last spring. In his younger years he had won something like $200,000 racing on the track then went on to do eventing. He has a fancy show name but quickly earned the nickname "Bean"- short for "string bean" because he's so tall and lanky. Here are some photos from his early show days.

Here he is now as a ranch horse with Ranch Boy's 8 yr. old daughter in the stirrups getting ready for a group trail ride.  She canters him all around the arena, too!

And guess who is riding him below? Yep, Ranch Boy Jr.! It was his first time ever sitting on a horse. I always thought it'd be My Boy that he'd ride first, but it happened that a chance for him to sit on Bean with his sissy arose, so he did. He is yet to actually sit on a horse in motion, so he really hasn't ridden.

Bean's former owner has come back to visit and give him carrots.  I'm sure it pleases her to know that he gets to live a laid back retirement lifestyle that puts smiles on kid's faces.  It's hard to imagine that this once energetic, competitive race and show horse is now a kid babysitter!



JJ said...

What a lovely horse, Bean is, inside and out!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

JJ - he really is a sweet boy, sometimes I just think they know when a kiddo is on board and are such good caretakers!

50+ Horses said...

What a Gem of a horse - I love how quiet his eyes are and that a keeper picture of the kid's on him.

Are you missing all that snow that we usually get? :)

Crystal said...

Aww what a good pony he sure seems to love life there!

Karley said...

OTTB's are some of the BEST horses! I have owned 3 and they have all been amazing! I wouldn't trade any of them for anything!

C-ingspots said...

So good to hear from you! Your little boy has grown a lot!! Yes, those older horses are so good. They're kind and so patient with little ones, and I'd agree - worth their weight in gold. What a nice thing you do to take in the ones that you can.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Yes what is going on?? It's print rain right now! I feel like I live back on the west side! :( I hate feeding horses in ands having them live in this muck. the ground water is so saturated it has nowhere to go!

fernvalley01 said...

Funny how a hot blooded TB has become such a sweet soldier. Proof it can be dome, sounds like a great facility

April said...

Awesome story!

So glad to see you posting more frequently (I've followed you forever) and congrats on the handsome baby boy. I have a little girl that turned a year old in December, so it's fun to see another horsey person with a baby close to mine's age.

I don't do the Facebook thing, but I love reading people's blogs and used to have one myself.

I'm also an Appy person and recently got the boy of my dreams, a black leopard! I love him. =)

Looking forward to your future posts!!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Hi April Thanks for the nice comment! Did you read when I wad "pony girl"? I've really enjoyed posting again too!! Children change- everything I love being a mommy!! Email mea pgoto of your new spotted pal! :)