Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hoof Prints and Far Away Dreams

You might be wondering why I have called this blog Hoof Prints and Far Away Dreams. I shall tell you.

Ever since I was little, and ever since my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a passion that I cannot describe. While I know a lot of little girls experience this, I was one of those who never grew out of it.

I was delighted when people gave me horse books or encyclopedias or horse figurines for my birthdays or Christmas. My parents didn't have the money to get me lessons or a real horse, at least not when I was younger, and so I feasted my mind on anything and everything horse related.

My best friend had horses then, and I loved to go stay at her house and go riding with her, those were my first by-my-self rides. Her horse Taz was a miracle worker. He knew I had little to no experience on horseback, and so even if I asked him to go faster than a walk, he wouldn't. I knew when I had mastered my balance, at least with a saddle, because he let me ask for a trot. And then, he still refused to canter, until I knew I could either sit through the jostling bounce or post. And when he did finally canter, I thought "ice cream."

I know it's a bit funny to be thinking about ice cream when cantering along on a horse, but you know how when you get soft-serve ice cream from the DQ or McDonalds? Well, they swirl it up on itself, making a vertical spiral. If you start at the very top and slide your eyes down, it has a smooth, evenly bumpy surface. Cantering was like that. A soft waving motion. Magnificent.

Now, when I turned 14, and was in the 8th grade, I got a horse for Christmas. I remember that day very well. I was laying sick on the couch, most likely a cold or some thing like that, and dad came in and told me to get up and get a coat and shoes because he had some work for me.

I whined and complained; I wasn't feeling well, but I got up anyways. When I looked out of the door, I nearly dropped over. There was a horse trailer in my drive way!!

I got suspicious then, wondering why in the name of sweet Heaven was there a horse trailer sitting out there?

I then figured that my dad's cousins Timmy and Anthony had come for a visit, because at least the one, I don't remember which one, had always dealt with horses too, and thought they must have been on their way home from Houston Woods which was practically in our back yard and decided to stop for a visit.

I went out there, and first thing I did was notice that it was, indeed, Timmy and Anthony, and then I looked in the trailer. In it was a beautiful, adorable, 6 month old golden-red bay foal. They told me it was a female, and when I asked what breed, they said "Oh you know, the kind that do all that cattle cutting." ... So naturally I figured he was a quarter horse, and while I had never been entirely fond of the breed, I was happy to have a horse of any breed.

I asked where they got him and still didn't get a straight answer, but apparently my horse had been born in the pasture and never had much, if any, human contact, and when my parents put in the order for a "Golden filly with a blond mane and tale" they rounded up the foal, was so very not that color, put it in a stall, and then when my distant cousins (being as they are my fathers cousins) got there they took the foal, put it in a trailer, and brought it to me.

Which meant, yes, there I was, with a $350 foal of indeterminable breed or bloodline, who had never even had a halter on or much human contact, given to a girl who had never had a horse, let alone trained one, and yes, I had to train it.

So of course, after I peaked in at it, I fell head over heels in love, and Mom, who was standing there too, said "Do you like it?" "Yeah!" "Well, he's yours." I was FLOORED. My eyes had to be the size of saucers and my jaw was hanging open I'm sure, and I squealed a few times then said "Oh my God, I have to call Jacy." Jacy is the above mentioned best friend ever in the whole wide world. I called her, but they weren't home, so I left a message on their answering machine that was rather like "JACY! OMG JACY, GUESS WHAT I GOT! A HOOOOOORSE! I GOT A HORSE! OMG! CALL ME BACK!!!"

After that, we had to get him in a barn. We took the trailer up to the old Amish style barn and had to practically round him in to it. It took a long time, but we finally got him in there with a halter on.

It wasn't the best thing we could have done, but I was new to the training process and they weren't, so they got it started.

So I was sitting in there watching the horse one day, trying to think of what to name "her" when I realized that the pretty little filly- wasn't a filly. I had a colt on my hands. That was interesting.

As for the name, my favorite book ever, I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade, by Diane Lee Willson, frequently mentioned this antelope, that while being very ugly, had a beautiful name. It was a Saiga. I loved the name and hijacked it for my horse, switching the first a and the i and calling him Siaga.

Siaga became his "stable name" but I wanted something I could use for a show, too. So I began the search. One day, Siaga was standing in the door way of his stall, being as his stall opened on the outside to the paddock. It was January, and he was fuzzy. This was about the time of the evening feeding, so the sun was setting.

The result was that I was in the barn, and it was dark, and he was partially outside, the golden, setting sun highlighting the long fuzzy hair on him, giving him a bright gold halo all the way around.

So I had to find something about gold, preferably in another language. I settled on "De Oro" which is Spanish for "Of Gold" or "Golden." And so he became De Oro Siaga.

As I watched him grow up, I came to realize he was not a quarter horse. Couldn't be, he didn't have the build. I guessed he was a Quarter horse crossed with an Arab... but a few months ago, I found pictures of a breed called a Morab, which is a cross between a Morgan and and Arab, and the horses in the pictures had the exact conformation of Siaga. So now I am on the hunt to find the place he came from and find out what he is.

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