Good as Gold

Today, July 7th, is Charm’s golden birthday. I would like to dedicate this post to her.

The beginning…

The first time I saw Charm was in mid July of 2001. Adam and I had just gotten married and went to visit Adam’s Aunt and Uncle in Gillett. They had 2 newborn foals one was named Buttecup and the other was Charm. I don’t remember much of that day, but I remember seeing them. Two years later we were there to visit again and Adam’s Aunt Cathy was telling me about Charm and how they were looking to sell her. She had just turned 2. Buttercup was a much more friendly horse and honestly I really wanted her, but they were planning to keep Buttercup around for their granddaughter. So I went to see Charm.. she was eating out in the pasture and had a fly mask on. Cathy took off the fly mask and there was that big white blaze. She didn’t look that enthused, but let us pet her and then went back to eat. They were offering Charm for $300.. I was very tempted. I had always wanted a horse and decided that if I didn’t do it now, I probably never would. So a few days later, I said called Cathy and said I would take her.

Charm and I in October of 2003

Charm and I - October of 2003

Over the next 3 months, I made payments toward Charm and went out to see her 2 or 3 times a week. I developed a great relationship with Cathy and Roger, they are wonderful people. I mostly groomed Charm and to her “delight” chased her around the paddock with a whip. Then the bitter sweet day came, it was October 25th, 2003. I made the last payment, Charm was mine and I hated the thought of leaving Cathy and Roger’s farm. I had decided to move Charm to a farm near Manitowoc. She spent the winter with a herd of dysfunctional horses that were quite underweight once spring came. Through a series of events, I had found Shirley Klatt and she picked up Charm in May of 2004 to start her. I was delighted. Over the winter, I had found Parelli and really wanted to use their principals. Shirley was 100% Parelli.

A whole new world…

Riding Charm in 2004

Riding Charm in 2004

The teaching started as soon as Shirley led Charm out of the stall and up to her truck and trailer. Just on that short walk, I had already learned several things from Shirley. Charm spent her first 2 weeks learning the 7 games and also was ridden with a rope halter, 12′ lead, and bareback pad. Because of Charm’s weight, Shirley suggested to let Charm on pasture for a month to gain her weight back before she would feel comfortable riding her with a saddle. I agreed and Charm gained an appropriate amount of weight and enjoyed the lush grass. Then Shirley continued her training and I had my first ride on her. It went great and I was so happy. I had been waiting 6 months for that day to come. Shirley continued to train her for 6 weeks and I took lessons as often as I could afford to. That August I rode Charm in our first parade as a 3 year old and it was awesome because I was riding MY horse in a parade and all of the little kids kept pointing at us saying “I like that one!” “That one’s mine!”

Getting “skills”…

Charmer Jumping the Spool

Charmer Jumping the Spool

At first it’s really awkward learning to use the stick, string and rope at the same time. You often entangle yourself and everything falls apart! First it’s the 12′ line. Then you get use to that and you move to the 22′ line at which time you entangle yourself all over again.. then the 45′ line. When people say to me “Oh! You’re so good!! I wish my horse was like that!!” I say “Practice, Practice, Practice!!!” I wasn’t always fluid with the equipment. Hours, upon hours, upon hours, have gone into Charm and my relationship! Blood, sweat and tears! I worked really hard and I am still working really hard to improve on what we already have. In a sense we have just began. Of course it helps that Charm is such an easygoing, laid back horse. Otherwise we may not be where we are today. Personally do I feel that I am “good?” Not really. I know I have come a long way.. but I still have so much to learn. On the other hand, Charm IS good. She is good as gold in my opinion. Sure, she can act up and is the ultimate tester to new riders, but she is solid and trustworthy and I really respect my horse. She has forgiven me of my mistakes and doesn’t hold them against me and she is my teacher and I am her student. I have learned so much from her and will continue to learn from her. At 7 years old, she has a bright future ahead of her.

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Pink Sand - a watercolour of Charm by Mary Ray

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5 thoughts on “Good as Gold

  1. OMG, I LOVE that watercolor! Who did it for you? It’s beautiful…ask whomever it was if they’d be interested in doing one with a few more spots of Prin and/or Cricket for me πŸ˜€ I loves it, and would be totally willing to pay for one!

    Happy golden birthday Charmer! It was Prin’s this year too, on the 7th of June!

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