After my parents and I moved to a plot of land in Tennessee back in Fall of 2009, I was privileged enough to soon after get my first horse. The following three years were full of growth for me, even moving up to begin training a young rescue horse. I was lucky to end up with very cheap, but very nice horses. In May of 2013, though, I found myself horseless. My best friend, the young rescue, had to be put down due to liver failure. We suspect it was as a result of the neglect she received as a weanling until she was two years old.
At this time, I was ending my freshman year in high school. My whole life was ahead of me, but I never felt as hopeless as I did right then. I couldn’t afford lessons, much less another horse. I wasn’t even particularly in the mood for a new horse; the idea of quitting was so tempting. Somehow, I managed to push through and my grandparents thankfully paid for a few lessons at a barn so I could start out. After establishing myself there, they stopped paying for them and I began cleaning stalls to afford weekly lessons.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2014, I was able to begin my search for my new partner in crime. Unable to drive at the time, my parents were stuck driving me an hour to and an hour from lessons, so they gave me a choice of continuing lessons or buy a horse that would stay at home. You can guess what I chose.
Thus began the thrill of horse shopping. I had a very tight budget, but all I was really looking for was a bigger horse that was at least green broke. My search started at a few rescues and shortly after I found a cute mare named Chalky that I fell in love with. When I say I fell in love with her, I hope you understand that I was madly, terribly in love. She was a tall, grade Paint with only a few small spots of chestnut on her. The owner of the rescue said she even had two months of professional training! So, my mom and I made the trek out to meet Chalky.
She was very well behaved and polite on the ground. My sister, who acted as a trainer for me, wasn’t with my mom and I on this visit, so I just stuck to groundwork with the mare. By the time I brought her back to her stall and went to leave, I felt like we had really clicked. She hung her head over the door and watched my mom get in the car to leave with the promise of coming the following week and ride her. If the ride went well, we would be taking her home with us. If not, I would be continuing my search.
After the ride, we left the rescue with an empty trailer. Those two months of training that the rescue boasted about happened a year prior and she was just left in a field afterwards. I was devastated but at the same time I had never been so motivated. As soon as we got home, I threw myself back into the horse search. By dinnertime I was making a call to a woman about forty minutes away. She was advertising a trail horse that would be best suited for a woman or a teen to spoil him. The only problem was that he only stood at fourteen hands, but I was a teen and you could bet your ass that I’d spoil him.
The next day, February 2nd of 2014, I went out with my sister to the barn this horse was at. Despite being two hands shorter than what I was looking for and a breed I didn’t particularly care for, he was nothing less than perfect. As soon as I sat on his back, I felt at home. He was the one. Not five minutes into the ride, I called my dad and asked him to bring our trailer over. We were going to take him.
In hindsight, I recognize that it was an impulse buy. However, 3 years later here I am with my little Appaloosa pony that is exactly what I didn’t want. No, we don’t really kick ass or take names, but Reign is my best friend and the greatest partner I could ever ask for.
– Carolyn Schulz