As luck would have it my Monday provided a perfect day to have Laurie go out and evaluate this little mare, registered name Steiner's Honor and barn name "Maggie". I have ideas about what I might name her, and that may even be a future post. Anyhow, I was off already and the owner was also available. I was excited and nervous. I wasn't sure how this mare would rate in the various tests that Laurie does when she examines a horse.
Laurie spent a long time grooming and handling the mare in the stall. Her back legs she did the kicking out a little bit and was corrected, the mare easily picked them up as time went on. It will be something to work on regularly with her but she doesn't scare me in that regard as other horses have. I just know about it and what to do about it. This mare learned quick!
Tacking up was without incident aside from the mare swinging her body towards Laurie as she put the saddle on. I knew that she was already a very "in your space" mare and needs to learn a little bit of respect in that regard. I think with social horses it can be hard to push them away but it can be a bit much and dangerous so it's something to nip in the bud, a horse should only come into your space if invited. I studied how Laurie worked with her and am glad I have a trainer like this that I can trust and work with when I need it! I'm also glad I have Clinton Anderson DVD's coming in the mail to help me remember some of these techniques in between lessons I can have with Laurie. A lot of things he does is much like her, a lot of the big name trainers are similar in their approaches at the root.
Anyhow, Laurie worked the mare from the ground, did various lateral flexing movements, longed her and bitted her up with her snaffle as well. I think the mare did great and the feedback I received from Laurie was not shocking. As the mare progressed through the various tests presented I slowly felt my nerves float away. She's as amazing as I felt when I met her. The biggest issues I see is the space invasion thing, the trailering issue (we'll just take it step by step when the time comes and at least I'm not wanting to trailer her all over the state right now, as I don't have a trailer just yet!) and her back legs....all issues I feel comfortable dealing with and if not I know who to call!!!
The mare was really good in the snaffle. I think it's just an instance of someone going to a stronger bit because they aren't as well trained in the proper use of the snaffle. I'm still working on it myself so I can relate but I also am very resistant to going with a strong bit, I want to ride in a mild bit and perhaps even a hackomore for trails in the future but we'll see. There were times when the mare was trotting on the lunge that she was getting into a very basic frame and relaxing very nicely.
One of the tests I just have to share since it was so cool was a bag test. There was a whip with a plastic bag attached. The light breeze helped a bit but wasn't so much that the horse would have a heart attack. The whip was held to the side and rippled. The mare started but just sort of halted and jumped in place and looked at the bag, wide nostrils and ears pricked. She eventually was watching the bag and following it. The bag went to the side, up above her and eventually the bag moved all over her body and the mare at one point was standing there and sniffing the ground as if to say "I'm bored, is there any food here?" I was done at that point. This mare has confidence and is sweet to boot!
One thing Laurie found in her legs are just old splints, bumps. They were old, didn't cause pain and shouldn't have any bearing on her soundness. Heck I have a nice hard bump on my ankle, from the railing incident, that will most likely be there forever. I'm still sound! Still it will be something the vet exam can explain more about.
I'm sure a lot of you are curious about Windsong Brio the gorgeous dark bay gelding I saw a couple weeks ago. I was planning on having Laurie look at him but his owner called and said he was coughing a lot and not himself. It was best to wait until he felt better.
He's doing a bit better now so I could have Laurie take a look at him but I have a feeling about this mare so I'm going to see where that goes first since I felt I had more of a connection with her than Brio, though I would still say he's a contender. He was just shy and a little cautious but I think would warm up in time. His owner does think he has an allergy but isn't sure. She would give him carrots and he'd cough so she feels like he's holding pieces in his mouth. The allergy might be to hay dust since he got better when the hay was wet.
I know if I bought him that I would want answers to all these speculations but we'll see how it goes with this mare. If she's the one I'll just have to let Brio's owner know even though I never got a chance to give him a second look. Things happen.
