Riding Griton

July 25, 2006

 I posted this in my personal blog and it was such a special moment I felt it was appropriate to share here as well…

 The best photo ever.

You might think I’ve lost my mind when you see the photo I’m referring to so let me tell you a story about a horse who was born wild and happy in Wyoming. When he was two years old, he was gathered up with his family and friends by the Bureau of Land Management and taken to an adoption in New Mexico. He was adopted right away but he wasn’t too lucky about who adopted him. Based on the scars on his body, he was ridden hard when he was way too young and with a saddle that didn’t fit him.


When you adopt a horse from the BLM, you don’t legally own the horse and can’t sell them until you have had the horse for one year and receive a title for him. This horse was taken to a sale as soon as his adopters had the title from the BLM. He turned out to be a lot more lucky than many horses. He was being led to be loaded on a truck headed for the slaughter plant in Texas when a woman saw him and bought him before they could load him up. When she got him home, she discovered he had horribly infected feet from thrush and he was terrified of having a saddle put on his back or to let a person get on him.


She got his feet well and tried for a year to help him but still couldn’t get on him. Because she needed a horse for her daughter to ride in 4H, she decided she had to sell him. That’s when this horse got lucky the second time because I only had to look once in those sweet soft eyes and the checkbook jumped out of my purse and he came home with us.


On the trip home Mike and I had been talking about different names for our new horse and when he got home, he named himself – Griton. He was so happy to see other mustangs again he galloped around calling to them all so loud Mike said let’s call him Griton which is a Spanish nickname for someone who shouts a lot. The funny thing about this is after that first night, he has been the most quiet of all of our horses.


After he got settled in, we started working with Griton to heal his fears about humans. He very quickly got over his fear of the saddle because we used a light one that fit him well and we only went as fast as he was ready to manage. He still could jump twenty feet sideways if you thought about getting on him though. We were making steady progress with that when he hurt both of his stifles (mechanically the same as a human’s knees) while he was playing. For the last year, Griton has been healing his injury, playing with the other horses, and learning to trust humans again.


About a month ago I decided it was time to start thinking about getting on Griton’s back again. I wanted to make it completely different from any of his early experiences so I decided to not use a saddle at all and from the beginning I said he would never have a bit in his mouth again. So almost everyday I went out and first just stood next to him on a mounting block and gave him lots of praise and rewards when he would relax. Each day I went a tiny bit farther…leaning my weight over him, bringing my leg up on his back, until last night I was standing on the mounting block with one leg and the other was all the way over on his back. We both took a big breath and I sat down. My sweet, sweet, sweet Griton never moved a muscle or a foot, just wanted to know from which side I was going to lean down and give him a cookie.


So that is why this is the best photo I’ve ever taken. I had brought the camera up there with me and held it out as far as I could, just hoping I would manage to get something. And here we are, me and Griton, on the first day of the rest of our adventures together!


One Response to “Riding Griton”

  1. What a gorgeous story and photo! I have tears in my eyes and am sooooo glad for Griton that you found him and brought him home.

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