This is going to be long, so I apologize in advance. Besides, by the time you finish, you'll all probably think I'm crazy, anyway.
I worked and professionally trained MANY young and green horses when I was young. I learned to ride on a 3 year old unbroken ridgeling Quarter Horse I got when I was 11. Every young horse I ever worked with had at least one issue – bucking, spooking, balking, not wanting to tie, running through the bit, being difficult to trailer - SOMETHING. When I decided to buy a horse, I knew I would have some problems, no matter how well trained the new horse was. In May I got a barely 2 year old Quarter Horse who had already had some very limited saddle training. Even though I knew better, I bought her the first time I saw her, without riding her or watching her be ridden, or even really handling her. (I know – stupid. But something about her… I didn’t even get a vet exam. I also had no intention of buying one so young. At 59, I REALLY don’t want to hit the dirt more than necessary. LOL))
When they delivered Nibbles, and she stepped off of the trailer at my daughters, I expected her to be spooky and difficult, but she wasn’t. She looked around, then calmly walked over to me and started to graze. She settled into her new stall and pasture without a murmur, and with no anxiety.
Since then, I have ridden her 1-2 times a week on the trails, only at a walk, and with my vet’s approval – she’s very mature for her age, both physically and mentally. She has never spooked (Except once. My daughter’s dog actually jumped on Nibbles’ rump from a ledge above us and Nibbles bucked once and took off for about 15 feet, then stopped and looked back like she couldn’t believe that dog was so stupid.) Anyway, she just doesn’t spook at ANYTHING. We have had 4 wheelers come flying down the trail unexpectedly, we have been very close to hunters when they started shooting, we have jumped deer and turkeys and she just stops and looks. Same with cattle, pigs, and goats. She walks through water, brush, over bridges, whatever. She is actually better behaved and calmer on the trail than my daughter’s 26 year old mare.
When my daughter got bucked off of her new 6 year old Haflinger and was hurt, my husband jumped off of Nibbles and ran to my daughter, and Nibbles just stood there ground –tied for at least 5 minutes without moving. My husband then ponied my daughter’s out of control horse back to the barn, most of the time with Nibbles reins dropped because he was having so much trouble with the other horse, and again, Nibbles never got upset or tried to do anything but walk calmly.
No matter what we try with her, she’s willing and learns quickly. She NEVER fights us and is always respectful. She ties for as long as we want and just goes to sleep. The grandkids play with braiding her mane and tail, and she loves it. Bathing – no issue. Loading – she walks in by herself.
I started to get worried she was just totally lazy, so the other day I asked her to trot and she did so immediately. She kept going at a nice rate until I asked her to stop, and again, immediate compliance.
No, this isn’t a brag, because I had nothing to do with her being this way. The man who broke her deserves all the credit, but when I finally talked to him the other day, he said he had NEVER worked on ground tying or accustomed her to half of the things she’s seen or done since. He DID say he had never ridden a horse with a better attitude, so maybe that’s it.
I just keep reading all of the posts with the problems, and I’m wondering when she’s going to blow up or AT LEAST act like a 2 year old. Believe it or not, part of me is worried that there’s something physically wrong with her, although we DID have a vet check after we had had her a while, and he said she was perfectly sound. (I’d guess doping, but 3 months is a LITTLE long for it to stay in her system. LOL) I am actually WORRIED something’s not right! Should I be worried? Grateful that I have a one in a million horse? OR should I prepare myself for when she DOES start acting her age?? (Or am I getting senile and I just don’t remember those long ago horses correctly?)
One more thing. She also does stuff that freaks me out a little. We kept finding pieces of her mane caught in the fence by the barn and couldn’t figure out why. There was some grass about 20 feet away, but she couldn’t reach it through the fence. Anyway, one day my daughter walked down to the barn and saw her OUTSIDE the fence, grazing. AS she watched, Nibbles calmly walked over to the wire fence, took her nose and lifted the top two wires, then got on her knees and went back under. Apparently, she had been doing this for some time, and always went back into the pasture before we could catch her. (We fixed the fence)
She also likes to get into the barn when we’re in there, and my daughter ties a rope across the double door entrance that opens up to the pasture. Nibbles quickly learned to go under, or if it was too low, she will take her foot, hold down the rope, then step over. When we close the doors enough so she can’t get through, she will take the handle with her teeth and slide the door open. She only does this when we are in the barn otherwise she’s content to stay in the pasture.
Also, once when my daughter had to store some hay in the loft, Nibbles watched them go up and down the stairs, then when she was turned out of her stall, instead of going out to the pasture, she actually tried to go UP THE STAIRS to get to the hay. She actually made it up about 5 stairs (Thank goodness they are wide and strong) I have just never been around horses that DO those kinds of things. Should I be afraid??? LOL