The Horse Yeller

“There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”

Ronald Reagan

How have I lived 49 years without a relationship with a horse? I don’t know. My insides could use it. I have been afraid of them most of those years. And then something happened. I moved to a farm and am getting to know horses.

And it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. I want my own horse.
I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t get one, do you? I have a farm, I have a barn, I kinda know how to ride, I have a cart full of hay…

And some hay in the front field.

I’ve always wanted to do this with a roll of hay and this year I did!

Yes, I am on the hunt for a “husband” horse or a “granny” horse or a beginner’s horse. They all mean the same thing: a horse that will carry anyone. A horse that is so well trained and calm someone who never rides can ride him or her. Oh, and I want this horse to be beautiful. And not too expensive. Tall order? I’ll say.
You don’t happen to remember my trail ride, do you? Oh my. I didn’t breathe the whole time and came home with a backside that was sore for days. I was so afraid. I was sore afraid.
I’ve come a long way, Baby. I’d like a do-over on that one. If I rode Cowboy today, he wouldn’t be off in the neighbor’s yard eating her flowers and bird seed.  No siree-bob, I’d be able to control and move that horse where I’d want him to go.
So I look on equine.com and equinenow.com and dreamhorse.com. I comb craigslist. I’m not looking for A horse, I’m looking for THE horse.
THE horse to love and cherish and take care of forever.
THE horse to ride around on this farm.

I went to meet a horse last week. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep the night before. I drove 2 hours to meet him. I came home a little disappointed. We just didn’t have the report I am looking for. Am I asking too much? Maybe, I don’t know. Should I wait for the perfect partner? Or just get one that will do?
I don’t know horses that well. I don’t know how smart they are. I don’t know how loving they are. I don’t know how they relate to people. I don’t know how they respond to people. I’ve spent most of my years avoiding them.
But now that I have a farm….I WANT A HORSE!
I spoke to my horseback riding instructor about it. She said—hey, why don’t you wait? You can get through the winter here first. You can lease a horse now and see how that goes. You can learn some more about horse keeping and make sure you like it. You can get further along in your riding skills. Then maybe next spring you can look around.
She was talking to ME. She doesn’t know ME very well.
So, I said. Honey, I’m pushing 50. And I want a horse now before my bones get any more brittle. I’ve got the pasture and barn, well, a barnish kind of place. I’ve got some money tucked away for a farm animal, so it might as well be a horse. There are horses already on my farm. And I’ve been able to figure out pretty well how to take care of a child. I think I can take care of a horse.
I talked her into it. Alright then, she said. Let’s get you a horse. I’ll come and give you lessons at your farm on your horse.
THAT’S what I’m talking about. Never take no for an answer.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned that horses live on my farm. They are not ours; they lived here when we bought the place. When we first moved here, I would NOT go in the pasture with them. No way, no how. They scared me half to death. I thought they were wild and untrained. Now I know that they aren’t as wild as I thought. They aren’t broke to ride or anything, but they are not crazy wild. They were working horses at some point in their lives. But now they pretty much just hang out on the farm. Last year they each had a baby. My husband happened to be up here doing some due diligence on this farm when the babies were born. He emailed me back pictures of the moms and their babies by their sides. Love. One of the colts is now my daughter’s. He was the first of the two colts to approach a person and it was my daughter he came right over to. His name is Jessi. I talked the owner into selling Jessi to us. And he decided to give him to us. Give! The people here are so nice.

Jessi’s warm, smart eyes.

Yes, he will be fixed and trained at the appropriate time.

We started feeding them about a month ago and now they come to us.

We can pet their heads. Here’s one of the moms yesterday with my daughter.

I have a few grooming tools that I am going to try to use on them. With a fence between us, I mean.Their manes and tails are full of what we call cockelburs. I don’t think they’ve been groomed before.
And I’m working to fix up this end of the barn for them. I want it to look better from the road without spending a lot of money right now. This is some kind of tin or metal on it. Any ideas to immediately and inexpensively improve this side? Come on. I know you’ve got more vision than me. Give me some ideas.

That opening on the right we’ve decided to make a door, I know that much. It is also totally open on the left end. It was used for equipment and hanging tobacco. I want it to be our horse barn. Oh, and I’m going to take down those big trees on the right. I’m afraid they will fall on the barn.

