Just enjoy Calvin being perfect.
I had a whole nice post written about how Calvin would win the Senior Superlative for “Best To Bring Home To Mom & Dad” since he’s honestly the most polite & well mannered horse I have ever come across.
Seriously- he doesn’t even shit in the ring (Which is great cause I don’t have to worry about picking it up), he drinks so gentle like a damn cat, and you can leave him on cross-ties forever and come back and he hasn’t moved a muscle (not like I’ve done that..).
But, instead, I accidentally deleted the whole damn thing, so now you will be rewarded with pictures instead of my horrible writing. You’re welcome.
Soon after Homer passed, it was evident I needed to get back in the saddle, have something to own, something to make work make sense (Why go to a job if you don’t have a horse to support??), something that would make me complete.
I saw a few horses, actually vetted one, but nothing really panned out. I was very fortunate enough to have a friend help with the posting “ISO” ads on Facebook and coming out with me to see horses, since trainer (L) was heading off to FL for WEF.
It was the day that the horse I vetted failed, sitting on my couch, petting my 3-legged cat (he’s awesome), thinking I would never find what I’m looking for, in my price range, that can even come close to Homer. Talk about a totally miserable situation, plus it was December, the holidays were coming, and I just didn’t want to be bothered with any of it.
So, scrolling through Facebook, I got the bright idea (although seems super obvious now) to start going through other people’s ISO and reading the replies to see if anything stood out. That, is how I found this:
Sounded way too good to be true, but I reached out to his owner. A few quick questions and we had a date set up for December 23rd.
Now, I’m in NJ- so PA isn’t that bad of a drive, especially where he was located. 2 hour drive- simple, literally just take a few highways. Well, that’s where I was wrong.
It was the only horse I went to see on my own, it was POURING out, no idea where I was going- and the worst part? I was on some desolate PA highway for about 30-40minutes before I just really can’t hold it anymore. What happens when there are NO exits or rest stops?
You wind up pulling over on the side of a highway, opening up both passenger side doors, peeing while staring out the window waiting for a cop to show up. No cop, but the wind opted to blow at that point, but it was fine cause the monsoon started up again.
At this point I got in my car and gripped the wheel and debated about turning around. I was an hour into this adventure, and honestly this ad was probably too good to be true. I gritted my teeth and I cried. I wasn’t looking for a new horse because I outgrew mine, or wanted something different. I was looking for a new horse because mine got taken away from me. I didn’t ask for this- and at this point I wasn’t sure about even going to see this horse.
But, I’m Italian (and Polish) so I’m extremely stubborn and just went to go see the horse. The rest of the drive went something like, “This horse better shit rainbows,” – “This horse better know how to clean and tack himself up,” – lots of self dialogue.
Get to the farm – super cute facility- very friendly owner & trainer, instantly feel better about my decision. Go and meet horse- realize how large he is (I’m 5’2″) and think, “Crap he might be too big for me,”.
The owner hopped on and he was lovely – I got on and didn’t feel that lost on him despite his size and really enjoyed riding him. Owner & trainer suggest letting him go on trial – we set that up and horse comes to NJ a few days after Christmas.
In time for the first blast of Antarctica Air. Great. This is exactly how I hoped a trial period would go with a 5year old OTTB, who because of the holiday’s wasn’t really in work, had a 3 hour trailer ride, and the high was 3 degrees.
The trailer showed up, I walked outside expecting to hear screaming, kicking, etc. It was cold and that’s exactly how I know I would’ve acted if I was in a trailer for hours. Nope. Quiet as a bunch of church mice. Unloaded him myself, walked off like a perfect gentleman, walked into the barn without so much of an ear twitch, into his stall, where he promptly peed and politely took a sip of water and came back over to say hi.
My barn owner and I figured we should probably lunge him given all of the circumstances before I got on. Fun Fact: horse doesn’t know how to lunge. Fun Fact #2: we decide I most likely won’t die given how quiet he’s been and I should just get on.
Best Fact? I get on this 16.3 (probably more like 17hh), 5yr old, OTTB in 10 degree weather (TRUST me- if this wasn’t a trial period I would never ride in that weather as it’s not fair to them) and he marches around our indoor like he’s been there his whole life.
Horse came to NJ on December 28th, 2017 – we did a week long trial with a vetting at the end – another bit of a trial period as the weather wasn’t the best during our vetting and we needed to finish things up, and on January 9th, 2018 horse officially became mine.
So- that is how, JC Name: B Manone / USEF Name: Mr. Bootlegger / AKA: Calvin became mine.
Literally this was taken 15minutes after unloading – and that’s how quiet he stood.
Probably around the end of the summer last year, I started a blog to document my rides, lessons, and just crap in general regarding my horse, Homer. I had Homer for 8.5 years and they were amazing. Sadly, on December 2nd, 2017- I lost my best friend very unexpectedly in a way that I will never be able to stop thinking about – in a way that was not preventable, in a way that he was not able to be saved. Maybe one day we’ll talk about that, but not right now.
I’ve owned horses for more than half of my life. I got my first horse was I was 12 and the general order of them is: Mackenzie, Pepper, Mojo (owned at the same time as Pepper), Rockey, Tink (owned at the same time of Rockey), Homer, and now- Calvin.
Yes, you’re looking at the calendar correctly. I lost my horse in December and it’s now February and I’m already talking about my new horse. Even worse? I started looking at horses a week after it happened. Some people need to be in a relationship to feel complete. I need my own horse. Sure, there were other horse’s I could swing a leg over, but it’s not the same as it being yours.
I love having something of my own that I can obsess over, that I can make decisions on, that is 110% mine. I also apparently love throwing money away – and that pretty much sums up horseback riding in a nutshell.
Do I miss Homer? Absolutely. How much do I miss him? Immeasurable. The best way to sum it up is: Often imitated, never duplicated.
So Homer, God knows I talk to you more than any other person or animal daily, you know how much I love and miss you. You will always be my best boy.