I have named this blog “Old Horse Young Horse” and have done very little to explain the relevance of the name. It’s about time those of you who haven’t already been bored to death in person by my descriptions of everything about my horses have the opportunity to be bored to death by it on the internet. Buckle up for a long one, folks, because this one is about Paige. She will be 26 in March so there is plenty to say.
Paige is generally referred to by all as “Mare-Mare” or simply “The Mare.” (Think Sherlock Holmes and “The Woman.”) She has been an obnoxiously large part of my life since I was 12 when my parents leased her in lieu of forking over the cash for a horse I might lose interest in. In retrospect, my parents probably hoped I would lose interest. Sorry, mom and dad. At least I can mostly pay for them myself now. She was a fantastic first horse. She was equal measures babysitter and partner in crime in that she always took care of me but was always ready to gallop wildly across a field or jump things we probably had no business jumping.
Paige at her 17th birthday party.
She had a serious issue in that first year, though. She would abscess so often in her front feet that PK (whom I was leasing her from) really couldn’t make any money off the leasing because she was providing me with another horse every time Paige was lame and paying for the vet and diapers to wrap her feet. (Not to mention the extra shavings because Paige will DESTROY a stall when forced to be inside. She is not a fan.) Eventually she had no choice but to send Paige back to the woman she was leasing her from.
I was inconsolable. In fact, so was my mom. She was a great horse, it was just her feet that was the problem. Well, my family had obviously never heard the “No hoof, no horse” rule, because for my 13th birthday my parents bought her from the woman PK was leasing her from. Sort of. It turns out poor Mare-Mare was “shoved from pillar to post” as my grandmother would say. I leased her from PK who leased her from Bunny who may have been leasing her but also may have just been taking care of her for free from some randos whose names I don’t even know.
The story as I have it is that Paige was bought for a daughter of some horsey people. The daughter actually had no skill/desire to ride and would fall off constantly. They would then send Paige to Bunny who would ride her and say there was no problem with the horse. After this happened a few times, they just left her there. Bunny’s husband would rope cattle off of her, but other than that she just sat until PK leased her and brought her to Germantown.
I don’t know much about her past before that other than what I gather from her papers. (Which you can view at http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/index.php?query_type=horse&h=WINDY+TUFF+PAGE&g=5&cellpadding=0&small_font=1&l= )
She was born in Glasgow, KY March 1, 1987 (making her about a year and half older than me.) She was doing barrel racing, pole bending and team penning at the AQHA level as early as 3. (Hello, arthritis!) She has one AQHA point in team penning which means I could never change her stupid stupid registered name. Thanks, David J. Brown for that 1st place.
Fast forward to relevant happenings. Turns out it was the farrier causing her abscesses. Some people are of the mind that you can change a 15 year old horse’s crooked knees by trimming her feet to correct it. It’s really a miracle she didn’t have serious joint damage because of it. The plus on that side, though, is that Bunny told me she would never be sound again so we got her for a song. Bunny then tried to tell me that all Paige could ever be was a jumper. She proceeded to list all the things she couldn’t do which included hunters, dressage and a whole list of western disciplines. Pshaw.
After we got her feet back on track she carried me (literally) through adolescence. Usually bareback with a halter. Sometimes with a saddle launching over solid objects. I even took a mild interest in western speed events when I found out she knew how already. We tore up some speed classes at local saddle club shows. This was made all the sweeter because I was a small teenage girl on an old chubby horse and we kicked the butts of the teenage boys with the wild eye-rolling uncontrollable horses. (Just ask my dad about the Master Blaster story sometime. He will gladly regale you as he has done a thousand times to other people who have already heard the story.) I was always an English rider at heart so when I was about 15 we decided to legitimately launch over solid objects and tried our hand/hoof at showing.
Paige was no stranger to showing. The problem was that her experience in showing was obviously of the bat-out-of-hell jumper variety and I was trying to do hunters. We fared decently in a compromise of equitation classes before her arthritis was too bad to continue. I did, however, have the hilarious misfortune of trying to show her in a fun class called bareback jumpers before we left the show ring for good. I had ridden her and jumped countless times bareback. Should be no problem, right? Well apparently she knew what the jumper ring at the showgrounds was and she recognized that little buzzer because we tore around the arena so fast we couldn’t make our second turn and were disqualified. Gooood tiiiimes. We did have a good time foxhunting for a season before we left the show world, though. No need for flying changes in the woods!
The obvious solution when you can no longer show your mare is to breed her, right? Well that was what was in my mind, at least. She couldn’t cooperate like a normal horse, though, and didn’t go into season that spring so she was bred in October of 2006. She was 19 at the time so, though everything was normal, we took it easy and stopped all jumping and running and general hullabaloo. Fortunately, we had an outlet because we had a new dressage instructor! We competed in a little dressage schooling show when she was 9 months pregnant. We got one fancy blue ribbon and promptly scratched from the rest of our classes because she was just too hot and pregnant. When we had finished our test the judge just stared at me and said “I think she’s pregnant.” Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Since giving me my second horse, her career has ramped down quite a bit. She came with me to college my freshman year and then both she and Kricket returned with me my sophomore year. She stayed in Auburn with me and Steven until I graduated in December 2011. Since Steven and I have been together she has picked up her old role of mentor and packs him around. She can still get up to her old tricks, though, and has a tendency to confuse cues like “trot” with “gallop madly.”
Enjoying her 23rd birthday cake.
She has been my rock since I was 12. She has been the one thing in my life that doesn’t change. Paige is always there and will always be ready for a snack and a good gallop when I need it. I can only hope that my kids’ first horse or pony even remotely measures up to her. I laugh a little when people ask what discipline we do because we have come dang close to doing it all. We wiped the barn floor with the list of things Bunny said she could never do.