Sunday, July 19, 2009

Story of a (Second) Hand-Me-Down Horse: Bella-Ella

This scraggly thing came to us on Halloween of last year. I'm sure most of you who read this blog know her story better than I do so I won't talk much about her past. All I will say is she was underweight, whooly as a mammoth, and full of anxiety and angst. She looked nothing like the horse Cowboy H had described we were getting.

(Note: Please don't judge Mama H and please forgive Cowboy H for cutting of Bella's legs)

She also behaved completely different than I expected. She hated being caught and was a wreck to lead and tie; a nervous nelly. Overall, an extremely unhappy horse. We turned her out in the "mare pasture" at our little ranch; the same area that my Maria lived in (we knew that box stalls were out of the question). She was accepted into the herd quickly, but it was soon discovered that she was a cribber, which impeded her gaining weight.

The picture above is from the first time one of us rode her, after spending 15 minutes just trying to catch her. Fortunately, she was very pleasant under saddle and seemed to really enjoy going out on the trails. The arena was a whole different story though...

Both Cowboy H and I decided that Bella needed some time to decompress. We stopped riding her for the most part and focused a lot of energy on just spending time with her. I would catch her just to brush her, or give her a carrot (no apples, she doesn't like apples), or simply walk her around the ranch on foot while i yakked it up with other people. She was also tied to the patience pole a few times since tying quietly was not one of her best qualities.

Then, we had to go catch about 100 cows that had gotten out of our grazing land when fires burned the fences last November. Without hesitating Cowboy H strapped his rope to his saddle and threw it over Bella's back. She was a real working cow horse for a day and loved it.

Once all the cows had been herded back to the ranch (I will post pictures of this ride someday soon) we had to sort and count them in the pens. Now I didn't get any pictures of it because I was busy dodging the bull that Maria was trying to take on, but Bella sure impressed Cowboy H that afternoon. Cowboy H and Bella took on the role of cutting out the desired cows and sending them our way. Man alive did that horse ever cut. She worked her butt of. It was amazing. Cowboy H even roped and dragged cows with her. At one point, he had to jump off Bella suddenly to catch the end of his rope and she slid to a stop and froze in place till he remounted. It was pretty cool.

After that day it was pretty much decided she was a keeper, but she still wasn't gaining weight as well as we wanted. So we turned her out in the BIG pasture which was knee high with green grass after the fires. We didn't touch her (or even look at her) for over a month, and then, wow. Wow. I went out to check on her (finally) and she came running (running!) up to greet me. And she was so fat and shiny and happy I seriously thought I got the wrong horse!

Here she is getting new shoes after over a month on the BIG pasture.

Dragging oak logs from out of the creek gully (but she's not dragging one in this pic)

Working the gate on a evening ride (notice that BUTT)

Look who's coming to see us!

Happy Girl

All in all, we have a happy ending (and twinsie horses!). Bella has taken up permanent residency in the big pasture and has since been joined by Maria. Next up, I make a driving pair out of these two!

I kid!

(Or not...)


  1. I am so happy that Bella found a wonderful home with you and Cowboy H!

  2. She is back looking like she did when I bought her! Poor baby had to change homes 5 times before she landed in your laps! So happy that she is with the 2 of you, she really is such a sweet little girl, Bella Ella...The paint that ain't!!!

  3. She is a beauty. Love the last picture of her face! Sounds like she is in her forever home!


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