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.