Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Peter Plait PDF Print E-mail
From the Doylestown auction to Sky High classes!

For anyone infatuated with horses, an auction is hard to resist. Where I grew up a local horse auction was held every Friday night in Doylestown, PA. This sale was a far cry from Keenland! Every backyard breeder, crooked dealer and yokel showed up with their toothless wonders. Frequently, anything left in the trailer at the end of the night was bound for a processing plant. The history and quality of the average Doylestown auction horse was unknown to me as a seventeen year-old. I just knew I would find my next great mount one Friday night.

Over several months I had saved a bit of money from riding instruction and my job as a shipping clerk. One weekend I decided to try my hand at the sale and find myself a bargain. Late in the evening a beautiful, bay thoroughbred was brought out and quickly caught my eye. He was a five year-old gelding that had spent a short time on the track. The bidding was brief and I when the gavel slammed I had a new horse for $150. When I led him toward the trailer he walked on like a champ. That alone seemed to be worth the price!

At seventeen every teenager looks for their parents acknowledgment that they are entering adulthood. The next day I proudly brought Peter out of the barn to display him for George and Deanie. I just knew they would be impressed with my purchasing savvy. As I jogged him away I heard my father shout “he’s got one leg shorter than the other!” Not the comment I had hoped for.

The vet came out and soon explained that Peter had a fractured pelvis… a “knocked down” hip in racing jargon. “Nothing you can do for it. You just have to see if they learn to go like that” was his prognosis.

Seventeen year-olds can be stubborn too. I decided that I wouldn’t allow this imperfection to deter me. I rode Peter faithfully. I immediately discovered that he could not canter to the right…but I kept riding him. After a year of consistent work I began schooling him over jumps. As fate had it my persistence paid off. Peter Plait had a very big jump and an even bigger heart. Soon we headed to shows and started collecting our share of the ribbons.

A lasting memory was created when Peter and I went to a show at Hob Knob Hill. We entered the “Sky High” class where they raise the jumps after each round. The riders who rode clean were allowed to continue. As the jumps went up the number of riders went down until only two remained. Peter didn’t seem to mind but my eyes grew wide as I watched as a huge, square oxer was raised to 5’9”. We had never schooled higher than 4’6”. With my heart in my throat I urged Peter on and, with heavens help, he cleared the fence with room to spare!

With our local success, trainer Carl Bessette purposed a trade for a spectacular horse named Wells Fargo. In my heart I always questioned Peter’s long-term soundness and with a tortured soul I accepted the offer. With the deal complete, I began to think that I was becoming quite the shrewd horse trader. Little did I know…..
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