Jason leading Hoffy to the barn after his early morning arrival last week
I got Hoffy from his previous owner about ten years ago. He had been shipped out of state to a very well known veterinary surgeon to have a bone chip removed in his knee. I remember very well the night the shipper pulled in to our trainer's barn to bring Hoffy home after his surgery. A bunch of us had waited with his owner to greet the trailer and then we were all going to head to dinner together.
I love his white face
Hoffy got off the trailer with his leg bandaged from hoof to shoulder. The only problem with this scenario was that the WRONG leg was bandaged up! Hoffy had had successful surgery on the wrong leg (no I will not be naming the vet so don't e-mail me and ask!). He then had to go through the post surgery lay-up and rehab. Of course then his owner was faced with doing the surgery again on the other leg. At that point she decided it was time to cut her losses since she was no longer riding Hoffy herself anyway and she began looking for a home for him.
I took Hoffy as a husband/friend horse as he is the kind of horse that absolutely anyone can get on and have a safe and relaxing trail ride. I also ended up actually putting him back in work for awhile and we did some lower level eventing together for fun. As long as I was careful about building his fitness and not over jumping him the knee that still had the chip didn't generally bother him.
Hoffy took to the cross country phase of eventing right away, and in fact won the first event we entered with neither of us ever having schooled cross country before. I just thought it would be fun and hey, the jumps weren't that big so surely we could handle it. Probably not one of my better thought out decisions in regards to riding! He was second after the dressage phase, moved up to first after stadium, and then stayed in first after a clean cross country round. He jumped the ditch, the bank and went through the water jump without even hesitating and I think we were both grinning from ear to ear as we were out on the course. What a good boy - and people try to say that h/j riders don't know how to do anything but perch and our horses are robots! My best memory of that weekend is Jason having a melt down about the cross country jumps.
The only thing as cute as his face are his stockings that come up over his knees
Jason had all of this to say as we walked the cross country course together (imagine his voice getting louder and louder and his hands gesticulating wildly): "Hoffy has never jumped solid jumps like this. He isn't going to realize they don't fall down. Did YOU realize they don't fall down when you decided to do this? Look at this - this is a REAL stone wall - it doesn't fall down! I think you should scratch. Why are you shaking your head No at me?? Are you crazy, or stupid or what? This jump is made of telephone poles strapped together. Why would you want to gallop up to a bunch of telephone poles and ask your horse to jump them? HOFFY HAS NEVER JUMPED THINGS THAT DON'T FALL DOWN. PLEASE LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF REASON."
I am sitting here giggling as I remember Jason's frantic voice and his hands flying around everywhere pointing at the jumps. Needless to say I did not listen to his voice of reason and Hoffy and I had fun doing a few events together. Unfortunately all of my pictures of Hoffy and I are on my old computer and I am too lazy this evening to get on it to dig them up and post them.
I was very happy to welcome Hoffy back home and he is back where he belongs with the Big Boys. I was always saying that I missed Hoffy and we made the trip to North Carolina to visit him once during his absence. Only horse people could understand that. My job is working with horses seven days per week and what did I do on one of my very rare (VERY RARE) weekends off? Jason and I drove to North Carolina to visit my horse.
Hoffy is still perfectly comfortable for trail riding and light duty arena work although the knee does get a bit creaky, but I simply don't have the time to ride him. Hoffy could care less if he is ridden or not though. He is also one of those horses that you can not ride for months at a time and get on bareback with a halter and leadrope and go for a trail ride. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to steal enough time to sneak off on a bareback Hoffy trail ride. Mostly I am just happy to see him every day. Looking at that big, white face never fails to put a smile on my face!
MyLight and Missy grazing
Asterik showing off his cute face