Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Clinic and an AMAZING Discovery

[NOTE: Late last night, I hit "Publish" instead of "Save"--so this post was originally put up prematurely, without the story! But it was bedtime on a school night, and there were so many photos I didn't want to just delete it.
So here was my challenge: "See if you can figure out the story-line."
Now I've returned with the narrative.

All last week I hemmed and hawed, trying to decide which of several events I would take Kate to this past weekend. There was the very expensive two-day mountain trail clinic; the Saturday trail challenge (competition) a long ways away (mucho gas); the little local show on Sunday, with their first "ranch trail" class; and the KVTR was sponsoring a "mini-clinic" of skills that would be helpful on the trail on Saturday.
Originally, I opted to let others sign up for the mini-clinic, as I had taken one of the two slots at last spring's clinic with Maddie. I decided I couldn't afford either the expensive clinic or the long trip for the trail competition. So I was going to just do the local show for practice, maybe even taking both Kate and Maddie.
Then RT's mommy's mommy emailed to ask if she could come over for a quick visit with the ol' man on Sunday, so there went that plan. Then Pat called to say that KVTR president Walt had said there might still be room in the mini-clinic, so I should come ahead.
Well, okay then: Saturday's mini-clinic it was.
After a bit of racing around in the wee hours to prove that they were in charge of decisions,Kate loaded and traveled well, and we arrived at Windsong Ranch (something familiar sounding about that name...).
The amazing thing that happened started as I was unloading Kate: a woman walked by leading two horses to an outside pen next to the outdoor arena. At first I thought the dun overo was a fellow club member's little mustang, but no, he was too big to be Wendy. But his coloring was sure close to Kate's, I thought, and went back to saddling up.
What happened next I will save for a moment.
Suffice it to say, I was barely able to focus on the instruction being offered.
Kate did well in yielding both her hind quarters and her forehand from the ground.
She paid good attention to the instructions for the mounted work.
Lots of bending and turning and follow-the-leader, with only one or two instances of "ugly-face" when others got too close--for which she was rewarded with work, work and more work.All in all, Kate and I did nicely on exercises that we were both familiar with, but it was good to have some structure and feedback--as I commented on Lytha's blog, I get awful lazy when I work on my own.

But what happened just before the clinic was worth 100 times what I paid to attend:
I had led Kate up for a quick look-see at the indoor arena, when I glanced over at the little Paint that had gone by the trailer earlier. There was something familiar about the marking on the right shoulder and side of his neck... It looked a bit like a musical note (or maybe, my daughter the cop would say, a set of handcuffs).
I convinced him to turn around, and found the two "cattle skull" spots that I was pretty sure were there.
Do I know you? he seemed to ask.
It was "Pete" (registered name: TwoWay Waltz),
the second colt I bred and raised out of Misty!
Pete is Kate's uncle--his sister is her dam.
They would be a perfect matched pair, in build, color, and temperament.
Growing up, Pete was a character! Several times after we moved out to EvenSong Farm, he would sneak out of the pasture to "play" in the swing set.
As a yearling, Pete took champion gelding at the Kittitas County Fair.
He was a breeze to start. These two photos are from his third ride!
I don't think I put even 20 rides on him that spring--he was only two. But several were in walk-trot classes at local schooling shows!
It was this laid-back personality that got him sold, to what I thought was a good couple (a former 4H leader and a farrier) from Yakima.

But from there, Pete's story took a turn for the worse.
I started hearing from different people later that they abused him in various ways. When I heard he was for sale, I tried to broker his purchase to a friend of a friend, who really wanted a mellow Misty colt. But the owners snubbed me, and refused to tell me where he did go when he was sold.
Two years later that girl contacted me and offered to sell Pete to me (she found me through APHA records). But she called on a Saturday, I went to see him on Sunday, and she needed the money by Monday (she was leaving the state)! I just couldn't put anything together that fast! Later, when I had the money available and contacted her dad, he said she had decided not to sell him. Pete was left, pretty well unused, at her parents' home for two more years. But he was back here in the Kittitas Valley, and every month or so I would go by , just to check on his welfare; the last time was last June, just before school got out.

