Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our "Annie Oakley"!

Our "Annie Oakley"...

Okay, a little blurb about Oakley,
another pet to add to the menagerie!

Grooming and bonding together.

Our little Annie Oakley was thrilled when her horse arrived via its owner Sunday. He’s 15.3 hands high and seven years old.

The brilliant idea to “lease” a horse versus purchasing a horse is a no-brainer. Our neighbor had the wonderful idea for our daughter’s best interest to seek out her cousin with the idea of the lease, as she had no time for this horse due with a busy career currently booming. A lease was an excellent option for both the owner and our daughter, therefore knowing our daughter had her horse fever running into a high temperature pitch, and the neighbor could also see her love for the animals within her own barn as she employs her assistance often there, she suggested the deal to us and we thought it terrific. The cousin also agreed and is thrilled to meet such a horse nut!

Oakley's stall is all ready!

How great is the opportunity to lease a horse when we are all newbies about the animals in the first place.

How great to lease a horse and save a pile of money financially should a lousy horse is chosen to purchase.

In addition,

How great to lease a horse during good weathered seasons to ride everyday, happily clean its stall daily as well and enjoy the furry friend right next door.

A spare post for her saddle.

Blankets, bits and other assorted items ready to use.

Packing over her new English leather saddle she invested in, our daughter also carried over everything but the kitchen sink. Her tote tray, boots, and helmet, leather cleaners, horse treats and lead ropes now have their own place in an actual barn, and we are now free of these things in our home!

Fetching Oakley in the field for a ride in the paddock.

Oakley will reside next door for some time, playing it all by ear to see if he will be a workable and enjoyable friend all summer long. I hope that if all goes well, the lease on the horse will continue into late fall or early winter. Originally another horse was offered named “Ashes”, but she had her foal in early May and wasn’t yet ready to leave the cousin’s farm until the foal is weaned. Therefore, should Oakley not be compatible, Ashes was offered for a switch later on.

The barn next door where Oakley will live.

My hubby and I have been observing and admiring greatly the daily responsibility our daughter has placed forth with her new passion for horse riding and horses in general. She has proven a maturity and been reasonable in almost every capacity for a continued growing knowledge of the animal in every category, volunteering eagerly week after week by grooming horses and cleaning the barns after horse lessons without pay, working for the neighbor by mucking her stalls, and still babysitting as a mother’s helper every Saturday (five children) saving every penny towards this horse lease herself. She also purchased her own saddle and other supplies, and proved this is not a fad to fade away in the months to come. Nope! I believe this is here to stay!

Getting his energy out before mounting him.

Still not trustworthy, lunge line stays for a bit.

Since Oakley arrived, our daughter has been riding him daily within the outdoor paddock easily in view from our home with our neighbor standing by. Using a lunge line to get the horse's initial energies out as the young horse has enjoyed galloping wildly around the paddock pleased with all the attention it’s getting, it's been a necessary precursor to riding obviously. There was a great disappointment to find the horse had never been ridden with an English saddle before, and after the first attempt to use it, switching to a Western saddle has proved to be more comfortable for the horse, so another new lesson is at hand, that of learning to ride Western with the neighbor’s saddle for now, at least until the horse is broken in for its new English rider.

I admire our neighbor and we so appreciate the plunge into the committment she's offered, a seasoned horse rider and judge of horse shows across North America herself, taking the time to offer our daughter this opportunity. She’s mentioned often how much she sees herself in our daughter, horse crazy from a very young age as well, and raising and showing horses with her father for many years before he passed away. Her own sons want nothing to do with the family farm, so the attention our daughter has been offered is thrilling the neighbor to bits.

To be continued….but first I must make mention of the fact most of the photos above are courtesy of the bandwagon little daughter, our up and coming photographer at eight years old!