Speedy's story actually started in the fall of 2006 when Mickey Dee first showed signs of an early lameness. After joint injections and six months of rest, I knew that Mickey Dee wouldn't be returning as an endurance horse, and I decided to sell him. My plan was to buy a young Arabian gelding that I could start as my next endurance mount. Montoya was still going strong and I simply needed a back-up pony.
I had a mare and knew that two mares was asking for trouble. Mickey was black and always had trouble with our summer heat. So out of that, I decided that I wanted a gray gelding and my search began. I wasn't in a hurry as Mickey was still in my barn, and I didn't want to feel pressured to buy the first thing I saw. I looked online for several months, but nothing was quite right. All the geldings I saw were either too old, had too many miles, or were simply too expensive.
Eventually I spotted an ad on the classified page of Endurance.net, the endurance website, for a 4 year old, gray, Arabian gelding. His price was in the ball park so I sent an email and started making plans to go and see him. After some back and forth messages, Hubby and I made the three hour drive south to Perris, California. When we got there, I was pretty disappointed to discover that he was only three years old and while he was "broke" to ride, I could see that there was still a lot of work to be done. Saddling him required two people, the owner and the rider employed by Feather Arabians. Speedy fussed quite a bit while being saddled and he even reared as he was being bridled. I was already regretting the long drive we had made. Hubby, always non-plussed about equine antics pointed out that all horses do that. Couldn't I just work with him? Well, yeah, I could, especially after all the training I had done with Mickey, but the point of paying this much was to not have to do all of the training.
Since we had driven so far, we decided to see what the rider could do with him. The arena was a mile or so down the road (in an equestrian community with little or no traffic) so we followed the rider at a distance in the car and watched him school Speedy along the way. Much to our surprise, the rider had him plod though every puddle he could find. He sent him up onto the sidewalk and back to the road. He climbed dirt piles in an adjacent field, and jogged him along the shoulder of the road. As we parked and walked to the arena, both Hubby and I were looking at Speedy with a new level of respect. This horse had potential.
The rider, a Hispanic gentleman who clearly had a good touch with horses, worked Speedy at all three gaits while we watched. He circled, he backed, and leg yielded all around the arena. After some time, the owner asked if I wanted to ride. I'll admit it. I declined out of a healthy dose of respect for what a three-year old can do. I wasn't prepared to ride such a youngster.
Hubby and I walked back to the car and started talking about the horse. When I decided to bring Mickey home, the conversation was more about my safety and what would happen if I got hurt. This conversation was about how suitable Speedy might be. Hubby liked him and was impressed with all the rider was able to ask him to do. I was more skeptical. I listed his problems: he was too young to start as an endurance horse (they have to be five before they can do 50-milers), and his ground manners were awful. Hubby pointed out his strong points: he was very athletic and already broke to ride. Knowing my ability to work with naughty horses, Hubby thought the ground manners issues could be worked out easily.
I have a great amount of respect for my husband's opinions. He knows me very wellI and has a good sense of what I can do. If he liked the horse, there was probably more potential than I was seeing at that moment. Hubby was looking at the big picture while I was hung up on a birthdate and some rough edges. I decided to buy him.
To be continued ...