I'm really liking this mare I saw today. She's a 13 year old Morgan mare. She's what is considered the old style Morgan. I like this mare so much that I couldn't do the Serene Sunday post today if I tried, I don't feel serene....I'm too anxious! I can't contain my excitement!!
When Steve and I arrived the gal I'd talked with had a Michelob in her hand and was very friendly. My kind a person. She was very honest about her horse, in fact in the emails she said all the bad things first before saying the good things. The "bad things" are that this mare hasn't been treated well with trailering and it sounds like she would just need a little bit of time and gentle treatment to get her to relax with the process. The other is she needs work with softening to the bit but I can work on that. She also said she is more than willing to do a thirty day trial if I wanted. That's an option I won't mind working into a contract for sure but we'll get to that later.
The mare is very confident alone on the trails, doesn't get bothered by cars, dogs or bicycles. Good start I think. I still would take it slow to get confident myself with all these items and work on other desensitizing but it's nice to know she's a reassured horse to start. When we went out to the stable we heard a very happy whinny and the mare came ambling into her stall to greet us. She was very sweet and likes to lip pockets and explore...the owner says she's never bitten she's just exploring and she normally pushes her away if she's getting too nosey.
She also likes beer, she had a sip of the owners beer and made a cute flehmen response face. LOL. The stable I want to board at actually has a horse that gets a can of beer at night as a "supplement". I don't think this mare is quite getting this supplement but the owner was just showing how laid back and human oriented she was. She was stocky and a bit fat but not too bad. She's never had any medical issues, only one belly ache but never a colic. The owner walked her and the mare did fine. Some white spots on her back I'm told are from previous owners and ill fitting saddles but the mare did not have issues with being tacked up which is good. She showed no soreness on her back.
I groomed her and picked her hooves, she was easy as pie to work with. Her owner scratched her belly and the mare made the silliest horse face she loved it so much! She isn't bothered by having her teats scratched or washed. She was very laid back and a sweetheart. She was constantly interested in what I was doing around her and not nervous in the least though I'm sure she could sense I was a little nervous and cautious.
The owner tacked her up since the western saddle thing just makes me feel even more fumbly so I just watched how the mare was. No problems with cinchiness or issues with the bridle either. I even played with her mouth and found it didn't take much to get her to open up at all. The owner mounted up and had her daughter drive this golf cart with us in it behind the mare out on the road and open fields across the street. The cart was loud and a dog joined us, neither of which bothered the mare in the least. Her walk looked comfortable and her trot was a bit fast at first until she relaxed like her owner said. She even cantered her a bit and she seemed very responsive and controllable.
Next it was my turn; the owner was sympathetic when I asked her to restrain the pup. She knows of my Desparados Storm incident and I felt no judgement. She'd had a similar incident when trying out a horse and ended up with a banged up knee. We shortened the stirrups and up I went, albeit awkwardly since you have to throw your leg over a bit higher with a western saddle and avoid getting stabbed in the stomach with the horn. I tried to keep the loose reins on her but as you can see in the picture below it's probably not as loose as it needed to be but the mare still did great with the contact. I mainly walked her and did a few circles and turns to see how she moved off my leg. I was happy with the response at a first ride.
We did a trot a couple of times and I tried to relax since the mare did short fast steps but eventually relaxed into it, so did I. Then I brought her down to the walk. I was mainly concerned with how she responded to me, how she turned, stopped etc. I think I could build a relationship with her fairly easily. I'd seen enough, I liked her. I told the gal when we were done, untacking and grooming her that I was pretty interested and would try to see when I could get my trainer out to see her.
I'm really excited about her, I feel something about this horse. I first off felt safe on her, like she wouldn't do something really silly or hurt me. Granted you can't 100% trust a horse, they are still animals but this mare felt pretty safe. Secondly, I enjoyed riding her much like I enjoyed Heidi. This mare could be the one! I want to get Laurie out asap and I've even postponed a couple horse viewings since I felt it wouldn't be a fair assessment of them to go out and see those horses with the way I feel about this mare.
