On To #8
So, we were on prospects number 8 and 9 this weekend. We left the farm bright and early optimistic about the horses we had scheduled to see.
The first stop there was originally supposed to be two horses. When we arrived we found out that the mare had been sold. The gelding, Bobby, was still there though and ready for us to try.
Boddy was probably about 16.1 or 16.2, a TB off the track. I think he was supposedly 8 years old or something? I can’t remember exactly. He is a handsome looking bay horse with a cool white marking on his face. Bobby had a nice athletic build and looked like he was ready to go to work. He just had that workmanlike expression in his eye. Not a kind eye, soft eye, but also not a pig eye. Bobby had a look and expression about him that just made him seem like he was serious about his work.
Bobby had great ground manners. I expected he would, most horses that have lived on the track have been expected to act civilized from a young age. Bobby did not disappoint in this department. He stood quietly tied to the wall in the stall as his rider tacked him up, did not have any trouble bridling and walked out calmly. He stood nicely at the mounting block considering come to find out he had not had much schooling.
Miscommunication or Misrepresentation? Same Difference To Us
Bobby was advertised as a horse that would be suitable for lessons. I can’t remember the exact wording of the ad as I write this…it was something along the lines of “sweet, quiet gelding, good pleasure or lesson horse”. Don’t quote me on the exact words, but lessons were mentioned in our inquiry and we were told he was a likely candidate.
As we watched his rider warm him up, it was obvious to me right away how green he was. He was wiggly, popped his shoulder out when you touched the inside rein. Obviously had no clue what a half halt was. Bobby was a total green bean. I should have not even bothered to put my student on him. It was obvious he would be a cool project for an older rider, like the student I had with me. It was also obvious that without work, he was a long way from being a bop around the ring with a kid type horse.
The Dreaded Canter
The rider who was on Bobby did not canter him. Well, that’s not true, she did not canter him until I asked her to. Maybe before my injury, my brain would have thought more of this, but in the moment it didn’t.
I asked her to canter him. He picked up both leads, the left lead came easier of course. She did get him to pick up his right lead though. He looked like he was strong but never looked out of control at all.
My Rider Got On (Mistake)
My rider was eager to try him. This is the kind of horse she would be looking for if she was looking for one of her own. A young, athletic prospect. She rode him at the walk and trot without a problem. They were both totally relaxed, even despite an Amish horse-drawn manure spreader thundered by.
I asked her if she felt comfortable to canter him, she told me she was. From what I had seen thus far, I had no reason not to think she wouldn’t be able to control him.
My rider asked him to canter. Before we could even blink an eye, he had yanked his head down, taken the reins from my rider and was hightailing it back to the barn.
Unfortunately, my rider got dropped in the process of Bobby deciding to head back to the barn. Luckily, she did not get hurt and would have gotten back on if I’d wanted her to.
Instead, I just suggested his regular rider pop back on him and end his ride on a good note! I figured she would want to since is the one that would have to deal with him the next day.
She got on and walked him for a minute and then hopped off and took him back to the barn.
There Is A Big Difference Between Being A Lesson Horse And Having The Potential To Be One
I guess perhaps the problem lies somewhere between us not communicating our needs well enough and them not knowing what it takes to be a beginner lesson horse.
Bobby was a cute gelding. I did like him. My rider even liked him after he dropped her! He was not ready to be a lesson horse though. At least not without a lot of work.
We need a horse that can come to the farm and get right into the program. Not a project horse. I could tell early on that Bobby wouldn’t work for us. If I could do it over I wish I hadn’t put my rider on him. I felt terrible that she came off of him. Things happen with horses of course. I know that. I also know that she could have been hurt in that fall and there was really no reason for her to have even gotten on him. He was a good potential horse for her(a skilled rider), but definitely not for a beginner. I knew that, and still, put her on him anyway.
I learned a valuable lesson seeing my student come off a strange horse that I knew wasn’t appropriate for my needs. I should have a better judgment on these things. Never in my life have I not trusted my judgment when it comes to horses. It is scary to think that after my accident I can’t! Just another way that my TBI has crept into every aspect of my life. Hopefully, over time, I will feel like I get my confidence in myself back.
Needless to say, as cute and spunky as he was Bobby was not appropriate for my program. He is a good boy though, I would recommend him in a heartbeat to a skilled rider looking for a project.