Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Introductions Continue

Our first ride at home was a bit more eventful than his homecoming. The barn was packed and I forgot there were sets of cross ties in the back by his stall. So we were close to all the excitement, and he was dancing around in the cross ties and running through me. I committed to my friend's saddle on him since I knew my saddle sat ON his withers and he didn't have the mental capacity to stand for multiple saddle changes at that moment. No problem getting the bridle on as long as it didn't matter that we were 20 feet away from where we started - son needs some education in feet NOT moving while doing things. 

Once under saddle he was a total pro. W/T no problem, only a bit of a scoot into the canter before settling. He spooked a bit when the neighbor was doing something in the trees that border the ring and it was NBD, just a tiny scoot forward within the trot. We then hacked out with two friends and he was fantastic as well. He gave the mats and flat bed trailer that tend to scare horses just a bit of a side eye.

The first of many bay ear shots to come 

And then... what else do you do right after you get a new horse? Go out of town! I got a positive review when I came back - no trying to run people over or kick people, just going about his business in and out of the stall. 

Second ride at home we jumped some. He was lovely over the first jump in the line but then would pick up the pace and run towards the second with some odd lifting of feet over the second. I resisted the urge to start pulling and picking in between and instead called it quits after a few lines and signed us up for a gymnastics/jump lesson the next day. We hacked out alone after our short jumping session, and he was fantastic again. 

Pony-o was in definite need of some tidying up, so after our ride I brought out the clippers. He has that silly extra long racehorse bridle path that was part-mohawk, part-bridle path. He initially didn't react much to the clippers, but I accidentally touched the body of them to his ear while trying to get the bridle path and the head went straight UP. Which didn't make for good clipping at all. I stood on a tack trunk and got the 3 inch bridle path I wanted, but there was no tidying of anything else. Bribing with treats meant we ended on a good note. Good thing I'm not a fan of clipping the ears anyways - we'd have a long road ahead. Which we will go down; I believe in horses being solid citizens and adequately prepared for things people might ask of them, but it is much easier to take time to get it done right than feel the need for it to be done for this show or that one and force the issue. 

I briefly attempted to pull his mane, but that was a hard no, expressed by sticking head straight up in air and giving me the hairy eye ball while backing up. Fair enough, solo comb and scissors will do there. He's a sensitive fellow and pulling hurts, so I'll accept that one. 

Bath time was next. He cross ties well and walking onto the wash rack was not a problem. He did have some feelings about water in his inguinal area. We discussed that he is allowed to have feelings but he is not allowed to express them by lifting a hind leg. He didn't offer to kick, just picked up a hind leg in warning a few times before acquiescing that perhaps I could hose in that area. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Introducing Shidoshi... Yoshi... Bay Horse...? Part 1

I started horse hunting at the start of January. I've looked at all OTTBs due to my budget. It has been an interesting experience. Briefly, I've looked at: 

1) Bay gelding, very sweet, very green, very toed out on his left front. 
2) Chestnut mare, not as sweet, not as green, priced higher than seemed fair for a horse of her experience and conformation.
3) Bay mare, sweet, very green, last raced less than a month before I looked at her. 
4) Bay mare, sweet, not as green, fun to ride, but required a veeerrrry large bubble around her or else she'd make some nasty nasty faces at the horse who dared to enter into her 20m bubble. 
5) Bay mare who I got talked into loving by her upper level rider owner. Verdict from trainer and BFF equine vet was fancy words, lame horse. Oops. 

After #5 I decided I probably wasn't going to LOVE any horse at this stage in training and so settled on #3. But then I had a PPE done and she was magically lame where she had not been before. Could've just been a bad trim, but I didn't love her so I didn't spend the money chasing it down. 

I then told myself I was going to take a step back, wait for J to get better and save up a more healthy budget. That lasted a few days (hours?) till I was pulling up horses from facebook messenger that I'd passed on without seeing for one reason or another. And I pulled up Shidoshi. A 7yo warhorse who retired 3 months ago with 47 starts and 68k career earnings. He sold as a yearling for 30k at Keenland. His seller was much less sales-y than every other person I'd chatted with who swore the horse would be perfect for my goals (up to training level eventing and as much dressage as they could take). She said she wasn't sure if he wanted to jump big after such a long racing career. But following that conversation, she had taken him to a three phase and had videos of him looking like a total pro. She said she'd changed her mind and he was such a nice horse that even if he turned into a resale project I couldn't lose basically. 

His sales ad picture 

I drove out to meet him mid-day after a cold front blew through and was continuing to blow through with relatively icy winds for Florida (okay, okay ice is definitely hyperbole, but freaking cold). He danced about in the cross ties and tried to push through his owner as she bridled him. But then he marched down to the ring and went right to work. He moved well, stepping nicely under and starting to work over his back. When I hopped on, I felt at home. His trot is not dissimilar to Zinger's and his canter, while much longer and flatter right now, felt like it could be developed into something special. I went home, shared videos with all my patient friends and waited, basically holding my breath until my BFF equine vet friend responded "CUTE, I like him!!!!" Excellent! I did not pick out a lame horse this time! 

Doing my due diligence and trying not to pay for another PPE for another lame horse, I scheduled to come out and ride him again the next day. We jumped a small course of jumps in a field that she said he'd never jumped. And he was again a pro. 

After some finagling trying to get a PPE scheduled while also leaving to go out of town for a few days, his owner offered a month long trial. I was really excited about this idea and went and picked him up three days later. True, to the word, of her descriptions, he loaded his front feet onto the trailer and then waited to finish loading until I gently tapped him on the butt with my hand. 

He arrived at home with relatively little in the way of dramatics. He is a solid 16.2 hand fellow though, and his head was basically straight up in the air when he unloaded. My husband went with me, and we decided we'd actually just purchased a giraffe. The head came back down to a more normal level after a short hand walk and he let me groom most of him. His hindquarters... a little sensitive... did not appreciate the currying, but acquiesced to the tiger tongue. I might now see the appeal of that grooming tool. He tolerated that much better than the jelly curry even. 

First ride at home, first bath, murder with clippers coming up next!