Hello, I am new here. I am not really new to horses, but I am coming back after a long time. I showed Hunter /Jumpers in a previous life. I still ride English, but have no interest in jumping or showing anymore. I have been doing a partial lease of a horse that I adore, but so does his owner and she will never sell him. Due to schedule issues (and me being the one that has to be flexible and change my days all the time) I have decided it is time to get my own horse.
What I want to do: Hack and trail ride. I would love to horse camp, be in a parade, ride and tie events (for fun not competition) and maybe some LD endurance (again, completion being the goal not placing) and that is only if my horse and I can get in condition. So not serious. 100% fun riding. I am a born again 'tween and I want to play with their pretty hair, have horse play time, stuff them full of carrots, and costumes are not out of the question. Yes, I am THAT girl.
What my absolute must haves are:
Ground manners and personality - I will not fight with a horse on the ground or spend all my time and money on a horse that doesn't enjoy being groomed, taken out on the trail, played with, hand walking in the sun to graze, maybe jogging together, etc (read: big, dog I can ride)
Loads and is not an idiot in the trailer. Ties and not an idiot for the vet or farrier.
Pretty bombproof with some forward - I don't want to kick for every step, but I don't want an errant leaf rattle to send him/her bolting for the hills. I can handle stopping and snorting, taking time to check out new things. But backing away 100 miles an hour, down the ravine, flipped over in the river, ... etc , not cool.
I have looked at several horses that were ok, but I have found two that really have my attention.
Horse 1: 10 year old grade mare, quarter horse cross (maybe thoroughbred and draft ? HUGE feet) 15.1,
PROS: great personality, great on the ground, ridden in just a halter (not a halter bridle, literally a halter with the lead rope tied on, but what the hell, I had a helmet and you only live once ;) ) incredibly responsive and if you say stop you better be seated! She was great on the trail. She saw a couple of things that made her nervous and she stopped snorted, sniffed and moved on. She had not been on the trail in a year. We had good chemistry on the trail. Something about her, she isn't much to look at, needs weight, better food, grooming, etc, but I just like her.
CONS: Conformation nightmare: sky high withers, long back, topline non existent, underweight (judging from her other horses, might be a hard keeper, but bloodwork on the ppe is a given!). Can't imagine how you would fit a saddle to her. I rode her in a Specialized endurance saddle (not mine). Big movement in her gaits which is not super comfortable, but not awful. I am just not about working hard these days. Needs a tune up, hasn't done much for over a year, but I don't mind paying for some training just to get her cues sharpened up.
Horse 2: 16 year old, Rocky Mountain Horse, gelding. 14.3
PROS: great looking little horse. Solid and well proportioned. Has been on pasture with three mules and isn't being ridden for a year now. Owner is selling because he feels bad he isn't ridden and ďhe likes to have his person and go trail ridingĒ. Former endurance trained horse that was a completer not a competer, LD and 50 mile. Was sold to this guy because first owner got a faster horse. He was used as a pack horse, camping horse and has lead the pony train and been in the pony train. Goes swimming, pretty much a go anywhere, do anything guy. LOVE his ground manners. Real gentleman. It was pouring rain when I looked and rode him and he was so patient. Lots of get up and go. He is very responsive. I like him, I really like him. He is the more obvious choice because of her conformational issues and weight, and I could see many years of spoiling, trails, and adventures with him, but I see that with the mare too.
CONS: Older than I was thinking I wanted. Gaited horse (only a con because I am unfamiliar) he gaited for me and I didnít know what I was doing at all. I would need to get help making him not pace (apparently bad for his gait, but still pretty smooth in my ignorant opinion) as the owner says he is really good at it when in shape and working. I could not get a canter on the trail I was trying him on because it was too short and he just gaited/paced/trotted (??) faster and faster. It was odd, but comfy. To be honest, I did not push him for the canter too much because I was worried he was tender footed. He has A LOT of miles on him. He is flat footed and (next to no concavity in the back) definitely preferred the grass on the side of the trail to the hard surface of the trail. The owner said he used shoes and boots for trail riding, but he has been barefoot since not working. Looked sound when he was running in the pasture and when the owner rode him, but I donít know much about gaited horses (ppe would include xrays for sure.) Would I be bored in the winter and during the week when we are restricted to the arena for riding? Has anyone gone from hunters to gaited horses?
I know this is ridiculously long, but I would love any thoughts anyone has about these two. Both owners say I am the type of home they are looking for, a spoiled semi-retirement with fun adventures. I know that I wonít get a clean PPE from either given the above, but any thoughts on deal breakers for you would be appreciated.
I want a forever horse, so if it goes bad (and it always can) I will have an expensive dog that I canít ride 😊 . I would prefer some great years of riding before that happens.
<- this is too cute!