I videotaped me calling the horses down from the hill. Check it out at www.rebekahteal.com. I call it the Horse Yeller. No, not the Horse Whisperer, but the Horse Yeller. You’ll see what I mean. Haha.
So, I’m horse shopping. I’ve been talking to lots of people selling their horses. The question I always ask is this: “So….your goofy friend from the city is visiting you. Do you let her ride this horse?” If the answer is no, that horse is marked off my list. Because as you all know. I AM the goofy friend from the city.
Talk to me.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl living in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 22 Comments

  1. Pam deMarrais says:

    Rebekah, that is quite the lady like horse call! I am sure that the horses love it….and the sweet feed. By the way, doesn’t sweet feed smell good? My daughter had a horse….I love the way so many things about a horse smell. I love the smell of hay in the barn, the leather of a saddle, and the general scent of a horse. Ahhhh. Best of luck to you in your horse quest. I hope that you find a big sweetie.

  2. Rebekah, as a life-long horse person, I would have to say I would have told you the same thing as your trainer. In fact, that is what I tell people all the time. You do have the benefit of a facility and hay on your side, though. Having done many equine rescues in my lifetime, most come from people who get bit by the horse bug then lose their interest, finances or just don’t know enough to keep a horse healthy and safe. My advice? Learn as much as you possibly can. Ask as many questions from reputable horse people as possible. Preferably ones who have nothing to gain from your inquiries. Remember that used car salesmen used to be called horse traders for a reason. Ask yourself, "Can our household budget take a $1000 emergency vet bill? And at what point does the bill get too high and we make the hard choice to put our friend down?" It’s not pleasant to think of, but responsible horse owners need to be prepared for those decisions. Make sure before you take the plunge that you have your trainer give the horse the once over. As a beginners horse, you probably won’t want to do a pre-purchase exam (cost can run $300 plus in our neck of the woods.), but most good trainers can spot the obvious (lameness, poor health, misrepresented age, temperment, etc.)Most beginner safe horses are going to have some years under their belts, and even a healthy older horse has maintanance needs the younger ones don’t (just like us, eh!) Heading into winter, this is when people are anxious to get rid of horses, so prices will be lower, but it also means people are more desperate to get rid of them, so are more likely to lie. Wait for all the lights to turn green. Not just the emotional connection. Check out some equine rescues in your area, if you can. Reputable ones will evaluate every horse in their care and be totally forthright about their needs. Finally, stay in training! You will never learn all there is to know, and the horse world is changing all the time. Just ask anyone here in Cali dealing with the EHV1 outbreak last year!

    OH, and as for your adorable barn, could you reface it with reclaimed barn wood and paint it? Wish we had neat old barns like that around here!

    Blessings!
    Monique

  3. Diane Van Horn says:

    I just know you will find your horse. I am so happy for you, the farm life really suits you. Love the horse yeller clip…Sweet Feed!

  4. Cindy says:

    Seeing those horses run over the hill to you was beautiful! I would be standing there with tears in my eyes if I could behold horses running to me for their dinner. Just wonderful!

  5. meredith (hereford girl) says:

    I second the suggestions from Monique! This thing called horse ownership can get very expensive very fast! If your trainer would allow you to lease a horse for a year to see how it goes, that would be a very smart idea. If you fall in love with that horse maybe it could be a lease- to- own kind of deal. Take it SLOWLY!
    Do you have a farm sitter who is horse savvy if you want to go away for the weekend? or a Holiday? You cant just let them fend for themselves while you are gone- thats when they get themselves hurt. There are MANY things to consider before you jump in with both feet. Lastly, it is not hard to buy a horse. But if things dont work out, for whatever reason, it can be VERY hard to find him a new home. What if he becomes injured and can no longer be ridden? No one else will likely want him, so you will be responsible for his care for the rest of his life.
    Lastly, I think it was Winston Churchill who first said "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man"- he was right on! Good luck and think this through from EVERY angle- its not like having a dog.

  6. Lisa says:

    hehe I love your yellin’ :) They know where to go when food’s waiting!

    Keep on looking for your horse. It’s out there somewhere, waiting for you to find him or her. It will be good and gentle.

    My husband dreams of owning a horse too. We must get out of the suburbs, and be selective about our next home (it will be a farmette/hobby farm, God willing.) It’s been a slow slow process, and I hope we don’t have (like you said) old and brittle bones (which are already setting in) before we are able to own one.

