July 2, 2015

Meet Pete

Hopefully my blogging about Gem will remain boring. A boring recovery is a good one. In the meantime, I thought the rest of my furry family could use some time in the spot light.

We will start with Pete since I have mentioned him in passing several times without ever introducing him properly.

Gemmie had been with me for about 3 months when Dusty looked at me one random afternoon and asked "When are you going to find me a Haflinger?" I was shocked. Dusty wasn't really a horse person. The last time he had ridden was on our Honeymoon 5 years prior and after 5 days of riding in France I thought he would never sit on another horse again. There was an awesome Haffy named Jack at the barn who Dusty enjoyed hanging out with while I clung to Gem's back in terror during our early days together. I think he wanted a Jack of his own. Instead he got Pete.

I found Pete on Craigslist for $800 and after seeing the condition he was in, we knew he would be coming home with us for better or for worse. He was older than his advertised age of 10, but we didn't really know how much older. We guesstimated it at 15 or so. Also, he was most certainly not full Haflinger. Perhaps a draft cross of some sort, but he was cute, lovable and needed a new home. Dusty gave him bonus points for looking good in John Deere colors too.

Pete at the sale barn the day we looked at him

Pete a week later when he came to our boarding facility
In most cases green + green = black and blue (for non horsey people: inexperienced horse with an inexperienced rider usually ends up with bruises if you are lucky), but with these two boys it was perfect.

Pete had plenty of flaws, some of which he has outgrown in the last 5 years and some he never will, but he was sweetheart through and through and goofy as all get out.  His past history is a mystery, but we do know that he came from out west in a big shipment to a lady in Ohio who was then terrified of him and spent the time she had him yelling and beating him. I don't know if he was a scardey cat before her, but he was after he left. They guy we bought him from only had him a very short period.

What Pete needed was Dusty. What Dusty lacks in learned skill and attention to minutia, he more than makes up for in inherent athleticism and a go with the flow nature. When Pete would do something bad, such as refuse to turn and instead full blown canter sideways into the barn wall with his nose touching his butt, Dusty would laugh and tell him he was a goofball. No yelling, no getting tense at all and no hitting. You could just see the tension slowly melt away from Pete's psyche.

In turn, Pete opened Dusty to a whole new world of horses. Dusty galloped on him, most of the time on purpose, but not always. He explored the trails and Pete turned out to be a trail horse extraordinaire. Yes, all humans except Dusty made his quiver in fear, but he would go over, under or through anything on the trail boldly. If Dusty pointed him at something and told him to go, he would. perhaps at a speed faster than lightning, but he would go.

We quickly learned that Pete loved to jump and was bold and brave to any object in front of him
Pete's biggest flaw was standing still. He just wouldn't do it. He would rear. He would spin. He would prance. It was dangerous and annoying and nearly got Dusty kicked out of the only clinic we will ever attend in our lives, but eventually Dusty improved this bad habit too.
Both making faces at the thought of standing politely in the cold

The best part about Pete? He is always the same. Dusty can, and unfortunately has due to life circumstances, left him out to pasture for months on end without riding and then pull him out and he is still the same Pete he was months before. Pete is the perfect husband horse.

Pete being goofy old Pete
When we got our trailer, we learned another thing Pete didn't do: load. He was a stubborn mule the first day and it took many hours to get him on it. Once he learned he couldn't get away with it, he started loading like a champ.

Look at that shiny coat!

More derpy faces from the boys
Pete turned out to be the perfect trail companion for Gem too. Bold, brave and forward he is also extremely fast. This makes Gem move her tail or get left behind without time to look for imaginary monsters in the trees. back in the pre-Wyatt era of our marriage, we rode out on trails together all the time. Gem wasn't in endurance shape back then, so I don't know if it would be the same now, but before she would always be a gait ahead to keep up. If Pete trotted she would canter. That guy can fly.

My absolute favorite picture of the two
Pete also turned out to be the perfect pasture buddy. When Gem and Pete were together they were the best of friends. Neither bossed the other around. They shared out of the same grain bucket, water tub and were always side by side grazing. We never saw a kick, bite or scratch on the two of them.

Unfortunately, Pete now doesn't get a ton of attention. There just isn't enough hours in the day, but Dusty still goes out weekly to see him and has started to run with him along the barn trails. I am hoping to find a babysitter for the next hunter pace season, if Gem can ride again, and have Dusty and Pete join us for some of the paces. The paces are perfect for Pete: the right distance, speed and they even have jumps.


  1. Pete's a cool-looking dude! Sounds like he's definitely an excellent husband-horse!

  2. Wow! He is amazing. The haflinger I ride with as a trail buddy is fast and fearless and goes forever on the trails. They have their quirks, but once you work through those, they are solid horses. (Made a funny . . . .hahahahaha).

    1. Ha! Right now Pete is pretty fat and looks like a couch more than a horse, but he is back into a conditioning program and should be looking proper again soon. I have zero experience with the breed but I wouldn't shy away from another one after this experience and it sounds like he isn't abnormal for the breed.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love him! And WOW does Dusty have great EQ over fences! Love this post. =)

    1. Please don't tell Dusty that!!! His head is big enough already ;) I told Dusty this weekend that Pete may have to come out of his semi retirement for the hunter paces in the fall. I have only ever been on him twice in 5 years, so it will be an adjustment. Pete did complete a 25 mile LD but did not enjoy it at all.