18 Dec Welcome to the Family, Niko!
I’ve been keeping a secret for the last few weeks, but if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I finally came clean this weekend. WE BOUGHT A HORSE! It all came together quite quickly at the end and since I’m superstitious I didn’t want to jinx anything by talking about it publicly. Since everything is final and #thenewguy is settling in at his new home, it’s time to formally introduce him to the world.
Niko is a 4-year-old Westphalian gelding, standing 15.2-15.3hh. His birthday is July 16, 2013, so he’s almost 4 1/2 right now. He’s liver chestnut with a small star and snip, as well as three socks (both front feet and right hind). I haven’t been able to uncover much about his breeding other than their names: by Winter and out of Manoe.
Niko was backed last winter and then spent the spring growing up. He started his hunter career this past summer and went to his first horse show in October and showed again in early December in Baby Green Hunters (2’6″).
How it Happened
Shortly after I decided to sell Miles, I began perusing the internet to see what types of horses were out there. About two weeks after I signed Miles’ bill of sale, I was reading through comments on an ISO post in a Facebook group and stumbled across Niko’s ad. I messaged his owner/trainer on Facebook and we chatted about him. After checking in with my trainer, I decided to go see him. So my husband and I drove about 4 hours and tried 3 horses in the area. Niko was our last stop.
I watched his owner/trainer ride and then I hopped aboard. It was a chilly day in early November and was raining… and the horse was a CHAMP. I missed almost every distance to every fence, but he just didn’t care. I felt comfortable on him, his gaits and lead changes were incredibly smooth and I was just smitten. Unfortunately my trainer was headed out of town for Thanksgiving, which was just a week away at the time, so we made tentative plans with Niko’s owner/trainer to return in early December with my trainer in tow.
As it turned out, Niko showed in Ohio the first week of December, so trainer and I met him there. We watched him jump all the jumps in the (slightly crowded) warm-up ring, and then I hopped aboard in a much less crowded ring to flat. I opted not to jump him that day for several reasons including the fact that jumps were set at 2’6″, the ring was crowded and the horse needed to show the next day. Trainer gave her seal approval and I discussed next steps with Niko’s owner/trainer.
The next big hurdle ended up being the pre-purchase exam, which we did back at Niko’s home in a different state. I have to give a huge shoutout to Jen from Cob Jockey and Holly from Marescara who both gave me excellent references for vets and were instrumental in helping get this entire deal done! The PPE was scheduled for a Wednesday morning and it went really well.
Bloodwork results from the PPE didn’t come in until late Friday night, which made scheduling to get Niko picked up a bit hectic, but again, my equestrian family really pulled through! A good friend was able to go pick up Niko at the crack of dawn on Saturday and our the barn owner and barn manager found him a stall with less than 24 hours notice. I owe lots of people some seriously amazing Christmas gifts!
There hasn’t been too much excitement since Niko got home. After he arrived he settled into his stall, went for a handwalk and short lunge in the small indoor. Day 2 (yesterday), he got turned out in the morning and I lunged and rode in the evening. He was quite good, albeit tense — Niko’s entire world has changed and he’s got a lot to get used to. But was I was happy that he kept his brain intact and I was able to enjoy all three of his wonderful gaits… even if he looked like a giraffe the entire time.
Tonight, I’m hoping to introduce him to our bigger indoor. I’m taking things really slowly, but it’s a fun new adventure for me and I can’t wait to see where Niko and I go together <3