“Aralimbo” Castle Walk | Horse Photography | Warmblood Photos | Apollo Fields | New York Riding | Capricorn Farm, Golden Colorado
Getting to own a horse is a privilege. Getting to own Aralimbo is like winning the lottery, except sometimes the money catches on fire and tries to kill you. He is temperamental… as in, he has both a temper and is mental. He’s also a part time love-bug, zipper-breaker, snuggle-monster, and hair-puller. I love him though, perhaps a little too much considering that he threw me to timbuktu yesterday (marking my first fall off of him, believe it or not) and yet I still can’t wait to get back to the barn to love up on him – and kick his ass.
He goes by many names: Castle Walk, Aralimbo, Limbo, and most accurately, Bimbo. I first met him about ten years ago at Millbrook, when he was coming back from a foot problem and I got the lovely task of rehabbing him. He was in his prime, winning everything on the circuit, so I was stoked to get to ride him. But everyone cautioned me about the fire breathing dragon who had earned himself the nickname, “Crazy Eyes”. He had a reputation for being unpredictable, volatile, and pretty good at saying ‘no’ when he wanted.
“Use draw reins”, Dick Prant warned me the first time I hopped on, “And don’t let his head get too low”. For somebody who had never actually ridden the horse, he his advice was spot on. We made it through our first few rides unaffected, until one afternoon I took him out to the field before an imminent thunderstorm and he tried to murder me. Straight up, he looked like Blucifer, the horse statue at DIA, demonic red eyes and legs flailing in the air. Super – I thought – this is how I’m going to die. Anyway, I spent the next few weeks riding him each day until he was strong enough to get back in the show ring.
Fast forward to about two years ago when Nancy Prant and I got to talking about Limbo coming off of the show circuit and looking for a good forever home. His age and mileage were catching up with him, and he had earned his way into a slower paced lifestyle. Remembering that majestic, wild-eyed beast in the field all those years ago, my hair stood up on my arms. “I’d love to have him”, I told her. She replied with a blunt text message, “He kicks, bites, and bucks. You sure?” The answer was simple, “Yes”.
I’ve always had a soft-spot for the crazies. Especially the pretty ones… Everything else bores me, I suppose. I’ve been told by a few people that Limbo and I “deserve each other”, which I think is a compliment. Probably not though. He challenges me to the core and keeps me on my feet. Every time that I think I know what he is going to do, he usually pulls the extreme opposite. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to play by his rules, which is a hard pill for me to swallow. They are lengthy, but straightforward:
Doesn’t like to be ridden during feeding time. Will lose his shit if he hears the feed truck coming if he’s not in his stall.
Likes to be turned out in 1 hour and 59 minute increments. After 2 hours, he will begin pacing the gate. After 2 hours and 5 minutes, he’ll kick the fence.
Needs spurs to go forward, including the walk.
Does not enjoy the great outdoors and absolutely will not trail ride. Or cruise through a well-manicured path. Occasionally, this also includes the walk from the barn to the ring.
He will jump anything but if you ride him to a bad distance, he will punish you on the landing side.
Does not like to be turned out first. Also does not like to be brought in last.
Prefers sunny weather, about 70*F with no wind. Can tolerate light breezes.
Demands treats and will tear through your pockets to find them.
He does not buck to celebrate, he bucks to get you off of his back. This horse is unafraid and definitely not spooky. He is, however, a mad powerhouse and has no problem reminding you who is bigger.
One thing I love about this sport is how it forces humans to find non-verbal ways of communicating with a flight animal who will always, always be stronger than us. There are days when I have to walk away from Limbo’s meltdowns because it’s just not worth the fight. He is a born-alpha and craves authority, so I spend half of our time reminding him that he is subordinate to me, and the other half of the time cuddling him, feeding him carrots, and playing games with him. It’s a unique relationship, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Enjoy these pics of this big, beautiful beast of mine who literally does not take a bad photo. Also enjoy the fact that it took us 2cc of ace to get him in the field, and he still dragged me out of there rearing and screaming the moment the sun hit the horizon. All par for the course, I suppose.