There was a time when I only dreamed of having horses….. now I have four! When I was young, I learnt to ride – in those days it was a matter of staying on the horse! I had my fair share of falls – but I loved it nonetheless!
As I entered my twenties, thoughts turned to other things – namely socialising, working…. and sadly horses took second place. I married, had a family… and it was only when my daughter was at the horse mad age that I remembered how much I had loved it. Horses have helped me through dark times in my life – I love how they feel, how they smell, the sounds, the earthy connection…. the gentle muzzles…..
I started riding again at a local trail riding business – it was such fun! Good friends were made and good times were had…. but something was missing. I really didn’t know anything about horses, except what I had learnt when I was young. It dawned on me that if I never experienced owning a horse, it would be one of my biggest regrets.
My daughter Emma had started Pony Club and she wanted her own horse. She fell in love with Quill – a clydesdale cross – they were quite the team – a little girl on a giant horse! We had a small amount of land but it wasn’t really suitable for horses. The purchase of Quill inspired my search for another place to live – and I finally found the perfect place – a little further out of town – but more space and much more horse friendly.
Unfortunately Quill wasn’t to enjoy the new place. Emma soon lost interest – and we made the difficult decision to sell him. As it would take time to move, I couldn’t stand seeing him so depressed in the paddock on his own. He went to a wonderful home!
Two years later, we were living in a shed on our land while we owner built our house. I sometimes went to the local horse sales – forever on the look out for my own horse. One time, Emma came with me. She had a renewed interest in horses and we had discussed her maybe trying again. As I looked at all the pens – and wondered how many of these poor animals would head to the slaughterhouse, Emma disappeared to the far end. Later on I found her in one pen containing three horses – she was trying to get close to a beautiful paint horse – he looked like a clydesdale crossed with another breed. He seemed quiet – but of course he was shut down – terrified by the whole experience.
She begged me “Please Mum can I have this horse!” “Hmmm – not a good choice” I said. “It looks like he’s come in with the dogger horses – they are all wild – there is obviously something wrong with him” . “But” she said – “I can train him – look how quiet he is!” I dragged her away – it was almost time for the sale to start. I always got a bidding number – just in case! It can be a long wait at the sale for the horse you want to see. Normally all the ‘dogger horses’ go through first – then the ‘ridden’ or ‘handled’ horses come through last. The ‘dogger men’ as we called them, take up the same position at the sales each time and we had got to ‘know’ them from previous trips to the sales.
As it happened, Emma’s beautiful paint horse came through second in a sale of hundreds of horses!!!! There was a gasp from the crowd as they admired his beauty! He was introduced as a Clydesdale/Stockhorse cross gelding. No other information… We were stunned! The dogger men started bidding. “Muuum!” Emma looked at me pleading..”Please! Buy him! He can’t go to the doggers!” I was so confused and had to think quickly. “Okay” I said “I’m not going over $500 – that’s it”.
So we entered the bidding war – us against three of the ‘dogger men’. As the bidding moved to $500 I was surprised they were still bidding – then everything stopped… The auctioneer was saying ‘Sold!!!” – and pointing at us! We were both shaking! We had just bought a horse that was destined for pet food. We had such limited experience – for new horse owners it was certainly not the right thing to do!
I wanted to call him Dreamcatcher – but he was named Magnum – and his name suits him well. Emma named him after the Magnum Ego icecream because of the similar colours!
And so began the journey with Magnum…… the first horse to arrive on our new property!! The next post will describe how we actually got him home!!