She is wide backed so I'll need to definitely be careful with picking a saddle for her. The trailering issue can be worked on slowly, perhaps Uschi or someone else with a trailer would be willing to work with me until Steve and I have our own. I figure by the time we have a trailer there will have been tons of groundwork done and a relationship built that I can work with her slowly and reassuringly. The owner said it was mainly force that the mare has had in the past trailerings, that she wasn't beaten to get in the trailer but whips were used and that just upset her more. This was her previous owners, the current owner has had a trainer work on her but just hasn't had the time to be consistant with her. I think it's something I can deal with and perhaps that is something Laurie would at least like to observe during her evaluation, I'm not sure.
So I'll keep you all posted...and just so you know I didn't plan on finding a great horse that was chestnut, guess it was just luck of the draw!!
I met a cute mare on Friday. Her name is Uskalith, aka Sweet Pea. She's a 11 year old Arabian mare. The issues the owner said she has was being a little herd bound. I just rode her in the arena while her herd mates were in the field nearby and she didn't seem to be too upset. I think taking her further away would show more what she might do. The owner said she would just plant her feet and not move forward. I know there is ways to work a horse in regards to that so I'm not too worried about it.
The other thing about the mare is you can see she is a bit overweight. Her neck is cresty with a fat deposit, there are also areas on her shoulder and hips that I felt some fatty areas. It's something I'm not too concerned about but would have a vet guide me in getting her back in shape. She also had a droopy lower lip but not an issue that I can see with her bite. Makes her look pouty! LOL.
She was very sweet and easy to work around but her owners just went about tacking her up right away. Hmm. She didn't have any issues but the first bridle they tried was too big for her and the bit hung low in her mouth. The owners friend mounted up and the girth wasn't very tight so the saddle slide over. They were saying it was because she was so rotund.
The mare did fine with all the wiggling the gal did to straighten out the saddle. The gal rode her around both directions at the walk, trot and canter but Sweet Pea didn't seem very happy with the bit. I suggested to the owner that I had a couple bridles in my trunk that might fit her but she had another option in her trailer so she went and grabbed a bridle that fit better and the bit sat in a better position. The rider asked if I wanted to try her out but I asked to see her ride again in the new bit. Sweet Pea did much better, she didn't toss her head or fiddle with the bit so much.
As you can see above, the bit was low in her mouth. Again you can see her droopy lip. Next I rode her, I didn't think to check the stirrups before getting up but the owner and her friend were more than helpful in adjusting my stirrups for me, one on each side. I wanted to laugh so loud I felt silly! Sweet Pea had a nice walk but was sensitive to leg pressure, I did a pseudo serpentine with her to see how she responded. Sometimes when I used my leg to turn her she would start into a trot but at least wasn't getting ridiculous and I could pull her back to a walk easily. Collection doesn't exist but I'm not expecting that on any horse I find.
After the ride I asked if I could groom her. I ran the brush all over her body, on her stomach toward her teats and under her tail near her lady parts. She was very easy going and didn't have issues. The only thing was she didn't want to pick up her feet. I asked the owner if she used a different cue, and she did. She would squeeze her chestnut and the mare would lift up her leg easily. I tried the same and she was fine. Sometimes it's just a matter of the horse learning new cues from another person.
She has fine lines on her hooves, like really shallow cracks. I don't know if this could cause infection or why her hooves have this, I've not seen this before. Her hooves seemed fine though. Only thing with her legs was windgalls/windpuffs. They didn't feel hot at all and the owner said she'd always had them and so had her mother. I know they usually aren't a worry, especially if there is no heat or gait abnormalities.
I told the ladies I liked her and that I needed to think and perhaps have my trainer take a look at her sometime if I'm still interested. They completely understood, they just wanted to find her a good home with someone that would spend time with her. She's cute and has trail experience so we shall see.
I met a guy the other day that is the most knowledgeable person in the world as far as horses are concerned. And no matter what anyone might say or suggest he would never be convinced otherwise. Let's call him Eric. I'm not too fond of Eric, I'll just say that upfront.