  7. JoEllen says:

    Rebekah — I loved your new blog and the horse yell == how cute is that and to see those horses come running — oh my what joy they caused in me and an excitement! I always loved horses too but after get bucked off an old mare (that was her name too) I was too afraid to ride another one and that was when I was young! Now many years later, I still love them but maybe the children’s horses going in a circle are more my speed!

    As for the barn — if you want to leave the tin on — couldn’t you put on a metal primer on and have scenery painted by you or someone else — like maybe horses running down a hill to get their sweetfeed???

  8. MartiBee says:

    Take a deep breath. Do it again.

    I raised Arabians for 25 years and I’ll give you a little advice…

    Don’t think that a mare is a better choice than a gelding. It’s easy to see a mama and a foal and who doesn’t love foals? But mares are no different than most human females. They can be B*&%HY. I found most average geldings have pleasing personalities.

    You might think you want a "baby sitter" and that might do for now, but what about in 6 months? Try to find a gentleman around 7-12. Try to get a horse from someone who actually knows horses. Many "kids" horses have picked up some very bad habits.

    Put an ad up in the local feed store detailing what your looking for. Call the local large animal vet and let them know as well. AND when you finally do find "the one," call HIS vet as well. There are many tricks to make a horse look better than he/she really is.

    Go to a couple of shows. Many times you’ll find "for sale" signs on horse trailers and they aren’t talking about the trailer but the horse inside.

    Also, call a couple farriers. These people that are around the local horses often times know what’s for sale. They can also tell you if the horse is well behaved.

    But I encourage you to take your time. It took me almost 6 months to find the horse of my dreams. I had her for 27 years. However, about a year after I bought this gal, I found another horse of my dreams. Just remember, he/she is out there waiting for you. It’ll happen. And in the mean time, work on your skills and your knowledge base. In 6 months time, you won’t be a beginner any longer.

  9. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    When we lived in Central Texas we becane friends with the mother of a ‘horse whisperer’. Eric Clarke trains horses and their owners. He has moved back to TX and has a ranch where he has workshops for this training. Please see his website, eququest.com One time we were invited to watch Eric work some horses that had never been broken. I was totally in "awe" with his technique. He uses a round pen to do all his work. The idea is to keep the horse going in a circle while training. Eric worked several unbroken horses one morning, one at a time and each one had a rope around its neck and was kept trotting around the large round pen, until it tired and then he pushed it some more until it calmed down. Eric would walk up to it and stroke the rope over the horse’s back and neck and head and if it was still frightened he would make it trot again. Once the horse accepted the rope, Eric would start to put the blanket on its back and then the saddle and finally, he was able to get on and ride the horse. This was an amazing thing to witness. As Eric says, "once the horse licks its lips, you know it is accepting what is happening". You will find lots of good info on his site, plus Eric is a super guy.
    Thanks and good luck, Marcie

  10. Donna says:

    I say go for it! You’ll find your horse. I enjoy these posts so much. I can’t wait to hear more about your lifestyle change. I agree with the others. I’d paint that metal. Maybe the red you like so much!

  11. Rebekah, Love the horse yelling. lol. It sounds like when I call my chickens and they all come running. My husband and I have been watching this movie on netflix. Well, let me start over what I thought was a movie about women running a ranch, turned out to be a series with 224 episodes, we watch 2 or 3 a day. (my son teases us and says it is our Australian soap opera) HA! It is based in Australia. I think you and your daughter would enjoy it. the name is McCleod’s Daughters. WARNING! It is addicting. the good thing is no commercials. Anyway keep searching for that horse that will become your best friend. Keep us posted, as I cant wait each time to see what new things are going on at Rebekah’s Farm. Be Blessed

  12. Margaret says:

    Hi Rebekah, Take all the advise on the horses you can get it will pay off. About that tree by the barn. Unless it is about to fall down just trim it as a good shade tree is always welcome when you want to groom your horse or tie him for awhile with the saddle on. Horses do get hot just like people and like shade and cover from rain and snow. Old barns sometimes just need a good clean coat of sealant/paint even metal ones but you would have to clean it first or prime it. Check with your local older hardware dealer and on line both. Have fun and glad you got a second opinion on those chimneys so you can get your fireplaces up and running sometime soon.

