The horse search continues! As we continue to inquire about horses for sale and look at more ads, it seems to be getting more confusing. I decided before Saturday, our next horse hunting day, that I needed to eliminate at least one horse from the list.
So many horses, so many pro’s and cons…eliminating even one horse before seeing more will hopefully help clarify where we stand on this horse search.
How Do We Do This?
We have tried discussing the horses. Comparing videos and photos of the horses endlessly. We have seen some nice horses. Yet we still can’t decide.
I came up with the idea of going to revisit some of the closer horses. Taking a second look, as well as a different rider. The rider that I chose is one I have taught for years. I know her skill level very well and feel confident in assessing a horse versus her ability to ride it.
Opie was probably the closest horse that we looked at. He is only about an hour away from us. His owner seemed to have a flexible schedule and was hopeful when I asked her about coming for a second look.
Opie The First Time Around
On the first visit, Opie didn’t really do anything that stood out as super good or super bad. He seemed girthy when he was saddled. They didn’t have any ties to tie him up with so Aleta held him while his owner saddled him.
Aleta needed to use a chair to mount him since there was no mounting block there. She was able to easily mount him from the chair. He stood perfectly quietly.
She rode Opie at a walk and canter. He played with the bit in his mouth a bit. Come to find out his rider normally only used a halter and two lead lines.
Aside from the head thing, which wasn’t even all the time, he went along pretty nicely. His pace was steady, he didn’t seem tense. Aleta only could get him to pick up one lead. That is not a huge concern to me in a horse like him who haven’t had consistent work in over a year.
We left Opie feeling like he was a good contender for our list. He was bigger than we wanted. Not huge or anything though. Probably like a solid 16.2 or 16.3. After the first visit, we thought he was a good contender but wasn’t totally sold on him. No offense to him we weren’t sure about the others either!
Today We Went Back
Today we went back to see Opie a second time. I brought a different rider as planned. I was looking forward to seeing how he would go for someone of her skill level.
He was in the stall when we got there, just like last time. Aleta put the bridle on and brought him out of the stall. His owner started to put the saddle on. He went backward very quickly with his back all humped up. Like he had the idea to buck on his mind. When he felt he was being pulled forward again he reared. Not a good sign. Once the saddle was on and she went to lead him out of the barn he reared again. Again, not a good sign.
The first time that she tried to mount him from the same metal chair we used last time, he reared. No good. I told his owner that I didn’t feel comfortable putting my rider on him with him acting like this. From what we could tell, this was out of character for him after seeing him the first time. The girl was frustrated and said she hadn’t seen him act this way before.
I asked her to lunge him, thinking maybe that might settle him down. It didn’t make much difference. Then I told her again I wasn’t comfortable putting my rider on him. I asked her if she would get on first.
Switched To Western Saddle
She switched him to a western saddle since that is what she is used to riding him. He was girthy putting the western saddle on as well.
His owner was nervous about getting on him. He would not stand for her to mount and he is too tall for her to mount from the ground. It probably took her a good 10 minutes to get him to stand for mounting.
When she finally did get on him, he seemed fine. She rode him in the same field Aleta had last week. A big open field with lots of buttercups, it was pretty.
He behaved himself just fine. It didn’t really matter though, my decision was already made when I saw him rear three times. I’m glad that we went back again because we didn’t see any indication that he would behave that way the first time we saw him. He was girthy, but being girthy and rearing are two very different things.
Rearing is a behavior that I can’t abide by. It is the most obstinate behavior a horse can do, and in my opinion, the most dangerous. I can’t have a horse that is unsafe to handle on the ground. Beginners are excited and distracted. They don’t pay attention. Having Opie around kids like that, especially in a hustle and bustle sort of situation like my place, would be asking for someone to get hurt.
We Scratched One Off The List
Well, I wanted to scratch one off and our trip to see Opie today did just that. You never know for sure what any horse is going to do, there are no guarantees. Knowing that Opie could behave like this takes off our list unquestionably.
Why Did He Behave So Differently?
I have no idea why he was so different this time around. Maybe he has some back pain or a dental issue. Who knows! I’m glad that my sixth sense (the horse sense) told me to go back for a second look. Even if it was to scratch one off and not come to a decision to buy.
Opie’s owner was a sweet girl. Obviously, she was disappointed at how he behaved when she had her hopes up asking her to come a second time.
Opie Taylor isn’t a bad horse. He just isn’t the horse for our program. We wish his owner the best of luck in finding a new home.