I wouldn’t have this blog if it weren’t for my horses–they inspire me to learn more every day. Before I had kids, I was an avid rider and competed in barrel racing for many years. I don’t ride nearly as much these days, but I still enjoy caring for my herd of four. I’ve found new ways to bond with my horses, like ‘hanging out’ with them in the barn or pasture, trimming their feet, or doing acupressure on them. And if I feel like it, I’ll hop on bareback or saddle up occasionally. But more than anything, I honestly just love learning from these beautiful, amazing animals. They have so much to teach us, if we’re just willing to pay attention.
There have been many, but I’d like to introduce you to my current herd– the horses behind this blog:
Hershey is the original reason I pursued learning about natural horse health. Once a competitive barrel horse who won numerous buckles, a saddle, and even a horse trailer, he became mysteriously injured at the age of fourteen. I spared no expense in trying to ‘fix’ him, but every vet who examined him gave me a different answer, and no treatment seemed to help his strange lameness. After about a year of seeking answers, I finally decided I would try to help him on my own. I attended acupressure school and became certified, I pulled his shoes and learned how to trim, and I also set out to learn as much as I could about equine nutrition–all because of Hershey. He’s definitely made progress over the years, but at twenty-four now, he will likely never be a riding horse again. I’ve come to accept this. I see him more as my teacher now than anything.
I consider Hershey to be one of the greatest horses I’ve ever had a chance to know, and he will continue to live out his retirement here with me. He’s more than earned a place in my pasture, and in my heart.
As you can see in this picture, Lee Lee is basically a big puppy dog. She loves people and likes to be right in the center of things. My husband bought Lee Lee as a 2 year-old (as a surprise for me), and it was obvious she had been handled very little. It was also apparent she’d had some type of accident prior to coming to our place, as evidenced by the large scars running down her neck and one foreleg. Because of this (most likely), Lee Lee has never gotten over her fear of needles or veterinary procedures. She’s the horse who’s tested my patience more than any other, but she’s also taught me the power of gentleness. She will not be forced to do anything, but if I’m patient and kind, she will eventually come around to doing what I want.
I’m proud to say that Lee Lee was part of my first experience in starting a horse under saddle. (I also started her two sisters who were purchased at the same time.) She never bucked or misbehaved at all, and made a very nice riding horse for a number of years. I also started her on barrels and she had a short stint in competing, but had to be retired from the sport due to unsoundness issues. She’s now in her later teens, enjoying her retirement and an occasional bareback ride.
I’d have to say that Kady is one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever known. She’s unregistered, so I’m not completely sure of her age, but she’s likely edging pretty close to 30 by now. Kady was my mom’s trail horse for many years, and I also used her as a lesson horse for children. She was the horse you could put anyone on and know they’d be fine. We don’t ride Kady much these days, but my daughter does occasionally saddle up with me or take her to a playday for lead line events.
Kady also wore shoes for most of her life, and because of an old injury which left a large split in one of her front hooves, it was thought she couldn’t go barefoot. I’ve definitely proved that to be wrong. Her feet did quite a turnaround after we pulled the shoes and I began trimming her. If we’re going to ride her out where the ground is rocky or hard now, we just use hoof boots.
McCoy is the newest member of my herd–I bought her about 2 1/2 years ago. After my last riding horse, Bob, passed away, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get another horse. But then I saw this cute little mare for sale and fell in love. She is a cuddle bug and loves attention more than even Lee Lee. She also has an odd fetish–butt scratches–and she will literally follow me around the pasture to get them!
From what I know, McCoy was a reining reject turned barrel horse, but I’ve used her just to putt around on. She’s very gentle but has a bit of an ornery streak too. (We’re a lot alike!) Maybe one of these days I’ll get back into riding more. Or maybe not. Either way, McCoy is here to stay. Hershey’s really taken a liking to her, too and they will often eat in the same stall together. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t allow any other horse to do that!
And here’s the whole Naturally Healthy Horse herd!