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Gwen in Her New Home November 18, 2015

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The time came for Gwen to find her permanent home. Several different people looked at her, but there was one person Debra and I both agreed upon that Gwen liked the best. But the timing wasn’t right. A year later (maybe more – time goes so fast) the situation changed. Gwen still needed a good home and her person was now able to take her. And as fate, or destiny, or whatever you want to call it, would have it, Gwen was available.

On Saturday, November 14, Debra hauled Gwen to her new home in Virginia. There she has other horsey friends and will live her life as a riding horse and spoiled diva princess – which is how it should be. Debra, especially, was sad to see Gwen go. After all, she had spent every day with her since Gwen came into our lives. I just floated in and out as needed. But we feel good in the home that she now has. We both knew it was the right situation. We just had to wait for the right time. Gwen will be loved and cared for and that’s all we can ask for in the end. It was our goal from the very beginning…to take this injured, slaughter-bound majestic creature and give her a chance at another life. I’m very proud to say that we did that. Many thanks to Debra for taking such good care of her the last few years. She deserves the vast majority of the credit. Job well done.

 

Gwen Emilie2

Gwen checking out her new surroundings…and making sure there is enough grass to eat.

 

Remember Gwen? July 29, 2014

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It’s been some time since I’ve talked about Gwen. Debra and I got her from Camelot a little over a year ago. If you need a reminder, this is what she looked like at the time.

G glamour shot

And here is Gwen today.

20140723_110000_resized

She has put on weight. Eating is one of her favorite things to do in life. The only remnant of her cut up legs is a small scar on her left front, which was the most injured of the four. She is sound, sassy, happy and very spoiled. We’ve always been curious of her parentage. A number of us thought she was an Anglo-Arab (Arabian/Thoroughbred cross) so Debra sent mane hairs off to Texas A&M for a DNA analysis. They can’t tell you exactly what a horse is, but they can tell you what the horse most likely is. We were surprised with the results. Number 1 and 2 on the list were Morgan and Saddlebred. Number 3 was Arabian. Now that she’s put on more weight, we can see Morgan in her but none of us can really see Saddlebred. So, we’ve decided she is a Morgan/Arabian cross. It doesn’t really make any difference. Gwen is Gwen and we love her regardless, but it was fun to find out.

Debra wanted me to include this quote for Gwen the next time I talked about her. I don’t know the author so I can’t give credit, but it works for Gwen and probably all rescued animals.

“I have nothing to fear, and here my story ends. My troubles are over, and I am home.”

 

Can Gwen jump? Of course she can! October 11, 2013

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Last week I took Gwen over some ground poles which she went through like “Yes, ground poles. Been there, done that. Next.” So this week I set up a little cross rail to see if she jumped. Now, by little, I mean about 12 inches. My days of jumping big jumps seem to be well behind me. She trotted straight into it, trotted over it and trotted straight on. Yup. She’s jumped. And probably in lessons too since the trot straight, jump, trot straight is a common exercise in beginner lessons. Debra put the jump up to a whopping 12 inch vertical. Ooo…a vertical! Exciting stuff, right? Trot, trot, trot…trot fence…trot, trot, trot. I came to the conclusion that Gwen either had no idea how to jump or the fences weren’t high enough for her to justify any jumping effort. Debra and I decided it was likely the latter so Debra moved it up to an 18 inch cross rail. That was enough! Trot, trot, trot…little hop over fence…trot, trot, trot. What a good girl! We went over our sizable cross rail a few more times and I exclaimed us ready for a cross country course. I had a lot of fun doing tiny little fences with Gwen. Maybe next we’ll try a line or even set up a little course.

You probably notice there are no pictures of me jumping said jumps. We didn’t think about it but I suppose we can try to get some next time. My jumping form would be wonderful comic relief!

 

Gwen is Spoiled Rotten! September 19, 2013

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tiara
She is. She really is. I mean seriously. Look at that photo and the expression on her face. She is very pleased to be wearing a tiara as she no doubt feels it is her right. She demands attention, but in a good way, and you can’t help but give it to her because she is so funny about it. Did I mention that face?