One thing Eric said, that now really bugs me, was that he broke the horse himself and that's why the horse doesn't like him so much. Hmm...I wonder how he broke him and honestly if the horse doesn't respect you something went wrong, perhaps you weren't as experienced as you thought to be able to start a horse. He also kept saying the horse was originally trained dressage but he kept chastising dressage training...okay somethings amiss with this story.
Eric went on about how the horse, Baby, was heavy on the bit and ran through the bit because he was trained dressage. "Dressage teaches a horse to latch on to the bit and pull" he stated. I tried to mention how to "massage" on the horses mouth with the bit to get them to lighten but he said that this new trainer he took the horse to tried him with a snaffle for two weeks but then put this harsher curb on him and said that Baby wasn't able to work in a snaffle. "You just need to quickly pull the reins and he responds. Dressage makes a horse dead in the mouth," he said with utter conviction. I think it's the exact opposite dude, I thought but I just smiled and said hmm as I began to groom Baby. He was a nice size 14.3 hand chestnut (SORREL!!!) quarter horse/Arab cross. A horse is sorrel if they have any quarter horse in them....fine, he also has Arab so I'll call him a chestnut, I said. Eric didn't seem to like that remark. Get over it dude!
Baby loved getting groomed on his neck and made a "that's the spot" face. He was very cute. Hoof picking was not too bad, he was more difficult to get the hoof up but after he learned what I wanted I had no issues with the other three legs. Eric chided in while I hoof picked that I needed to be in really close to the horse while hoof picking and totally leaning on him to prevent him from kicking. Really!? Do you really think you need to man handle a horse? I stand pretty close in by I don't or SHOULDN'T need to "all my weight" lean into the horse to keep him off balance so his leg stays up while I hoof pick; he should properly hold the hoof for me and I should secure it for him so he's comfortable.
After getting him tacked up with a really heavy western saddle, Eric helped out because with all the straps I was not in my element as far as tack goes, I asked Eric to mount up and ride him. He rode him in his pasture and Baby fought him a bit, he did some jump/jigging movements and really didn't seem to like the pulling on his mouth. He had a calm look when he looked at me but when I was ready to get up, I had the owner stand next to him to make sure no funny business would occur and then the stirrups were quite long so those had to be adjusted. Out of my element again with a western saddle!!
I rode him at the walk in little circles, he did a jump or was kicking at a fly on his belly; that same jigging. He stopped and I had to show him who's boss but afterwards we did much better. He worked nicely off my leg and seat at least what I could do with not having worked in a big western saddle often. I had to be easy on the reins for I didn't want to hurt his mouth with the harsh bit. Outside of the paddock I rode him up and down the driveway, a little bit of a trot...enough to know he had a nice trot. Several times he tried to get into the trot without my asking so I had to be quick to tell him that was not alright. We got along quite well. I liked him but didn't have the confidence to try him in a snaffle because of what the owner had said. If I'm interested I can have Laurie try him out. After I was done testing him out his owner, Eric's wife rode him a bit on the road near the house so I saw him at walk, trot and canter. He was a bit ornery, and wanted to get back to the barn fairly quickly; the owners said that it was because it was dinner time...ok then.
One habit he has is a little bit of wind sucking. It was very slight and hardly noticeable, he did it without grabbing onto anything like a cribber does. I'd never seen a vice quite like this and wasn't sure what to think of it. Eric said he'd never coliced or had ulcers and 3 vets had told him that there was no problem. Great to know but sorry dude I'll do my own research if I would even consider a horse with this vice I thought! This guy was very much a "know it all". I said thank you and that I would get back with him about when I could potentially come out there with my trainer to evaluate him. I pondered the horse on the way home and had the sinking feeling that this was indeed the deal breaker I feared.
