Today I went and 'test drove' the horse that Mr Tim had called me about the other day (actually it was his wife Jackie that called).
In point form this was it:
- use for barrels/cattle/trail riding
- 15hh - 15.3 (preferably)
- mare w/papers
- not a youngster but not older than 15 or so.
- nice looking (sorry, it may be shallow but I really don't want an ugly horse)
So Jackie calls me the other day and tells me that Mr Tim had this horse in and he thought it might just be The One. We made arrangements for me to come out and see it Sunday... I could hardly wait for the next couple days to go by!
In the meantime I was trying not to get too excited, from what Jackie had told me this horse fit pretty much everything I was looking for! What could possibly be wrong? (well other than being a grade QH gelding instead of a well bred, papered mare lol)
When I first saw him I thought "Well he ain't pretty but he ain't ugly." (or as I described to Kimfer, put him in a line up and he's not the first horse I'd pick out lol) I thought his head was pretty nice; and once shed out, shined up and in shape he'd be okay looking. But he's nothing fancy and is the pah-laaanest shade of chestnut. (and no offense here either but of the "basic" colours I've always been more drawn to bay)
But he stood tied at the rail just checking everything out in a real laid back way.
We saddled him up and Jackie asked if I wanted her to hop on or if I just wanted to get on and go. I asked her to get on and put him through his paces first. Now one thing Jackie gave me a head's up on is that this horse has no real clue about leg cues. But he is well broke, and has done pretty much everything... worked cows, barrel raced, gymkhana (which Mr Tim mentioned a bit later), trail rode, broke to drive, been in parades. Basically a "been there, done that" kinda horse. Nothing really seems to faze him... in fact when Mr Tim went to pick him up the lady jumped on him bareback with a halter and walk/trot/loped him around. (the 60-ish lady)
Jackie put him through his paces at the barn and then we headed for the arena. On our way there a couple of the other horses at the barn called out to him and he just kept on going without so much as a flick of an ear (points for him!) She loped him around a bit more and he seemed nice and relaxed. The poles were set up so she decided to take him through there. "Just go easy and see what he does".
Damn that was a pretty nice pole pattern... especially for an out of shape horse that hasn't done them in a few years. lol This was when Mr Tim wandered over and mentioned "oh yeah she used to gymkhana him too".
We took the poles down (Jackie picking them up and moving them while mounted with him not giving a fizz at all). We set up the barrels and Jackie trotted him through, then took him through and I have to admit I thought "Wow!" especially because she hadn't really asked him for anything other than to run instead of trot. When she ran home and stopped she turned him around and walked him up to the score and halted. He just cocked a foot and licked his lips. (double wow) After a moment she walked him through and then I hopped on.
I rode around at a walk and a trot for a bit. We were ironing out some "communication issues". He really doesn't get leg. But at least he steers like a dream. Jackie did point out that this is all pretty new for him too. In the last week or so he's had Mr Tim on him for all of about 5 minutes, Jackie rode him the other day for about 20 and today for another 20 and now me. Other than that the only other person that's ever rode him was his former owner.
We started to get along pretty good and Mr Tim and Jackie were getting steers ready for some team roping... well my oh my if a few little steers didn't get him AWFULLY keen. This horse definitely has worked with cattle before and enjoyed it! We got him back to thinking mode and loped some circles... and then hit the barrel pattern.
I sat facing the pattern and thinking... how the heck does this horse run? Better still how do I turn him? I never really realized how much leg I use when running the pattern. I thought to myself "Oh well I guess we'll just try to 'point and shoot'" I moved my hand forward and clucked and he was off!
We were just about at first barrel and I was wondering what exactly I should do. So I grabbed horn, lifted my rein hand and BANG we were turning and heading for second in a hurry.
At second I did the same thing, added in an "easy" for good measure and H-O-L-Y crap. I have never turned second so fast and so smooth. ( I just have to add Mr Tim's comment as I turned second was "Holy shit Lisa!")
We got to third; once again grab horn, lift rein hand, 'easy' and he just rocked onto his hocks and whipped around that sucker. We were home and stopping before I quite realized what had happened! lol
All I can think is that this horse hasn't barrel raced in TWO YEARS, he's outta shape and we are still working on learning how to communicate. I didn't ask for anything other than to run, there was zero "encouragement" from me (no kicking, no clucking, no whip of any kind). If I had that good of a run on him now WHAT does the future hold?!?
After that Jackie grabbed one of their new horses and we went out on a bit of a trail ride. Every once in awhile he'd get a bit jiggy and I'd just let him know that NO we are waaaalking now and he'd come back to me.
My only real concern right now is that once he's in shape and doing barrels consistently again that he may wind up a bit too hot for me. I'm planning on going out again tomorrow and trying him with a different bit (or some different bits) because I think he'd have a bit more respect and better 'whoa' in something other than the veeeeery mild one we were in today. (don't worry, nothing crazy or extreme!) I'm also going to call and see if I can get a vet check done sometime this week.
Oh how I hate to say it about a gelding folks... but he just may be The One. lol
ps - Pony Girl: I was able to ask Mr Tim those movie questions, I'll do a post about them soon. :)