Friday, January 31, 2014

Picking out my horse in 2005 at Bobbi Richine's (prior property), Rocky Mountain Training Center in Colorado

I have been thinking of starting a blog for awhile.  I am experimenting with this site to see how the format works.  I want to have 2 blogs.  One for my experiences related to endurance riding and one for all my other stuff. 

This is my blog on endurance riding. Chapter One.  A little history.  I had 2 horses for approximately 3 years when I was 12 to 15.  They were mostly pets.  I will write about that experience in another blog.  I knew I wanted another horse at some point in my life once I had some financial stability.  In  May of 2005, at the age of 41, I married  Peter.  First marriage for both of us and we were in our 40's.  I had raised my son, Erik, as a single parent until I met Pete in 2003.  Erik would be graduating high school in 2005 and going to college the following year.  I wanted to get a horse, and Peter supported my decision. I bought my horse in November, 2005.  I can not remember where I found out about endurance riding, but when I found out about it I knew that it was what I wanted to do.  I was a runner at the time (I can't run now like I used to because of an ankle injury), and I liked  AERC's motto To Finish Is To Win.  This was how I felt about my own racing.  In a human race, from 5k's to Ultra Runners, there are some people racing up front to win or place well and then there are the rest of us.  I was a mid packer and ran distances from 10k's to (2) marathons.  My favorite distance was 10 miles and half marathons.  There were a few races I did each year, and it was my goal to try and improve my time each year.  This is how I could relate to the sport of endurance riding so much.  I don't care if I win the race. In order to just run that far, my life changed for the better.  There are so many benefits from exercising regularly. Another blog.

Now, 8 years later and nearly 3000 AERC endurance miles with my one and only awesome horse, Caartouche CS, I am finally starting to write about this awesome experience I have had with this very special horse.

I found my horse via the internet.  I found many different sources for endurance horses for sale, and I liked RMTC (Rocky Mountain Training Center) the most.  Run by Bobbi Richine, (retired from this business now), located in Colorado.  At her facility, she always had between 20-30+ horses for sale.  She was a horse broker. (This is just my interpretation of part of what Bobbi did.)  She bought full and part Arabians that were either not successful in the show ring or track racing.  She then trained them out on the trail at her beautiful ranch in Colorado and marketed the horses as endurance prospects.  She had her horses for sale on a website, and I liked one so much that I put a deposit on him and arranged to go out and see him.  If you were interested in purchasing a horse from Bobbi you could stay at her place, meals included, and ride as many horses that were for sale that you were interested in.  If you purchased a horse there was no charge for your stay. It was such a great time.  Peter came with me.  It was like a second honeymoon.  A little better for me though since I was able to ride some really nice horses.  Bobbi is a vegetarian, and we ate healthy, yummy meals for the two days that we were there.  There was a hot tub on the deck right outside our bedroom that we soaked in both evenings that we were there enjoying the starry sky. 

OK, now about the horses.  Once I inquired about the original horse that I liked, who is Reno Rimal, Bobbi mailed me a DVD of all of the horses she had for sale, showing them moving as well as a print out with a description of each horse.  Once I received that info, I liked this other horse, Caartouche CS, as well as Reno.  Bobbi had already advised me that although I had a deposit on Reno, I did not have to purchase him.   I ended up liking and trying out 4 horses.  I rode them in the arena and out on the trail, as well as watched them move when turned out.  Caartouche was my guy.  He performed so well in the arena and the trail, which is really amazing because he had not been out on the trail that much, if at all since arriving there.  And just as important, I felt an instant bond with this horse that I did not feel with the others.  I remember telling Bobbi that I was surprised that he had not been sold yet.  She said it was because she had only recently purchased him.  He wasn't even on her website yet.  Well, that worked out well for me, and also for whoever bought Reno Rimal too!

I was so very green.  I had not ridden a horse in over 20 years. I had only taken a few riding lessons when I had my horses in my youth.  I did not know anything about the breeding history of a horse, or having a pre vet exam, or the good/bad qualities of horse conformation. In other words, I got lucky.  I picked a good one.  I knew I was getting a wonderful horse, but the lucky part was/is, how incredibly athletic he is, and from really excellent breeding.

Caartouche is off the track. (At that time, I did not even know there was Arabian horse racing.)  He ran 4 races, but he did not show sufficient speed for the owners to keep him.  He was bred and raced by Centurian Stud in Texas.  His sire is Bandjo De Falgas, who is now at stud at Asgard Arabians and producing awesome endurance horses. 

I was an inexperienced newbie, and what horse do I get, a five year old off the track Arabian stallion! Yes, he was a stallion when I bought him, but he had never been bred.  He had the nicest manners though.  I rode on the trail with the trainer and her friend, who were riding mares.  The mares did not behave as well as my guy.  My horse was all business, and the mares seemed to instantly go into heat. I purchased that horse, and he was shipped out to me the following month.  More stories to come, as we now have almost 8 years together.  It has been a very awesome journey.  I have learned so much. Although there have been some really bad times (2 injuries to my horse), we have come through it healthy and happy and still going down the trail.

The purpose of my blog here is 1) record/memory keeping for personal reasons, and 2) to share my experience with other endurance riders, especially those starting out.  If I can do it, you can do it.

The photos here are at RMTC in Colorado where I bought Caartouche (Rio).