  13. Debi says:

    Keep up the faith. Over the past year, I have found more than a dozen free horses on Craigslist. We now are home to five of them. Each of them are special and unique in their own way. Sunshine and Roxie were our first two. The former owners did not know if they had ever been ridden, but thye are beautiful. I have been riding them both bareback for over a year. Next came Tuscan. Tuscan had a baddly broken hoof (the part that is like the nail and it had been gouged out.) She is very independent (and very tall) but loves to have a hug and her neck and back rubbed. (and the hoof has healed). Blue can next. He is a funny fella. He is actually white with grey spots and definately a man’s horse. He will take treats very nicely, let me scratch his nose and give him kisses, but will not let me any where past his head. Finally, Bullet came to vist and has stayed. He was the smallest of all when we got him, but suddenly he is taller than Roxie and Sunshine and quite full of himself (and lves to escape the pasture.)

    Unfortunatley, my riding days are limited right now. While riding Roxie, she reared up and tripped down a hill and landed on top of me and then step on me as she got up. Fortunately she is OK, but my back is broken in 9 places. This absolutely was not her fault and I still go to the pasture every night to give treats and kisses. I always give Roxie and extra hug and tell her we will ride again in December. (Maybe not this one, but most postively next one!).

    So the point of this whole tale, is to keep your eyes and your heart open. You want to look not for the horse that you want, but one that needs you.

    Keep us posted.

    Debi
    herb19355

  14. Lori says:

    Sorry but I agree with the trainer and Monique. I was never a horse person and one day due to some friends loosing their stall space and their owner was pregnant.Long story short I went from 1 dog to 1 dog and 2 full grown horses.The expense was a bit of a shock and the work load was interesting.

    The real trouble for me came when one of them smashed their head into the stall door and ended up with a sizable gash. Where I live vets don’t travel for equine.So,just to get the closest traveling vet was several hundred dollars.

    Really,take your time.Get the barn ready.Fence repair,stall repair.The right friend will be ready when you are.

  15. donna says:

    Hey, My FB Horsey Friend !!!
    U r Hilarious and very entertaining as usual !!! You make me laugh alot with your Grand Humour…

    Take your time…You will find each other…Hang out with your instructor and learn what you can and Love on those beautiful horses you have taken under your wing…u r amazing…

    Think i’ve found the horsey for me…i have to wait…he’s still available and they aren’t in a hurry…Time will tell !!! Hang n there, Patience is of the GrEaTEsT essence…

    Hugs from FL…donna
    Enjoy the Season u r In !!!
    Ur Farm is awesome !!!

  16. Nan says:

    Rebekah, how great to see those horses come running when you call them.
    I think you got a lot Pv great advice about the horse finding. Those
    trees, tho, you might want to talk to the neighbors or the extension agent before you cut them down. Above someone mentioned shade. They might also be protection, like a windbreak. So unless they ate rotten or damaged and about to fall apart, it might be better to not cut them down.
    I love reading and seeing your adventures on your farm. It inspires me at my new place (rental and not new new) which has a big yard. I’m making lasagna beds and though the rain has started for the winter, I’ll keep making beds for spring. Tho I do have garlic coming up already.

  17. Pam Morris says:

    I had 6 horses during the BEST time of my life! They were all great, even when they were all work! Getting hay, grain, grooming, feeding, shots, etc. (can you give a shot? You’ll need to learn. What if one has an injury and needs a daily shot?) But there was nothing better than watching them kick up their heels and tails and run and prance around like race horses! Talk about "unbridled joy"! Saddest day of my life was when I had to give them up and find homes for them (I’m still working on the forgiving the ex part! Not sure I’ll ever be able to do that) Wait until you fall for goats and chickens next! They’re sooooo much fun, too! Next you’ll take up gardening, if you haven’t already! LOL!

  18. Carol in NC says:

    I hate to say this but I kinda, sorta agree with your instructor. Sorry! I was so eager to get my first horse and even after looking for quite some time I still got the wrong one. He seemed great, was VERY well trained, smart and healthy, but he was unpredictable and explosive. Way too much horse for me. Needless to say he didn’t do anything for my confidence nor I for his. I did lots of natural horsemanship and learned pretty quickly what he could tolerate. After a three day Parelli clinic the instructor pulled me aside as told me in no uncertain terms to "get rid of that horse." She assured me that his issues were not my fault but I still felt like a big failure.
    I kept him for a couple more years and we both tried! He was fantastic in the arena doing flatwork, which we both enjoyed, but he hated trail riding and would be a dancing ball of sweat and energy at the end of the ride even though sandwiched between horses and riders he knew. Not fun. He now lives with an experienced horse guy who is an Iraqi war vet, and I think they are good for each other.
    But there ARE good horses out there. Jenna from Cold Antler Farm has been utterly lucky with Merlin.
    If you decide to get a horse now you can always ask the sellers to let you try him first for a
    week or two. Good luck!

