Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Test Ride

Yesterday I made my first call about a horse. I found the ad on craigslist(what would we do without it) and decided to call. I liked the pictures from the ad. There was one crappy picture of her with a rider bareback but I really liked her conformation. The ad didn't say how tall she was and she is an unregistered 10yr old.. I called and talked to the woman and she said that she was only available yesterday. Since I was out running errands I decided to go look at was kinda on my way home.(less than 1 mile detour)

So I pull up and meet this nice lady. She takes me out into the horse "pasture" and the mare comes up to us very friendly. The woman lets me look her over and says she hasn't ridden the mare in over a year and that is why she was selling her. She has bad knees and ankles and it hurts too much to ride. The lady leads her out of the pasture, past barking dogs that she looked at but didnt react. They sounded like if they were loose they would eat her alive. She was tied to a hitching post and the woman grabbed her saddle and pad, she skipped brushing of any kind. She threw the pad and saddle on her and tightened it down VERY VERY VERY tight. Then tightened the belly girth really tight. The mare was bridled with a tom thumb bit and super short barrel racing reins. She was moved about 2 feet over to a box for the woman to stand on....the mare is a solid 15.3hh. I was getting ready to see a show....this mare who hasn't been ridden in a year, has a saddle on TIGHT, belly band TIGHT, no brushing, no walking or giving her a chance to get settled......I was thinking if I had my EMT bag with me because I was pretty sure this woman was getting ready to be dumped on her head in the gravel!

The woman hopped on picked up the reins and the mare walked off. She got a little ways up the driveway and the mare picked up a nice little jog on command. She rode her all around the front yard and came back over to me. The woman informed me that the mare sometimes will crow-hop into the canter, that she hates men, and that her son thinks she is crazy.........great sales pitch.

So I hopped on her......she was SUPER soft in the bridle, slow on her response to my leg, responsive to my seat, had a short jog and the start of a nice ground covering trot. I played with her for a good 15 minutes before I hopped off.

All in all I was impressed. She reminds me of the big solid horses I rode as a I think she has potential to do anything I want her to do. I do want to look at other horses before I make an offer though.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Problem

Over the past 2 years my wonderful horsey on-of-a-kind can never be replaced has been on and off lame. Mostly lame. Since our move from Mooresville, NC he has seemed better. With all the heat we haven't been riding as much as I would have like and when we did it was mostly at the walk.

This past Sunday I got on him in my english saddle and he wasn't right. He doesn't seem to be in pain but he is off.

So I'm troubled with the problem of do I drop another HUGE chunk of money on trying to diagnose him? He has had rest, injections, x-rays, you name it without a diagnosis. If I do call the vet out for him I only see 3 possible results:
- Diagnosis - surgery to fix($$$$$$)
- Diagnosis - can't be fixed
- No Diagnosis

Call me picky but I don't like ANY of those answers. So I think the best answer for both of us is to leave him alone. I will still throw him a bute and hop on him once a month or so because he truly seems to enjoy it and I miss him. I don't think walking rides will do anymore damage considering he is pasture sound and tears around after the donkey like he is 150% ok.

So now the fun part....finding something else to ride. My sister has 2 horses that are hers. 1 is an older mare she rescued that will hopefully be going to a new home next weekend. The other is a 9yr old Arab/Saddlebred mare that I broke to ride last winter. This is a sweet mare that is still a little green but safe and fearless. There is nothing wrong with her....except I HATE riding her. I don't know what it is but I don't enjoy my rides on her. I have been riding her some to keep her and I in shape but....ugh its a chore when it shouldn't be.

So now I absorb the yucky task of horse shopping. I don't have any big requirements...I have owned so many horses over the years(over 40) that I don't really have any breed/color issues. My favorite color is gray but I will look at any. I don't want a gaited horse. I want something versatile. Other than that I'm open so welcome to Alex's ADD shopping. Enjoy!

My boy as an UGLY yearling:
About a year later:

 Trail Competition:
About 3 years ago and my favorite picture of us: