Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bright-Eyes Angel

Why Not Nikker has been introducing the horses around her place, and since I have no current "projects" to write about, and because it's winter and no one likes to hear about how I picked up poop for four hours, I figure I'll introduce my herd to you.

Nicknames: Boo, BooBear, The Spotted Donkey

Angel (Bright-Eyes Angel) is the second horse I bought as an adult. The first was my daughter's horse who crossed the Rainbow Bridge several years ago. Initially, I leased her. Her former owner needed to lighten the impact on the feed bill, but wasn't sure she wanted to sell, and I wasn't prepared to buy her, so I leased her for six months.

I moved Angel to the place where I boarded and my daughter and I rode together, look lessons together, and learned about horses together. Angel was a finished Western Pleasure horse, and I am DEFINITELY NOT a Western Pleasure rider. So I made a mess of a finished horse, but I learned a lot in doing so.

Before leasing Angel, I had always skipped over ads for Appaloosas. ALWAYS! I wasn't interested. I can't tell you why, I just wasn't. To be honest, I'm not sure that I like Appaloosas now, but I know that I LOVE this horse!

Angel is very forgiving of me. I took lessons on her. I hauled her to schooling shows. I rode her English and Western. I laughed and cried. I have known frustration and exquisite joy. Then we moved to Pasco.

Shortly thereafter, I started barrel racing. See, my quirky neighbor barrel races, and since we were "friends", it would be something that we could do together. So she helped me pattern Angel on the barrels. We tried really hard. We aren't ever in the top division, but we have had fun and have won a little bit of money.

I have met many friends by riding this horse and barrel racing. She has taken VERY good care of me. I trust this horse not to hurt me. (At least not on purpose!) Once we were out on a ride through the toolies, and she "spooked" at something (probably a rock) and whipped around, unseating me and tossing me over her shoulder. I was body slammed! And, my foot was hung up in the stirrup. It could have been VERY bad! Angel just stood there, waited for me to get untangled and climb back on. My hip was bruised, but it could have been so much worse!

At a barrel race one night, two riders were mounted and standing behind a banner that was hung on the rail, right where we circled out after our run. They were pretty much in shadow, and Angel saw them, came to a screeching halt, and rolled back to the right. I caught the saddle horn with the inside of my right thigh, and the breast collar on my way off to kiss the dirt. Angel stood stock still as I hung there, and waited for me to right myself.

She tries SO HARD to do what I ask every time - so long as it doesn't involve putting on a fly mask (she'll suffer with the flies, thank you very much) or get a shot in the neck. Anything else, she's cool with. Well, mostly...she's not real excited about dragging anything if it's attached to a rope and "chasing" her. But she'll try.

While Angel's pedigree is known, she isn't registered. See...there's a little thing called genetics. Angel's dam is a white and black leopard appy. When bred to a solid colored stallion, 50% of the time she will produce an appy foal like Angel. The other 50%, she will produce a loud colored paint. Angel is a "painted" appy. She has a HUGE spot on the inside of her back leg and along her belly that is white, with no pigment in the skin. As such, she has been disqualified from being registered. It doesn't matter to me, because she will never be bred, and never be sold. My husband's instructions are if I die and he doesn't want to spend the money to care for Angel, he is to put her down.

Angel is, apparently, your typical Appaloosa - tough and smart. She developed gate issues because she is WAY ahead of me mentally and already into the run. She anticipates my requests and will react to even the slightest of changes is my body position and posture. There aren't "push buttons" with this horse. It's more like a touch screen!

I have NEVER been able to tire this horse. EVER! If she's fresh, I'll tack her up and turn her loose in the arena, which you can see from the pictures, is more of a HUGE round pen. She will rip and tear around at full-tilt for 20 minutes, then carry my fat butt for two hours out on the trail, then come back for some schooling on the barrel pattern. Give her 10 minutes to catch her breath and she's good to go again.

I have NEVER been in good enough shape to make her tired. EVER! To be honest, I'm not sure that I want to work hard enough TO make her tired.

So my plans to barrel race this mare have pretty much fizzled. It's not worth the fight. If she was winning thousands of dollars, yeah, I'd work through it, but she doesn't, and that's ok. I DO plans to haul her over to Western Washington. My friend BarbO lives over there, has a great place, and knows of TONS of trails up in the mountains to ride. AND, LatigoLiz has sent me some links to some cool places as well. So that is my plan for Angel this coming year. I just want to enjoy my horse!


Nikker said...

Glad you are introducing us to your herd!! I love knowing everyones horses and their stories!!

mrscravitz said...

That is a one of a kind horse you got there. Someday, I hope that Sissy and I will have what you have with Angel.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you are enjoying your Appy...I ride a Walkaloosa...she is a gaited Appy...she too is a joy to ride with the never ending energy.
I must admit, I have fallen off twice so far, once because I loosened her saddle after a 4 hour trail ride, then decided to practice a few barrels and the saddle, which I forgot to re-tighten, slid sideways down her side and just like your Appy, she stood rock still, both times, waiting for me to get up and brush the dirt off myself...I swear though, she was snickering at me! Love your blog!!