I emailed Laurie with all the information including how the horse was very responsive off the seat and legs and that he was a sweet horse on the ground too. He had some positives. I also told her about the wind sucking and sent this video to show as close as I could find how he specifically "performs" this vice.
I also did a lot of research, I was up past midnight with thoughts on this vice. I went to forums, equine magazines and websites and even read some primary literature about this particular vice. There are definitely some health issues associated with this vice even if he hasn't shown any issues in his 9 years of life. I worried about boarding facilities having an issue, horse insurance companies increasing my premiums and then having difficulty with other riders not wanting to go on rides with me for fear their horse would pick up the vice, there is conflicting evidence that they learn the behavior but enough says it can be learned to validate all these fears.
The next day I texted the guy via his request and told him that I would not be bringing my trainer out, I wasn't interested in Baby, and the reasoning why. He went on to say that the vice hadn't caused any problems and he had 3 vets look at his horse. Eric said "I had no idea what a vice really was since I'd never owned a horse and why would I go by one trainers thoughts when 3 vets with a medical degree said the opposite. Since that was the case, perhaps I wasn't ready to have a horse." I was floored but reiterated my reasons, thanked him for his time and wished him luck with finding Baby a home. I so wanted to rip him a new one I was so pissed!!!! Most people in my position would have made the same choice if they knew anything about horses, health, and vices. Vices are often a effect of an underlying issue. Perhaps a pain that makes them gulp air that then releases endorphins. It could also be a way to reduce stress from a rather unnatural environment. Once learned they are hard if nearly impossible to cure.
Now if I was an Olympian and this was a horse that was too talented to pass up a vice could potentially be overlooked and then managed. Why would I as a first time horse owner want to buy a horse with a known vice that could lead to a health issue? Not all horses with vices have health issues or major psychological issues but why would I seriously consider a horse that does when there is a plethora of horses that don't have an issue like this? It's not worth the risk.
Most boarding facilities balk at this type of thing and I think it's too much of a liability to have a horse with a vice, I could be up creek without a paddle, a horse with no home and few if any options. This is just one thing, the other is the potential issues of his past training and breaking. I don't know what holes are in his training and would not have known until Laurie evaluated him or I worked with him more.
I met a very gorgeous gelding this Sunday. His ad said "Gorgeous Arabian Gelding for Sale"....no kidding!! He was advertised a while ago and then off the market, I later learned because of the owners parents were having some health issues. He's now back on and cheaper than before and the owner sounds flexible on even that price.
His name is DKB Windsong Brio. His owner calls him Wind and I've learned that before he was called Brio. I was actually liking the name Brio and thinking it would be a nice horse name a while back...hmm.
Brio used to be a stallion, at age 4 he was gelded and Barbara has had him the past 3 years used mainly for trail and she's done a 25 LD ride last fall I think. She said he encountered a lot of new things and did really well, just needed encouragement at some obstacles like water that she doesn't have much chance to expose him to.
When I got to her barn Wind/Brio was in the pens with a one-eyed mare. He was a little worried about a new person being in there but didn't run off he just kept his distance and looked at me. He later warmed up as I stood by him and stroked him.
I lead him around the pen and he was very good with staying out of my space and with stopping on cue. He was even good at trotting on the lead with me. Barbara rode him first in the pen, walk and trot. Then she rode him out in the pasture next to the pen where there was a little turn about for a trailer. She got him up into a canter but said she mainly rode him out on trails or fields so circling wasn't her or his strong suit. He had a nice trot to him.
Later I mounted up and he got nervous right away because I mount differently than his owner. She had me get off and mount again. This time I made a few adjustments and because it was the second mounting Wind seemed fine. I walked him around the pen area. I tried a trot once but got a little off balanced from tension so I brought him back to the walk. He was easy to direct though I didn't use much leg since Barbara said she didn't use much and I didn't want to cause any upset. Tread lightly on an unfamiliar horse right!
