There is a new horse at my barn and in my life. I am kind of in shock about it I think. People keep saying, "Aren't you just dying of excitement?" and honestly, I'm excited (as in want to be at the barn all the time and know what he's doing all the time) but I'm also feeling nervous and a little sad and very hesitant about feeling anything. It had gotten to the point with me and Toad where I just lifted a finger or made a noise and she knew what I wanted. I felt very safe with her and knew what to expect (as best you can know with a horse) and we had a true bond. But that wasn't because of Toad per se - it was because of the time we spent together and everything we went through. So, of course I'm not going to have that instantly with another horse. And that's hard - to have to start all over again getting to know this new horse and developing that bond. Although I *think* it will be a good thing in the long run. Despite my bond with Toad she is now much happier where she is with her new little mama getting ridden a lot more and getting to run a lot more and have much bigger areas for turn-out. Plus, she is literally out all day long there (8 hours a day) in grassy pastures as opposed to muddy, small paddocks (which is all you'll find anywhere this side of the mountains unless you go to the Okanogan where it's all dry and rocky - but this time of year in this region everything is mud).
So Thursday we went out to Gig Harbor to pick up Alyosha. He had a different name but I didn't like it so I changed it to Alyosha and my daughter immediately decided to call him Yoshi after the Mario Brothers dinosaur that characters ride. He is very laid back and so far doesn't seem to spook much at all. He has little concerns here or there but so far that has only resulted in pausing for a moment to consider and then choosing to follow directions. Even today when Trainer K. was checking to see if my saddle would fit him with a wider gullet, my friend in the groom room next door dropped a couple plastic bags of stuff on the floor right next to him and he didn't even notice. The only thing that has bothered him so far is when I combed his tail and he got very disturbed and decided he needed to ram me into the wall (which was so fast that it bent my wrist funny and now my arm is sore). That was a little frightening because he's so dang strong. He's like the pitbull of horses. Oh, so his breed is 3/4 Lipizzan and 1/4 Quarter Horse. I can really see the Quarter Horse in him but his color and his face look very Lipizzan.
Yesterday I just felt like I was in shock and while I hung out with him I wondered if I would say yes I was going to keep him after the month trial is up. But I had moments of seeing how sweet he could be and moments of thinking I really like him. Today I felt a little more akin to him and he recognized me so that helped too. The thing is, I would feel this way with *any* new horse. I'm a little nervous because I don't know what to watch out for from him so I'm watching out for everything. Yesterday I was too timid with him and today I was apparently too harsh with him because I still only have a few years of horse handling experience and it has been with a limited number of horses and I just don't know what to watch for yet for safety with new horses.
My friends have all decided I'm keeping him because they all adore him. And honestly, unless the vet check turns up some secret, heinous disease we're unaware of I realize I've already decided I'm keeping him. I realized after I turned in my check for barn board that I paid January's board too without even taking into account this is supposed to be a "month trial". I think I decided before we were even back from Gig Harbor with him that despite my apprehensions he is my horse now. I wouldn't have taken him at all if I hadn't decided that. It just helps my commitment-phobe self to have the illusion of a "month trial". I also noticed that when my friend, M. was admiring him and said she's trade her purebred Lipizzan Favi for him I said "No!" before I even fully heard what she said. I know she was kidding my gut reaction was still "No, he's mine!" He is really pretty. And really sweet. And like a big, snuggly grey teddy bear. His old owners sent him with a thin, completely not-waterproof sheet which is not going to keep him warm on these cold nights so I think I'm going to go shop for a good blanket for him now. You know, cause that's what you do when you have a horse for a month trial is buy him lots of stuff ...