I contacted Megan and made a date. It was a supposed to be a 6 hour drive to see him, but I didn't realize STA's massive pickup truck had a jet engine under the hood and we made it to the stables in 4½ hours. We were farther north and it was colder and there was still snow on the ground. As we were driving up the long lane up to the house, there HE was, prancing through the snow along side the white paddock fence, bobbing his head and greeting us. Majesty in motion. OMG. My heart was racing.
I had done some research on the Canadian breed before our road trip. I am embarrassed to say that, as a Canadian myself, I didn’t realize that we actually had a national horse breed.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: The Canadian Horse is a breed of horse developed in Canada. Although previously relatively unknown due to its rarity, the Canadian Horse has influenced many other North American breeds, including the Morgan, American Saddlebred, and Standardbred. Although there have been several times when the breed almost went extinct, now the Canadian Horse has many enthusiasts within and outside of Canada. The Canadian Horse gave rise to the Canadian Pacer, which has had a profound impact on many of the gaited breeds of today. On April 30, 2002, a bill was passed into law by the Canadian Government making the Canadian Horse an official symbol of Canada.
Beautiful, tall, slim and blonde (of course) Megan, who was decked out in dressage gear, greeted us enthusiastically and we walked down to the paddock where HE was now trotting around and kicking up his heels. As he came up to the fence I started to have a bit of anxiety. He was big! As a matter of fact, he was massive. I had prepared myself for a horse that was tall and built like the jumpers I was used to seeing where I took lessons. HE was a lot heavier, with a solid build and feet the size of side plates.
Megan slipped the halter on him and up we went to the barn. I asked if I could tack up alone. Holy crap, HE was big. But HE was very patient and showed interest in what I was doing. I brushed him from head to toe. What a work out! Taller and bigger than GM, I really had to stretch and reach to do a good job. HE was very well behaved. No Chicken Dance required here! I only had to tap his leg and HE lifted it for me so I could clean his hoof. I lifted my saddle up....and up...just a little higher.... It was elevated just about over my head when I placed it on his back. The girth extender was let out as far as it could go. I had to stand on my tippy toes to adjust everything. At this point, I met his owner. As we shook hands she started to cry. I comforted her and we walked him out to the paddock together.
STA and I watched Megan put him through his paces – she loved my saddle. :-) His transitions were lovely and smooth and he was very responsive to her leg. STA then got on him and was deliberately bouncy and yanked at the bit, pretending that she was me. :-) He did not react, he just went with it. Then my turn. My heart was pounding. I was really, REALLY, REALLY high off the ground. The colour drained from my face. STA was right beside me, quietly saying “Breathe. In. Out. I won’t leave your side until you are ready.” Eventually, I was able to walk him around on my own and actually got him up to a trot a couple of times. His size did intimidate me, but I loved the intelligence and kindness in his eyes.
We spent a couple of hours around him. I turned him out, and as I was locking the gate behind me, STA came up to me and basically said that if I didn’t buy this horse I was an idiot. Other than being quite a bit bigger than what we were initially looking for, he had everything on the wish list. She also felt that he would provide me with subtle challenges that could only improve my riding capabilities; he was not push-button.
We both walked back to the barn and talked to the owner and Megan. The deal was made, tears were shed, a date for the pre-purchase exam was agreed on and STA and I were back on the road. I was silent in the car for the first 5 minutes. I was trying to absorb what had just taken place. STA looked at me and said, “You just bought your own horse. YOU JUST BOUGHT YOUR OWN HORSE! WHOO HOO!!!!” There must have been about 1000 butterflies in my stomach. I looked at her and quietly said, “I own my own horse. Ho-ly crap.”
What was I thinking….?