Montego’s official (unofficial) birthday is February 7th, 2007. This birth date is really unknown as it was one I think a past owner just threw on a sheet during a Bill of Sale. I have been pretty successful in tracking down Montego’s past owners, but my tracks stopped around 5 years old. I know he was sold by a dressage trainer in Ohio at 5, but she was unable to track down any other info for me past that of his old owners and potential breeders.
Montego has been in my life since Fall 2016 as a 9 year old, but this is only his 2nd birthday with me owning him. It is really crazy to go back and look at the progress he has made since I met him.
The love I have for this horse is really unparalleled. They say that the right horses come into your life at the perfect time, and honestly before meeting Montego I was not a firm believer in this. I have been a horse lover all of my life so any horse that was in my life I was happy for. It was October 2016 when Montego and I first met. I was in my second year of college and I had just sold my previous OTTB in August due to time restraints in school. My first year of college had been pretty rough. I was in a new place all alone and for the first time was truly challenged in my beliefs and intelligence with a group of students so overachieving: all without the therapy of horses in my life. Being a full time collegiate athlete, it was hard my first year to have time to get to the barn in between classes and workouts. The lack of horses in my life set my mental health back and so my second year, although highly discouraged by my coach, I made it my goal to find a local barn to take lessons at to get my horse fix in.
I found this barn on FB, looks like it would check off most of the boxes and they even mentioned over email they might have a horse that I may be able to lease, depending on my riding ability etc. After the facility tour they brought me out to a small paddock and introduced me to a horse that was available for lease. This scrawny looking, bay gelding stood out alone. As we walked up to him, the barn owner started giving me his story, a 9 year old gelding owned by a 15 year old girl who had come from a local trainer. The barn owner kept rambling on, but as soon as I was close enough to touch him his ears perked up and our eyes met. It’s hard to explain to people that don’t have horses or animals, buts its like our souls were meant to meet. It still gives me chills to this day thinking back to the first time I laid eyes on him. He looked so broken down, but had such a kind look in his eye that drew me to him instantly. The remaining fall, I started lessoning on him 1-2 times a week. You would have thought he was a 2 or 3yo with his training. He could barely WT without bolting because he was so traumatized by his past training experience. That spring I continued leasing him and our bond kept growing. Whenever I had a bad day at school or felt completely overwhelmed I drove out to the barn and spent hours just grooming and working with Montego.
I am so lucky to have found this little bay gelding to bring me so much happiness. He truly is one in a million. When people talk about their heart horses finding them, this could not be more true of Montego and me. He may not be the fanciest horse in the ring, but he’s all mine and has all the heart in the world to make up for it. I have been so lucky to connect with some of his old owners and trainers to better understand what he had experience before our paths crossed, but I am so very lucky they did.
Happy 14th Montego! I am sure he will be spoiled with many treats and gifts for his special day ❤