Two-week trial ... what can we realistically accomplish? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Two-week trial ... what can we realistically accomplish?

Hello horsey friends. Thanks in advance for the wise counsel I'm sure to receive here. :)

I've been searching for a horse for my daughter for a few months now. We take lessons together, 2 private lessons per week and 1 group lesson per week, so in total, my daughter rides 3x per week, an hour each time - since last summer/fall. She can ride in all gaits and can cantor now one-handed. Previously she'd been bucked off a horse we were trying and was terrified to cantor, but now she's very comfortable. She's been doing this since February or so.

I specifically was searching for a mérens horse, native to the Pyrenees mountains here in France where we live. They are cold-blooded, great for all kinds of disciplines, and easy keepers.

I found this 10-year-old mare, about 13-14 hands high (so officially a double-pony in France, not a horse) who has had 3 babies and was broke to ride about 3 years ago. She hasn't been worked much in the last year and when we went to try her out was very barn sour. I brought a very experienced rider with me and every time she turned the horse towards the barn and then tried to turn away from it again, the horse tossed her head like crazy and tried to refuse the turn. She never bucked or reared or did anything like that. She just twisted her head around with the rein but walked forward.

On the other hand, she has a really great nature when at the barn. She's very calm, kind eyes, very tolerant, didn't move a bit when we were tacking her up. Only gave me a tiny hard time with her feet when a biting fly was attacking her stomach (to be expected). While we were there, 3 huge high speed trains went flying by about 50 feet away and she barely flinched when under saddle with an unknown-to-her rider. I know she's used to the sound, but still, it was impressive. This breed of horse is known for being very steady and unflappable, great for trail riding and pretty much anything else.

We've taken her on a 2-week trial and I know our first week will probably be spent just getting her settled in. But I want a trainer to do some work with her on basic obeying aids and so on.

What I want to know from you more experienced folks is this:
how much can I realistically hope to achieve during a 2-week trial?


I will get a vet check and have her feet and back done, but training-wise, will I be able to see her true potential in this short of a time?

Any of you who out there have worked with barn-sour horses in particular, I'd love to hear from you. This is slightly different since she's been moved away from her barn and buddies, but I suspect she'll just latch on to new buddies here and we'll have the same problem.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 04:04 AM
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Ahh I'm sorry I have no clue because I've never taken a horse on trial but I wanted to say two things:

1) I love Mérens horses, they are truly beautiful and fantastic.
2) Good luck with this mare! Not to count the chickens in the eggs, particularly since I haven't even seen the horse, but from your description she sounds lovely!



Now if I did take a horse on trial, the likelihood is I wouldn't try to be TOO adventurous, just to find out the boundaries of what she knows. I'd obviously go through all the basics, take her into a bunch of different situations to see how she reacts, around other horses, on her own, trail, arena, grooming and care in the stable, and so forth, and lots of other stuff I can't think of but others know about.

I would guess (from my absolute NON experience) that you CAN find out quite a bit if you do the right things. Other people are going to tell you what the right things are ;)

Also ask your instructor.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 06:57 AM
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Usually its only a weeks trial, so you are lucky to get two weeks! You can get lots done
What I do, when I have a horse on trial is-
Go hacking/ rail riding, what ever you want to call it, both alone and in company.
see what the horse is like in traffic
ride in an arena both alone and in company
See what the horse is like for the farrier
Get a lesson with the horse, and see what the trainer or instructor thinks of the horse
Go to a show, or something new. Maybe a pony club rally, or a showjumping schooling show. Anything that is quite tense and exciting, to see how the horse copes with the pressure.
Make sure the horse loads into a horsebox

I would do all that in a week. But as you have longer, you could take her to more places, and different types of shows, more lessons, etc etc :)

Good luck :)
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Some photos. You can see her hooves are in bad need of trimming. She also has lost a lot of muscle tone from no work for many months.









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“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-03-2014, 10:20 PM
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In two weeks I probably wouldn't try to "achieve" all that much, but put the horse in a variety of situations so you know how it will react.

Barn sour can be not great to work with, especially if your daughter isn't strong or assertive enough to constantly demand the correct behaviour.

I guess it depends what you're looking for. Remember, with the late breaking and year off this pony has only two years of work, if that, which is still pretty green for a kids pony.
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-04-2014, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Good ideas and thoughts, everyone. Thanks! It was all very helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to share.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-04-2014, 10:15 AM
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I dont think you are trying to see training potential but more to make sure the horse wasn't misrepresented and doesn't have any issues.
I am wondering why you are buying a pony that is already on the small side for someone that I guess is still growing?
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-04-2014, 10:46 AM
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We just purchased a mare for my son after a 2 week trial. We wanted to see how she got a long with my son, she could do what they said she could, had the farrier and the vet out. We were going to haul her to a roping to see how she hauled but life got in the way. This mare is a 16yr aqha seasoned goat tying, team roping ranch each horse. We were very specific in what we wanted looked for almost a year and my husbands college rodeo friend had the perfect horse :)
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-04-2014, 05:11 PM
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Those are some horrific hooves. Before riding her at all I'd demand that they trim the mare's feet, or let me hire a farrier. Actually I would have demanded that before taking her.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-04-2014, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endiku View Post
Those are some horrific hooves. Before riding her at all I'd demand that they trim the mare's feet, or let me hire a farrier. Actually I would have demanded that before taking her.
Exactly! Look at the action shots and the pressure put on ligaments...the fetlocks are pretty much touching the ground. SHAME on the person that let those feet get like that.

As for 2 week trial....I kind of find them useless. The reason being, many horses go through an adjustment period when being relocated. If the horse isn't used to be hauled to places like shows, clinics, trail rides etc...it can be an issue. I've never had an issue with any of my horses because I show them so they are used to leaving home and going some place new. But many horses need time to feel comfortable.
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