Now, here he was, at the ranch I went to for a clinic that I hadn't planned on attending!When I asked, I found he was in for training. He had been purchased (along with the flea-bitten gray) by a young family with two kids under 10. (Trainer's wife thought that the dad might be a state trooper?) They had been told he had never been ridden, but the trainer could tell that wasn't quite true. And telling him about the abuse, he also said he could sense that as well, in Pete's occasional defensiveness. Pete had been there about a month and was making good progress in learning trust and how to be a saddle horse (again). I gave the trainer my contact info, and asked that they pass it along to the family. He was sure the couple would love to find out about his past, and get some baby pictures, as well. I'm anxious, myself, to hear how they came across him for purchase.

Ironically, I met my friend Anita when she and her husband fell in love with Pete as a yearling. But all their cash was tied up in a small group of rescues, so they were never able to buy him. When I called to tell her about "finding" him again, she asked what the name of the trooper was. When I told her, she said the the wife/mom was the daughter of one of her and her husband's best friends!
I haven't yet heard from them, but it's only been two days. But even though he's not back in my barn, I feel as though this was a reunion that was meant to happen. It's good to know he will be loved and cared for.
And I will let them know that if he ever needs a home, he has it here with me.


  1. Well, I'm hoping the amazing discovery has something to do with that absolutely adorably baby horsey. Looking forward to the narrative!

  2. aww is that baby Kate? Did she get to meet her mom? She sure looks muddy in the one picture, and the swings! crazy!
    Looks like a fun time anyways.

  3. I'm glad he's going to finally have a good home. I bet it just kills you to sell a horse and find out her was abused. I'm so happy you now know where he is and will be well taken care of. He's a handsome guy.

    Love all your paints, they are beautiful.

  4. Wow I cant believe how much he looks like Kate!
    Pretty neat you got to find him again, but sad hed been abused. I hope they get in touch with you and maybe he will end up at you house once again.

  5. he's really beautiful, like kate.

    i just found the most precious photo in your slideshow. a mare has both front legs in a tire, and her baby has both front feet ON the tire. it's adorable!


  6. Thanks, everybody, for your comments. I'm still a little on cloud nine over the whole thing.

    Lytha, that's Kate (at about a week old) with her mama Zoe, Pete's sister. The fastest way to tell Kate and Pete apart is her bald face--he only has a blaze.

  7. Hope it works out for him - he deserves to have a good home. I think there's a special place in the afterlife for people who abuse animals - at least I hope there is!

  8. What an awesome story! That's totally fantastic, I'm grinning for you. :)

  9. Wow! Your story gave me goosebumps! I hope you get to keep in touch with Pete through his new owners, and I'm glad it seems that his life has made a turn for the better.

    Keep us updated on what you find out about that handsome boy :)


  10. Pete Update,

    So this story continues and im sure it will be told better by someone else. Our family has Pete (Walter) now. We live in Cle Elum and he has 7 other horses to keep him company. Funny how this story has come to light. My father it Anita's friend (Martin) as mentioned above. We bought Walter for my daughter (8) Katie. We had him at Gerald George's for training because we thought he had never been used and we wanted a safe horse for our daughter and son. We also wanted a horse that our daughter could show at fair in open horse (seems now we know he is an experienced ribbon winner). I feel so much better knowing where he comes from and that he is in a better place. The character thing is still true. He lifts gates of their hinges and seems to be intentionally letting the other horses out. Him and the flea bitten gray talked about as well (his name is johnny boy) are escape artists and even go into the irrigation ditches so they can roll out the other side and go to greener pastures. We had to actually to a stake out basically to see where in the world they were getting out. They literally walked into irrigation ditch/laid on side and rolled out under fence. Amazing how smart those two are..So our clan is; Peanut, Willy, molly, Walter (Pete), Sparky, Johnny Boy. We also have pigs. Two german shepards that one thinks he's a big and a barn cat that thinks he's a dog.

  11. What a cool update! Thanks Andrea :)