Sunday, August 3, 2008

Choosing a new horse

I have an incredible dilemma regarding choosing a new horse for Maggie. Freeley has been retired and Maggie needs a horse to ride. Cat and Jena started talking about selling Dixie and Maggie decided that she might really like this horse. She's 14.1 hh, 8 years old, non-specific breeding, but pleasant and unflappable. She doesn't have a ton of training, but is very good natured and Maggie rode her happily at camp for a week. She is $800. Her gaits are smooth, and she really seems to like Maggie.

We have looked at a couple Quarter Horses who have really good bloodlines, though the actual riding just went so-so. I have been encouraged to go back and look at them again before making up our minds (no photos of them unfortunately) They are asking $2500 but will entertain offers. Maggie loved their smooth gaits, but the gelding, age 10, bucked when she cantered b/c he didn't want to leave the barn and his friends. Maggie looked fantastic on him though and handled the situation beautifully.

We currently have a really nice Arab as well. His name is Elijah's Elation, known as Elijah. He is 11 and he is sweepstakes nominated. His father was a really great dressage horse and he's well trained and athletic. Maggie enjoyed riding him enough to bring him home to keep riding him, but she thinks she's still stuck on Dixie.

Tomorrow she is going to Jennifer's to work and ride. I'm going to take one or both of them (unless we decide it's too hot) to evaluate them for rideability, relationship and temperament for Maggie to have the very best horse.

On another note: Liberty lost me yesterday for the first time. He was a fuss budget all day yesterday and was just a naughty boy in general. I know that, in retrospect, I was pushing him too hard and riding him differently than I would normally ride him. I have been trying to take more contact, instead of letting him go on his looser rein and only picking up the reins when I need to cue him. He really resents the contact and was fussing with his head all day. It seems like he is less spooking on a looser rein b/c he feels like he can look at stuff better. Add to that, everyone else was picking a really slow tempo/pace, and Liberty gets tired of all the incessant walking. Since Karen was riding a green horse, we had all agreed to stay together and not run off. I figured it was good for him to learn just to stand still. I was riding him in a bosal, which had worked great in Arkansas, but I was also riding with 2 reins and I was just generally in his face. When I got off of him for a few minutes and then remounted, he was better, but I generally had the feeling he was really uncomfortable. I've known for a long time that my western saddle shouldn't work on him at all, but I have been wondering if he's started being uncomfortable and has had enough...unfortunately, I couldn't use my English saddle on him b/c Maggie has stolen it from me recently :-( OF course, it was 105 or some such nonsense and he may just not have been in the mood. Anyway, we hit the dirt and now I have a headache and sore ribs. My hands also really hurt, I guess from hanging on to the extra reins so tight yesterday.

Tomorrow will be a sore day too. I'm trying to find out if I'm going to the STC at the end of week (if I feel like it now) and if so if I will be going alone or not.

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