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Gwen. First we had someone come look at her. Mind you, we aren’t advertising her or anything like that. As far as I’m concerned she isn’t ready for that yet. But Gwen is getting a reputation (luckily a good one) and a very kind lady wanted to come look at her. Since her vet is the same as Debra’s vet we figured it was okay. She even got on Gwen and walked around. And, trooper that she is, Gwen handled it well. And even though the lady liked Gwen and considered it an honor to ride her, it wasn’t quite the right match. And that is fine. It’s important to find the right person for a horse and the right horse for a person.

Next I was profiled by the Virginia dressage organization VADA/Nova as their member of the month for September. As such they print a profile and photo. I thought it would be great exposure for Gwen so I submitted the picture of the day of our first ride together. Gwen is always pleased to expand her fan club!

Then Brandi Benedict came back for more lessons. Gwen remembered Brandi from the last time, but for this go round I rode her the entire time. She is definitely getting better but still has a long way to go to be balanced and steady. As you can see in the picture, she still braces with the underside of her neck, but she is learning to soften and her trot has gotten very rhythmical, so it is coming. Of course, when I look at the picture all I can see are the faults in my position! Please someone tell me to get my heels down, shorten my reins and get my hands out of my lap! Sorry…I digress for a moment.

gwen and steph Sept 1 2013

The week after Brandi’s lesson, Debra loaded Gwen up with her friend and her horse and took them to nearby Plantation Valley Stable. It was a busy night at the boarding facility with lessons and others riding in the indoor arena, people milling about and horses in the barn aisle. As to be expected Gwen looked around but nothing more. She whinnied once, surprising since she is such the social queen, and Debra had a nice, easy ride on her. We couldn’t be more pleased with her wonderful temperament. I’d like to find a little horse show to take her to just for fun, but it’s hard to schedule. Still, hopefully yet this fall we will make it out once.

 

More “Firsts” for Gwen July 18, 2013

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This week, despite it being the hottest week so far this year, brought more new experiences for Gwen – a lesson and a saddle fit. Unfortunately, Debra and I both forgot to take pictures and video so I don’t have any visuals. I’ll blame it on the heat.

Monday afternoon, I did a lesson on Gwen with my current instructor, Brandi Benedict of Son Rise Stables in Lovettesville, VA (www.sonrisestables.com) . Brandi had me work at a walk and trot on asking Gwen to bend slightly, move away from my inside leg and soften her topline. It was pretty obvious that Gwen had never been required to do that. She went through lots of different positions, but eventually she started to drop her head and relax her back. Mind you just for a stride or so, but hey…it was an attempt and at this point that is all we are looking for. Debra said she could see Gwen thinking about what was being asked of her and Brandi mentioned a few times in the trot that she was going to have a beautiful trot once she learns to carry herself. We didn’t work too hard as it was very hot and Gwen was not very fit, but overall everyone was pleased with her effort and I have confirmation of what to work on until Brandi can come back.

The next day, saddle fitter Gina Perilla (www.ginaperilla.com) came to check saddles for several of Debra’s horses. We asked her to look at what we had to see what would be the best fit for Gwen. As it turns out, none of them really fit her. They are all too wide. The best option currently is one of my saddles. However, it would be best to find something slightly narrower. So, Debra and I are on the lookout for a 17.5 inch, medium-tree dressage or all-purpose saddle that doesn’t cost a lot of money. The idea will then be to sell the saddle with Gwen. Of course, Gwen was a model student for everything and continued to thrive on the attention.

 

 

tail

Just this morning, Debra sent me pictures of Gwen’s tail. When she arrived, she had rubbed out the top of her tail and had a bad sore underneath it. Well, you can see from the photos that her tail is starting to grow back nicely. It will take a long time to come in completely, but it’s made a lot of progress in 5 weeks.

tail 5 weeks