  19. Shery says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    I know what it is to have an achey hankering for a horse. I began riding as a toddler. I am now 56. For most of the middle of my life, I was horseless. When I thought I was ready to own one again, I wasn’t … not really. My life wasn’t ready and neither was I. And, I had yet to learn how to wait *patiently*.

    Life made me wait and although it was hard, it was best. Taking a horse into your life is a huge committment … or it should be. If you don’t see it as such, it will never be a satisfying partnership. If the rest of your life isn’t prepared for your new ‘marriage relationship’ to take place, then that part of your life will suffer. If only I had a dollar for every time I knew of a marriage ending or kids learning to loathe horses because of a horse crazy mom/wife. Truly, it is epidemic in the equine community.

    "Now I’m grown up & have my own life … I WANT A HUSBAND!"
    No smart girl would utter such a thing because it sounds like a recipe for a wreck. So, my thoughts for you are based on mistakes made by others and by myself. Since you are 50 not 30, you don’t have time to make some of the mistakes youth is more tolerant of. More now than ever before, be a good listener of experienced horsefolk … sages that speak softly and realistically.

    Read about horse behavior, how horses think BEFORE you dive into owning one. Dr. Robert Miller, DVM has one of the best books there is on the topic. His approach will be very easy for you to ‘get’. I know you’re no stranger to doing research (being an attourney). You owe it to yourself and to the horse who will one day own you. For one thing, understading the creature will help you HUGELY while you look at possible equine pardners.

    Logic is crucial, that said, I am a hopeless romantic and I believe in chemistry. A horse that will be mine (yours) needs to qualify on the BIG items (safety, a good fit, soundness, etc) … but after that, you really need to ‘click’. If you don’t feel it, it isn’t there. If it is there, don’t ignore it. FEEL is what ultimately takes a person from merely riding/having horses into true horsemanship. And, you don’t have to be an advanced horse person to get your first taste of it. It can start in the beginning of your experience. At that point, it is just a little spark … but it can be there. It is a hunger. It is the difference between wanting a date for prom and seeing yourself growing old with someone … loving their wrinkled hands.

    You DO have the place. And I foresee the horse of your dreams fitting into your family like it was always meant to be. Just don’t be too eager to get a horse and miss that next ad that would take you to the horse of a lifetime. When you meet that divinely appointed creature, it may surprise you to feel as if the horse has also waiting for YOU. Happy hunting. Every day gone by is one day closer to running your cold wintery fingers under his or her mane … and knowing that one more item on your bucket list can be checked off.

  20. Kim K. says:

    I just got this email from Alicia Silverstone re: homeless horses. Thought of this immediately!

    http://thekindlife.com/blog/post/help-homeless-horses

  21. Well,well,well, … your words take me to my youth & the feelings I had then & still cherish, pertaining to the horse, & the yearning associated with them. I have read some wise words here, from others who have shared their hearts with horses most of their lives. I wish to add words of wisdom with a wee different twist …. like people, ALL horses are different looking & have different personalities, & deal differently with as many people as they meet. Concerning the barn, paint it, white wash it, put your door in & leave it. The same with the trees; they provide shade for the horses in the summer & PROTECT the building in the winter, as well as provide a wind barrier for the horses & the building. I hope that you will not permit "FEAR" to rule wisdom. And don’t think or treat your horse like a "people" … they are NOT anything like us!!! They DO NOT need blankets on them in the winter, UNLESS they are ill & it’s storming out, OR , you are transporting them around the country to different climates for show purposes, & need their coats slick. Horses have been my life for the better part of 59 yrs. Care for them, protect them, teach them, watch them, and you will learn more than any book or one person can tell you. They are THE most AMAZING animal God created, in my opinion. I wish you well in your search. Gwendolyn

  22. KimberlyD says:

    Why didn’t my note to you didn’t show up? I wrote to you asking you please adopt a rescue horse way before Oct 26 when Kim K wrote to you. I was just wondering, I enjoy reading your blog.

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