Katie's Journal

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Mr. Boone and Mr. Bill

by @ 7:49 pm on July 16, 2013.

When my friend Dawn was obsessively searching for a horse, she stumbled on an ad for a haflinger/percheron cross and told me I should buy him. I was not in the market for another horse and didn’t really pay much attention. The ad read:

this is boone 11 year old percheron/haflinger cross he is 15.1 hands he is a love any one can ride him and he drives like a dream..your granmother can ride him he is a very easy keeper as you can see..you will not find a nicer horse

I glance at the picture, and think either that height is too low or the guy in the picture is one BIG guy. And I look closer… And I realize the guy is our farrier, Fred. Indeed, Fred is one BIG guy. I show the ad to Ern, and much to my surprise, Ern gives Fred a call about him. Fred knows his horses, and so we know Boone is bound to be very well trained. Boone was supposed to be his daughter’s horse, but his daughter fell in love with a smaller, lighter, more athletic haflinger pony, and Fred didn’t want to see Boone just standing around. And so he was looking for a good home for him. He knows our home, and being our farrier, would still get to see Boone. So he said he’d cut us a deal, and to come take a look at him. I was really surprised at how quick Ern jumped on the “let’s go get him!” bandwagon, but he did. And off we went to see Mr. Boone. And home he came on the trailer.

We tried paring Boone with Jim. At the time, 15.1 didn’t seem so much bigger than Jim’s 13.2. But not only is Boone that much taller than Jim, he’s also twice as wide. Speed-wise they matched up well. But poor little Jim was just no match for Boone’s pulling power, and I was scared to death Jim would get hurt trying to keep up with Boone. Because Jim is a such a good boy, he’d give his all to do what you ask him, and hurt himself in the process. And so we started keeping an eye out for a team mate for Boone.

A few weeks later Fred is out at a big draft horse sale in Mount Hope, OH. He originally said he didn’t find anything at the sale that would match Boone, so I keep scouring the Internet. And I find a horse about 45 minutes away from Mt. Hope. His ad read (2 separate ads from different sites):

Percheron sire, Haflinger dam. $800.00 About 62 inches tall had a couple people on his back has been line drove a bunch, single and double, but never hitched.

Haflinger-Percheron Gelding Has been harnessed, has not been ridden 3yrs old. He’s around 62 inches. If the ads up I still have him I will take it down when he is sold.

He sure was a pretty, stocky boy in his photos. We tried to get Fred to go look at him while he was out there, but that didn’t work out (long story). Ern was prepared to forget about him, but I kept thinking about him. So I got Ern to call again about him. He was 200 miles one way into OH, and so Ern wasn’t too keen on making that drive. But we talk to the owner, get all kinds of measurements to try and compare him to Boone, and he seems pretty close in everything. Finally Ern asks for a video, and the guy says he’ll get one in a couple days. We settle back to wait for the video. Well, guy checks in late on a Monday morning, and says just so you know I have another person scheduled to come look at him tomorrow. Uh-oh. I ask if we came that day, could we have first dibs? Guy says yes. We go into panic mode. Do we go? Do we wait and see if those people even take him? We flip a coin. Coin says don’t go. We think some more. And we decide to go.

I don’t think we even pulled out of the drive until 2pm. We had already switched to once a day milking, or we’d never have been able to go. But late in the afternoon, we headed off on a 200 mile drive into Ohio. It pours rain most of the way, hitting hardest about the time we get there. We want to make sure we’ll end up with a good team, so we took Boone with us. And there, in the absolute pouring rain, we hitch the two horses up together and Ern ground drives them around. The guy says Bill hasn’t been worked but twice in the entire past year. On the whole, he did really good. He matched Boone almost perfectly in every way except color.

Bill still needs some miles. He just turned 4 this month. But we’ve been really happy with his personality and how he’s progressed with his training. He’s done everything under harness Ern has asked him to do, and a few weeks ago we broke him to ride. It was a pretty intensive 2 weeks doing a lot of ground work, but once we finally hit a turning point Bill has been a really good boy ever since. And that’s how we ended up with Ern’s team, Bill and Boone.

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