Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Horse is a horse...Part Three -- Blue

Blue (Yes. They really called her Blue.) was a 15.1 hand, nine year old, blue roan quarterhorse mare. She only had western training, but was supposedly well trained and kept in shape by the stables hired exercise riders. The seller thought that she might do well for lower level dressage and jumping and wouldn't be that hard to re-train for English riding. She also looked decently conformed in the ad pictures. Her lack of English training meant that I wasn't willing to drive very far to see her, however, she was only 30 minutes away, so I figured I'd give her a try.

Picture from ad

When we got there, she was actually a very nice looking horse. The pictures I took don't really do her justice. And she behaved pretty well for her regular exercise rider, especially considering that her rider kept yanking on the reins to try and make her do a sliding stop from the canter. It made me wince and want to yell at the rider every time she did it. Blue did have significant trouble picking up her right-lead canter, but I'm not sure how much of that was the horse and how much the rider. Her gaits were a bit on the fast side and she seemed like she might be a little hot. However, when Foxfire got on her, she was hard to even get to walk. She'd just stand there or sidle sideways. Finally, Foxfire got her to walk and then to trot, but she was very gate sour and difficult for him to steer. However, she was definitely NOT going to run off with anyone. So even though I knew from watching how she behaved with Foxfire that I wasn't going to buy her, I hopped up on her to see how she behaved with me.

It was even harder for me to get her to move. She just stood there no matter how firmly I kicked, squeezed, "kissed" and said "walk". I finally used a wide rein to pull her head all the way over until I felt her give, and at that moment, I'd kick her, and she'd start to walk in a circle. Then I could straighten her out and get her to walk around the arena. Even then it was hard to keep her walking, especially past the gate, and I had to "re-start" her several times. Surprisingly, it was not difficult to get her to trot. One firm kick and she went into a trot. She tended to ignore your direction cues, but at least she was trotting. Of course, going past the gate was still a challenge. Strangely enough, I was actually sort of enjoying riding her, and so I kept at it until she was obeying me somewhat well. Or at least better than she had when I first got on her. However, there was no way that I was going to buy her. You can see the few halfway decent pictures that I got of her on my Blue Roan Mare album.

Foxfire riding Blue

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