Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.
Interview With Kemerton
Earlier in the week, I interviewed my lesson horse, Marley. He gave us some interesting answers to all the questions we had for him. Today, instead of another one of my lesson horses, I'm going to interview my personal horse, Kemerton, a 21-year-old Thoroughbred. Kemerton was a successful racehorse for many years and then retrained as an event horse and pleasure horse.
Kemerton is big, huge, goofy, happy go lucky and thinks that he is the king of the world. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say.
So, here it is, straight from the horse's mouth, an interview with my main man, Kemerton.
EH- I will start by saying, I know a little about you and would ask you to please keep your language family friendly as who knows who might read this. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I know you are very busy, seeing as that you are the dominant horse in your herd. That must be a big responsibility!
Kemerton- Nope, it's easy. I honestly don't even have to try, the other horses don't mess with me. They know better. As long as I'm first turned out and first brought in, and I get to eat at the prime spot at the hay round, we all get along fine.
Kemerton-I like Cool, he understands me since he is also a thoroughbred. He is fun to play with but wouldn't dare question my authority. Romeo is too old to be of interest to me. Peanut is too fat, and never wants to run around or anything. Dublin is okay, but he just hangs out with fat peanut so we don't have a lot in common.
EH-Some have called you "high maintenance" why is that?
Kemerton-Well, first, I'm very demanding about my turnout schedule. I really don't like being outside that much. Especially if the weather conditions are not ideal. I will bang on the gate or stall door until I get my way. For some reason, that gets on people nerves...
EH-You are a cribber...can you please explain to us why you do that?
Kemerton- It is an addiction. I learned it while living at the racetrack, it was a fun way to pass the time when I was in my stall all the time. I started it back then, and I have been doing it ever since. I know it is considered a "vice" whatever that means, I know people don't like it. I don't care though, as far as I'm concerned it is a harmless addiction. It makes me feel good. If I crack a water bucket or rip off a fence board, the people will fix it. It really isn't that big of a deal!
EH- Sometimes you wear a cribbing collar, tell us about that.
Kemerton-The cribbing collar is a joke. I hate it when it first gets put on me. The thing is once I practice a while, I can always remember how to crib without the strap bothering me. I may be old, but I'm not dumb. If I want to crib I'm going to. The barn people can just get used to it, because I'm not stopping! Now that I can't race anymore, cribbing is my favorite past time. I'm not stopping.
EH- You seem a little defensive about the subject, why is that?
Kemerton- I just tell it like it is that's all. You wouldn't like it if someone told you to stop drinking coffee or eating chocolate.
EH-Understood, let's move on to a less touchy subject. Tell us about your racing career.
Kemerton- I was an excellent racehorse if I do say so myself. My owner has the win pictures to prove it. I really wish I could have raced forever, it is what I was born to do. Having to relearn how to use my muscles and to be calm and relaxed was a lot of work, and not nearly as fun as running. I'm a thoroughbred, I was bred to run... unfortunately, I just got too old to keep up with it, so that is when my former owners retired me, and that is when I got sold to this place.
EH- So do you like it here?
Kemerton- Most of the time. There was a girl that rode me all the time. We had some good rides and some really bad ones. Some really good trainers and some not so good ones. We learned to get along really well, but then my hocks and stifles started to hurt. Turns out I have arthritis from racing. They tried injecting me and giving me all kinds of supplements but I don't stay sound on a regular basis. I also don't behave when I'm not in regular work. So lucky me, I dropped the girl one too many times, so since I'm lame in the hind end she retired me. So now I'm living it up doing whatever I want. They cater to me because they know I will stomp down the gate or drive them crazy thumping on the stall door. The girl that used to ride me all the time really loves me, but I don't really care about her. All people are the same. I had fun cantering and jumping with her, but I don't like need her or anything. I'd rather just be left alone.
EH-What is the best memory you have of riding before retirement?
Kemerton-Well, every time I raced was great fun, my race trainers and owners were proud of me, since they bred me, and I was happy to run for them. As far as with the other girl, I can think of one time that I really loved. She had taken me in the trailer somewhere, it wasn't far away. Two other horses I knew but didn't like were with us. I had not been with the new girl very long and she was so smitten with me( I also heard other people call her young and dumb)that she thought I was ready for a trail ride. Boy, I was ready, I was so excited! I had a spring in my step the whole time. The girl was too busy socializing and I could feel she had twisted around in the saddle and was talking to the others behind me. They couldn't keep up, I'm too long-legged and walk too fast. Well, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye, turns out it was nothing. I jumped sideways though and dropped the girl. I was excited that it didn't turn out to be anything scary so I took off running, I really love to run. I had no clue where I was going. I ended up running across a busy street and back twice. I finally realized I had no clue where I was, and then I saw the girl and other horses, so I went right back to them. Evidently, I had really freaked them out by running in the road like that. Then the girl tried to get back on me, but for some reason, she screeched and couldn't make it. They said she broke her collar bone, which is evidently an important bone or something. She told everyone that it was her fault for not paying attention, not my fault. Which I thought was very nice of her, because she knows she should have been paying better attention to me.
EH- I remember hearing something about that story. You are lucky that you have had the same owner who loves you for so long, even though she can't ride you anymore!
Kemerton-I guess so?! I don't really care about her. I'm more of a horse-horse than a people-horse and I don't really need her. I will give it to her she knows that I like green apples better than red, and she knows how to lead me in and out when I get all fired up. Even though I'm 21, any days that my old bones will handle it, I give them a hard time bringing me in and out of the stall and field. I don't feel guilty about that though since sometimes it starts raining and nobody immediately comes to bring me in. Or they feed the horses in a different order and I have to wait, I don't like having to wait.
EH- Is there anything else you would like to tell us about while we are talking?
Kemerton- As a matter of fact, there is. I would like to explain why I have to wear the stupid fly mask all year round. I got a bad eye infection and had to have three eye surgeries a while back, it sucked. They told the girl that my eye would be more fragile from the surgery and more susceptible to injury, and that she should keep my face covered. She is obsessive about it, it is all her, trust me I would not choose to wear those things on my own. Some days, when I'm getting along well with Cool he will help me pull it off my face. Then Peanut or Dublin will stomp it in the mud and I won't have to wear it for a while, because the people won't be able to find it.
EH- Well, it was great getting to talk to you and hearing the story straight from the horse's mouth, your reputation certainly precedes you!
Kemerton- As it should! I pretty much run the show around here. Now excuse me, I need to go find something to crib on.
There you have it, folks! Straight from the horse's mouth! Kemerton's that is!