Before I tell the story of Eli I have to add a little story about the first horse I owned. About 30 years ago I started English riding. I had always done Western riding in my younger years, including barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying. I started at North Valley Farms with Robert Foley. He found Kid Charlemagne for me, who we lovingly called K.C. He was an Appendix Quarter horse and he was mean. Once you got on him was wonderful. K.C. had a short stride but never refused a jump. We showed in the Adult/Amateur division.
But on the ground, he was likely to kick or bite. Back then Laurie was a working student with Robert. To this day she tells stories about having to enter K.C.’s stall with a pitchfork for protection. I was kicked twice in the knee and bit numerous times He spooked at everything. He was so tenacious. He was hit by a car on Rio Grande. The car was totaled and the people were scared but ok. Animal control and the police were sure he was dead, and starting looking for him. But K.C. had run home and put himself in his stall. He broke a bone in his hind foot. The vet put a bar shoe on him and he was turned out to pasture for a year. When he returned he was jumping as well as he did before the accident. He was a very special horse.
Twenty years later I came back to riding at Top Notch Farm. In April I started looking for a horse of my own. The transition back was more difficult than I had anticipated, and I thought having my horse would make it easier.
In April, Laurie found me Eli. Then his name was Eli, and he was living at Sandia Farm with Laura Simpson. He came to Top Notch Farm on a six month lease. I renamed him Eli and I fell in love at first sight. Laurie said “Wait ‘til you ride him before you know if you love him.” But I knew. I rode him the next day and he whinnied the whole time. I thought this was adorable.
Eli is an older registered Thoroughbred. In his very young years he was a racehorse. His next career was as hunter. He did the Amateur/Owner hunters in Colorado, which is a big 3'6. After that he was an eventer. After retiring from big time showing he has had several owners. I was his last.
I started dreading October when he would have to go back to Laura's barn. One day Laurie came up to me and said she had talked to Laura and they wanted to know if I wanted Port and it didn't take a second before I said YES
He was the sweetest, kindest horse I have ever been around. After all these years I have found the horse I have always wanted. He always stayed very clean and never seemed to get dirty. Even Jaime and Leo say that he was one of their favorites to work with; no pitchfork needed. His best friend at the barn was a little Pinto pony named little Snickers. The two old men loved to get turned out together. When I would go to see him he would nicker at the sound of my voice. He was a big boy at 17'1 and had a very nice long stride. He would lift his feet automatically when you pick them. He taught me a lot and I miss him very dearly.