Treat Me Gentle
1998 American Quarter Horse
By LaFever Te out of Bug Treat
I moved to Alaska in 2000 and left my sweet Belle horse behind at my moms gorgeous property. I didn't get much of a chance to ride because good instructors were scare and lesson horses for advanced riders were pretty much non existent. A year after I moved Belle died and I was heart broken in ways I can never describe. My heart was so broken that I knew if I didn't start riding I might never do it again. I started working for a trainer who seemed sweet and kind to her horses. A family had a stud in full time training and had purchased a green hot QH mare for their teenage daughter. They didn't have enough money for a second horse in full time training so I took the mare on as a side project.
The first time I saw her I thought she was the ugliest horse I had ever seen. It was pre digital camera phone in every pocket days but I'm not being mean. She was terrible to ride, rough, unbalanced, and GREEN! She didn't know what leg meant, her response to everything was to spaz out, was skinny, u- necked, and introverted. She also had a reputation for being dangerous. She flipped over with the other trainer and thrashed on the ground on top of trainer. Another boarder expressed concern when she same me alone with Bre lose in her stall. Apparently she kicked this person, sent her to the hospital, and had quite a reputation. On the flip side she moved really nice, wanted to learn, and I wasn't seeing a mean bone in her body.
As time wore on I found out that the trainer wasn't so sweet or kind. Bre was being ridden in a wire twist and a German martingale. Seem that u-neck wasn't her fault. She was young and growing like a weed and wasn't getting extra feed like the other horses. I witnessed beatings of other horse by the trainer and her main assistant and I have no doubt Bre received the same treatment. I was told stories by other boarders of watching her get beat by kids because she wouldn't stand for a bath.
I really connected with the teen owner through all of it. She wasn't happy with the trainer and was as hurt as the horse. Both kid and horse were stuck though because the trainer could do no wrong in Dad's eyes. Bre and I had a long tough year together. I nixed the wire twist/german martingale and put her in a simple D snaffle. The horse I found with the painful devices gone was one who reared at the slightest contact. We would be cruising along in a baby horse speed trot and the second I touched the reins she would put on the brakes and go up. I had to ignore suggestions I put a tie down on her and started riding early before no one was there. On the ground she was difficult at times scary. If you even said "No" too loud her response was to rear up legs pawing and exit stage left. I shed many many tears after riding Bre because I didn't think I was good enough but I had to be because I was all she had.
Long story short Bre came around over the year I was training her. We had some major set backs due to poor decision on the Dad's part but Bre still trusted me no matter what. When the family was no longer about to afford horses the teenager gave Bre to me. I still keep in contact with her and she has grown into a beautiful successful young woman. I will be forever grateful for her and in awe that the youngest person was the most mature amongst some really despicable adults.
Our years in Alaska were tough because she colicked monthly for the first summer I had her, and several times each summer after that. We also had to face the trainer until I found a new barn. Their farrier punched her in the face, they fed her in her gravel pen (sand made her colic), and she was found out often (somehow the snap was off her latch) the trainer stating "Don't tell Trish she was out", the trainer even told everyone that I was kicked off the property and would be arrested if I came back. They were angry I told parents when the 40yo trainer gave 13yo students alcohol, and that the trainer had been hitting the horses. 90% of their students quit overnight. Soap operas have nothing on my Alaska stories.
|5yo Bre at a school show with my student aboard. Bre still wasn't convinced bits were a great idea so she we schooled as possible in a hack. They won Jr high point in dressage at a recognized show this summer.|
|Emily and I breaking Bre's back for photog purposes. It's art Bre, sorry.|
|Bre the fall of her 5yo year. The crazy horse ws long gone.|
|Ugly, skinny, dull coated baby horse no more. More like fancy dead broke 5yo.|
|Who needs a bit anyway?|
In 2004 we decided to move back to Oregon. I am from here (Bre is originally from Missouri) and had always intended to come back. So she hopped on a plane and made her way to Seattle. From there she rode on a fancy semi-truck trailer with air conditioning all the way to Portland. She has been the most amazing riding partner. She was injured the last winter in Alaska. We never got to the bottom of it probably shoulder, something up higher but couldn't narrow it enough to even know what to image and on my mental health workers budget I couldn't afford to image everything. After some time off and conditioning on the trails she was good to go. Sadly she couldn't hold up to arena work. Run her for hours on hard trails, jump her outside over anything, she was good as gold. Bring her in the arena and was lame quickly. It was said because she could perform first and second level work easily. She was so light and bendy as pool noodle. Dressage really stressed her out even when sound and I wonder if permanent nerve damage was done by her early years with a wire twist.
She had her way and we did our work on the miles of trails along the Clackamas river. When I decided to go to nursing school she was moved to her current retirement home and will never leave. She lives with a family and their breed stock paint Romeo. He thinks she poops rainbows and has a meltdown if she gets out of his sight. In the last year she presented with a new lamness and was diagnosed with cyst on her coffin bone and navicular syndrome in both feet. She's a product of the unethical performance quarter horse breeding that is too common today.
|Bre learned to accept people to crazy things and if you nap long enough they will eventually calm down. She's six or seven here.|
|I miss galloping her more than anything. About eight here.|
|I soon discovered that jumping with no reins outside required quickly grabbing the halter between pony's ears or she might stop for a snack between fences.|
|Blue is her color. Age 6|
|Dickie is never going to compete with her on the fabulous tail front. She's 12 here.|