Stories

Katherine + Kitty

by | Sep 2017 | Story

Breed Thoroughbred

Age Eleven

Sex Mare

Color Dark Bay

Height 16.2hh

On Feb 28th, 2017, I had a terrible trail ride on my warmblood mare, Nacho. She was so upset and almost un-handleable. Neither of us were having a good time. It was not our worst ride ever, but it was a breaking point. I decided that it was time for her to retire from being a riding horse. She was a rescue herself (neglect and physical abuse coupled with poor handling in her youth), and has a lot of emotional issues. I will keep her forever, no matter what, but I have finally come to the understanding that Nacho will never be the riding horse that I want. I love her very much, enough to recognize that she needs me and I need her. If she doesn’t want to be a riding horse, that’s okay. We’ve done a lot of things together. I even changed my sports multiple times in attempts to suit her, but ultimately, she is happiest as a pet.

The very next morning, on March 1, I got a call from the Girl Scout Camp where I first started riding when I was a kid. I was offered Marketry Queen, a 13-year-old chestnut thoroughbred mare, retiring her from camp life. I didn’t hesitate. I picked her up the very next day. She was young enough to still have an after-camp career and was totally kid safe. She had been an excellent camp horse and I was super excited. Her only issue was a single, mild episode of anhidrosis.

I did the best I could for Marquee. I started working on her fitness, groomed her daily, kept her on her One AC. She was so much fun and seemed really happy. I took her to a horse show and let my 5-year-old niece have her first-ever ride! My niece won reserve champion in leadline and took home four ribbons! I won all day champion. I took Marquee on the Landbridge trail over I-75 in Ocala. It was super fun and memorable. I regularly rode her bridleless. I never had a horse that was that easy, that quiet, and that willing to try. She made me happy every time I saw her.

And then she broke. She took a weird step and her left stifle stopped working right. She started severely dragging her toes and she fell in the field. I called the vet. I knew it was going to be bad. I wasn’t wrong.

As it turns out, Marquee likely had EPM before I got her, but was compensating really well. She just reached a critical point with me and couldn’t cope anymore. It wasn’t a hard to make the decision to euthanize her, and was heartbreaking. She was a really special mare and meant a whole lot to me. I fed her a big meal and gave her lots of scratches and pets. Her last breath was a big, satisfied sigh. It was April 13th.

And then I was back to Nacho. I promised Nacho I would not ride her again. (Honestly, I didn’t want to anyway.) I started to think about looking for another horse that needed a good home. Eventually, I talked to a friend who works with retired thoroughbreds and she had an idea. Less than two weeks after Marquee’s passing, I went to Bradenton and picked up my next horse, sight unseen.

Spanish Comedy is a 2006 thoroughbred mare, retired sound from her successful career as a racehorse. She’s a tall, dark bay. Her owner loves her very much and won’t sell her, so she lives with me on a care lease. Her owner is amazing. This arrangement suits me perfectly, and Spanish Comedy (AKA “Kitty”) is everything my friend said and more. She’s green, but super sane. Loves people, seeks attention. She’s a cheerful, fun horse that doesn’t mind wind or new environments, and is totally up for trying new things. She’s a straightforward ride, sound and agreeable, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel so lucky. I can’t wait to see what the future brings with this super cool mare.

It was a weird and difficult path to get to Kitty, but here we are!

1 Comment

  1. michelle rand

    Beautiful story, thanks so much!

    Reply

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