Project Poco – Another Blast from the Past

My youngest daughter’s fascination with Orca whales lasted until she turned 12, when her second favourite animal the horse, took the primary position. For many years she had attended a Summer Camp in Severn Bridge, where she would ride and learn rodeo skills. One year she returned from camp with those fateful words. “Dad…. Daddy, I’d like to get my own horse….PLEEEEEZ” Every father knows exactly this situation. Your instinctive common sense tries to respond with “are you insane?” but the Daddy gene generally overpowers this with compromise statements like “save your money and you can get one someday”. Your daughter goes away smiling, perhaps encouraged and you feel that you are pretty much off the hook. Then 24 hours later, she comes back and says; “I got a job, I’m saving for my horse!”
My daughter was very diligent working at a horse farm and doing chores that would disgust most kids. She put a picture on her wall of a horse one of her camp counselors had for sale “Poco Pines Pride”, a 2 year old registered American Quarter Horse mare that was “broken but green”. Two terms I had never heard before but clearly the horse was brown and did not appear to be broken but in good health. Some months later, after saving every penny, doing additional chores and banking every birthday cheque, she comes to me and says. “Dad, I have saved $2,000 and I now have enough to buy Poco. Can we buy her?” I had counted on it taking YEARS for her to save enough money and perhaps she’d want a car instead. But no, it was time to honour my part of the deal. “Sure honey, you did great. I am very proud of you. I’ll call Shayne and let him know we’ll be sending the money and he can bring her to the farm or we can get her picked up” “Awesome!” My daughter screams. “His number is 403-555-1212.” “403?” I say. “That’s Alberta, are you sure you’ve got that right” “Yes. He and Poco are in Alberta” Yes indeed the camp counselor is from Alberta, not in Severn Bridge, Ontario or some neighbouring city. My education in all things equine begins.

Horse lesson number 1

After phoning around to numerous horse transport companies it became obvious that the average cost of transporting a horse from Alberta to Ontario was about $4,500 or roughly 2 times the actual cost of the horse, unless she could “hitch a ride”. Hitching a ride was the term for becoming the last passenger on a multi-horse transport to fill it up. Something akin to flying stand-by on an airline. Poco went on the stand-by passenger list for a while, but to no avail for weeks. We did get a call from a carrier who could pick her up, but it has to be that day. They are on the road and have an open stall. A more  reasonable cost and my daughter will be ecstatic, Perfect! So I agree and they say, “Please fax us the Coggin’s certificate and we’ll pick her up”. “A what?” I say. It’s a horse blood test required for stabling or transporting horses. It requires 3 days to get one, so Poco misses her ride. After many misfires and attempts to get her to Ontario cheaply, I give in to my daughter’s pleas and book Poco out on a highly reputable carrier. Lesson number one has been learned.

“Always ask where the horse is located before you buy it”

Horse lesson number 2

While Poco is in transit, my daughter reminds me that she will need:
• lead rope
• helmet
• chaps
• riding vest
• gloves
• lunging line
• surcingle
• polo wraps
• crop
• halter
• brushes
• hoof pick
• fly spray
• fly mask
• bridle
• bits
• saddles (yes plural)
• saddle pad
• bucket
• monthly board
• shoeing
• training/lessons
• veterinary care
• vaccinations
• de-worming
• hay
• bedding and
• horse treats.

You are not buying a horse, you are adopting a family member that needs everything you have never heard of and certainly don’t have

Horse lesson number 3

When it’s all said and done, it’s priceless.


image  Then


kmhpoco7h  Today

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