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Cloud (update AGAIN!)
Hello everyone--

ETA: LONG post. Looonnng one.

Well, in June I left it that I'd found Cloud what I THOUGHT was an excellent home, right here in town, where she'd be turned out all day (with other horses) on 30 acres with drinking ponds, shade trees, etc. and get great care.

It did NOT turn out that way. I kept in phone contact with the lady (Wendy) who gave me glowing reports which were all lies. I didn't visit other than the one time because I wanted to distance myself, a thing anyone giving away a horse they've had for a long time, understands.

She called me in late July and said she was moving Cloud to some lesson stable "for a while." Very vague. I asked if she was selling her (not in our deal) and she said no, it was just "for a while." I asked why. Her first reason was that Cloud wasn't being ridden enough. I said I could fix that. "And also the expense." I asked what she meant, she'd said keeping horses didn't cost her what it normally would, they grow their own hay and husband's mill generates no end of shavings. "Well, grain, fly spray, fly masks..." (She knew all that, she had 3 other horses). Then when I went silent on her, she filled in the silence. "That, and school is starting." Whereupon I got VERY teed off. She certainly knew school was starting. It dawned on me that it was seeming she'd taken Cloud with lavish claims she'd be a forever home, yadda yadda when what it boiled down to was having another family horse to ride FOR THE SUMMER, to be dumped as soon as it became inconvenient.

I asked whether she'd be used for lessons or what. Wendy didn't know. I asked about the living conditions. Didn't know. She didn't know anything. She said she'd find out and call me back. I said I wanted to see Cloud and would come over the next night. "Oh, no, we uh... won't be here and I can't ask my neighbor... uh... " whereupon she told me she'd find out answers to my questions and call me the next morning with a good time to come visit Cloud (at her place).

No phone call. No responses to several messages left. Not the sort of thing where I could just drop by (you'd ask that I'm sure). I decided to do just that if I couldn't reach her, but decided to call her husband instead. Whereupon he told me that "Oh, we gave Cloud to Tracy over at the stable. She's very happy there, doing lessons and trail rides. I'm sure you can go see her there."

I found out where this stable was, and went there. The owner took me to get Cloud out of her stall and I was FLOORED! First thing, she was skinny. When Tracy led her out and we walked her to the grooming area, she was walking in pain. Limping. I asked Tracy what that was about and she said, "Thrush in all four."

At this point I was flipping out, near tears, anger seeping out of every pore. Tracy confirmed, "Oh no, this isn't 'for a while,' Wendy gave Cloud to me. Bill of sale and all." I explained that Wendy had no bill of sale from me, hence no right to give her to anyone, that was not our deal.

Long story short: I spent quite some time with Tracy, who said "Good timing actually, it's getting time for me to treat Cloud's feet again." We went into the grooming area, cross tied her, and Tracy and I talked. I was prepared to hate her. And did end up in an argument with her employee (Wendy's trainer which was the connection). Finally got her to stop attacking (fear that I was going to take Cloud back and for good reason at that point). However once we got her to back off so Tracy and I were able to continue talking, all this time I'd been noticing that not only did I like this Tracy, but she OBVIOUSLY knew what she was about, and was treating Cloud's feet 3-4 times a day. She had Cloud on a weight gain diet, but went into detail about supplements, a special grain she had her on, meds she was giving her for various things plus farrier (who I've heard of, all great reports) who had come over the day after Cloud had arrived, fully examined her feet, proposed a course to repair damage done by Wendy's incompetent farrier, etc.

Long story shortened again, I became extremely impressed with Tracy. I'd arrived with full intent of taking Cloud back. But reconsidered the more I saw and heard. No ego issues (can be common in cases where a person knows a lot relatively), but extremely competent and knowledgeable. She has 42 horses there, 15 of them are hers, including a 52-year-old. People send her rescue horses, she treats them on her own dime. She has a LOT of medical knowledge (long time vet tech) but beyond that, goes to seminars, keeps up with the journals, and has several vets she works with and I've heard of them and they're top notch. She knows when to call them (any time she's not 100% sure) and no ego issues that make her overstep if something's iffy.

