Monday, January 9, 2012

And the Winner is....

Saturday morning we drove to Fresno to look at the last two horses.  We almost skipped going there.  The primary horse on my list for that barn was the the three year old chestnut that seemed a bit off and had the jumping trainer riding in a half seat.  The trainer had another horse there that was primarily being trained for jumping.  I had asked about him but was told he wasn't available for trial as someone was scheduling a second trial ride with the intent of purchasing him.  But then I received an email saying they were both available to try and my trainer said that I should since they were located on the way home.  Brett was pretty miserable with his cold and I was feeling a bit under the weather myself but we figured it would break up the eight hour drive home.

We arrived with very low expectations.  We looked at the jumper first.  He was a beautiful appaloosa/Hanovarian cross, bay with a blanket of spots on his butt.  His feet were like rocks.  There was something about his eye that I connected with immediately.  It was slightly goofy and fun loving and kind.

I rode him without spurs or a whip.  The arena was huge and divided into a dressage court, a jumping area and an open area.  We worked in the open area with lessons going on all around us.  Despite all the commotion, he kept his focus firmly on me.  He has had next to no exposure to dressage but he tried to figure things out.  When we cantered, I asked him to transition down by half-halting and sitting deep.  He didn't get it.  He kept going, then sped up, then slowed down, then finally came down to trot.  I praised him profusely.  Next we hacked out around the boarding facility, through trees, past peacocks and dogs charging a fence.  He spooked at the dogs -- just a hop sideways and then he waited for instructions. Yes!  After a very fun time riding a very solid, safe and sane horse we put him away and got out the other horse.

Ugh.  Three years old.  He wasn't a bad horse but he didn't do it for me at all.  Plus, he's already tall and still growing -- I don't need a 17h horse.

At that point, I checked the video camera to make sure Brett had caught everything on my ride on the first one.  He had captured ... nothing.  He had turned the camera on to standby but never hit "record."  He felt horrible.  I was hugely disappointed.  The trainer said, no big deal - we'll get him back out and do it again.

So, we did.  He wasn't sour about coming out and he wasn't sour about going into the arena and working again.  Brett got it on film.  I felt very connected to this horse.  I felt like we were already partners.  And when I asked again for a downward transition from my seat, he aced it.  Smart horse.

Oh, and he was half the price of RA.  I could afford him. I felt like an elephant had been squishing me and the idea of an affordable horse was like having the elephant get up and walk away.  It felt wonderful.

Brett and I talked as we drove home.  I called my trainer.  She said being comfortable with the price is huge.  I told her I would upload the video when I got home and send it to her.  She promised to look at it Sunday morning and call me with her impressions.

When she called, she said she liked the way I looked on the Appy cross.  She said I looked comfortable.  His gaits are solid and good.  They aren't fantastic like RA but I'm not headed to the Olympics.  I like low stress, low key, small shows.  

Here's video of me riding RA.  I struggled a bit with keeping him forward and keeping my balance.  He's young so he isn't strong and balanced yet.  I wasn't always helpful:

And here's video of me riding the Appy cross.  He spooks slightly at the far end of the arena but its so small that you hardly notice it.  He's solid in his gaits and easy to ride.  Very light in the bridle.  We were able to immediately correct it when he picked up the wrong lead.

The next step is a trip to Fresno with my trainer for her evaluation.  Then a vet check.  Then, if all goes well, a new pony in the barn to play with.

His name is Winston.  Winston Churchill. 



15 comments:

  1. Winston Churchill is one handsome boy.
    You make a nice pair and he seems to be very kind. Hope all goes well and he is home soon.

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  2. Hooray for nontraditional dressage-y horse! He is too cute. I hope all goes well for the remainder of the purchase process. I think he would fit right in at Aspen Meadows. :)

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  3. He's cute Annette. And you look good with him :) Fingers crossed for the vet check!

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  4. Very exciting! Best of luck with the trainer and the pre purchase exam.

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  5. I like your choice. The first horse is very flashy but, Winston seems to have so much more personality and character. He looks like the kind of horse you can really connect and have fun with. The two of you make a great pair. I hope all goes well with the vet check and you get to bring him home soon.

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  6. He is cute, is that out at Silver Glen??
    Tara

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  7. Your search is progressing (progressed) a lot smoother than mine, I think! Hey, if you blur your eyes a little while watching him, on his right side it looks like he's got white flames extending from the saddle pad. Cool horse.

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  8. I somewhat know the area that place is, but, didn't know that was there.. I love going for breakfast at the Red Caboose Cafe, which is south of that place, on Academy and Shaw. When I was horse shopping I looked at a fantastic paint gelding that was near that place. But, lol, its been so many years that I just don't remember it being there. The QH ranch yes, but not it. There are (or were) several TB farms in the area, and I think there are alot more stables etc then there used to be... I took lessons long ago at a place in town, small stables called Armstrong...
    Tara

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  9. both horses are lovely. I really like the chestnut. It's too bad he's too far away because I'd try him! The appy cross is nice too- I just have one question: is he croup high? That might make it harder for him to use his hind end.

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  10. You look good on both. Please don't get mad at me for my opinion...but here goes.RA even though young I really liked his willingness and also he looks happy working...ears up and listening, I thought you two looked great and it could only get better as he ages.Winston....I don't know if it's just me but I see a bit of a hitch in his get along...something stiff or something in that hind end...or hip area. He appears to listen when you talk to him but pretty much the whole time you are riding his ears are back and he looks crabby.Well that's just my opinion and everybody has their own tastes....could just be that Appy thing coming through:)I wish you good luck no matter what and hope everything is good.

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  11. Winnie (Whinney?) is nice and compact, with that "Leg at each Corner" look. It looks as though he likes humans, which is great. Appaloosas are usually smart and mixing with Hanovarian is inspired and produced a very appealing color.
    I hope he passes inspections for you to bring him home.

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  12. I love this horse. He looks so kind and fun to ride. You look great together. What a pretty boy he is too.

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  13. Oh my what an adorable boy!!! I love his face! And you two look wonderfully happy together! I'll be crossing my fingers for a great vet check! And I love his name...In my mind he will be Winnie the Pooh :) congratulations!

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  14. What a beautiful boy! And, I LOVE his name! I'm so glad you two found each other!

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  15. I like Winston! He's so cute and he seemed so interested in you when he was tied up. I love how he reached out to sniff your helmet. :D

    How old is he? I hope his PPE goes well!

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.