Finding Keira

Editor Nichole Chirico reflects on buying a yearling sight unseen and how she quickly built trust with the young horse in her letter from the editor in the Winter 2021 issue.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been riding with friends or at local barns to get my personal horse fix. But in July when I found myself without a horse to ride once again, I knew it was finally time to buy my own. So I could call the shots and do what I want, when I want.

Originally, I decided I was going to wait until spring of 2022 to find a 2- or 3-year-old reining or cow horse prospect. That would give me time to save some extra money, find a good boarding barn, and research local veterinarians and farriers in my area.

Instead, I was on the phone with my friend and fellow H&R contributor Adam Johnson, going over the photos for our next Private Lesson department, when he said, “I think you should look at buying a yearling.” Even though I had started young ones before, the idea of starting my own horse from scratch never crossed my mind. “Yearlings are reasonably priced right now, and you won’t have to fix or change any previous training you don’t like.” Made sense. We ended the call, and I told him to keep me in mind if he came across any in my price range.

Thirty minutes later he called me back. “I don’t know why I didn’t think about this when we were on the phone. But I have a customer who is thinking of selling a yearling filly she has.” Still unsure if this was the right path for me, Adam told me everything he knew about this filly. Sharing some photos and videos of her in the pasture. And then something in my brain clicked. She was everything I was looking for in a horse. That’s when I knew it was meant to be.


Meeting Keira

I didn’t actually see Keira in person until two months after owning her. That’s when I was finally able to make the trip to Oklahoma to visit my best friend (who also happens to have my new horse in her front pasture).

The first day I walked up to my new filly, she shied away from me. At this point in her life, she had basically been untouched outside of the occasional foot trimming and basic vet appointments. And was spending all of her time in the pasture with a couple of broodmares. Thirty minutes later, I was finally able to swing a lead rope around her neck and halter her. I took Keira straight to the round pen and started doing basic groundwork with her. Slowly getting her comfortable to brushes and curry combs, and picking up her feet.

Editor Nichole Chirico's yearling filly Keira, aka Lucky VIntage Chic, walking in a pasture.
After 10 years of not owning a horse, I found ‘the one’ when I saw Keira (aka Lucky Vintage Chic) for the first time.
Photo By Nichole Chirico

Day two, it took 20 minutes to catch Keira. She was slowly starting to trust me. But by day three, she was greeting me at the gate, letting me put a halter on her with ease. I’ve never connected with a horse this fast. But her trust in me continued to show as the week progressed. By day four, she willingly let me put a saddle on her for the first time to help with desensitizing her to riding gear.

I left Oklahoma with happy tears in my eyes. I finally had a horse to call my own, and she was everything I could ever possibly want. Now I patiently wait for Keira to arrive in Colorado. But in the meantime, I’ve been preparing for her arrival by shopping for a winter blanket, a new saddle pad and saddle, and everything in between.

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