Earlier this spring I started looking for a new horse as my trusted Tennessee Walking Horse, Moe, had turned 24. He has earned his retirement from the trails.
I put out the word that I was looking for a new ride and soon links to Facebook pages and videos started arriving in my DMs. I quickly discovered that modern day horse purchasing was similar to online dating. Just like online dating there was ghosting. I guess those horses were bots or committed. There was a flashy grey Walker that caught my eye, so a friend went to check him out and advised that I pass as he was all color and no substance. There was a younger horse that seemed to fit the bill, but he was sold the day before I sent a like and conversation starter.
Then there was Zeus.
I liked what I saw in his video, a black Walking Horse that appeared to have a sweet gate and was trail ready. The video had him in a variety of settings including crossing ponds and large streams. The questionable part of his bio is that he was that he was in the possession of the Kentucky Humane Society.
I started the process of slowly drawing out information about Zeus. I learned that he was an 11-year-old that had been surrendered because the owner could no longer afford to feed him, he was a bit barn sour, he did not like to poke along, he did not consistently hold gait, and he liked to buffalo. He was spending the next three months with the trainer.
I filled out an application to be considered for Zeus. The conversation about him continued in stops and starts over email. I will admit that Zeus was not the exact horse I was looking for, but I was interested. We both want to trail ride only and I don’t like to poke along either. He could be Mr. Right Now.
I live and work and hour and a half from the farm. My 76-year-old father takes care of the horses on a day-to-day basis. While deep down I wanted another high headed, flashy racking horse, in theses uncertain times there was a lot to be said for a older, solid trail horse. Trying to find Moe’s clone was not realistic.
As I was the first to apply for adoption, I was the first to see him. I went to meet Zeus with my dad, uncle and mother in tow. (I promise, this is the only first date where I would ever bring my family!) As we met him and handled him on the ground, the horse demonstrated a good temperament and a willingness to please. He was a nice looking horse and smaller than what I was used to riding. The KHS representative rode him first and then I rode him. I could tell he was trotty, but as I gathered him in I could feel his front end lift as it should.
I committed rather quickly. I adopted Zeus and came back to take him home the next day.
Zeus reminds me of the horse Moe replaced. Going opposite temperament worked well last time. Zeus will be a challenge for me after 20 years with the same horse. I am used to an automatic ride and my ground skills have gotten lax. The gait may always be an issue, but we will improve with time. Providing a stable barn life with a regular schedule and building a horse & rider relationship will go a long way.
Zeus is challenging me. I am catching myself questioning my skill set and abilities with a horse. He is not an outlaw, but he is not a beginner’s horse either. I am not a beginner. I do enjoy a challenge and I like a horse with some get-up-and-go to him. It is time to cowgirl up.