His Story
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
This is what I was able to piece together from my poor detective work. It might not be a whole lot but it's his story as I know it.

April 27, 2001

A colt was born out champions to a low grade breeder owner who knew little about horses but had money enough to get a perfect pedigree. Northern Dancer and Secretariat on his top side with the Mr. Prospector line on his bottom, this foal was sure to be the next big thing, or so the inexperienced breeder thought.

He was confused at the disappointment in his trainer when the horse was born right hoof first. And even more bewildered when the trainer ignored him entirely after seeing him prance around his paddock. “Too much suspension, geld him and sell him.” Was the advice given to him by all who watched the young colt play.

To stubborn to give up on such a costly investment the breeder only followed half the advice given to him. The colt was gelded and left alone for two years. His trainer ran him a little with the other colts and even let him race a few times “for the experience”.

He watched the young gelding strangely attracted to his striking red color and friendly disposition. In fact it was his curious and good natured attitude that kept the breeder from selling him off as everyone had suggested. He liked having a Thoroughbred on property that seemed happy to greet him in the mornings.

His jockeys all complained about him in the starting gate. Not that he reared up and lost control like many of the other horses the breeder watched, but because he lolly gagged around trying to sniff and explore. One jockey in a moment of frustration and a last ditch effort to get the horse riled up to run had swung the crop around to show him “who was boss” when the gate opened and horse jumped and the jockey missed miserably leaving the horse with a swollen eye and a new tendency to pull away when bridled.

Blinders were used and the horse he insisted on keeping was run on much to the dismay of his trainer who simply didn't want to waste his time any more. “un hurried, no effort, no speed, no threat” were common comments on the trainers track notes.

Finally on August 9th 2005 the horse did what the breeder had always hoped he would, he won. The breeder was confused when everyone still said “sell him”. He had won, why wasn't everyone else as excited about this as he was.

“He's already 4 years old.” and “It was only 2800 he won think of all the money you've wasted keeping him around.” Were the comments given by his jockeys and trainer. The economy was starting to look down and he was in need of a few extra stalls for a new mare and stallion he had just purchased, so he relented.

The trainer winked and promised to handle everything, and this is where everything went seriously wrong for the Thoroughbred named Rise and Smile. The trainer had no time to waste on a loser and wanted that stall. He made a quick call to a friend in Canada who owned a slaughter house and was on his way down to pick-up a load of horses.

His curious attitude never faded as all the horses were rounded up and shoved on to the trailer. While all the others shied and balked, kicked and reared, “Smiley” remained in good spirits. It was in fact this that Ms Morris noticed when she drove past the farm that day pulling a load of her 3 day eventing horses. She pulled over and asked the men what had all the horses in a fuss and when they explained the situation and the destination for all the horses Ms Morris quickly demanded that “Smiley” be loaded on to her trailer.

She watched him transition into his new home with ease and was confident she had made a good choice and was stunned when a lady from Georgia showed up a month later and purchased him on the spot. He'd had no training or work since the track, but there was just something about him that always had him winning over the help and now the lady from Georgia.

"Ms Georgia" had great plans that this tall guy would be her husband's best buddy, unfortunately she never really talked it over with her husband. “Smiley” sat in a stall in her barn unridden and unattended for 10 months. His diet was sparse because "Ms Georgia" was a competition girl and assumed that he didn't need much food if he wasn't getting worked every day. She herself had little time to spend on the horse and hadn't noticed the extreme amount of weight he had lost through the winter. At last the decision was made to sell him and she loaded up a 876 lb 16.2 hand off the track Thoroughbred and brought him over to her friend's place where he was to be ridden and sold.

A week later I showed up. Having had the bottom dropped out on the first horse I had picked out in Pennsylvania I decided to look a little closer to home. I wanted and untouched 2 year old mare that showed potential to be at least 17 hands and was preferably bay. I did not want anything over the age of 4, I did not want a chestnut, and most of all I did not want a gelding. I guess that all went out the window when I walked in the barn and Smiley, who I would come to call Riley, stuck his head out of a stall.

The moment I saw him I whispered to Jason “I don't care who I'm here to see, that's the horse I'm buying.”

Jason always asked me what was it about him that made me immediately want him. It's hard to say if you haven't worked with horses before, it's that intangible “look of the eye”. I can tell you that at 876 lbs he really wasn't much to look at physically. His coat wasn't particularly glossy and he was all knobby kneed and gangly looking, but he had that look in his eye. The look that let me know I could over come a whole lot of baggage and have a great partner and friend that would done anything for me and try anything I asked and be happy about it all. I guess it was probably the same thing that his breeder had seen in him that had kept him from letting him go right away, and the same thing Ms Morris saw that day she was driving past and I hope it is the same thing that his new owner will see when they first lay eyes on him.

