Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Origin of “Painted Promise Ranch”

The little girls and I shared Applejack for almost a year before I got my very own first horse, a gelding I bought as a green-broke 3-year-old, figuring we could train him up ourselves with the help of our good friend Gene. Renegade was a beautiful horse - unusually colored and marked as he was a dun snowflake appaloosa - and he was a great ride with an awesome rocking horse slow lope when the girls and I went riding "just us". Unfortunately whenever we rode in a large group with our club his behavior changed drastically in a negative way. He refused to stand still while I was mounting. He would not walk, but danced and pranced, trying to run when I wouldn't let him and not wanting to stop when I did let him run. He would rear up to show his frustration and even fell all the way over backwards once - luckily I fell to the side and not underneath him! I hoped to calm him with more miles but the older he got, the worse his behavior "in public". It was hard to reconcile his different behaviors - almost like he had a split personality. I couldn't bring myself to part with him since he was so good sometimes... one of his best points was his willingness to give his feet to be picked up - even anticipating which hoof I would be asking for next and having it up and ready for me. And he was absolutely gorgeous in a James Dean kind of "bad boy" way...

Randy and I hadn't been married long when he started asking me to sell my horse. "I know you love your horse", he said to me, "but if you will sell him before he hurts you, I PROMISE we will find you a GOOD horse!" It took him a while to convince me, but I finally saw the sense in his suggestion - the older I got, the less willing I was to put up with the aching arms, shoulders and back after every club just wasn't enjoyable to fight with my horse for a 6-hour trail ride. So we put him up for sale and started our search for the promised "good" horse.

Long story short, an acquaintance was selling a 15-year-old retired roping horse so we went to try her. She was a BIG mare, which was rather intimidating, but her behavior was awesome - she was so calm and gentle that their kids had outgrown her and were ready for more challenging mounts. I, on the other hand, was looking for a horse I could relax with. Of course she's not perfect (although great with people, she's a real witch to other horses - very much the BOSS MARE - and it gets worse when she's pregnant...) but she is a joy to ride and I no longer suffer after every trail ride. I wouldn't hesitate to put anyone on her and feel assured of their safety - no matter their age or lack of experience. Randy has peace of mind as well, no longer worrying every time I ride. And if you haven't guessed by now, the mare is a registered PAINT - in fact, although her registered name is Merit's Top Hand, she's been called "Paint Mare" for so long that's what she answers to.

Me & Paint - Scottsdale Saddle Club Drill Team

Paint Mare and Luna, spring 2005

And here’s the “brand” we came up with (for letterhead, business cards and shirts – NOT for the animals!)

P.S. We did finally figure out what Renegade’s problem was – we think! When Andria was taking classes at Scottsdale Community College for her degree in equine science, I took a couple with her. One lesson was on cryptorchid horses, which is a horse with one or both testicles undescended. The more the professor spoke , the more I felt sure I was going to turn the page in my textbook and see a picture of Renegade! I still miss his handsome mug though!

1 comment:

Mikey said...

I love those pictures. Um, nowhere did you say that the mare you're riding is the orneriest thing on 4 legs and there is no herding HER around. Yeah. That's all I can think when I see her is "please don't eat me!"
Y'all look beautiful though :)

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