Thursday, February 11, 2016

TJP Throwback Thursday: The First Reunion

Our reunion the day I got home to Hawaii from my first deployment.

I bought Klein out of Canada and had her shipped to me in Hawaii about four months before my first deployment.  I already bought her and had her trip booked before I was notified that I would be going on a little vacation to the United Arab Emirates.  It wasn't a big deal because, obviously, being in the military it's not if you deploy, it's when.  I had a great ponysitter lined up and wasn't going to worry at all. She would have a nice four month vacation living in Haleiwa, directly across the street from the beach on the North Shore where all the sea turtles hang out.

She turned three the week after she arrived in Hawaii.  

 Three year old Klein!  We had just come back from a bareback beach ride before this picture.

I backed her and started her with just the very basics before I deployed.  I spent a lot of time ponying her on the trails in the mountains of the north shore.  Everything had been super smooth with her.  We bonded immediately.  Of course I didn't want to leave her for four months, but, UAE was a great time.  I had a picture up at work of us standing together on the the top of one of the mountains on the north shore.  A lot of people use deployments to escape their everyday responsibilities at home for a while, I wanted to go home to my horse.

I DID get my horse fix a little bit while in UAE atleast:

 Horse races in Abu Dhabi.

 Abu Dhabi track.  No TBs here.

 The view from our VIP suite at the Dubai World Cup in Dubai.  You think I'd go four months without horses???  Ha!

After having to basically hitch hike home from the desert for about a week, my team landed at 5:30am on the rotator.  We went from UAE to Qatar, stopped on some random island where they wouldn't let us get off the plane, stopped in Tokyo, then in Thailand somewhere in the middle of the night, then Hawaii.  I went home, took a shot of whiskey (don't judge me, I just flew half way around the world and it wasn't 5:30am to me) and as soon as the first ray of sun appeared I was on my way to the barn to see my girl.

My ponysitter was under strict orders to leave Klein be as feral as possible, aside from having manners for her feet to be trimmed of course and to be brushed.  This is why she has a lady beard in the first picture and a mane that was completely out of control.  I didn't want anyone messing with her.  She was not to be on a longe line, in the round pen, and sure in the hell no one was going to ride her.  I got on her the first day I was home to just hack around bareback.  She remembered everything I taught her before I left.  We picked up where we left off, after we built some fitness base up again.

I love the first pic because of her face.  Her eyes are closed and her head is resting on me.  I think we were both equally relieved to have each other back.


  1. Aw. I love this. I forget how dark she used to be!

    I don't know how you managed Hawaii, it's the one place I don't want us to be stationed. (Which means it's basically guaranteed, right? Ha. Thanks Army.)

  2. If you ever do end up there, the best advice I can give you, well, actually this goes for any base you are at, DO NOT BOARD AT A DOD BARN!! They are AWFUL and filled with drama and the most uneducated, dangerous "horse people" I've ever seen in my life. You couldn't pay me to ever board at a barn on base in my life again. Because they are so cheap it draws all these people that are like "Oh I always wanted a horsie" and then you have to be witness to all kinds of abuse and neglect and end up being the bad guy for reporting them to the vet or whoever else. Civilian barns are super limited there, so are shows, no eventing there. Feed is absolutely insane (not the feed store owner's fault, EVERYTHING comes in from the mainland). But, would I have rather have been there without Klein? No.

    1. Great advice! Especially about the base boarding. I've heard that before, and so would t handle that sort of situation well. I think it would be doable if I had a young horse to bring up. But right now I want to get my old horse through his last few competitive years, so Hawaii is basically a death knell for that sort of thing.