In February of 2002, at 24 years old, my life long dream of FINALLY having a horse of my very own came true! I wasn't quite ready to buy a horse just yet. I had just graduated from college two months before, and still hadn't found my "computer engineering" career job (there just wasn't much out there in IT jobs in Michigan after Sept. 11th happened), so I was working as a bank teller at the time making a little over minimum wage.
But Wayne's owner was getting ready to have hip surgery and needed to thin down his herd fast, and Wayne had to go. He knew how much I loved that horse, and wanted me to have him, but otherwise, Wayne was going to auction with the others, and let's face it, a 16 year old, "out of style", "unbroke", "wrong color", "too short", "not modern enough pedigree" Haflinger breeding stallion would not have faired well at an auction, despite his wonderful temperament. I didn't have enough money for the purchase price at the time, but I really didn't want to let Wayne go, and thankfully his owner really wanted me to have him so he knew Wayne went to a good home and was willing to work with me. So we drew up a payment contract, signed over his papers, and Wayne was mine!
So into my ownership came "Wayne County", the 13.2 hand, mister personality plus Haflinger stallion; the flaxen red chestnut that shined like a copper penny with the thick flaxen double mane, a thick flaxen forelock that hid his near text book perfect blaze, flaxen feathers on his feet, and a flaxen tail that grew long and full despite his tail bone being docked like a draft horse (a phase the Haflinger breed went through years ago). I couldn't have been happier!
|Wayne, the day I got him! 2-20-02|
|Checking out his new home at Scheids!|
|Hanging out with embryo transfer mares Lady and Ebony!|
In June he went to his second show, and this time we did the halter class both mornings. He whipped the competition! And again I rode him in the evenings, and in the warm up arena during the show. Still a perfect gentleman!
|First class under saddle, English Walk/Trot|
I pulled into the barn the day after the National show to find this stallion on the loose. Apparently his owner had been out to visit, and hadn't latched his stall door shut correctly, and Indy had let himself out of his stall. He had run full tilt at the fence to Wayne's pasture, shattered the wooden fence rails as he crashed through them, and attacked Wayne. And unfortunately, the two Belgain mares that Wayne was madly in love with were standing just on the other side of the fence from him. And Wayne, having been a herd stallion pasture breeding mares for so many years (and who seems to think he's ten foot tall and bullet proof), was determined to stand his ground and defend "his" Belgain mares. Wayne took a beating, but Indy didn't come out much better, Wayne gave back just as much as he received, and we had two very beat up and bleeding stallions by the time we were able to separate them.
Thank god Wayne's a tough drafty little bugger for his size, or he'd have been dead for sure, but unfortunately, he got kicked hard in the side of the knee during the fight, and tore the collateral ligament on the outside of his left knee. Flexion tests, x-rays, and ultrasound confirmed it. And there was nothing to do but stall rest him, and hope and pray, but at 17 years old, the chances of it healing properly were slim to none. Maybe MSU could do something for him with surgery, but at his age, that was risky too, and I couldn't afford surgery anyway. I was sick, I was furious, I cried my eyes out, I wanted to go after the other stallion owner and make her pay for what her horse had done! The barn owner called the other owner and told her what happened, and she showed up with a trailer that night, loaded up her horse, and took off. We never saw or heard from her again. I was sick! The one thing I had wanted all my life, that I had worked so hard for all through college, had likely just been ripped right out from under me!
Of course, his knee never healed right, and while he was sound enough to be a pasture pet, his riding days were definitely done. So Wayne's been living the retired pasture potato life for the last 7 years. We did try going to a show in 2004 to do the halter class just for fun, but his limp decided to show up that day in a couple of his trot strides, so needless to say, we didn't place. That was his last show.
|Wayne's last show. 2004|
So I'd find a new barn to move the furkids to, and the process would start all over again. Seriously people! Yes, he's a stallion, but he's not your typical stallion! Give him a chance, he's never done anything to show you he needs to be locked up, yet you lock him up anyway! Let him live outside and stop helping his knee destroy itself! The last barn started out the same way, then went to locking him in a stall in the back barn that was pitch black except when someone was in the barn and turned on the lights, his only company a goat that shared his stall with him, and the 2 year old stud colt locked away a few stalls over who at least had a small window to the outside world in his stall. Needless to say, Wayne didn't handle that well at all, his knee got worse, he got depressed to the point he stopped eating, I went looking for yet another barn.
I had just started a new job and moved to a new area, and got lucky enough to find a barn two miles down the road from home that had room for three horses. And had individual turnout pens for Wayne. The owner was leery of taking on a stallion, but agreed to let me bring him down for a one month trial period and if all went well, then I could bring my mares down too. Unfortunately, an F3 tornado (unheard of in our neck of the woods), came through the area just before we were to bring Wayne down, and destroyed the barn owners home and some of the barns. Thankfully no one was hurt, and I am glad Wayne wasn't there when that happened. So his move to High Point Stables was delayed a couple months, as he continued to live in that dark hell hole they had put him in, and he continued to get thinner and thinner from refusing to eat anything but his grain. It broke my heart, he was obviously miserable, I almost put him down.
But finally, in September of 2007, Wayne made the move to High Point, and after a couple of rocky weeks of settling in and adjusting to having freedom and horses around, Wayne finally proved himself a good boy, and we got to stay! It did my heart a world of good to see him outside every day grazing and wandering around, happy to be out and with other horses for company in the pasture next to him, and my little guy got his spirits and personality back! He's even gone to being on pasture board now instead of stall board, and seems content with retired life. And thankfully there's been no locking him away in a stall, so he's been living the good life at High Point!
|Getting fat and happy at High Point! 2007|
|Just up from a nap! 5-15-10|
|Handsome as ever at 24!|
|Come on mom! The barn's this way! 6-7-10|