Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alex

As I was looking through some of my old pictures of Alex to use in this blog post I realized that it was three years ago today that he joined us for retirement.  In a sense I guess you could say Alex had some excellent connections to our farm.   Alex joined us for retirement from Florida, and there were already two other horses from his barn in Florida retired with us, Elfin and Levendi.  Thus when it came time for Alex to retire it seemed an obvious choice for him to join his fellow barn mates in Tennessee. 


Alex and his mom dressed up for a Hawaiian Luau at a Halloween show; Alex was the perfect first horse


Alex is known as Time Marches On in the show ring.  He joined his forever family over eleven years ago.  They don’t know exactly how old Alex is, but they think he was in his early teens when they purchased him.  In addition to his exact age being unknown Alex’s breeding is something of a mystery as well.  They were told he was some kind of warmblood cross, however one of their vets felt he was probably a quarter horse or quarter horse cross

Alex and his young rider in the show ring


Their daughter began taking riding lessons when she was seven years old, and as all horse crazy girls do, she begged her parents for a horse.   Her parents finally broke down and said they would buy her a horse when she was in the fourth grade.  Like most parents who purchase a horse for their child, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. 

Alex and his young rider


The great horse search began for the first horse.  Several horses were tried that did not work out for various reasons.  Their daughter began riding at a new barn in the midst of their horse searching process.  They told her that she could ride Alex while the search for her perfect first horse continued.  I am sure it is obvious to everyone where this story is heading!


One of the very first rides Alex and his young rider had together; Alex is showing off his springy jump!



Alex had been at the farm for a few years when his eventual forever family came along.  The farm had originally purchased Alex as a resale project.  They had not been able to sell Alex and instead ended up leasing him out to some different riders. He was leased by various people and shown in the adult hunters. 


Alex (second from front) grazing with friends at Paradigm Farms

Darby, Alex and B-Rad


There are a few reasons why Alex ended up not being the successful resale project the farm had originally meant for him to be. Alex is a bit on the small side, and he is definitely not an easy, automatic ride.  Alex also firmly believes that his rider must do their share of the work.  I’m also told that he has a very bouncy canter and jumps very round and hard.  A springy canter and a round jump are not bad things but they also don’t always make for an easy ride.  All of these factors probably played a role in Alex not being sold. 

Alex and B-Rad hanging out

Alex


Their daughter did not get the memo that Alex was not supposed to be a child’s first horse.  She did not care that he was small or that he had a bouncy canter.  In her eyes he was the perfect horse and she fell in love with him.  Despite the fact that she fell in love with him the farm waited a few months before they were willing to sell Alex to his forever family.  He had never been ridden by a child before and they wanted to make sure that Alex really was going to be a suitable mount.  Finally the sale was completed and Alex had his own family.

Darby and Alex having a nap

Darby, B-Rad and Alex


Alex taught his new young rider not only how to ride, but how to ride well.  As mentioned above he expected his rider to pull their weight and to ride him correctly.  He was actually much more challenging to ride at home than at shows.  At home he would sometimes duck out or do a  drive-by past a jump if things were not being done to his standards.  However take him to a horse show and Alex became all business and turned into the perfect horse. 


Alex and Ogie grazing together one morning



Alex and his young rider first competed over cross rails.  They then moved up to short stirrup and from there went on to the pre-children’s division.  The pair earned year end ribbons in their divisions every single year for three years.  By the time his young rider was  ready to step up into the children’s hunter at the 3’ height Alex was getting older and was no longer able to consistently jump that height. 

 enjoying some down time in retirement


with his friend B-Rad



Alex’s young rider ended up getting a new horse to move up on. However her mom had grown very attached to Alex during the three years he had been in their family, so she began to take riding lessons on Alex.  However between being a mom, having elderly parents to take care of, and working, it was very difficult to find the time to ride.  They had all become very attached to Alex and did not want to sell him, so they ended up leasing Alex to a friend of their daughter.  Alex and his new partner were very successful showing in the pre-children’s division, and he ended up helping their family friend win a scholarship for college based on their winnings.


Alex hanging out in the woods with Darby, Lighty and B-Rad

Alex


After their daughter’s friend stopped leasing Alex he joined their other horse at Kingsmeade Farm, and  Mom began taking lessons on him again.  Unfortunately Alex came up lame soon after that.  A lameness exam revealed some very arthritic hocks and the vet felt that Alex should not jump anymore.  

Alex and friends enjoying another great day of retirement

Alex on the run across the pasture


The hope had been that Alex could be partially leased out so Mom could ride him as her schedule allowed and to help cut down on expenses.  As we all know keeping two horses at a show barn is not inexpensive, and their daughter was doing a lot of showing with her new horse as well.  In the end the best decision for all involved, Alex and his family, was to retire him.


trotting across the pasture with B-Rad


As I mentioned earlier Alex had two barn mates, Elfin and Levendi , who had already joined us for retirement.  It was a natural decision for Alex’s family to send him to Tennessee to join them.  Thus, three years ago today, we welcomed Alex! 

Alex grazing with friends

Alex finds retirement tiring



Most of you will associate Alex with B-Rad and Darby as they are his constant companions in most of the pictures.  When Alex first retired with us we thought he was a very submissive personality with the other horses.  That was the case for the first few months, but once Alex had gotten the lay of the land things changed.  He became quite the bossy little guy and has been that way ever since!

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit more about Alex! 



7 comments:

Kate said...

Great story and a cute little horse!

An American in Tokyo said...

At first I wasn't sure if this was another sad post or if it was a "meet the residents" kind of post! Glad to see it was a happy kind of post!

It seems like a lot of smaller ones are the bossier ones, my family included! ha ha!

Look forward to reading your blog everyday! Keep up the great work!

allhorsestuff said...

I'm SOO happy I did not have to weep at the end of meeting Alex. He's gorgeous !
Loved this, all of it. Makes me all warm inside. He deserves all that beauty and loving you have there, what a special horse.

cheyenne jones said...

Sometimes, when you look at the horses in your pictures, i often wonder what are their pasts. Now I know more of one, why not more of the others. Its really good to hear this stuff. Thanks.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Meet the residents posts are my most favorite. :D

It seems so often that your residents and their owners were meant to be...

Horseyhabit said...

I love the biography's that you do for the horses! It's so cool also to see pictures of them pre-retirement. Lucky ponies! :)


Jamie

RuckusButt said...

I love your "meet the horse" posts, too. When I first saw the title, I too wondered if it would be happy or sad but realized you always add "in memory of..." for the memorial posts so I was happy that you didn't have another loss so soon.

Alex is super cute, he has certainly lived the good life being with his owners and Paradigm!