Our mare Summer. (It's a long one, be prepared!)
It has been a couple of months and now I would like to talk about the gem we got.
I have no pictures I can get my hands on at the moment, but when I can correctly get them off my phone or everyone else's camera, I will upload some.
First of all, she was bought sight unseen from an auction. Yes, we knew what we were doing. We knew there could have been problems, we knew that we could buy her and a day later have to put her down or have vet fees up to our necks.
When we saw her listing, it said she had fox hunted, jumped and trail rode and was rode through at a walk/trot with a child on her back. And that she was 15.2 hands. Funny enough, a lot who saw her, seemed to think she was a Quarab, since it didn't list what breed she was. Well... I don't think they were right.
First of all, she is a Thoroughbred. A CHESTNUT Thoroughbred Mare *le gasp!*. She came off the trailer, not as a 15.2 mare, but a 16.2 mare! I saw her and was like 'holy tall, Batman!'. So that out of the way, we brought her to her stall and let her rest for the day. The next day, we mingled with her a bit after looking over her papers. It said she had a tattoo on her upper lip. As far as we knew, that was a Thoroughbred. We looked for ourselves and made sure the tattoo was the same on the paper and then after we were done, we went to the house and looked up her tattoo. This is what we found. All I can say is wow She is off the track as of Sept of 2012.
I have since done a lot of research on Thoroughbreds, as I have handled them before (One was a Canadian racehorse that ran you into the stall, the other was a 17 hand kicker and biter). I wouldn't call me an expert on them, but I have been around horses a lot of my life and handled from a Shetland Pony to a 18 hand Clydesdale that didn't know where his feet were.
Okay, onto the fact when we got her, she was under weight and due for vet and farrier (They were coming within the next couple of days). So far, she had the calmest temperament, was quite willing to walk with us on her new farm, interested, but not crazy or spooky. Given that she was so soon off the track, we expected her to be high strung. She was anything but... She was raced only for I think 3 years, and ended up retired because of her age (She turned 8 on the 4th of March).
The vet came and did a physical on her - told us she was sound, had good sounds, a nice heart and all of the other good stuff one likes to hear. At one point, was rather funny, because she gave the guy she had with her this look when I told her she was a Thoroughbred. "A Chestnut Thoroughbred mare." she said, her voice told me having this color and breed was unfavorable. I shrugged it off, since when we first got her, I didn't get that uneasy feeling I get when around crazy horses. I gave her a look and went on to explain that Summer was quite nice, had no bad vices and was a gentle giant. She told me and my niece to watch out for when she actually gained weight, that she would be a completely different horse.
Well... she has gained weight steadily and is still gaining, her ribs aren't even showing anymore, and if they are, you can't see them (Mind you, this is in Winter, too). I was waiting for this alter ego to show itself every day that I worked with her, and she has yet to have turned into a different horse. She is the same mare with the same temperament as when she came.
I free lunge her in the round pen, as having a lunge line on her she doesn't do the same. Either she doesn't like it, or she's not used to it, I'm not sure, but I want to wait until there is no snow or mud before we work with that. She has learned my cues with the lead rope when I do so and is a good listener - most of the time.
She has her moments, but they're not OMG THIS HORSE IS INSANE moments. More like when I halter she tried to nip the halter (Hasn't ever put her teeth on me). She hasn't so much since the day she caught it on her nose, flipped it in the air and scared the crap out of herself... Yet, when I groom her she's fine until I get to the girth area. Every once in a while, she pins her ears and flicks her tail and gives me this look like 'Don't you dare!' to which I give her a look as to say 'Don't YOU dare!' and she stops. A respectful, yet still testy mare. I have the feeling she will always have those testy moments, but it's nothing I can't handle. We haven't saddled her yet, but will (I have this itchy feeling she's going to be a girthy one lol). We have been riding her bareback. (OMG Those withers lol!)
I lead her around the property often, up through fields and such. One day I wondered how she was in the woods, since she was supposedly on trails, so we approached the woods. Well, you woulda swore the trees were going to eat her. She was nervous but didn't spook much. I didn't take her far, realizing right then and there that if she'd been on a trail, it was a treeless trail. She has come to terms after being around them that they weren't going to do anything to her. (Ha, you shoulda seen the horse-eating mattress that was sitting out to go to the dump one day! She walked by that thing quite a few times snorting, watching it and even side stepped a bit.)
And to let you all know, she has a second person whom she has grown attached to. She is good with her little rider, who is 8. She leads for her, stands for her, picks up her feet for her and has yet to do anything bad to her. She even stands still when her little rider goes to get her from her pen, leaving the door wide open enough for her to escape while she grabs for the lead. I only let this happen once, because one day Summer could get a hair across her butt and decide she wants to run around like a dork.
Anyway, so far, so good. She, I guess is an exception to the rules of hot Thoroughbreds and crazy Chestnut mares that I have read, heard about. The sight unseen mare that appeared to be a quarab and said to be 15.2 hands and was likely to go to a kill pen, has found herself a loving, happy home, and she loves it!