I also looked at her horses. ALL of them. It's the healthiest looking bunch of critters I've ever seen in one place. And they are happy, bright eyed, relaxed, playful and I got to watch the process "time to bring the horses in." It was like clockwork, and the horses knew the routine. (Key word, routine.)

LOTS of talking with Tracy because I'd had two very bad experiences where I'd believed, and had been severely lied to. But this opinion developed over the course of a number of visits, including unannounced drop-ins I made. Once, Tracy was giving Cloud an equine massage, literally hanging her whole body off Cloud's neck and swinging back and forth. Gently, and slowly, but with her full weight. Explaining the whole time what vertebrae xyz maneuver helps, what muscles abc maneuver frees up, etc.

I also checked on her through 3rd party inquiries. I called my own farrier. He knows her, but hadn't seen her in some years. Said she is extremely knowledgeable. "It's not the prettiest stable out there, but she takes GREAT care of her animals, both boarded and her own, all of them treated like they're hers."

Cloud was being extremely pampered for the time being (feet issues, underweight, etc.) And all her issues (which were NOT issues when I had her but became issues under 2.5 months of Wendy's care) were being addressed, seperately and together. If I went ahead and gave Cloud to her the plan was to continue that regimin until Cloud's feet were better and she had the right weight back, at which point she'd start getting more exercise, all guided by her hoof progress.

It's now 3 months later, I've been in phone contact with Tracy during this time, and glowing reports. The times I've gone over there to see her, I left very impressed with her progress. First that she was being turned out in the arena by herself (sore feet and all) for several hours at a time, during which volunteers would walk her on lead, keeping her feet active but no weight or stress added. Then progress from there, the idea being to keep her using them but not overdoing. Once foot issues were coming along nicely, weight would be back on and they would start her with kid lessons (not a lot of weight) and let her build up her stamina.

I went to see her today. Her weight is back to normal. Her feet look excellent. She was giving a lesson to a 72-year-old. Walk, trot, and she's teaching him how to hold in a horse because Cloud's middle name is "Go." A trainer (the woman I had the rift with that first night) was giving the lesson and I know my horse and when she's happy and when she's not. She was VERY happy, loving the exercise, doing extremely well in the arena. (They said that she's funny because when they tack her up and lead her toward the arena, she starts leading them. Loves to get out there.

She's being used for lessons 2x/week, maybe 3. Not beyond at this point, Tracy is letting her build up and Cloud does have some arthritis, so Tracy watches for that. But she was in a trot on and off for quite some time. Sweating, yes, but not out of breath by any means and not an unhealthy, "being overworked" sweat. The kind you like to see that tells you the horse is pushing but not overdoing.

This is a terrific situation for her, but this time I'm seeing it, not just hearing what I dumbly trusted but were lies. She looked excellent. She's also becoming horse socialized, she has two neighboring horses that she hangs out with (was somewhat antisocial in a free group setting and did not defend herself). She's found her herd niche and taken to it like a good fitting glove.

Now there's something else which was amazing to watch. When I bought Cloud, the previous owner told me, "She even knows dressage." Well I didn't. So I never tested her out on it. Today Tracy told me that she absolutely does. Tracy doesn't either, but the trainer is a competitive dressage rider. So I asked her if there was any way she'd have time to show me some of what Cloud knows because I know zilch about it and never tried it with her. She was only too happy. Cloud wasn't exhausted from the lesson at all, so Heather switched saddles to her own dressage saddle and took her into the arena again.

WOW!! They didn't want to push it because some dressage moves are best when a horse is in top muscle tone (Cloud wasn't ridden for a couple of years here). But she did a collected canter, extended canter (and can do extended trot), half pass, side pass. Heather didn't want to do these tonight because she HAD done an hour's lesson with adult weight, but said Cloud knows passage (sort of a high leg lifting dancing move) and does a pretty good pirouette! I'm going to stop back there either Tues. or Thurs. next week at a time when she can do that because I would LOVE to see it.

So that's that! Cloud was lying down there in the first week and that was my first huge sign she was secure feeling, she won't unless she's fully secure. She lies down during the day with full activity around, rolls, stretches, lolls around, the sort of thing she won't do at all if she's not 100% safe feeling.

