Although I rode many horses in my teens and early 20s, I never owned any of them. My first horse was one that I bought from the New Canaan Mounted Troop. His name was “One Too Many” or Bogie. The story was that he had been the one too many horse in his original owner’s barn.
Bogie had been donated to the Troop several years before I arrived. He was supposed to be a foxhunter but he absolutely hated to be ridden in company. He would kick out and sometimes even try to bite other horses. For several years he was used in lessons and was beloved for his jump which was ideal for equitation (i.e., pretty flat).
Bogie, ultimately didn’t like being a lesson horse. He’d gotten pretty surly by the time I showed up at the barn. He would sometimes pin small children in the back of his stall by threatening to bite them and he’d developed an excellent passive resistance technique for avoiding work: he’d stand in the middle of the ring and refuse to move!
I just wanted a horse to ride so I tried him. After a few rides I took a lesson with a trainer who had worked with him for several years. “That’s your horse,” she said. “He’s picked you.” She said she hadn’t seen him try so hard for a rider in years. It took me awhile to come to the same conclusion but I really liked riding him. He was a great jumper and, while he initially had a trot like a pile driver, as he started to use himself it got almost tolerable. He really thrived on having his own human.
After leasing him for about a year, I finally bought him. We were moving to Ohio and my husband told me I could take him with me. Bogie had been lame for a month or two before I left. First he’d pulled a shoe and stepped on a clip. Soon after he recovered he came up lame again, possibly from a stone bruise. I was concerned about buying a lame horse and I consulted the vet who came to the barn. He looked me in the eye and told me the horse didn’t cost enough to do a PPE or to try to figure out why he was still sore. Instead he said, “Tell him that you are moving and that you won’t take him with you unless he’s sound.” It worked.
I had Bogie for about five years. He had some neat tricks — as a former equitation horse, he had lead changes down cold. I could do two-tempe changes down the diagnol line, much to the envy of the DQs in the barn. He never had much of a lengthening but he figured out canter pirouettes in no time. He also would jump anything in a ring. Never by much but always clear.
Bogie never turned into an eventer. It turned out that he was pretty chicken when it came to jumping xc fences. I evented him a few times and then let him do what he preferred — jumping in a ring. Although he never cleared a jump by more than a couple of inches, he had quite a bit of scope and I had fun with him doing the low jumpers. He could turn on a dime and was very game.
Eventually, my trainer suggested it was time to find him a home with someone who wanted to do less. He was about 18 at the time. I sold him to a girl who had been leasing him from me for about six months. I guess he decided he didn’t want to live with her because within a few months he was lame. The family had his hocks injected but he still didn’t come sound. So, I took him back. At the time he was in Cleveland and I was in Boston so I asked my old trainer to go and get him. Within a few weeks he was sound. I found a new home for him with a friend of a friend. The man had been a rodeo cowboy and had owned his last horse for something like 32 years. I figured I couldn’t do any better and my trainer reported that Bogie gave him a thumbs up. He always did like to choose his human. He went off to his new home on a permanent free lease and lived out his years on a 14 acre spread with a post and beam barn — a retirement that he well deserved.