November 10, 2011

History, Part IV: Venice

In the interest of keeping things interesting, I’m going to skip through most of college.  The short version is: I went to a women’s college to major in Equine Studies and managed to get a real job afterward, no I did not go to major in riding, and yes, they were four of the greatest years of my life.  Not because of the program itself per se, but because it felt so good to be surrounded by sixty other horse crazy college girls and to focus on nothing but horses all the time.  Usually.

Mary and her stable management horse, Max.
One of those horse crazy girls, Mary, ended up becoming my best friend.  She had the riding education I wished I had, and every horse she sits on benefits from her talented riding.  In the summer after our freshman year, I called her to tell her about this awesome Welsh pony I’d ridden in a sales video for Laura, and a few hours later she called me back to ask if I wanted to buy him with her as a project.  And thus, Venice:
He's the little grey one on the right. 

He could have jumped anything.

With Venice, I felt, as my mom would say, that “I had arrived.”  I was a sophomore with a cute, smart pony with the work ethic of a machine, a good friend that was essentially teaching both of us, and the ability to ride whenever I wanted.   Unlike freshman year, we felt like we owned the place, and did things like teach Venice to chase us up and down the aisle of the big barn and definitely never jumped him when we weren’t supposed to…
Wait...I think my jumping position has actually devolved since this picture...

Venice did wonders for my confidence as an equestrian and a horse owner that year.  He took me to my first real non-IHSA show, took me rocketing over my first fences class in a show (it was hunters, we pretended it was jumpers, so sue me…) and gave me all kinds of awesome horse-owning challenges, like a bout with cellulitis and the unforgettable Betadine incident.  Al the security guard will never forget walking up to the aftermath of Venice swinging around while tied to the wall and stepping on the closed almost-full gallon jug of Betadine, sending orange solution all over me, my white-grey pony, and the pale blue walls of the old barn.  We were frantically trying to spray the Betadine out, which only turned to suds, and he started laughing hysterically when he saw the scene – frankly, I can’t blame him.

Doesn't everyone love a grey horse that plays hard in the mud?
Although I’d describe him as my first heart horse, he was never purchased to be kept, and we sold him for about what we paid for him right before I left to study abroad in Italy.  He went to a little eight year old girl, who to this day continues to keep me informed of their progress together, with stories such as “Jen, Venice jumped THREE FEET yesterday!  But not with me,” and “Me and Venice went to horse camp together!”  It’s a match made in heaven and a life-changing thing for that little girl.  Last time I saw a video of him, he was fat and happy and carting around that little girl like the packer he turned out to be.  Love that little guy.

Miss you, V.


  1. Just getting caught up on your story! Venice is a cutie - must have been a bit tough to let him go...

  2. Laura, it was definitely not easy. Even though we approached it as a business deal from the beginning and maintained the necessary mental separation, he had this way of making anyone that met him fall in love with him. It all worked out the way it needed to, and I'm happy that he has the home that he does. I told Mary last week, I think we can both agree that we'll never own anything cuter ever in our lives!