Happy ending. Tracy seems to take pride in older horses. She has that 52-year-old who still gets ridden. Another 45-year-old, ditto. (They both look great.) And she has a group of volunteers, several young teen girls and a guy who has a mental challenge condition who started as a volunteer but who she's now hired on staff. She lets them do as much as they're capable of, but under supervision. She also gives therapy riding lessons (though states loud and clear that she's not certified) but parents with kids who have issues seek her out. She said the one word she does not allow on the premises is "focus" because kids with issues like that are constantly being told "focus" and that it's an overused (and frustrating) word to them.

So that's where Cloud is. She's getting pampered care, and she's on a progressive exercise routine. LOVES giving lessons, loves it, can't wait to get back into the arena. An hour's workout here and there, 2-3 times a week at this point, gets LOTS of fussing over by the volunteers (she's a favorite there) and basially professional level equine chiropractic massages and gets to sun bathe amid equine buddies she trusts.

And if I ever see Wendy again it's going to take all my self control. Never pegged her for someone who lied outright, let alone at all. That one really shook my confidence in what I'd always thought was a darned good judge of character. Twice. I really missed the boat. However if it hadn't been for her, I'd have never met Tracy because I've lived her for over 23 years and didn't know that stable even existed. And probably wouldn't have.
Carol, good to hear from you.

It seems that sometimes no matter how much we care and how much we try things sometimes just don't work out.

This one sounds pretty good for Cloud and if you keep an eye on her regularly that's about all you can do.

Third time is the charm. [^]
Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
First of all.... I have to commend you for keeping up with Cloud and your continued interest in her well being. Most of the time it's "out of sight, out of mind" and few people ever follow up on horses they've sold or rehomed.

This place does sound like it is a good fit for Cloud....enough activity to keep her occupied but not so much to overwork her. I'm glad Tracy saw what a beautiful mare Cloud is and was willing to take a chance on her.

You're part of the DE family and we really want to hear from you......horsey stuff or not!
Karen ~ Trails  
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

What an awesome outcome after an awful summer for her! She sounds like a horse who's happy to have a job.

Well you had me in tears in the beginning but glad things are working out for Cloud and you know what, What goes around comes around!!!!
Colleen who hopes to have a horse soon.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears -- Arabian proverb

Thanks for the well wishes, all. I trust that this will be the last of my quest to put Cloud in super good hands so that I can know that I did well by her. She deserves it and I owe it to her. A younger horse will carve its own future, but you start getting around 25 (even a horse who vets swear can't be that age) and being as particular as I THOUGHT I was being by giving her away... well, I guess I'm back to having a whole lot less cocky sureness that I can read people. I can in some cases, no fail. Apparently not when I'm emotionally involved though. Good to know that part, eh?

Now, PG, when you wrote, "I'm glad Tracy saw what a beautiful mare Cloud is," there is actually a very touching story behind that, and I know we love good stories, so will try to do it justice. (And Colleen, the tears get worse, lol.)

But here it is. During my decision-making time whether to leave Cloud at Tracy's, I had some conditions on which I wanted assurances. One of them was that Cloud would never be sold, this would be her forever home. Another was that I could come see her from time to time, just to know she was okay. Now, Tracy had said that would be the case in passing conversation, but I wanted a very clear-cut assurance before making it final. There did come a point when we did have that discussion, and in talking about Cloud never being sold, Tracy (who can and does veer into tangential topics) suddenly started telling me about another horse she'd bought. I think his name was Cody. I figured I could steer the conversation back to Cloud and these solid assurances I needed, so just went along with the listening.

So this horse Cody was a beautiful Paint. Paints are Tracy's breed of choice, but she just had a particular thing for this Cody. Had to have him. He was being sold as part of a divorce and husband (the horse person of the couple) had abandoned everything and skipped town, leaving it all in the hands of a very nutty wife who had some addiction issues, very volatile and didn't like horses much. But saw Tracy coming. Tracy said she paid a LOT of money for Cody.