I really liked him. After the ride I untacked him and groomed him. He was very easy to be around. I'm concerned about him being slightly nervous but then again I was too. Considering the whole situation he was great. I've contacted his former owner/breeder and they couldn't say enough about him but I certainly have to take that with a grain of salt. I think the biggest concern is the sunscreen lotion application. Barbara told me he hated it and avoided it. He threw his head up and tossed it side to side. He didn't back up too much or threaten to rear so that's a plus. That's his one vice, since I will need to apply sunscreen often with all the pink on his nose it's something I have to consider. Perhaps the owner didn't approach training him in the correct way to work on that, I'll have to see what Laurie thinks, I don't think it's a deal breaker.
I'll be going out this next Saturday with Laurie to have her take a look at him, she'll do a pretty thorough work through with him and give me an honest opinion. I plan on riding him again and seeing how that goes. We shall see. I won't make a decision on Saturday, I still want time to ponder the possibility but he is definitely a serious contender, even though I have a couple more horses to see this week. Sunday I will finally see this other Fjord I had to cancel on a couple times because I've been working late most week days!
Barbara and I released Wind and his one eyed friend into another pasture for grazing it was nice to watch him at liberty grazing.
Barbara then told me about this mare she'd just gotten from an auction because she was afraid a kill buyer was going to get her. She just wants $450 for the mare, who is under saddle but would most likely need a bit of training. If you know anyone who would be interested just email me and I'll get you her contact info. She seemed like a sweet mare.
So this post is, in a way, to be continued....when I get to go see Wind again with my trainer and think hard about if he's the one. There's something about him but we'll see, like I said before, I don't want to rush!
Steve and I went up to Berthoud, CO to see Starfire Fjords. Oh my it was cuteness overload! First when I got there the trainer/breeder was in the arena working her gorgeous stallion Obelisk in dressage movements. He was doing a wonderful half pass when I walked in. It was effortless.
Beth dismounted and took me around the farm showing me some of the various horses. One field had two little babies in it! It was a Fjord Front!
There was one baby with the rare star on his face. Fjords usually don't have white markings.
They sure have crazy hair like most foals but I think Fjords take the cake on this!
After soaking in the cuteness of the foals she brought out Gus a 5 year old that has had about 6 rides on him. He was beautiful and sweet. Beth went to grooming and tacking him up, since I didn't have a brush I just stroked him and moved my hand over him to see how he reacted. I also lifted his feet. He was a really good boy.
Beth showed me him in her indoor round pen. He moved nicely I thought and responded well.
Then he was tacked up and she rode him around a bit to show me what he knew. He wasn't very sure about turning or stopping and other aids. She started to teach him how to back while I was watching. He learned quickly. She said his price would come with 30 days under saddle and that he learns fast so the exposure in those days would get him along quite well. He was pretty good for only a few rides, nothing like that one Fjord mare that was having a lot of issues. He stood well tied, was tacked and groomed easily and great with his feet.
Next she had me get up on him and tried to get him to move around but he wasn't too sure about lunging on a line with someone on his back. So she led us around a bit which I guess was fine. If he doesn't have much of a stop button I didn't want to really ride him on my own yet. I wasn't ready to say yes, put 30 days on him because I wasn't going to buy him. She was still going to work on him but said she would do more work if I was really interested. I don't want to ask that unless I'm sure!!!
Next up was Jack. He was just as nice and sweet and good to groom etc. She rode him in the bigger arena and took him through all his gaits. She rode for quite a while. Finally it was my turn and she showed me how he was trained to "park" at the mounting block but standing on it and lifting the rein up to get him to step to the block. I mounted up and settled in. I was tense because he had little spooks under saddle with her, nothing much but it still made me a little worried about how he'd react to me.
I rode him around at the walk. He didn't like much contact on the reins, Beth had me move my hands forward when I asked him to walk since even what I thought was light pressure made him think I wanted him to stop. I slowly relaxed more and walked him in different directions to see how he responded.
