Competing in the Arabian/Half Arabian National Sport Horse Championships has been a dream of mine for a long time. Back when I had Faxx, I went as a spectator to the championships in 2011 when they were held at the Kentucky Horse Park. I was planning to take Faxx to compete the following year. But, those plans were dashed when I got laid off my job of 21 years two days prior to making the trip. I got a new job quickly, but it was a 106-mile round trip commute, and I had to move my aging parents into a retirement home, and, instead of 4 weeks of vacation, I now only had two. I had less and less time to ride, and no way to keep three horses ridden, so I reluctantly sold Faxx, the best horse I’ve ever owned. And, then, I bought Faxx’s full sister, even though I had no idea how I would have time for her. I just had to have her. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that Faeth was unhandled and not weaned at 15 months, and has huge scars on her ack legs from getting hung up in a fence at 3 months old. But she is a wonderful mover, just like Faxx. And so, after Faeth won both her amateur and open in-hand classes at the Region 9 Sport Horse show in June, I had a wild idea. In July, I texted Liz Petty, my Arab trainer, asking if she had any clients going to Sport Horse Nationals. With two weeks of vacation a year – and even less now, since it was June, there was no way I could make the 4 day round trip haul AND the 5 day show. I would need someone to haul Faeth to North Carolina, where the show was this year, and I would have to fly in a meet them. Yes, Liz did have a client going. So, I took a big breath, and asked her to send me the cost breakdown for hauling and caring for and showing Faeth. It was a big chunk of money, but I still had most of the money I got for Faxx. It was fitting some of it would be used for this dream. So, it was on. I filled out my entry forms and sent them to Liz for her signatures, and started planning and packing.
Liz and crew left Dallas on Saturday, Sept. 12, and arrived at the showgrounds in NC Sunday evening. It was very, very hard for me to send Faeth off for that long trip without being there with her. I worried every minute they were on the road. I am a very hands on owner, and I rarely send a horse off for training, so this was new to me. I was very relieved when I got the text saying they arrived. The show started Tuesday, Sept. 15 and ran through Sunday, Sept. 20. Faeth endured the two day, 23-hour haul just fine. I flew in Tuesday – as I only had 4 days of vacation left – I had not planned on this when I planned my vacation days back in January!! It was a very busy place, but Faeth was incredibly good for a 3 year old! Liz showed her on Thursday in the open classes, and I showed her Friday in the amateur. I was hoping Liz would do well so it would take the pressure off me! LOL! At Nationals, they split the sport horse in hand into dressage type and hunter type. I entered her in both classes, in both open and amateur, since that’s all she could show in.
And Liz and Faeth DID do well, capturing Reserve National Champion in Half Arabian Mares Sport Horse in Hand, Dressage type! Quite the Cinderella story!! You can still see the massive scars on he back legs from her ordeal as a foal. Some judges would totally discount her just because of those. There were two judges judging each class, and the senior dressage judge had her placed first, but the second judge had her placed lower, which brought her down to Reserve CH – but I was not complaining! I showed her Friday, and was Top Ten in the amateur class. I just cannot run fast enough as Liz, to show Faeth’s really good trot! I still can’t quite believe it. I’m already thinking of taking her back to North Carolina in 2017, when she will be 5, and well under saddle. They have dressage at the Nationals as well. I’m not ruling it out. Hopefully I’ll still have some “Faxx money” to finance the trip!
Memorial Day weekend, a friend and went to a dressage show at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy. It’s our usual place for shows. I unhitched my trailer Friday evening, and we took my truck to the hotel that night.
We got to the show grounds around 6 a.m. Saturday since we both had very early rides. I drove along the long row of parked trailers, looking for mine, so I could stop and pick up my tack and stuff. I made one pass – no trailer. We thought we’d just missed it – it was parked right next to Kathy’s. I drove around again. There was nothing but a trailer-sized empty spot next to Kathy’s trailer. My 2013 custom-ordered 4Star horse trailer, that I had JUST paid off, had been stolen.
I was just devastated. I couldn’t even cry. I was just numb. I called police and filed a report while my friend went to get ready to show. After the police left, I sat at a table, and on my phone, proceeded to blow up Facebook with photos and descriptions of my trailer. My friend hauled Faeryn home for me – I could not even show since all of my gear was in the trailer. So, on top of the trailer, $400 in show fees plus $40 to braid her plus hotel.
When I got home Saturday evening, I got on my laptop and continued to post about my trailer on every horse group I could find on Facebook. Sunday morning I continued my quest. And then I got a phone call from a braider who was working at the horse show. She saw my post and said she was fairly sure she witnessed my trailer being stolen! She described a black Dodge dually diesel that pulled into the parking lot after midnight with no lights, hitched up to a trailer and left. I thanked her and immediately called the Harris County sheriff department to update my report with the description. Then I went back to as many of the Facebook posts as I could find, and updated my post to include a description of the vehicle.
Monday, Memorial Day, as we were sitting down to eat at Cheesecake Factory (drowning my sorrows!) I got a ping on my phone. A Facebook instant message from someone I don’t even know, saying they were 99% sure they’d just spotted my trailer in Cypress. It was so loud in the restaurant, I had to go outside to the patio to make the call. Dubious, but hopeful, I gave the Harris County Sheriff’s dispatcher my case number and the neighborhood where the truck and trailer were spotted.
And then went back inside and tried to eat. Yeah. Amazingly, within about 30 minutes, I got a call from a deputy. “Ma’am, I think we have your trailer.”
To make a very long story short – they nabbed the guy, my trailer was towed to impound storage and it was 4 days before I could get it back. Fortunately most of my stuff was still in the dressing room, but they had broken into it and tossed or stole about $1200 worth of stuff. I had to pay $350 in towing and impound fees to get my trailer back, lost my entry fees AND the suckiest part — the guy didn’t even get any jail time, despite the fact he had prior arrests for theft, including heavy equipment from oil field companies.
It was truly a miracle I got it back – and it never would have happened without the help and incredible community of Facebook.
I’ve been really been bad about keeping up this blog, and I resolve to do better. It’s not that I think there are hordes of people out there reading it, but it’s a good tool for me to look back and see my progress, see where I’ve gone off track and generally keep a record of my journey with my horses. But lately, I’ve no had time to WRITE and RIDE! So, to get this blog up to speed…..
In April, I sent Faeth, who had just turned 3, to Erika West Danque in Montgomery, to start under saddle. I had done some ground work with Faeth, but not as much as I generally do before sending a horse off to a trainer. We had a terrible, wet winter, and I had a dental implant in December that abscessed, and I spent 4 weeks on antibiotics, which, in turn, trashed my immune system, and I was then sick with one cold or sinus infection after another for 3 months afterwards.
Faeth did very well in her under saddle training, and she soon was doing walk/trot/canter with no fuss and no muss. She is a big mover just like her big brother Faxx, and seems to enjoy her work. I rode her once while she was there, and will ride her more this winter when she goes back to continue her training. She’s getting a much-deserved break for a few months. She’s still only 3!