Friday, April 24, 2009


I was a sophomore in college when I was first introduced to Shorty. I had recently been hired to teach riding lessons at a small farm in Ohio, and Shorty was one of their "school horse potential" projects. Shorty was given his name by the young riding students as a joke; Shorty is 16.2.

At first sight, I was alarmed. With a scraggly coat, mane, and tail, with long whiskers and overgrown hooves to boot, I could tell the little guy needed love. My heart melted instantly. Shorty regarded me for a moment in silent wonder, ears forward and eyes bright, before turning around and attempting to kick the owner's head off. The owner confessed that I was the first person Shorty didn't try to eat upon entering the stall. Apparently, the biting and kicking had been going on for some time.

I was told that Shorty had raced for five years and broke the inside seasamoid bone on his right front. I found out later that he didn't just break it; he actually cracked it in half vertically, as a result of years of hard work and stress. I was also told that Shorty had been rehabbed for a year and was ready to start under saddle. I told the owner that I was willing to work with the horse, but admitted that I was green when it came to racehorses. My prior experiences included barrel racing, bronc riding, and reining, but the owner assured me that Shorty had a heart of gold. On that point, at least, he turned out to be right. When I first laid eyes on the sad gray horse, I had no idea that I would eventually purchase the horse and devote an entire blog, let alone thousands of hours and dollars, to him.

Shorty and I have embarked on some epic rides, from the first ride where we crashed through a fence, to the ride I took on him this afternoon, bareback and bridleless at a walk, trot, and canter with some work over ground poles. This blog is a chronicle of our struggles, woes, triumphs, and simply happy moments.

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