So Tracy was going to pick him up in a few days, but then the next night got a sudden phone call from the unstable wife who was yelling and slurring her words and said, "Come get him NOW. Because I've had it dealing with the *******'s precious animals. If you don't, he just might not be around tomorrow morning." In other words, Tracy feared the wife would do something to the horse. So Tracy drove out there and picked him up at midnight. Whew. Done deal.

She got a him home, and over the next week or two he just wasn't looking or acting right. Nothing like he'd been when she'd seen him and when she picked him up it was dark. Called the vet who said same thing, neither could tell what was wrong. Thinking about x-rays or whatever, the next morning Tracy went out to the barn and Cody had crashed. Lying down in his stall, thrashing, obviously in severe pain. Vet came back immediately, said they had to get him into hospital, and gave him enough meds to dull the pain but not enough to knock him out, so he could stand to be trailered to the hospital. Things didn't check out for colic so they did exploratory surgery, immediately. Found four horrid bleeding ulcers, one of which had literally exploded through the floor of his stomach lining. Irreparable damage. Bile and stomach acid flooded throughout his system, damaging other organs. No way to repair it, too big. Inoperable, by a long shot. They had to put him down on the spot, docs said he probably wouldn't live beyond a short time anyway and it would be an excruciating time left.

Tracy was heartbroken and in shock. And she dwelled on, "I never even got a photo of him."

So something seemed to catch her attention and she said to stay put a minute, she'd be right back. She went into the house and came back out a few minutes later with a big piece of heavy paper and handed it to me. It was an incredibly well done charcoal sketch portrait of Cloud. Her icy blue eyes, the black eyeliner, the patch over one eye all her other facial and neck markings, perfect proportions. And the way she sometimes holds her ears (but never when you're photographing her). I didn't know if Tracy created it herself or whether it was a gift that she was giving me or just showing it to me, because as I was looking at it and exclaiming about it, she didn't give me any clue.

Then she said, "That isn't Cloud. That's Cody."
Of all dumb things I said, "No, this is Cloud." (DOH. Hello? She doesn't know who this is of?)

Tracy laughed because her reaction was the same as mine. She said before Heather pulled up with Cloud in the trailer, she'd been told all about Cloud... a pretty paint, had great temperament, super respectful ground manners, disciplined training, etc. She'd had her vet look at Cloud while he was out there and Heather had worked with Cloud in giving Wendy and her daughter lessons. But that she, Tracy, had never seen Cloud personally until she was trailered onto the driveway. Tracy said when she opened the door, she almost died of shock. It was like looking at Cody, straight in the eye.

I'm telling you, it was really hard for me to believe that portrait was not of Cloud. It was SO instantly familiar to me. Same exact markings. To that extent, that just doesn't happen because markings are just random. But I think this totally uncanny resemblance was just one more reason why Tracy said she'd never sell Cloud. Not the only one (that would bother me.) But as she'd said, "I love all my horses, but some I will sell. Some though, I just would never sell. (That includes the 50-year-old too, I think he's actually 52.) And she did promise to me that Cloud would never be sold.

Sad story though, Cody. It sounds like the bombed wife knew he was heading downhill and wanted to get that sale completed. You'd hate to think that though, but it sure does sound that way. And anyone who just doesn't like horses... I mean, who doesn't like horses? Maybe not wanting to ride them or care for them, but these are creatures of graceful stature and soulful beauty.
Thank you so much - that made my day. After you made me tear up...
Good things will surely come your way.
"There is something about the outside of a horse...that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill~
Great story
Colleen who hopes to have a horse soon.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears -- Arabian proverb

Originally posted by Arenadirt

Thank you so much - that made my day. After you made me tear up...
Good things will surely come your way.

Good! I love to see men tear up. Well, wait a minute.... clarifying, I love it when men no longer think they can't tear up and still be men.

I do miss the days though when the women were all together in the kitchen and it was our domain and if one of the men came in and started sniffing around, we'd chase him out with a broom and scream, "OUT! Out, out, out!" lol.
So nice to see you on here! I had read the first story on your knitting blog! So so glad Cloud ended up where she is.. Loved the second story...Just took a minute for Cloud and Tracy to come together, call it "Divine Intervention" or "Karma". I am so glad to hear Clouds story and read your long posts again! Keep us up to date...

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