Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dawn Bends (Somewhat) and More on Horse #3

Dawn and I had a productive session today, bareback and with the snaffle.  We did a little bit of work on the trail and on our standing around.  We went further than we have before - more than a 100 yards from the barn.  She was a little bit worried but went willingly when I asked.  She did one small spook when something rustled in the leaves - but it was just a startle/spook-in-place, so I was very pleased and told her so.

Our ring work involved asking her to self-regulate her pace at the trot - small circles without increasing the pressure on the reins.  She was very forward today - it's lovely cool windy weather - so we did quite a bit of this.  When her pace was good and she began to relax a bit, then we went straight again - we managed some pretty nice swinging trot.  Then we did more spiral-in/spiral out work and shoulder-in.  She did this easily to the left, but struggled to the right.  I went back to the walk and rewarded single steps of leg-yield - we're moving to the left but bent somewhat to the right so it mimics shoulder-in and worked for my purposes. I'm looking for that right hind to come under and cross over.  I expect there's some stiffness, perhaps in a joint, that's making it a bit harder for her.  The soreness/knots in the right side of her neck from her fence accident also probably inhibit her ability to bend to the right.  She finally got a few nice steps at the trot and we were done with that.

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I'm gradually getting a more clear picture of horse #3 (I won't be calling him Drifter unless I get him - that's too personal and I don't want to get attached until we've gone through all the hoops).  He has trail experience, but I wouldn't call him a seasoned trail horse (and neither would his owner - I like her honesty and forthrightness).  His former owner did a fair amount of trial riding with him, including in groups, and he did very well.  His current owner did a fair amount of trail riding with him during the summer of 2009, and he crosses bridges and water.  He hasn't travelled to new locations to trail ride, and has mostly been in the company of at least one other horse.  The past year, most of his work has been in the arena.  So he's definitely not a finished trail horse, but I get the feeling that his personality and willingness may make this possible without a lot of trouble - I have a good feeling about that but need to confirm it when I meet him.  So in any event there will be a bit of a gamble if I get him.  I may see if she'll let me take him on a 30-day trial, where I can get a really good handle on the holes in his training/experience and see if they're ones I can easily fill.  If not, I'll move on.  If I really like him and she's not willing to give me 30 days, I may take the gamble if his vet check is good, but I don't have to cross that bridge yet.  If he's like my Noble was, then I know the trail won't be a problem for him.

I've also asked follow-up questions about any work that may have been done on his teeth, as well as about the fact that he hasn't been ridden with much if any contact - I just want to be sure that it hasn't been a problem for him and is just a riding style issue.  I get the impression that he doesn't have extensive training but has the basics down.  This may be a good thing from my point of view - it means he hasn't learned too many bad things that I'll have to undo!

(I was asked about the other horses that I'd previewed - #1 (the overo gelding) was eliminated because I didn't like his conformation, #2 (the black and white tobiano mare) is still on the list but I'm cautious as she's been on the market for a long time, #4 (the other chestnut gelding) was eliminated because he's being sold by a (high-volume) dealer, #5 (the bay mare) is still on the list but I'm cautious because of her Impressive pedigree (sorry Impressive fans), #6 (the buckskin gelding) appears to be off the market, #7 (the roan mare) was eliminated because she's pretty much just a broodmare, #8 (bay gelding) is off the market, and #9 (the buckskin gelding) was eliminated due to concerns about his soundness.  I've got some other possibles, but won't bother to put those up until we see what happens with horse #3.)

21 comments:

  1. I liked horse number 3, and I REALLY hope this works out for you, Kate! Keeping fingers crossed!!!

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  2. I really do like this guy and hope he works out for you. I've had a few QH's and they were all great trail horses and easy/quick learners.

    Dusty had never been on a trail and the first time I took her out, she went over a stone bridge across a river, couldn't care less about squirrels making noise in the woods, just marched through everything like she owned the place. Same with Blue and Lifeguard. I just think QH's have such sane personalities that nothing really bothers them. I also think that if he hasn't had much training that's a plus on your side. I like to do it my way, and not have to undo training that I don't agree with. Good luck, you never really know until you see them and ride them.Hope it works out for you.

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  3. You've been doing great homework! And it is about the time to get excited. Hope the# 3 works out!
    Here, I dream of a horse for the arena...and have a pretty good trail horse. We're opposite.
    I have actually thought of looking ...but, finding something Wa likes, is my budget.

    Can't wait to see how this goes for ya Kate!
    KK

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  4. I'm rooting for you on this one. The more I read about #3 the more I like him.

