I purchased Chance from a farm in Middleburg, Virginia. I remember the first time I saw him- this big 17.1 hand, 10 year old, chestnut thoroughbred gelding. He had these sad big brown eyes that made me instantly fall in love. I got on him and we cantered around a field together and over a handful of jumps.
We vetted him and trailered him back to the farm in Lorton, Virginia.
Immediately upon his arrival, we all noticed that this horse was scared of everything! He was a cribber. He was constantly hurting himself. And he refused to pick up his left lead.
We began working with our trainer- mostly on our flatwork- and he loved to rear! Yay! (note sarcasm). He hated trail riding and riding in the field. What horse dislikes being ridden in a huge green field!? We managed to jump a bit here and there. Every time we made progress, Chance would get hurt! Colic, a huge gash above his eye, a hurt leg- you name it, he had it/did it/hurt it.
After much consideration, I decided that I should lease him out so that he would have more time under the saddle. Next, we decided to try Dressage to build up his back muscles. We worked with an awesome trainer, actually two, who were pretty well known in the Dressage world. And, honestly, Chance was amazing at Dressage! And what a difference it made! I began to actually enjoy riding him! He was much calmer and easier to handle.
I left to goto college and a few weeks later Chance came to meet me. My poor trainer trailered Chance the 4 hours and it took much longer than expected because of the directions! Chance’s behaviors were all over the place. The only stable with availability was one the held a rodeo on the weekends. It was great fun, but Chance was not a fan of the bulls. We ended up moving to another facility where he was receiving training and I was receiving lessons. That soon stopped because of the frequent encounters with lameness and back issues.
That summer I went home and decided to leave him at vet2’s stable where he would have 24 hour care and someone who knew him well. Plus, maybe a break would do him some good. However, after that summer he was officially retired.
I moved him to another stable closer to school. It was a perfect place- a three stall barn, with individual runs, and big green pastures. He soon fell in love with the mare there and was content.
Thankfully, after graduation, I was able to leave him at this farm while I completed my Masters degree and almost finish my Doctorate. Without the care the farm’s owner extended to Chance (and the care extended to me as well), I have no idea what I would have done. The truth is though, I wasn’t able to make the drive as frequently as I would have liked with school and everything…4 hours there and 4 hours back in one day… I had always envisioned bringing Chance home upon graduation….
Chance lived there for almost 8 years. He had flare ups of Lymphangitis and would stock up if left inside. The symptoms were treated with each episode but the flare ups would continue and each episode would last a couples days and was manageable with medication. The mistake I made was instead of doing my own research about Lymphangitis, I took the vet’s word for it. I was under the impression that Lymphangitis was more of a disease instead of a symptom. If I had only done my homework I would have known that is was in fact the symptom of a much larger problem.
The day “Sunset Beach” became “Take A Chance”