Monday, April 25, 2011

It sounds like most of my blogger friends also had nice weather this weekend! We did too! On Sunday, it was sunny and pretty warm, so in addition to getting together with family for Easter, I was able to plant some irises that I'd had in a bucket all winter, weed my flower beds and get out to the barn to play with horses.

I worked with Sassy because I needed to know how she is going to be if anyone comes to look at her. And I'm happy to report that I have had two people call about her in addition to the 3 "looky-loos" who just texted/emailed about her and never contacted me again. Unfortunately, one person and I had a disagreement about her eye color and whether or not it meant she was going to go blind (she's not going to go blind, there is nothing wrong with her eyes), and the other never called me back after saying she needed to discuss her with her fiance who was the one interested in her. Although that person would have been a very good match for Sassy, as it seems she has a lot of training experience (I looked her up and found an ad featuring an off the track thoroughbred she retrained for barrel racing listed for $20,000 - whether or not she'll get that, who knows, but she sounds like she knows what she is doing).

So, no one has come to look at her, but I think it will happen, so I wanted to check her out myself. The only thing that I've done with her for the last year was have her feet trimmed, and lead her down the road from our cow pastures to my horse pasture. I was pleasantly surprised last fall when we did that because we had to lead her through my husbands shop area with tons of strange equipment and stacks of pipe. She didn't bat an eye at all that strange stuff, where as Pumpkin was very leary and suspicious of it all.

When I went in to get Sassy, she met me at the gate. I haltered her easily, led her out and held her for a second while my other horses freaked out about something and took off for the back pasture. Poor Sassy really wondered where they went and why they were in such a hurry, but she just danced a little and settled down. She was really good as I tied her to the rail and started grooming her. She stood well. I checked her feet and decided they needed a trim. I only did her fronts because I didn't want to spend too much time trimming - I wanted to get to trying to saddle her. She has really nice uncomplicated feet. They are balanced, nicely shaped and easy to trim. I've also never seen her sensitive on gravel, even after I'd just trimmed her this time. She was very good while I trimmed her, although she did test me by trying half-heartedly to take her hoof away a couple times.

Then I saddled her up with my training saddle. I untied her just in case she wasn't good about it. I threw the blanket up on her back expecting her to act like and old broke horse, and she did! I threw the saddle up the same way and she stood perfectly still. No issue with cinching up. She was great.

Then I took her out in the yard and used my training stick with a string attached to touch her all over and see how she took having the string tossed around her legs and over her back. I also slapped it on the ground near her hind feet very hard unexpectedly, and she stood stock still and relaxed for it all.

I asked her to move off and walk around me, she did so calmly and walked. Stepping it up to a trot was no problem. She changed directions with ease, although there were a couple times when she got confused about which direction she was supposed to go when I stepped in front of her, but with consistent asking, she figured it out without a fuss. I had to push her very hard to get a canter out of her, but I did get a few strides in both directions, and asked her to stop before she quit (didn't want to make an issue out of it since the footing was kind of slippery - just grass in the wet yard). I was surprised by how good she was, how much she knew, and how it didn't seem like she'd had a year off at so young.

Then I figured I should see how she took a bridle. Her previous owner said she used a snaffle on her, so I got out Chico's bridle. She didn't want to be bridled and stuck her nose up in the air as I tried to slip the bit in her mouth, but she didn't move her feet at all. I worked at getting her to drop her head for a while then slipped the bit in. She wasn't perfect but I think with very little effort she'll take to bridling easily. Once the bit was in, she stood and mouthed it for a while. I asked her to flex laterally with the bit as I stood at her side, and she did so very lightly on both sides. She flexed very well, and held her head to the side playing with the stirrup on the saddle.

I wasn't planning to ride her because the ground is still pretty soft and I didn't have a safe enclosed space to try her out in, but she was so good with the lunging under saddle even (didn't blink and eye at the saddle), and she was so soft in the mouth, I figured I'd try her out. I tried to flex her head lightly to the inside as I mounted, but I'm not sure she understood that. She did not stand very still for mounting and we circled around a few times before she stood. That would be one fault I found so far. She needs more work to stand still for mounting. Once I was up, she was okay, but seemed like she didn't really know exactly what to do with her guiding force no longer on the ground. She was calm, and moved forward when I squeezed with my legs, and flexed lightly to the bit, but getting good movement out of her while steering was a little shaky. All I did was ride her around the yard and try to get good small circles out of her in either direction, and she was getting better about it and paying more attention to me toward the end before I dismounted. She didn't want to stand still when I asked her to whoa and dismount, but she wasn't that bad...just a little fidgety, but I'm not sure I can blame her too much...I think my other horses would need a reminder about being polite when ridden/handled with all the fresh green grass in the yard.

I really was pleasantly surprised by her. The other problem with her is that she did not stop mouthing at and playing with the bit the whole time I had her bridled. I'm not sure she's very used to wearing a bit. That's the way she acted anyway, even though she did flex nicely to it.

I decided that I wanted to try to get some nicer pictures of her for her sale ad, but my nice saddle was at our house stored in the garage, so I led her down the road away from the other horses and up to our house. She was very well behaved at a time of the year when even the best horse can be a little herd bound! She was a little fidgety and slightly nervous for about a minute once we got up to our house, but she stood well while my husband held her and I changed saddled. Then we got pictures of her in our yard standing and being ridden. She was a little fidgety and chewed at the bit as though she didn't know what to do with it, but other than that, she was great.

I have relisted her with the new photos and increased her price. I think she is worth it. She has got a great temperament, pretty good ground manners, and a LOT of potential for the right person who can put some miles on her. Plus she is just a super cute mare with flashy color. She is definitely green, but my neighbor and I are going to work together to get some additional miles on her in the next couple of weeks. I need help because I have the baby with me, making it hard to do anything myself. But working together, we should be able to get her going. Plus my neighbor has a round pen and arena. We still haven't gotten our round pen set up. Soon though!

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