In September of 2019 I was on the search for my next horse. I decided to look at a Thoroughbred adoption facility again. I did ride a few I liked, but as luck would have it, one was adopted out before I left KY, and it just was bad timing for the other horses I liked. We couldn’t seem to make it work. While waiting for a decision on the horse I liked best, my trainer called me from an out-of-state horse show. He told me about a local Thoroughbred he had trained and whose owner used to be his client. The horse was at another farm and needed a soft landing and I had to make a decision on him right on the spot. No riding, no seeing, nothing, just yes or no. Since this was a horse my trainer has extensive knowledge of and he did the training on this boy, my husband and I immediately said yes. We went to the farm where he was boarded the next day with our trailer and checkbook in hand to get our new horse. He came in from the field with a twisted shoe whose quarter clip had been stuck in his hoof, but that’s another story. We loaded him up with patience since he was lame and also bought his saddle, bridle, martingales, and all his blankets. It was a package deal.
Dante is really a nice horse. He’s a teenager and hadn’t been worked in several months, and now he had a sore hoof, which the vet said was pedal osteitis. We had to wait almost a month before I was able to get my first ride in. It was worth the wait, as even this first ride was super nice. My husband watched that first ride and said to me, “You’re going to win ribbons on him.” I’m not sure what ribbons, but, hey, I’ll take the compliment! I got in a lesson the next day. Well, my visions of ribbons went right down the drain when I started jumping. I’m not sure if it was the horse or if it was me. Likely, of course, it was me. We were not in sync and I felt all over the place. I guess that happens when you haven’t had a lesson in over a year because your jumper refused to jump.
I continued riding flat, and to be honest, had a bit of apprehension about jumping again. I had started to think, maybe dressage is more my speed. Well, since my trainer is at shows more often than not, I don’t get a lot of lessons. About a month later I had lesson number two. After a warm-up, my trainer set up a cross rail. I jumped that, and, wow, it was great! Okay, maybe I shouldn’t get all excited that I jumped a cross rail and wasn’t all over the place. At least I didn’t feel like I was all over the place. So the lesson progressed till we ended at about 2’9” and it was a really fun, confidence-boosting lesson.
After a few flat schooling sessions, we noticed he had some sort of wound that started swelling to about the size of half a ping pong ball on his hind right leg. Another vet visit and a round of antibiotics and hoped that that would take care of it. Most of the wound drained. Well, wishful thinking. After appearing to be better, it got worse. He had a bought of cellulitis and his leg was very swollen and it was very hot. And, again, another vet call. Dante was on another round of antibiotics and at this point was not very happy about it. But by time that round was done, he was finally feeling better. So, that is where we are today. I lunged him for the first time since his ordeal, and he looked great. I’m crossing my fingers he is going to be sound and happy. My goal for 2020 is to take Dante to the New Vocations/TIP Championship show in Lexington in September. I already reserved my camping spot, so now I HAVE to go, right?