When You Don’t Have Your Own Horse Anymore

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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A few weeks ago I retired Bear (Birthday Diplomat) to the therapeutic riding program Miracles in Motion.  They’re a PATH International organization located just a short drive away from us.  It was a difficult decision to come to, but it is one I had been thinking about for over a year.  At 19, Bear was just having more and more trouble keeping up with us, and it didn’t seem fair to either one of us to keep trying to make it work.

We had a nice last ride out in the fields.  Just the two of us.  And the next day the Miracles people came to pick him up.  It does help that they are very excited about him.  We were also able to visit him last weekend, and he seems to be thriving. All the volunteers love him, and he is progressing through their exercises and training program very rapidly.  I have no doubt he will turn into the best therapy horse out there (though I might be a little biased).

The past few weeks I have been getting a lot of riding in on Laredo and Oliver.  It has been a lot of fun to spend more time with Laredo again.  Robin rode him for most of the fall and early winter as I ended up doing most of the training with Zoey.  We are really starting to click again, and he’s in fantastic shape.  I’ve never spent so much time loping a horse before.

Oliver is also coming along.  He’s light and quick on his feet and still extremely soft to the legs and hands.  I’ve also been working on getting him used to scary objects like manure forks and flags.  I initially thought that Oliver might become my main horse.  But after spending more time with him, it doesn’t feel quite right.  His gaits are smooth and easy, but they lean more towards the western pleasure spectrum rather than the ground-covering action of the ranch type horses.

As much fun as I’ve been having with these two, I am still left with the feeling like I don’t have my very own horse.  So I decided to call up the breeder we got Laredo from and see what they had in terms of unstarted two year olds.

We went out last night and got a nice tour of the barns again and saw a few of the brand new foals that arrived that morning.  Eventually we made it out to the sopping wet pasture and it was pretty much love at first sight.

HQ Tip the Barmaid.  She was a little amped up from the storm and not too inclined to be caught.  We spent a little while watching her move around and eventually steered her into a smaller lot by herself.  After a while I sidled up next to her and gave her some nice pets on the withers and jaw.  She put her head down and let me slip the halter on.

I have not spent much time handling two year olds, just a couple at our barn.  I expected her to be a little more, I don’t know, undeveloped perhaps.  The pictures might not really illustrate it, but she’s strong and super fit.  She did lead nicely, though, and she was relaxed and happy to hang out without any other horses.

We did a little bit of light groundwork with her in the arena.  She really doesn’t have much experience working with people, and that is entirely the point.  I’ll get to train from the ground up.  Also, she’s got a gorgeous head.

The Hockensons are breeding some of the best horses in the midwest as far as I can tell.  She’s over 90 percent foundation bred, and we were fortunate enough to get to spend time with her sire and her dam.

Her sire, HQ Rojo B Bartender, is one of the most correct horses I have ever seen in person.  He is strong, powerful, light on his feet, and has a quirky personality.  This little filly has her daddy’s barrel and coloring.

Rojo B Bartender

Her dam, FCS Poco Lenas Candy, is a big athletic sorrel sired by cutting horse money earner Jae Bar Flinn.

Pocolenas Candy
And that happens to be our little filly HQ Tip the Barmaid as a weanling.

You can see the filly’s full lineage here: HQ Tip the Barmaid

She is going to stay at the breeders for at least a couple months.  We’ve got to get either Aiden or Oliver sold before we take another horse on.  It’s going to be a little hard to wait, but I think it will be worth it.  And we’ll be starting everything off nice and slow anyways.

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Suzanne Hodges
6 years ago

Well on behalf of Miracles and as a fellow PATH center, Bear will be appreciated not only for the partnership you had with him in your horsemanship journey, but what he can share with the therapeutic riding students. Bittersweet indeed, but good to hear about a solid retirement option for him.