Sunday, August 28, 2011

Harv and I go for a walk

Note: this was written on August 15...

Tonight I took Harv on a long walk. On this crazy day--a mishmash of rain, wind, and sun--we were treated to a double rainbow ending just over the dressage ring. The grass had been mowed, and Harv yummed down the fresh clippings while I enjoyed the view.

Harv's saddle is sold
This morning I sold Harvey's saddle.  A few weeks ago another boarder took notice of my Black Country Eloquence  and asked if she could try it.  I hadn't thought of selling it, but I hadn't used it in months. I could sure use the money to pay off my New Bolton bill and some other expenses.  I told her to ride in it till she figured out if it worked for her. Natalie didn't buy it, but  word was out that it was for sale, and another boarder made an offer. Sold!

Harv's retirement is official
This means, though, that Harv is for real retired, at least as a riding horse.  Harv has been a race horse, and eventing horse, a dressage horse, and he's gone through it all with almost no downtime. Arthritis, yes, cold-backed at times, sure, but almost never outright lame. In the words of author Jane Smiley, he's given a lifetime of useful service.

And now he really is old. Harv's horse age is 80 years! He sleeps a lot, and he seems a little frail at times. His left front ankle has thickened, his trot is, well, syncopated, and occasionally he'll feel more like a racking horse than a trotting horse. The last few times I've ridden him I've treated him so gingerly, I wonder why I'm in the saddle. Why push it?  There is so much to enjoy about this very special boy, riding is no big deal.

Harv and I will be taking more long walks, and he'll get spa treatments, and carrots, and pats. He and Riley can play in the field. That's a full day for an old codger like Harv.


  1. I have been looking at the BC Eloquence. Could you give me some good and not so good comments on the saddle? My horse is very broad backed, I have a Wintec Isabelle with the XW tree gullet.

    Good job with Harv, I also have an elderly gentleman of leisure. He turned 30 this year, still going strong but I keep a close eye on his every move. He even so much as looks out of sorts I am checking him over.


  2. Glad you came through the hurricane hoopla okay (and love the rainbows!) It's a huge blessing to me just to spend casual time with the horses; even at 80 they're still the coolest thing around, right Harvey? ;o)

  3. I hope everyone got through the storm okay. My parents live in New Jersey not too far from your area and they experienced some flooding.

    Oh my. Selling his saddle is a big deal. Black Country is on my list of saddles to try if my Albion does not go the distance.

    So Harv's next job is full-time pet. What a wonderful boy. If anyone deserves a double rainbow, it's Harvey.

  4. This brought a tear of happiness to my eye. Thanks for taking care of your old guy in retirement and I can't wait to read more about it!

  5. I have a 28-year old in full retirement and yet she still offers her services as partner in zen. Every day is a gift.

    I'm glad Harvey will have walks and spa days with you - he has earned them!

  6. My old guy is gone now, but his last act of greatness was when I pulled him out of retirement at 27 to get a neighbor's calf out of our pasture. I knew my Arabian cross would be clueless, but Jim Bob was an old ranch horse. So I threw my dressage saddle on his bony back w/ a padded pad and went after the calf. Jim Bob perked his ears, and although all we did was trot, we got that calf back to the spot in the fence where he'd gotten in. good ol' Jim Bob.

  7. I've heard conflicting stories on retirement. In my opinion, it totally depends on the horse.

    One of my riding instructors has horses that are still "teaching" kids lessons at age 35 (some of them still jump small jumps) ... and though a little crickety, they are happy, healthy, and relatively sound for that age. They work until she sees the look in their eyes that says they're done. She must be doing something right because most her horses live well into their 30s.


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