Clay minutes after arrival
Clay is about thirty years old and the trip to our farm was hard on him. He had to travel about 800 miles to get to our farm, and he looked like he felt every one of those miles when he got off the trailer. Before anyone goes jumping up and down about shipping an older horse a long distance, there were some unique personal circumstances involved with his owners, and they had no choice about relocating Clay. Everyone needs to be applauding them for taking care of this grand elder statesman.
Clay resting after his trip
Jason and I were both very drawn to Clay from the moment he arrived at the farm. As we led him into his stall and watched him, he was so sweet yet clearly so worried. It was almost like we knew him even though we had just met him. Later that day it finally dawned on me - he reminded both of us Mable, a former resident who unfortunately passed away in July. Clay has so much in common with Mable, from looks to personality. Especially that worried look he had when he first arrived that said he wasn't sure about us or his new surroundings but he really wanted to like it here. I have missed Mable greatly since she passed away in July and have thought about her every day. I must say that since Clay's arrival things have just felt more "right" in regards to losing Mable. it really does work out that when one door closes another one opens.
I am happy to say that Clay quickly decided that he loves it here. The first few hours were rough, and Clay spent most of that time laying down in his stall resting and recovering from the trip. Jason kept asking me if we should call the vet but I said no, he was clearly just worn out from his trip, and what he needed was rest, not the vet. We did give him a tube of electrolytes and a nice mash of well-soaked alfalfa cubes to aid his recovery though. Interestingly Clay travelled here with his barnmate Chili who is the same age as Clay, and Chili walked off the trailer fresh as a daisy as if he'd just gotten on a few minutes ago. Thankfully Clay was fully recovered by the afternoon, and has been bright and full of energy since. He and Chili are great friends and very attached to each other.
Clay checking out his new digs
Clay started off life as a racehorse on the quarter horse circuit. He actually won a good bit of money at the track. He then went out west and lived in Colorado where he lived on a ranch at 8,000 feet altitude and went on trail rides up to 10,000 feet altitude. Unfortunately Clay displayed major lameness issues after only a year in Colorado and has actually been retired since 1996. He has the stereotypical quarter horse teacup feet. Kudos to his owners for keeping clay for all of these years!
Clay and Chili
Chili was also a trail horse alongside Clay, except he stayed sound until he was retired a few years ago. From what his owner told me Chili took amazing care of her on trails that were incredibly rugged! She said they would ride all day stopping only to eat lunch on trails that went straight up and down over some pretty tough terrain, and that Chili never took a wrong step.
We are thrilled to have Clay and Chili join us, and Clay has brought us full circle in regards to Mable. I'll have more on this topic in another post.