The Story So Far, Part 2: Just for Me

I had been positively stalking the New Vocations website and Facebook, with my heart set on a big, chestnut-with-chrome gelding OTTB who would take me to mid-level eventing. I knew it wouldn’t take too long for him to show up (New Vocations is so good at finding big yummy horses!), but I still knew it was going to be a rough wait. Then, Julie convinced me to go look at a Craigslist horse of all things – a draft cross mare, 3yo, who had been broken to the harness but otherwise not trained at all.

Robbye at 2yo.
The first day we saw her.

She was absolutely not at all what I wanted. Too big, not tall enough, a mare, not flashy, not hot, not started under saddle. I didn’t click with her (and didn’t, for about six months), but Julie saw potential in her and I liked her alright:

  • She had a very nice trot.
  • She had been extremely well-taken cared for (not a given when you’re talking about OTTBs).
  • She was at the best possible age for me to buy her – just ready to be started, not old enough to know any horrible habits.
  • She had never been stalled and had the body to back it up.
  • Best of all – she would be mine to teach her absolutely everything. She was generally polite and gentle, but didn’t know how to cross-tie, let alone all the riding time a TB would come with. She wouldn’t come with all the potential crazy and problems a TB could have, and, when she was done, I would be able to say that I made her all by myself.
  • She was only $1000.

Soooo I bought her.

The Story So Far, Part 1: Pre-Robbye

Me with my childhood pony, Ditto.

Julie and I have always shared our love of horses (and animals in general), but didn’t really have much of a relationship until she started teaching my dog and I how to show in agility. When my dog aged out and she bought a horse, I focused on high school and our relationship ebbed again.

When I went to college, though, I was (re)hit hard by the horsie bug. At this point, Julie has adopted Yogi, with plans to mostly drive him (her injuries at that time were preventing her from riding much). I expressed interest in riding and she needed a jockey to train Yoge how to canter and jump, so I started riding on my breaks from school! I was rusty and so was he, but he definitely bolstered my seat with his huge trot, wild canter, and humungous over-jump. Oh, how we both improved!

I believe this is from the mock CDE we won.

We went to an open show sponsored by the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Ohio (SPHOOH), where I showed Yogi under saddle and acted as Julie’s groom. Though we had planned to show in cross rails, Yogi jumped HUGE jumps over the warmup ground poles, and we decided to head home for exhaustion. Overall, it was an awesome reintroduction to showing.

The dressage portion of our CDE.

I acted as Julie and Yogi’s groom in several more events. We competed twice in a friend’s mock CDE (Combined Driving Event), winning each year. We attempted to go to our first real CDE, but Yogi’s wild excitement makes him uneven in harness, and he appears lame when he’s nervous. We were eliminated before the marathon portion, and have put CDEs on the back-burner since then.

Yogi is a very good driving horse.

I continued to ride and enjoy Yogi when I was home, but of course I wanted my own horse very badly. As I finished college and scored a great (and great-paying) job, I started looking for a pony of my own…

Introduction: The Never Whoas

I’m not planning on ever showing this to anyone, but in the case that I do ever make it public…I guess I’ll start with introductions.
Me with my Original Kitty, Millye.

The author: My name is Annye, and I’m a 1989 native Ohioan. I’ve been riding since forever, but have never done any serious showing or training. I’d consider myself a solidly intermediate rider; I have the bravery and skill to ride babies and catch-ride, but I don’t have the experience or instruction to truly be an “advanced” rider like many people my age seem to be. For horsie money, I work as a computer programmer. Other interests include My Little Pony, reading, video games, and general nerdiness.

Rob with a winter coat.

The author’s horsie: Her name is Robigo, Robbye (like “Robbie), Rob, Robbyn. She is a 2009 chestnut Belgian/Standardbred accident – what I like to think of as an “Amish Warmblood”. I bought her in July of 2012 as a just-turned 3-year-old. I hope to eventually take her low-level eventing. In the mean time, we’re working on simple simple dressage, very low jumping, and general being-a-good-horse.

The experience: My aunt Julie has ridden and trained her whole life, except for a break she took to train dogs. Julie and my mom grew up with horses, riding and showing on a budget. Julie is also our team seamstress and hauler (she owns the truck). Julie runs a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd foster home, thought nowadays she has many more permanent residents than fosters, and not all of them are collies and Aussies!

The trainer’s horsie: Bumble Bee’s Yogi is a 2004(?) off the track bay Standardbred. Yogi Man is a jack of all trades – he’s a skilled driving horse, trail horse, dressage mount, and jumper. Though I’d like to event Yogi as well, for now his (lack of) canter skills keep him from any 3-gait competitions. Still, he’s a talented, clever, and extremely hard-working horse, and has the 2-gait class ribbons to prove it. Yogi is very opinionated, and usually hates other horses. The fact that he immediately fell in love with Robbye was a very good sign!

Kathy and Louie are on the left, and Robbye and I are on the right.

The friend: Kathy is, like me, an intermediate rider with interests in doing a lot more showing and learning. She has two grown kids, and has supplemented her empty house with a new border collie (Callie) and new horse. Kathy rode in hunter/jumper when she was a teenager, and leased a horse from our barn (which is where we met her), but hasn’t owned her own horse for a long time.

The new guy, the friend’s horse: Linn Side Louie is a 2003(?) off the track bay Standardbred. Louie is a quiet, nervous, sensitive type horse who tries very hard but needs very clear direction. He was a pacer on the track, and as such has a much easier time cantering and galloping than Yogi Man does. We’re still working on leads, holding the canter, and learning how to jump.

Twiggy.

The cat: It’s Twiggy! Twig showed up at the barn one day scared, loud, and SCRAWNY. She’s named after the tiny supermodel…though Twig the cat isn’t so tiny anymore!