Well, it’s been a few months and I suppose I should introduce my new horse. That’s right, I have my own new horse now. Mikki and I have mentioned her a few times already so it’s about time you know just who I’m talking about. And I’ll explain why I call her Moonshine.
We’ve always intended to have more than one horse. In fact, we’d like to have three – one for each of us. But since we knew nothing about horses when we embarked on this first-horse adventure in February 2006, we thought it wise to become familiar with our first horse before buying our second. Then when our guest horse Blaze left, we noticed that Valentine seemed lonely. Horses after all are herd animals so we began to casually look for a companion horse. While at our favorite tack shop, Mikki and I glanced at the bulletin board and inquired with Charlie if he knew anyone who was selling a good, gentle, inexpensive horse. Charlie put us in touch with a guy who does some work for him on the side and that very afternoon we drove to a small farm like ours to look at a mare for sale. The man selling her said he didn’t want to sell her but he didn’t get to ride her much anymore and he was in need of money to pay a stud fee for his other mare, which was about to foal. The horse stood like a statue out in the pasture as we walked around her, touching and rubbing her. I’m not really sure what we were looking for but I guess we hoped anything that should concern us would stand out, hopefully with a sign that said: “don’t buy me.” She looked good with the exception of her hooves which were in need of trimming and were worn rough since she wasn’t wearing any shoes. The owner said he hadn’t ridden her much (warning flag 1) and that she threw him once and it kind of scared him (warning flag 2). He admitted he wasn’t much of a rider, though. Heh, neither were we! Now, this is the point when we started falling in love with this horse, enough that we were willing to ignore the warning signs (I didn’t listen to any of the advice I dished out in my post about “Should you buy a horse?“). She was gentle and didn’t mind us touching her feet, back, belly and head. She haltered well, too. We went home to think about it and a few days later decided we wanted to buy her.
Mikki and I knew we didn’t know what to look for so we asked our farrier, Gabe, if he’d be willing to come up and take a look at her for us and bring her home if he thought she was a good deal (we don’t have a horse trailer and he does). A few days later my new horse Moonshine was on a trailer headed for our barn and a very curious pasture-mate.
Once we were home, we let Moonshine and Valentine smell each other over the fence and then let her into the pasture to see how they’d react to each other. In equine society, females rule the herd and despite being a whole hand shorter than Valentine, Moonshine quickly took the leadership role and Valentine let her. I think he was just happy to have a friend…a girl-friend at that! I have some video of the moment when they met that shows them running around together. Someday I’ll post that because it’s fun to watch.
As I said, it’s been several months now and these two horses love each other’s company. You never see them very far apart and the pecking order is well-established. They’re beautiful together and at times I wish Valentine was a stallion. Their babies would be beautiful!
And the particulars: Moonshine is 15.2 hands tall, black with a white star on her head and snip on her nose. She weighs about 1,000 pounds. A registered paint, you wouldn’t know it to look at her since she’s all black but she’s registered as breeding stock. She’s also part quarterhorse and Thoroughbred. The Thoroughbred part really shows when she runs, I think. Boy is she fast! It’s interesting to see the two horses together. Valentine runs oddly, as gaited horses do (he’s a Tennessee Walking Horse) while Moonshine runs like a racehorse.
And now about her name. Her official name is moon-something. I can never remember what it is but being near the mountains in east Tennessee it just seemed funny to call her Moonshine. It’s funny but for me, the name also refers to her radiant beauty, like the shining moon. Moon shine. And it rhymes with Valentine. You might see her name as Moonshine or Moon Shine.
So now you know most of the story. You’ll be hearing a lot about her on ourfirsthorse.com. And while technically we have our first horses…the name of our site and horse blog still applies, since Mikki and I each now have our own first horse.