So back to the beginning. I should mention my last post covered two days - I flew to PA on Friday night (on the redeye from Los Angeles), arriving first thing Saturday AM, rode Charlie Saturday afternoon, decided I wanted him Saturday night, Tom vetted him Sunday afternoon, and I left Sunday evening for Harrisburg and my training. I spent the next week lining up a place for Charlie to live and transportation to SC. The housing was fairly easy - I ended up keeping him at the place where I had been leasing a horse. This was good for a few reasons and bad for a few others. Good because it was familiar, somewhat close, and I knew I could work off most, if not all of the board. Bad because the care could be a little sketchy, turnout was a herd situation, and there were way more horses there then I realized (the barn had a huge influx in December for some reason). Cherie arranged the shipping and Charlie arrived right before Christmas.
When I first saw Charlie in PA, Cherie was calling him Cosmo since his JC name is Cosmic Rae (who comes up with a name like that? Seriously!) and initially I was going to stick with Cosmo because I thought it was kind of cute but in the end, he just looked like a Charlie to me. Charlie was pretty skinny when he was in PA (due mostly I imagine to coming down off all the food he was getting at the track, etc because Cherie's horses are just about always a little chubby) but the shipping was pretty rough on him and he was even skinnier when he got to SC.
A hug from Charlie! Cherie took this on Sunday afternoon after the PPE was done - we were on a mission to take video for SuperMom.
I wasn't sure what to expect but he was the same horse in SC that I fell in love with in PA - pokey, spook-free, and a total love. I've never had a horse this green before and I should mention I bought Charlie on a few premises. The first being I was going to be deployed where I would earn a fairly substantial amount of money so I just needed to survive the next 4 months without any major catastrophes that would mean I needed to max out my credit cards. The second was during said deployment, Charlie would go back to Cherie for training so she could put some excellent basics on him. And lastly, that I would get to Southern Pines as much as possible when she was there (she winters there every year from the middle of January to the middle of March). The last one would become very important as I took two lessons from the barn owner (I had been riding with her while leasing the horse) and the second was so disastrous, I refused to ride with her again. That meant my only lessons were when I made the trek to SP.
This is SuperMom on the WonderPony - I think this was about a month after he arrived in SC. You can kind of see how skinny he was but to get the full effect you really needed to stand behind him - his hips stuck out so much, he looked like a cow. :(
I think I went to Southern Pines just about every other weekend that winter. It was kind of a rough winter in SC that year - lots of snow which is highly unusual. This made the boarding situation kind of rough. Because there were so many horses in the property, the turnouts were basically mud. They put out round bales but only one per a field so Charlie didn't really get as much as I wanted him to because there were so many horses vying for it. I knew I needed to find a new place for Charlie but was hoping I could make this one work until I left for the desert. Then at the end of February, I got some troubling news - due to all the budget issues with the government, my orders were being canceled. On one hand, that was kind of exciting because I didn't need to put my life on hold for 8 months but on the other hand, it was a bit disturbing because I was depending on that money. Faced with this news, I knew I needed to find another place to keep Charlie ASAP. Once again, Cherie came to the rescue. She called Janna (who I didn't know at the time) and asked her if she knew of any place that would work for Charlie and me. Janna is the one who hooked me up with my current situation which as I've said before, is totally amazing.
I moved Charlie to the current farm at the end of March 2011. Ironically about a week after I moved him, I got word my orders had been reissued and I was once again scheduled to go to the desert. Funny how that stuff happens. At this point Cherie had left to go back to PA and I started taking lessons from Janna. Things were going well and I decided to take Charlie to an event at intro level just before I left for my deployment; kind of last hurrah if you will. I had ZERO idea of what to expect - I had taken Charlie trail riding at Clemson (they have this huge experimental forest that has loads of trails) and of course, we had been to SP but I'd never taken him somewhere with lots of other horses, etc. Well, other then incessant pawing while standing on the trailer, he was the rockstar we have come to expect. He just kind of took it all in and was fabulous. I knew dressage would be ok meaning I was fairly confident he wasn't going to jump out the ring but had no clue as to what he would do with the jumping phases. We had never jumped more than 5 jumps in a row and he'd never been XC schooling unless you counted jumping logs in the woods. Well, like I said fabulous. Here's the video from our SJ round - I started off trotting because I had no clue what he would make of the brush under the rails. Obviously he couldn't have cared less. XC was the same - he just loped around like he's been doing it his whole life. We came home with a pretty yellow ribbon.
This was in the dressage warm-up.
XC! Jumps were more of a trip hazard but you have to start somewhere!
I left the following weekend and Charlie left for Cherie's a week after I was gone. He spent the next 7 months with her. She made sure he was ditch proof and water proof in addition to installing some really great basics. She took him to a few shows; 1 at intro and 1 BN. She also managed to put a ton of weight on him. I got him back just about this time last year and was shocked at how much he had changed - he was huge! I think he grew another inch and had so much more muscle. And that pretty much catches you up to when I started blogging.
Last show at the Carolina Horse Park in October.
I think we've come a long way this past year and I'm pretty excited to see what next year has in store for us!