I liked them both but was uncomfortable with the whole situation. Gus was very green and Jack was a little and Beth made me nervous by saying my legs were too far back so she sort of did a lesson on leg position. I'm so confused, my leg is either too far forward or too far back. I just want to ride, lessons can often take the fun out of things and I felt like I was being judged rather than me trying to concentrate on judging the horse. I may go back in October if I haven't found a horse and reassess those two horses, they are at the top, tippy top and a little beyond of my price range so it would be a month or so before I had the cash to buy either one of them.
It was really nice to see good Fjords rather than backyard, untouched, Fjords. Might be worth another visit. Gotta love those leg stripes!!!
Steve and I went to see the cutest Haflinger pony mare, Heidi. Without realizing beforehand, it was in the email but I think I missed it, she is 13.2 hands!!! Oh my goodness she was cute! She was very sweet and calm and was great to groom and hoof pick. She had no issues being tacked up.
She's a therapy horse that was getting bored with her job of just being led around with kids. It had been 2 years so the center head wanted to find her a home that would be more stimulating. One of the volunteers rode her around in her three gaits. She moved like a little pony. I hopped on and did the walk trot and meandered through cones and even tried to leg yield but was told it had been a long time since she had done that. She was still quite responsive. Her trot was quick and choppy so it was a little difficult to ride but it was fun, I found myself giggling a little.
One cute thing is she nickers when you mount and dismount! Steve thought it was the cutest thing! The trot would take some getting use to and honestly I think she is a bit too small for me, long hours on the trail could wear her down faster than a horse a little bigger. I didn't want to get off her though, she was a lot of fun! She'd previously been trained to harness so I could see that Steve and I could get into that, it would be fun too!
I went for a mini trail ride with the facility lead and her palomino horse. I did some more trotting, mainly to get the mare to keep up with the other horse. She was lagging with her short little legs, I can relate! Coming back the palomino started at a hose and made Heidi start but she just jerked to a stop and looked then realized it was nothing and moved on.
Though she was utterly adorable we had to move on to view a few more Haffies and I do want to think about her compatibility with me. Later upon seeing the pictures above my mother said she was too small and short for me. I tend to agree...what do you all think?
Not Quite Right
The next place we went to already had the mare Nell tacked up and waiting. Hmmmm, that's a little red flag. The lady said that Nell can be hard to catch and in the past would kick out during saddling. So....I guess that's why I wasn't able to be here for that. Nell had a nervous and worried look on her face.
I asked the owner to ride her first and she worked her around the ring, didn't look like the owner was really riding her, she was just a passenger. I got on and did a short little walk around the ring but didn't feel right there was a sense that this mare was not really listening. I got off in less than a minute much to the surprise of the owner. I asked if I could lunge the mare so I grabbed my line from the car. She listened alright at the lunge but still had that worried look on her face. I just didn't feel comfortable around her or feel that she was very used to listening to her human. I wasn't impressed and her hooves were overgrown even though the owner admitted it. I wondered what other health care may have been overlooked.
Apparently the mare is mainly used to herd cattle and goes on autopilot mostly. Okay, lots of work needed in my mind. The other Haflingers were very pretty and nice. One was under saddle but the lady didn't have a saddle that fit her, she said I could ride bareback. I passed. I just didn't feel right about the whole situation and Steve said he felt the same. He said there was a look in the mares eye and the mannerisms of her didn't sit right with him either. I listened to my gut and am glad I did, hearing that Steve had the same thoughts validated my own.
If you don't feel right about a situation there is a reason and I know she wasn't the horse. Compare this to above how I was pretty much tickled to ride Heidi, sometimes you just have to listen to your guts and what you sense from the horse. A lot is in their eyes if you just pay attention and there was something off and nervous about this mare. I don't feel bad being only at this lady's house for half an hour. It just wasn't the horse and the others were not rideable or "testable". What can you do?
After seeing the Kenlyn Arabs I headed north to a private seller that has a cute 15 year old Fjord. Her name is Opal. She was very sweet and calm and wanted to mouth everything, the grooming bin, my pockets. I've read that Fjords are very inquisitive. It was so cute and she was very interested in being with us humans.
