I have greatly enjoyed the daily letters of support and encouragement from readers of the blog. Thank you all for following along on this little adventure, and for your kind words.
Exotic Blue is slowly regaining condition.
I’ve got to admit, I’ve been overwhelmed by readers’ interest not only in Jo’s Magic and Hermione, but also in Exotic Blue. Someone called her the "evil villain of the story" (and I still grin when I read those words), but many have wanted reassurance that the mare is recovering, and they’ve asked what the future holds for her.
Well, that’s a good question. As for her recovery, she’s well past the point of any lingering concern. Blue spent the first few days post-separation under close observation. She lived in her stall for a week, hand-walked a couple of times each day, to keep her from overexerting herself and worsening the uterine tear that could easily have become a serious condition.
Following that initial period of observation and containment, Blue was granted a little more freedom each day until she was back to full-time pasture living. For a while–during the dregs of winter’s cold and snow–Blue shared a field with my riding horse–a grey/roan off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding named Dumbledore who, at 17 hands, is the only horse on the farm bigger than Blue.
Several days ago, as the worst of winter started to taper off, we moved a newly-purchased pleasure horse from his off-site quarantine into the field with Dumbledore, and I separated Blue into the neighboring pasture. She’s alone, but she can hang out over the fence with Dumbledore and the new gelding.
Blue’s medical prognosis taken care of, it’s about time to consider what we’re going to do with the mare now.
Blue picks up the pace in her pasture.
We’re not completely ruling out her future prospects as a broodmare–it’s unlikely that the mare would reject another foal, and she does produce healthy and gentle-mannered offspring–but we have dismissed it as an option that we would consider pursuing. If she is ever bred again, it will be under a different owner.
The main option that we’ve been considering is whether to try to sell Blue immediately as an untrained pleasure/sport prospect, or if we should wait to sell her after she’s already had some training. Keeping her is not a good long-term solution. We already have several riding horses, and I really think Blue has the potential to be much more than a trail horse for pleasure rides, which is the only riding we do.
So if a new career is before her, what are the challenges she’ll face? Two years ago, Blue had a late foal (May 27) and took the year off from her broodmare duties. I took the opportunity to reacquaint the mare with a saddle and bridle. Back when she was 2 years old, she spent a couple of months in race training, but this was her first riding experience since then. Throughout the summer and fall that year, I took Blue (with suckling foal by her side) for an occasional short ride in the farm’s outdoor arena and through neighboring farmland. She was certainly green, but she proved to have a light mouth and was quick to understand all the riding aids, so it wasn’t long before I was asking her to pick up her trot and do some basic training routines. Her gentle, fluid motion impressed me at the time, and encourages me now that she’ll transition nicely into an excellent mount. Additionally, being young, tall, quick, spirited, and a flashy dapple grey, she has many qualities in her favor.
Later this spring, when she’s had another six weeks or so to finish healing, I think I’ll dust off that saddle again and start to get her used to being ridden regularly. We’ll see where things go from there.