When the trailer rumbled down the driveway I’ll admit, it felt every bit as awesome as Christmas morning as a kid. Only this time, Santa’s sleigh was dragging AN ACTUAL FREAKING PONY FOR ME this time around. My childhood self grew up and finally got the big present.
After a 10+ hour ride from Belterra Park in Cincinatti, Ohio, off stepped “Sure Prize” like he’d been there, done that. And like the farm was a very strange and quiet track.
With my relative inexperience, particularly with OTTBs, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Trusting in the fact that he was described as a super friendly guy with the potential to be “husband horse” material, it didn’t help that I had to handle his homecoming solo. My horse trainer fiancée is also a part time realtor and as luck would have it, a mandatory real estate training kept her from being there on the day he was delivered, leaving me to my own devices.
I was as excited as a kid but nervous as an adult because being fully developed I totally understand the limits of my own capabilities. Moreso, given the reputation that OTTBs are excessively energetic and sometimes difficult to deal with, let’s just say I was anxious as could be.
Enter Sure Prize (aka Indy) a 7 year old dark bay, who took one look around the farm, gave me a good sniff, and calmly walked off with just a halter and without a chain as they often do on the track. As far as I was concerned, we were off to a smashing success. He could lead! Without a chain! He wasn’t a basket case! He was sound! He was CUTE!
We headed to the barn for our first inspection and I snapped one cross tie to the halter, knowing that chances were he had no idea how to cross tie. In just a few seconds he proved how right I was as he slowly spun out of the barn and reared up a little, causing the metal snap to break and fly off onto the metal barn roof.
Indy stood there looking at me, unsure of what to do with himself but oddly calm.
I realized that we’d uncovered our first sticky spot. The boy was cute, sound, can’t tie and that’s absolutely alright. We’ve got something to work on now.
After our first minor incident and first bath in the outdoor wash stall, we turned Indy loose in his paddock. He hated flies (still does), really doesn’t enjoy fly spray, but is figuring it out one day at a time. Life changed dramatically overnight for my big guy and he’s taking it in stride.1