“The Horse Can Do!”

Ashley, Avantos, Russ

Thursday, December 09, 2021 (December’s fullest moon [“Cold Moon”] rises on the 18th.)

Last night, I toasted to a win in a major jumping horse competition. The winning horse was one that experts once believed could never again “do it”. His rider/adopter was one who never stopped believing, “he could”.

I’ve written previously about Avantos, once a world-recognized champion jumper, sent to retirement because over time his hooves had become very damaged, were too painful for his continuing to jump. My friend, Ashley, heard he might be re-homed and rushed to adopt the discard. She succeeded.

Ashley would have provided Avantos a wonderful forever home under any circumstances. She happens to have as an almost lifelong friend, Russ, who’s an experienced farrier. Among farriers, Russ might have few equals. He assessed Avantos’ hooves, had doubts but was willing to try repairing them. Long story short, over a couple of years his work and Ashley’s care have returned Avantos to excellent physical condition. The horse again is athletic and capable with hooves supporting properly.

Ashley’s friend Kelly called yesterday to share her excitement over Avantos’ win at Desert International, the West Coast’s most-premiere jumping show. The short version is that in Ashley’s round Avantos jumped first, which set a marker for performance. Another entry, to win, needed to best Avantos’ time completing the round, and match his no-fault performance. None succeeded.

Kelly added as background that Ashley hauls Avantos to a trainer’s facility twice weekly. But nobody else, including their capable trainer, ever rides Avantos. After taking instruction from the trainer, Ashley brings Avantos home and routinely works with him two hours daily. Every bit of accomplished good has arrived from Ashley’s dedication and Russ’s skill.

According to Russ (who also takes care of my equines), Avantos is a half-million-dollar horse. Russ took on those badly-damaged hooves because he’s known Ashley for years. He was certain she’d put in every other bit of effort needed to return Avantos from the brink.

Avantos is seventeen years old, and Russ says right in his prime. An athletic horse’s prime years are sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen.

Yesterday’s win was huge for Avantos and Ashley. Before leaving home for the show, Ashley said that at least three of the horse’s previous owners would be there and watching him. I’ll look forward to learning details when the duo’s home again.

Dear Friends: Learning, determination, and belief, all together a powerful trio. Diana

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