Transient Animal No… Not sure, 5? Moo, What Number Are We Up To?

I forgot to introduce one of my own transient animals because I was too busy introducing everyone else’s. I forgot to introduce Summit, the $500 wonder horse. Summit was found on Craigslist. My sister-in law who is in cahoots with the devil when it comes to making other collect animals sent me the ad. The ad said he was a nice horse and needed to go by Saturday. It was Monday. Now, I have fallen in love with horses on the internet before. My last dressage horse was one of them and I loved loved loved him. Summit and I had one of those moments. So I called. No call back. Tuesday passes, no call back. Wednesday passes, no call back. I breathed a sigh of relief. Clearly, someone else had fallen in love with this horse I didn’t need. Thursday, the phone rings. The woman who has him says he’s still available and he has to go so she can make room for mare who are about to foal. Fair enough. I had to ask my SIL (that’s sister-in-law in case you weren’t hip to interwebz speak) if she wanted to go with since she has a truck and trailer and I don’t and she has fencing at her ranch and I don’t.  She was twinkling with glee. Nay, sparkling like a Twilight vampire in the sun. She loves a good rescue operation. So on Saturday, we loaded up the truck and drove two and a half hours to Santa Rosa with just one wrong turn, that almost put us in the heart of San Francisco, which made my SIL cuss at me and demand that I drive if we end up in the city. She’s not comfortable driving her rig in city traffic. Clearly.

The woman who had Summit “breeds racehorses.” Right now you’re picturing Zenyatta, at the top of her game. Beating all the colts and being doted upon by grooms and the adoring public. In case you don’t know: she’s one 40,000 thoroughbreds born every year. And Zenyatta didn’t come from this ranch in Santa Rosa. This farm had six mares that I could see. It was early February and they were all in the final stages of pregnancy. They were all standing knee-deep in mud with no place to lay down and no shelter from the rain that hadn’t stopped all day. This farm is like may others where most Thoroughbreds are born and this may be the best place they ever live. Amongst all these poor mares was Summit, also knee-deep in mud and looking a little concerned about the woman coming for him with a halter.

He was muddy, skinny, swollen jointed and a little freaked out but he was keeping it together well. As it turns out, that’s pretty much how he goes through life when people are on the ground next to him. Now, I would like to say, I don’t think the woman who had him was trying to harm him. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she was trying to do the best for him that she could. Getting rid of him was in fact the best thing she could have done. I asked her about his story and this is what I got:

He was owned by a girl who didn’t know much about horses. He’s half Hanoverian (sire), half paint (dam) and his sire was from Nevada where he was born. She bought him as a yearling and mostly kept him in pasture. She wanted to do hunter jumpers. She worked with a trainer who put 30 days on him but she didn’t have any money so she put him back in the pasture. He was on pasture for a year before she finally called a friend and begged for help getting rid of this horse that she could no longer afford. So the friend came to pick him up tonight and will let him go today, for just $500.

Before I tell you this next part I should say, my SIL and I have a long history of going to look at horses together. They almost all have the same story. Beloved pet, no one loves them now, must go to good home, soon. What we have come to know is NONE of it’s true. For all we know we could be faced with a wild jungle beast of an animal. But every time, and I do mean every time, because my SIL is in cahoots with the devil, the same thing happens. She says, “He seems calm enough, you want to get on?” I am prideful so I say, “Sure he seems OK. Do you have a helmet?” (Long ago, we didn’t put on helmets but we were younger and stupider.) She does have a helmet and she says she’ll get on second. It’ always been this way, long before the idea that she would be my SIL ever crossed anyone’s mind. So we saddle the horse, just as we’ve done before. And we don’t bother to put a bit in its mouth because the horse almost never knows what it means. And (this is where there’s some variance because if there’s a round pen we usually just ride in the pen) SIL leads me around on the horse. If he was a heathen, if he was completely wild, if he were dangerous, we would never get on. We value our ability to use the bathroom without the assistance of a nurse. We do some checking to make sure the horse isn’t going to kill us before we get on. I should say, before I get on because we’ve already worked out the finer details before she gets on.

In Summit’s case, he was fine. Green but fine. He wandered around the small yard and was fine with everything. SIL let him go and we did two laps around the truck and trailer on our own and he did exactly what he was supposed to do. SIL got on and he did the exact same thing with her. She agreed he was green but there was nothing wrong with his brain. I got off, untacked him and told the woman I didn’t have cash but I worked at 911 and I had a check book. She said her bank was open on Saturdays and she would cash it right away. I didn’t want to be too eager but I was really liking he horse and I wanted to get him out of there in case his price went up. We made a deal, I wrote a check and we were on our way.

SIL made me back her truck and trailer out onto the street (she doesn’t do reverse) and we opened up the door to the trailer to load him. I have loaded a lot of horses in my life and I have a theory. Horses that are smart and want to be rescued, will get on any trailer. Summit got right into ours. He rode relatively quietly all the way home. Then he unloaded without a fuss looked around for a minute then followed me, head low, into the pasture, where he immediately became low man on the totem pole.

The first time I rode him on the trails was the third time I rode him and I prepared for the worst. I had the western saddle, the chest protector and the helmet. Newton’s first rule of horses says if you are ready, it won’t happen. I was ready for the rodeo and I got a seasoned trail horse.

And he’s been that way ever since. Summit has some quirks. He has a hard time with people on the ground. He has excellent ground manners but he worries all the time. He jumped on my foot twice in the first month. Once someone’s on his back, he’s a whole different animal. He’s confident. He will pack anyone and everyone out on the trails and we have put that to the test. Recently, our group of friends rode in the Woodside Day of the Horse. The costume theme this year was “Holiday on Horseback.” Summit and I went as May Day. No one under the age of 50 got it. I guess pagan holidays are dead.

I guess when SIL and I giggled all the way back from Santa Rosa about how nice this horse was, we were spot on. He cared not one bit about any of the costume. He was the horse that made other horses spook.

He’s really the best $500 horse I’ve ever had. I love him so much I didn’t even care that his cancer scare cost me a small fortune. He’s like one of those credit card commercials:


Medical bills….$1000

Fake foliage…..$20

Having someone say your horse looks like a float? Priceless.


3 responses to this post.

  1. What a cutie! I wish we could ride some time. Love that costume!


  2. Posted by Moo on January 23, 2011 at 15:24

    I rode him….. He’s a GREAT horse!


  3. […] May 12, 2011 by aztechalo in Animals, Horses. Tagged: Horse rescue. Leave a Comment Remember my skinny, faded, dry coated, rescue horse, Summit? Well this summer, he has decided to blossom into quite the good-looking guy. He’ still a […]


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