Moon was born in April 1991 in Kelowna BC and she is an unregistered Arab/QH cross. Her sire was a beautiful black papered Arab (I have no idea what his name was) and her mom was a QH cross pony who we called ‘the horse with no legs’ because she had the body of a horse and stubby little legs.
We called her Moonlight because she was born on the Moonlight Deer Trail. Her mom, Breeze, escaped from the pasture somehow and decided to have her foal out in the woods with the deer.
Moon is 15.1 and broke to go English or Western. She was brought up as a trail horse but quickly showed that she was not suited to that life and was sold for a brief time to a young girl who wanted to show jump locally with her. Moon was about 6 at the time and a year later she was for sale as this girl couldn’t do much of anything with her. I happily bought her back and rode her as my guide horse until she was 8.
When she was 9 we moved to a big farm in the city next to the Kelowna Riding Club. There I rode every day and Moonlight proved just how smart and skilled she was. Also how beautiful. Horse folk can be a snobby bunch and they didn’t think much of the ‘help’ until they saw Moon and I riding. We used to run through dressage patterns in a back field, bare back with a french link and people would stop at the fence to watch. When we came back in they were obviously surprised to see this little horse and scraggly jeaned girl.
Around that time I was introduced to the world of competitive trail riding which suited me and Moon far better than the confines of a ring. We started training by riding the Mission Creek Greenway end to end which was 15km. Soon we were loping easily over and down hills all over the city and beyond. Never a fan of hauling I got a covered stock trailer which I put on the back of my pick-up truck and Moon couldn’t have been happier. She and I have even slept in it on several occasions.
When Moon was 13 I had my first child and she sadly has played second fiddle ever since. Not much more than a lawn ornament she has patiently waited in the field for me to return to visit and ride her once again. At one point I had 4 horses including her one of which was a narcoleptic Appalosa. They were pasture mates for 5 years before I had to put him down because his health had deteriorated so much. I have observed some pretty amazing horse behavior in my days but one of the most amazing was Moon taking Thunder (my appy) for a walk when he was about to have an episode. It was one of the most compassionate and caring things I have witnessed in a horse.
Moon has had no formal training what so ever. She was broke at 4 to the most basic Western reining and trail riding. She then went to a schooling stable (mentioned above) where she was schooled by a rough handed rider to go English and over fences. Proving too eager and difficult for her rider she was sold to me.
She was very hard on the bit, pulling and chomping at it constantly so I removed it entirely and rode her in a hackamore for a year. Then switched to a french link (I use almost nothing else) which floored the girls from the schooling stable who saw me tacking her up one day. She is now well trained on leg and balance aids both English and Western. Though my background is in English riding and dressage and I never could master the long loose controlled rein I would see at shows. Moon prefers a light consistent contact. She can do flying lead changes at the shift of your weight and half passes with firm leg pressure. We once spent a month practicing sliding stops which was a lot of fun, even if we never mastered it she does however stop very well.
In our many escapades Moon once got stuck knee deep in mud as we were coming out of a lake. She has never felt the same about puddles or mud since and will shy away from it. This being fairly hazardous to my health when we were trail riding at a canter on unfamiliar trails I taught her to jump over them instead of skirt around them. Also being an Arab she does spook at random things and doesn’t like the wind much. I taught her to ‘spook and stay’ as I call it which means she’ll tremble down to her toes but stay in one place instead of trampling all over me and/or my kids.
Over the years I’ve had several kids on her and now my own both can ride her. Surprisingly she has always been extremely gentle and patient with small children. She leads quietly and as I mentioned above is very aware of not running over short people. The bigger the kid the more she tests though and once you get about 70lbs on her she is not trust worthy for a green rider. My 6 year old daughter however can ride on her own in circles, figure eights, over poles and around them. She loves finding new obstacles to conquer with Moon.
She goes well on a lounge line and moves through her gates on voice command and slight physical cue but is certainly ‘left handed’. When she came back from her brief stint in show jumping the girl who had her declared she was stiff in her right shoulder and couldn’t be lounged in that direction. This is entirely untrue and she goes well both ways (even if she has a preference).
She tie, loads and bathes but I’ve never clipped her. I remember turning them on once and her throwing a fit so I don’t think that would go over well. I’ve blanketed her in miserable weather and kept her in a stall in the past but her favorite thing is to just be a horse outside and find a tree to be under. She has been outside all her life. She doesn’t like hauling all that much, she loved the stock trailer and truck for some reason, and she will often come out of the trailer in a sweat. She used to ground tie but doesn’t anymore (I got lazy) and I almost never tie her even though she ties just fine.
The Technical Stuff
Always an excellent pasture mate Moon has proven herself a lovely mare over and over again. I actually forgot at one point that people don’t like to keep mares because they can get dumb in heat. She is well liked by most horses, sometimes too much so. There was a cute little Arab gelding in the big bard we stayed in who loved Moon so much his owner couldn’t take him out without a big fuss so we had to separate them. I thought it was pretty cute. Another gelding (really neat horse) liked Moon so much he mounted her and they’d fool around in the pasture while the other 10 or so horses grazed. That was a sight! She’s been with a miniature stud, a herd of 4-40 and all by herself always complacent, always quiet, always the perfect lady.
She respects electric fences and railed ones. She had a neighbour once who curbed the top rail quite badly, she picked up the habit from him over the winter though I have never seen her do it since we moved. She and my gelding used to crawl under a poor section of fence and creep down a path into the neighbouring alfalfa field and then sneak back again. I never caught them doing this I only know because I saw the path when I was checking fences one day. It was pretty amusing to imagine the two of them doing that. The gelding was 16.1hh!
Moon has never been lame a day in her life. And I mean that. I have had her for almost 14 years and not once has she pulled up lame on me. She once showed up with a giant sliver in her neck which she allowed me to push out (thankfully it came) and once she got the crap kicked out of her by a nasty mare she was pastured with. Poor girl had welts all over her body (got trapped in a shelter) and the vet came out just to make sure she had all her teeth and give her something for the pain and swelling.
She’s been barefoot for the past 8 years and I’ve done her feet for most of that. She’s never had her teeth floated and has grazed in the summer and been fed hay in the winter as long as I have had her. She is pretty fat right now because she lives in an organic hay field all alone.
I last did her shots in 2002 which is the last year I showed with her. She has a coggins certificate somewhere. She is unregistered. She is wormed occasionally but because we have excellent pasture management where we are right now and she is alone I don’t worry about it too much.
Moonlight is like a daughter to me. She is only 19 and to look at her aside from a few extra white hairs she looks just like she did the day I got her. She has at least another decade of riding in her if not more. It breaks my heart that I haven’t been able to ride her since having kids. Since moving here I ride almost not at all. I am a single mom, she is far away and I just don’t have the time or the child care. We are going to be traveling for a year next spring and Moon needs someone to take care of her.
Moon loves the trail. She was born on one! And she deserves to spend more time out there. I want to find her a home where she will be treated fairly and kindly, given a natural space and put some miles on her! I want her to stay in that home forever or come back to me. I don’t want to sell her but I feel like it is the right thing to do. Or to at least find her a good home. Or a good person who will come ride her because she already has a good home.
If you think you might like to take care of my mare and love her and ride her please contact me. I’d love to chat.