2018 Miniature Horse World Magazine WINTER 2018 Volume 34, Number 8 - Page 30

miniature tales Jen Joines and Kricket Jen Joines didn’t set out to be a Miniature horse owner, all she was really looking for was a companion for her Paint mare. T “ here was only one other horse on the property where I kept my horse,” says Jen. “So when I took her out to ride, the other horse would panic, and vice-versa.” Jen worked out a deal with the property owner to find a Miniature horse that would keep the left behind horse company. The horse she found turned out to be a rescue named Kricket from the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue, but shortly after that the other horse on the property passed away. “I couldn’t in good faith change my mind at that point… so Kricket came home with me.” While she was in the best physical shape of the three Miniatures who had been rescued together, Kricket was still a mess: she was at a good weight but had no muscle tone, and didn’t know how to move faster than a walk due to a lifetime of confinement. Jens’ teenage neighbor stepped in to help, riding the Paint mare while Jen slowly started bringing Kricket into shape. Jen has ridden a variety of disciplines, but most recently had begun training in endurance; she followed those principles to condition Kricket with long, slow, stamina- building miles. When a teenage neighbor expressed a desire to try an introductory endurance race in May of 2017 — which requires an accompanying entered adult to be within one minute of a youth rider — Jen scoured the rules, realized that there was no rule that explicitly stated a horse had to be ridden and signed herself up as the accompanying adult…with Kricket. 28 Miniature Horse World WINTER 2018 “We walked 18 miles in the mountains. And just like every other entry, we vetted in, did the ride, had our mid- race vet check and vetted out.” The long, slow miles of conditioning had done the trick, and while it may have taken them quite a long time to finish, Kricket did in fact, finish. those that for whatever reason totally fall apart at the sight of a Mini — she and Kricket move to the side and let others pass as needed. “The only big problem I’m noticing now is that when they have water offered on the trail, it’s too high up for Kricket to reach! I pack a collapsible bowl for her so she can get a drink with everyone else.” One big bucket list item for Jen was the AERC-sanctioned Grand Canyon ride. When her mare was diagnosed with a respiratory condition, Jen was unable to compete last year. “So I said ‘come hell or high water, we’re going this year,’ and we ended up turning it into a hundred-mile ride over ten days across four states.” And that, of course, included Kricket. “Everyone thinks I’m out of my mind, but so far no one has challenged me on it,” Jen says. She does make sure that she’s respectful of other horses and riders on the trail, especially Jen’s goal has been just to have fun and chronicle her progress with Kricket. Becoming popular on Facebook and the internet is just icing on the cake. She is happy that Kricket inspires others to