To Riley my love, you've been one heck of a horse. You've grown a lot since I got you (not just nearly 600 lbs). You've crossed rivers though you were afraid, you traveled to the mountains and kept your cool when the bear walked through our camp, you went to clinics that I thought were all for you but turned out to teach me more about myself, and touched the lives of all the other boarders in your pasture. You were ever excited to great people and mooch love off anyone willing to give it. You were friend and companion to kid and adult alike. You will be missed and never forgotten! My time with you taught me so much I can't regret a single moment spent in your presence even through the pain of letting you go. I know I walk away richer and stronger because you were in my life. So here's to a mighty magnificent horse and everything he meant to me and all the other boarders at Steadfast and everything he'll mean to his new owner and the new lives he will encounter.
The School Yard
Friday, 20 March 2009
Babe is one tough cookie in Riley's pasture. She's not the top mare and doesn't out right challenge the top guys authority, but sure as heck will defend herself like I've never seen before. Yesterday Bullet did something to upset her down by the watering hole and before he realized it she swung around and just started donkey kicking him. Unlike the real dominant horses in our pasture that rear up on hind legs to fight and play Babe is a straight up donkey kicker who can spin faster thatn you can blink. Bullet started squealing and that brought the entire herd rushing down the hill to form a circle around them and watch. It reminded distinctly of a high school lunch room where the student gather around chanting "fight, fight, fight". As soon as Bullet had enough and stumbled out of the circle Teddy tried his luck and ended up running for dear life, then Montana and Buffy got it there and tried their hands with no luck. As soon as the herd disbanded from around Babe she stopped and didn't prusue the fight like the others would have, she just very particular about her space.

A friend of our is an inventor who's come up with many ingenious devices to make his life easier. He recently developed a horse feeder for horses who are stuck eating in stalls and who eat too fast. It's a nifty little device to help them slow down on their eating (like is natural for a horse) and provide them with endless hours of play. It's called the Control Feeder from Warm Spring Products and is now on sale. Go to his site and take a look at this great product.
Little Friends
Thursday, 12 March 2009
As some of you know Riley's number one girl friend was expecting a baby. All the anticipation and waiting came to an end this past Friday when the owners of the farm discovered a baby out in the pasture with Fancy. Now ever since Fancy was moved pastures Riley has missed her terribly, whenever we go anywhere near her he has to stop and visit with her at her gate. Fancy was extremely nervous about other horses, gelding mostly, coming near her pasture that first day. I brought Riley up to work intending to keep him well away from her, but she came right up to the gate and waited for him like she always did. He's not allowed too close as the baby is brand new, and he was not entirely happy about that. It was a managable level of frustration until Sunday when i brought Riley up and Fancy and the baby came down and the baby started calling to him. He was on a one track mind after that trying to make his way to the baby. He gave me a very hard time tugging and pulling on the rope trying to get to her and when another gelding upset Fancy he took a defensive stand and started pacing in front of her pasture until she was calmed down again. I had to take him far away to where he couldn't see or hear them to finish working so we could end our day on a good note, which we did.

Riley also has another little friend who came to visit and ride him on Saturday. I'm amazed at Riley and how well behaved he is (on a normal basis). I was sitting on the ground hugging Riley's head which he had put in my lap and LV wanted to hug Riley. I said he could and before I realized it he closed the small distance between them and wrapped his arms around Riley's head his helmet hitting Riley's eye and Riley didn't even move a muscle except to close his eye. LV even turned his head and gave Riley's eye lid a big kiss and Riley didn't even flinch. I'm very happy with my off the track thoroughbred.
Heaven's Horse - UPDATE
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Awarded 2008 Editor's Choice Award, by the International Library of Poetry

I've always wanted to take a create writing class, and now that I finally have I am quite pleased with the by product of my first assignment:

Heaven's Horse
The blue sky hugs my face,
As wind begins to race.
Thundering hooves beat the ground,
As trumpets begin to sound.
Open arms embrace me.
Amazed at what I see,
From a throne on high.
Without wings I do fly.
Every One's Best Friend
Monday, 08 December 2008
If ever I move Riley to my back yard I will have to get him a kitty to keep him comfortable. It will have to be a loving and brave cat that wont mind being pet by such a large creature. Ginger, the resident barn cat at the farm, is Riley’s new best friend. Every time she comes near him he immediately forgets what he’s doing. He dips his head to the ground like he’s trying to sneak up unseen and play with her. She of course runs when his big feet get to close which only intrigues him more. Eventually she finds a safe mounting block of bench to jump up on and stops running from him.

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