Now, this post has mostly been about transformations from the green to the less green, but my version is a little different. I'm doing my mine on my journey with Rio, and if you've been around for any length of time, you know he's
|The very first day we met, in Holland.|
There was a young professional at the barn at the time who had been doing some importing of young horses though. My dad got to talking with him one day, and the next thing I knew I was on a plane heading to the Netherlands. I know this might make some of you hate me. But I'm also fully aware of how lucky I've been to have my dad's financial support while I try to keep horses in my adult life. I very obviously couldn't have done nor do all that I have without him.
Anyhow... Rio was actually my second choice horse. Horse number one turned out to be out of budget for us. I'm not actually sure why they even showed him to us. But Rio was a very close second, so it wasn't hard to decide to vet him and arrange for him to fly to CT. Since Rio is a gelding, he arrived home pretty quickly after our trip out to meet him. And to be completely honest with you all, I didn't really love him when he first arrived. Rio had been ridden by very large Dutch men. Do you guys remember the Dutch guy in the last Olympics who got eliminated for a spur mark on his gray horse? That was Rio's trainer. Very tall. Very strong. Basically the opposite of me. Also it was winter when I got him, and he was rather cold backed. I would get on thinking this horse with the hump in it's back was about to launch me. But by the time he was warmed up, I couldn't keep him cantering. Forget about getting in a half seat at the canter! He thought that meant walk!
I didn't get frustrated though. I figured this horse could always be an investment. I could learn from him, get him to some horse shows, and sell him. Then I could find my next one that maybe I'd like more.
We started out slowly together. Rio was very much a made horse at 8 years old, but I hadn't been doing much in the year or so prior since Cosmo spent much of that time rehabbing. We began the year doing the low adult jumpers.
|I know. Really, really, ridiculously good looking.|
When I first brought Rio home he was just starting back to work. My years are fuzzy as to which injury we were on at that point. I think it was suspensory injury number 2. Over the years, he's injured the same leg's suspensory in three different places. But every time he came back. This horse is like a cat. Has at least nine lives.
It was obvious though, that it was time to start stepping him down. So he became a full time adult hunter at that point. No more jumping any higher than 3'. He would double as an eq horse sometimes too. And he was really good at those jobs. It's pretty rare to find a real three ring horse, but Rio certainly has been just that.
This year he came out of winter with a bowed tendon. It's not looking like it's going to heal, so he's officially retired. But he's still ridiculously good looking.
I hope he still has lots of years left to spend with me. He's twenty-two now so who really knows. I'll definitely treasure every second of every day though. And that my friends is how Rio has changed from the horse I bought. He grew into a magical unicorn.