Sunday, February 14, 2010

Looking at horses

I started the process this weekend of looking at horses for sale. Sam is fine but I have decided that I would like a schoolmaster.
#Competed Elementry dressage
#Competed Pre Novice Eventing
#Competed 110cm showjumping
#Very Quiet at competitions and at home
#Point at a jump and know that it will jump it.
#15.3hh plus
#Any colour, breed, gelding or mare
#Snaffle mouth

Scott and I started our journey at 7am Saturday morning. We drove 7 hours to see two horses. The first horse was Laura. Warmblood/Thoroughbred 16.1hh 12yo mare who we were told all the kids love to ride. She was at a Performance Horse Stables. Competed in dressage, showjumping, eventing, hacking. Has placed quite a few times. Was informed that she was in good condition, quiet to ride but forward moving.

What a sight we saw when we got there. No top line, dirty, greasy coat, dull eye. We were told the owners have moved to England and she came with her own rugs, bridle, boots, folder for new owner. In the folder was a beautiful photo of what she used to look like. (She has been at these stables for at least 3 months now) The owner loves her greatly and spoilt her. Once she was saddled she stood quietly and waited. A young girl at the stables was riding her for us. Once Laura was asked to walk out she brightened up and focused on her surrounds. Then the jabbing started. Outside rein , inside rein, outside rein, inside rein. It was very hard to watch. She was walked, trotted and cantered. Then she was popped over a few jumps around the 90cm mark. She seemed to really enjoy the jumping. Next was my turn.

She stood rock solid for me to mount and didn't move until asked to walk on. The walk was very forward, purposeful, solid. Nose up in the air. She would listen to my seat to stop which was nice. I rode with a light contact and asked her to trot. Yep I was scared no doubts about it. Her trot was like her walk, forward, purposeful. She still listened to my seat to come back to a walk. Up into the trot and if I took a contact the nose would go even higher, leg on - stop! Back to the trot, jabbed with the outside rein and the head came down briefly. No wonder the girl was constantly jabbing this mare in the mouth. Any leg means STOP!!!!!! I did not feel comfortable enough to canter her so I cooled her down at the walk and jumped off.

I thanked them for their time, explained that she was too forward for me and that I am sure they would find a wonderful home for her. The people were very arrogant, rude and were very concerned that I would tell everyone that they told me the truth. Poor Scott left very angry at the way they spoke to us and treated us.

I hope Laura does find a wonderful home with a young pony club girl who will shower her with smooches as I think she misses that!!!! I hope someone can see through the grime, lack of muscle, poor condition and they will find a little star.

Next we moved onto Fourwinds Nicholson. He is a New Zealand bred Thoroughbred gelding. 17hh, 16yo grey gelding. Schoolmaster material!!! He has evented up to 3 star level and is used for people to learn how to jump on. I was able to find results for the last 11 years. Courtney was lovely, very honest and understanding. She rode him first at walk, trot and canter. I then jumped aboard. She hds a flat seat jumping saddle on him and I found this difficult to ride in. He also was being ridden in an American Gag. Similar to the picture below but it was only sweet iron on the mouth piece and had copper inlays on the mouth piece.
I would have preferred to ride him in a snaffle but because we were jumping him Courtney said that he can get a bit strong jumping in a snaffle. Once aboard I felt very comfortable and safe. We walked, trotted and cantered around. His canter is to die for, very smooth! I then popped him over a few 40cm jumps. He was happy to trot into them, didn't rush and was happy to come back to a walk after them! We then pushed him into a canter to canter over them. That was much more comfortable but I did notice that after the jump he did get a little strong. I asked if I could jump a different one, it was only slightly higher and I had to come in on an angle, straighten quickly and then jump. First time I came in I got scared because I didn't feel that I had him lined up to the middle so I turned him away. If horses could talk I am sure he would have said something along the lines of - "Just leave it to me!!! I had it all under control!" We came around again and this time I left it to him and he sorted us out, cantered over and came round to jump another one!

I changed the rein and asked him to canter left. I must have mixed signals as he picked up canter right. I asked him to trot and his canter became slower and slower and slower! I made the contact even lighter and sat deep. He came back to a walk and we walked on a loose rein. Courtney said that is what he does when he gets tense. I asked again for trot and then canter. This time I noticed just how stiff he was to the left. Other than that he was beautiful! Condition pretty good, I would like a little more top line, legs were covered in big scabs, he was dirty and had old sweat marks everywhere. After I dismounted he really wanted to walk back to the stables.

Easy to wash down and even let me wash his face and turned it around so I could wash the other side! Beautiful nature, very loveable. I think he needs some TLC!!!!!! Things that are worrying me,
#he became quite strong in that bit
#very stiff to the left
#leading him to the area we were going to ride he held his dock to the right
#he was slightly uneven at times

I am going to ask for a 3-6month lease I think and go from there. The following photos are ones that I sent when I enquired about him


Shannon said...

Oh, he's lovely! I think the lease is a brilliant idea, so you two can get used to each other. You said he was being used to teach jumping, he may be strong over the jumps because of that. Some older horses know just how to take advantage of a situation! With a regular rider he may settle down nicely. Good luck!

jill said...

It sounds like he needs a chiropractor. If he is holding is tail to one side, that's a definite sign of something out of whack. I would have him vetted before you lease him. You want to be sure he doesn't have an issue that may show up while your leasing him that could cause the owner to say it was your fault and now you must pay for it or buy him even if he doesn't work out.
If all goes well, that would be great. I searched for 2 years before I bought Scout. Looked at a lot of horses! I know from experience that pics and ads don't always show the true image of the horse. I was disappointed many times when I drove up to somebody's place to look at a horse. Very sad how some poeple keep their horses.
He is handsome. From the pics you can see the rider has quite a hold of him over the first jump and in the dressage one. His nose should be a little in front of the vertical in the dressage one, he's overbent. In the bottom picture she's leaving him alone with a loose rein, looks like he's making a big effort over that jump. He's tucked way up!
Good luck to you, very exciting!

Nina said...

Hi Jill! Thanks for your feed back. I was thinking about getting a chiro when he got to me but that is a good idea about doing it before. I will see what I can do! I know what you mean about searching for two years. I looked for 2.5 years for Sam and still ended up with something I wasn't after (wouldn't change it for all the money in the world now!!!) It is terrible what you find out there. I don't know how people buy horses sight unseen! A lot of horses failed the vet check miserably when I was last looking!

I'll keep you all posted with my adventures!

eventer79 said...

That is so sad about Laura. The grey looks like heaps of fun though!