The owner tacked her up with me assisting, she was a pretty easy going mare. She was good with her feet. I asked the owner to ride her first in the arena for me. I did notice the mare tripped a couple times, the owner thought the ground was too rocky but I've been on horses on rocky ground so it made me wonder.
Plus I noticed that several times when the mare stood that her front feet would pigeon toe inwards. Sometimes it was one, sometimes both and sometimes none. It made me wonder though. And since she tripped a couple times I wasn't so sure about her feet, she seemed tender which of course can be worked with and a vet exam would uncover issues if I ever got that far.
The owner had a couple times of difficulty with the mare stopping and not moving forward. She needed a crop and after that she had to use it a few times but eventually the mare would go. She has only been ridden about 7 times this year from what the owner said so it could just be that.
I hopped on and rode her in the arena, a couple trips at the walk. I didn't want to try the trot so we went into the softer pasture and worked her there a bit. She did better, no tripping, and trotted nicely a for me though I had to encourage her a lot and use the crop a couple times. It may just be training, heat or was she in pain? She didn't show any gait anomalies.
I did like her but would want to bring an experienced person with me if I went to visit her again. The pigeon toed issue has me concerned, I have to do more research but it could be an issue for a sound trail horse. She has a really sweet personality and was very cuddly...just what I hope to find in my future horse! The search will still continue.
I had a very nice visit with Linda of Kenlyn arabians. Her two mares that she had me meet were very pretty and nicely put together. We got them both out, tacked them up and then got ready to ride. Freeze, the first picture has an issue with her ears being touched. In the show barn she was at as a yearling or two year old would grab her ear to get her bridle on. So Linda had a little bit of issues once she had to get the headpiece over the ears.
Both mares were good with their feet, Zaphira moved a bit when the saddling occurred but it didn't phaze Linda. I wasn't too excited about it. We went to the mounting block, I got up on Zaphira and then Linda was on Freeze. When I was on Zaphira she was picking up on my nervousness, and I couldn't really figure out how to use the hackamore or to rein her. I didn't want to pull back to hard but I felt a sense of panic even though she wasn't doing much but I could feel her tensing with me tensing. Linda said "here, hop off" she had one of her boarders or trainer ride her and they went into the ring so I could watch both be ridden. I was thankful that she understood my nerves.
After they had ridden a bit and I had also viewed another trainers horse I hopped up on Freeze. We stayed at a walk in the ring and I talked with Linda on Zaphira. We chatted about feeling comfortable on horses and the type of horse I wanted. I liked Freeze, she listened to me quite well but I didn't have the courage to trot yet. There was a lot of movement in the ring, Linda, another rider and a gal longeing her palomino. I can easily come up again to try her out and perhaps do a trail ride like Linda suggested. She really wanted to show me what the horse was capable of.
She's been on several 50 mile endurance races, and been on quite a lot of difficult terrain. Sounds like she would be a great mount but I'm not sure I'm up for it but I didn't feel the jitters on her like I did with Zaphira. Linda talked to me a while after our ride....it was so hot! We had ice water in her house and chatted about riding, fear and that life is too short to worry about riding a horse who gives you jitters. She said that she gets jitters on some horses and usually she just doesn't ride them. If there is a horse that she doesn't get the jitters on why ride one that does? What point is there? I tend to agree with her, I shouldn't chastise myself for feeling uncomfortable on Zaphira, even though she didn't "do" anything. I probably just have a sense inside that she and I are not right together. It's like a sixth sense and after this experience and a talk with Linda I feel like I need to listen to myself more and not feel like I'm being a "wussy" about a horse that makes me feel nervous. There is probably a very good reason!
Freeze is a potential but with each race, and luckily there is only one more, her price goes up because of the cost for entry, mileage and then just the experience the horse gains. It makes sense and she already is pretty high in price. We'll see, I still have a lot of horses to check out.