In which there is cuteness and happiness and a horse for a friend

A recap for newcomers: Jacqui is the lovely lady who was in medical distress and needed to find a new home for a Certain Standardbred Mare of Our Acquaintance.  The short version of the the story ends like this: in late December 2006, Fiddle was gifted to me.  

The medical professionals pretty much figured that Jacqui's days were numbered, and that the number was a small one--measured in weeks or months, rather than years.  Thus far, she has proved them wrong, and she's still here almost ten years later.

A few months ago, Jacqui let me know that she was looking for a horse, and asked if I know where she could find one that would be a good match for her and for her granddaughter?

Already, she loves him

Yes.  Yes, I do.

Dory has known Kaleaf since he was a few days old

Kaleaf was gifted to Dory a few years ago when his owner was in medical distress.  She could have sold him--and probably gotten a good price for him, too.

Kaleaf and me in a lesson

He has plenty of skills: he rides and drives, he's good with kids, he's a little lazy under saddle but also disinclined to spook.

Dory ground-driving Kaleaf when they were both a little younger

He isn't an endurance horse, but (I always have to remind myself of this) most riders aren't endurance riders.

Dory says that he's "too good a horse to sell on Craigslist."  She wanted to find Kaleaf a wonderful home, preferably a home with a little girl who would adore him.

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished

Of course, the lion's share of caring for and riding the new horse will fall to Jacqui, so we needed to make sure they were a good match.

It's hard for me to imagine trying to pick up the pieces of a lifetime horse habit after 10 years away from it, especially after letting medical professionals bombard my thinking parts with toxins.  

I have faith that Jacqui will do just fine.

He is the snuggliest horse!

Jacqui emailed me after she got home:  "OMG!  What stuff will he need?  A blanket?  What kind?  Where will I buy hay?  Is there a book I should read?"

Do you remember that panicky feeling?  No, neither do I--because I had a mentor right beside me, ready to help.  Jacqui will be boarding Kaleaf at a facility on Vancouver Island, so she will have some guidance, but I think we can do more.

Kaleaf will live at Fish Creek Farm until May, so Jacqui can get ready
(and so I can keep riding him a few more months!)

I think it's the blogosphere's turn to pay forward all the help we've received over the years:

 Please put your BEST ADVICE in the comments.  If you can recommend a good book, that would be good.  If you have a list of basic list of supplies without which you couldn't keep horses, list 'em.  Any snake-oil remedies you want to warn against?  Put that in there.  

Okay, go.


  1. What a wonderful story of serendipity. And an answer to my prayers.

    The horse is already trained, so that's good. But the horse is white. So my best advice is this product, forever and ever after:

    *lol* I know, not everyone is as vain as I.

  2. I think anyone with a white horse will have their heart warmed by this, I cannot watch it without smiling, maybe Jacqui will like it: (also I appreciate that the children all have proper footwear on even though it's hot out, they're in shorts)

  3. If he's going to be on Vancouver I doubt he will need a blanket. Maybe a rain sheet if he is out more than half the time.

    Make sure everybody wears a helmet all the time. And an adult who has had medical issues may benefit from a protective vest. Mine is just padded, but you can also get ones that protect your spine like an air bag.

    My favorite book is still Littauer's Common Sense Horsemanship. My favorite FB group is Re-Riders (B)older and Wiser, and Tamarack Farms is always worth reading.

  4. Halter, lead rope, bridle, saddle and pad, buckets, grooming supplies, fly spray, hoof pick are all necessities that I had to purchase when getting back into horses after almost 30 years away from horses. Other items like hoof oil, mounting block, first aid supplies are nice to have on hand but maybe not essential at the beginning of ownership.

  5. Things I use more than any other with my horses:

    Oster brushes. They seem a little more ergonomically designed for my hands than others. We have a soft and stiff bristle one and the mane and tail brush. The last one in particular I really enjoy. I'll even use it to bust off thick mud from their coats and to fluff up saddle pads. Horses and saddle pads seem to enjoy it a lot.

    A dependable rope halter. Despite my beta tack and other things, my rope halters are my ol' reliable. I always fall back to them for training moments and reminders.

    A farrier-made hoof pick. The heavy metal variety. Something about that in my hand feels better than the lighter-weight metal or plastic-metal ones.

    A metal trashcan. I keep grain in this. The lid goes on more securely than any other kind of trashcan and those pesky rodents can't get into it easily! (And I've waged a recent war on those buggers for chewing my beta tack!!!)

    Black rubber feed pans and plastic buckets. A million uses. They're cheap and they're durable!

    Waterproof boots (for me). Because mud season is real. And having a comfortable pair of boots to wear out doing horse things that will keep my feet dry and happy is important.

    A good pair of work gloves (for me). I keep these in my car at all times so I have them available when I'm at the barn. I have one plain leather pair and another that are fleece lined for colder months. They're nothing crazy special or expensive, but boy do they do the trick. Great for holding up muddy feet when you're cleaning them out!

    A basic first aid kit for the horse. Some betadine, little scrubbies, gauze, aluminum spray, sore no more, vaseline, triple antibiotic ointment, desitin, bute, etc. Those are the basics that make up mine. They help resolve most things until the vet can be called. (And for my uveitis mare, it's always great to have some ophthalmic ointment on hand.)

    Those are my basics that I use outside of anything specialized with riding or work.

  6. Thank you all very much! I have a ton to learn but I am so touched by your kindness.

  7. So glad you're getting back into riding! Can't offer anything helpful for you, but nothing is better for a child than a horse. My advise to any parent (or grandparent) is always to get a kid a horse. How lucky for her to have you to get her one.


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