    And, I think you do enjoy training, as your dedicated work with Dawn proves, so the fact that he's not "finished" yet is actually a plus.

    The key, I think, is whether or not he has a good mind and is a willing worker.

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  5. I'm not saying it's bad to ask but there is no way I would allow anyone to take a horse on trial for 30 days unless they jumped through some pretty big hoops for me. I personally think that's a lot to ask of someone who really cares about the horse.

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  6. I don't send a horse out on a trail either ,I do however offer a 30 conditional buy back. I believe enough in my stock to guarantee them that far

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  7. Wow this sounds more in depth than i have ever even thought of to find a horse. Hope it all works out.

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  8. Ooooh, I like Fernvalley's idea of a 30 day buy back. I was wondering how a 30 day trial would work, don't know anyone in my local community who would do 30 days and very few offer any trial at all. Horse #3 does sound like a good match for you, enough basics to be sane and safe but enough green to shape the way you want him. Will you have someone videotaping when you try him?

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  9. CCC and fernvalley are right, asking for a 30-day trial may not be fair. If I like him a lot, I'll arrange a vet check and bring him home and see how it goes. I'll ask about a 30-day return and see what she says, although it's not a deal breaker for me.

    Laura M - sorry, no videotaper, but I'll see if I can get the owner to take some still photos when I'm riding.

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  10. With any new horse regardless of training, history, etc., it's always "a bit of a gamble" because you are new, his place is new, his friends are new, etc. I think #3 sounds like he's a definite possibility but as others have said, there will be the "honeymoon" and then the real work starts. Not that "real work" is bad, but you know what I mean. I think he's very handsome, too, which doesn't hurt. I bet there's a nice--and functioning--brain between those nice ears.

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  11. Lovely work with Dawn :) And all crossed here for Pony Number 3!

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  12. The way I got around the 30 day trial type thing was by mutually agreeing on a trainer and taking the horses there. I got the trainers input and was able to ride the horses away from the owner. Hardly anyone will turn down free training. I only wanted to pay for a week and that was plenty of time. I also did vet checks and had my farrier assessment. I did that with three of the horses I still have--they've all worked out great.

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  13. #3 is a cutie and sounds like a great prospect - hope your meeting goes well!

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  14. Kate, Your session with Dawn sounds very good. That was quite an injury to her neck so it may take time for her to get back to feeling comfortable bending it, as you mentioned. And horse #3 does sound very exciting, a real possibility. I hope your visit goes well.

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  15. Sounds like your ride on Dawn went well. But I must be very far behind as I had no idea you were planning on buying another horse. Wow! Big changes around here. I like the new header, too.

    Off to get caught up.
    ~Lisa

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  16. Read some of the comments. I hope you're able to get a trail period, but I'd be surprised if you were able to get 30 days. I was able to get 2 weeks with Apache after signing a contract including all of mine and my instructor friend's personal information first.
    I'm so glad I did, though. I don't think I will ever buy another horse unless I get a 1-2 week trail period.

    ~Lisa

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  17. Thanks for answering the questions about the other horses. As far as the plain wrapper on #3, I'm sure that if you feel a connection with this horse and he is sweet natured, you will think he's beautiful.

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  18. Kate, I'm curious to know what your criteria are for a finished trail horse. Days/miles/seasons? Or a certain number of each type of situation (bridges, traffic, groups, dirt bikes, etc.) handled calmly? You're so methodical (and I mean that as a high compliment!) that I suspect you have criteria. :)

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  19. Ah! I've caught the bug! Now I'M horse shopping! ;) If any of you could look over at my blog (horsedayzblog.blogspot.com), and tell me what you think of my option horses, that would be GREAT! Kate, I hope you don't mind... I borrowed the 'Horse #...' thing with the ad and picture. Is that ok? Thanks!
    ~MunciEquestrian~

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  20. Funder - I'm not entirely sure as I've never had one. Noble was not an experienced trail horse, but he would go anywhere for me, with or without company, at any speed and never bolted, bucked or spooked more than a little - and he had plenty of get-up-and-go and loved to gallop. Was he ever completely comfortable on the trail? No, he really preferred being an arena horse. So I guess I'd take Noble's behavior with a calmer disposition, although if I could just recreate Noble that would be fine too. I'd also like a horse with some miles, although if a horse has the right temperament I'd be willing to do some of the finish work myself. The ability to cope with new things without stressing out would be a nice feature as well - so if confronted by a difficult stream crossing or odd-looking bridge, or strange object to be passed, the horse could work with me to get it done.

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