After many conversations, a lot of back and forth both internally and externally, and watching a video ten thousand times, I finally came to a decision.
I wanted that horse.
I have no qualms about her training, no qualms about her temperament, but I was a little nervous about her soundness. I could see from the video that when she was doing her spins that she was sore in the hind, and not really wanting to reach up under herself when trotting.
The day I went and rode her, I watched meticulously for any signs of lameness, uneven hips, or things like that. I could not see any. She had just spent 2 hours working cows, so in my mind it stood to reason that if she was going to be sore, that would be the time. But I just didn't see anything indicative of a crippled horse. Older horse, who has been competed on...yes. Crippled no.
I went home that day, really thinking on it, watched the video a thousand more times, slowed it down, froze it in spots, memorized every single foot fall.
Then came the back and forth conversations, and an agreement on a price. We talked some trades, we talked this and that, and finally worked out a deal that we were both comfortable with.
When I was at the trim clinic I showed the video as best I could on my phone to Laz. He confirmed what I saw, and told me things to check to see if she had serious issues, or just minor stuff that could be fixed. One thing I knew for sure is that she had a terrible shoe job on her, and that in itself clearly had a lot to do with what I was seeing. However there was no toe first landings, or anything like that.
So today we hooked up the trailer and headed south again. It was funny when I went out to start the semi to let it air up. Trax immediately went and hid in the corner of his pen. Once he realized I wasn't coming to get him, he came back to the gate. Silly old horse.
When we got there I went to her pen, she came to me, and sniffed around me. We put a halter on her and took her out. I poked and prodded, felt down her legs for heat. There was none. I palpated her hip joints, no reaction. I checked her back for sore spots...nothing. I asked her to move her again and was very happy with what I saw. She was actually reaching up under herself with her hind feet more than she was in the video.
We talked about that. The gal has been riding her regularly since she got her 3 months ago. (keep in mind that these folks make their living buying, tuning up, and selling horses) She has been asking for more collection and really working her on cows a lot. Where as before, her 70 year old owner was not riding her at all and the person who was being paid to ride her was not following through with her commitment. So with that in mind, the video that I have studied for weeks, was taken on her first day out of semi retirement.
That would be like asking me to to be physically fit for volleyball or soccer right now today.
Yeah, that would not be pretty!
We talked about food and at 15 she has just now been started on MSM. So it is possible that is also helping with her soreness. I will also have her on MSM as well some some good quality supplements, as well as vitamins.
One thing the gal said was that if I did not buy her, then she was going to go ahead and ride her in the National Sorting Finals in Texas this June. She spent a lot of time talking about how much she has enjoyed riding her and having her because she is so well trained you don't even have to really think about what your horse is doing. She knows her job and does it.
That is exactly what I need right now. A horse that knows its job.
So we finished the deal and switched out halters and took her to the trailer to load her up. The gal had told me that she has only been in a trailer with a rear tack once before and it was a little scary for her. She is used to loading into a trailer with a ramp. She did load but just as she made the decision to jump in, the guys had their arms locked behind her butt. They pushed as she jumped and she ended up on her nose! Poor thing. When she jumped up from that she caught her shoulder on one of the dividers and scrapped it up a little bit. Nothing serious, but clearly we are going to have to do some trailer loading exercises. I'm sure that little incident traumatized her just a little.
We got her home without incident, when I went in to get her I expected her to be a little more nervous than she was. She turned and looked at me, rested her head on my arm for a second, and then when I untied her she waited until I asked her to turn around. She is so big she got a little bit stuck, which kind of freaked her out, but even freaked out, she did not try to run me over, she waited when I said "wait", and then we unloaded together. She vaulted her self out the door, I had to laugh my butt off. I think we will start next time by being backed up to a hill.
We did a quick meet and greet with the rest of her new herd. There were no pinned ears or squeals, just nose touching and pricked ears. Not even Sassy, who has a tendency to not like newcomers, was very polite.
I walked her around, took her to the pasture, we had a quick photo shoot, and then I put her in her new temporary pen. I say temp, because I want to move her next to Trax.
Now here is the cool stuff. She has never had a pen bigger than 16x16 in her life. Now her pen is 16x42. Eventually she will get moved to one that is 30x30. She has had turn out, but never had pasture that anyone knows of. EVER
When I had her in the pasture I gave her the opportunity to nibble a little, but she wasn't very interested yet. Too busy checking our her surroundings. Tomorrow I will let her out with Trax to graze for a few hours. I always start with him when it comes to newcomers. He always gets along, never acts mean or bossy, and is the perfect guy for helping her feel at home.
Now for pics:
So here is the deal in a nutshell. She is 15, and will need some special maintenance but I don't think it is anything I am not already doing for Killian. I am not expecting to just run out and win a bunch of ribbons on her. She is still a little out of shape and needs conditioning. I will need to learn how to ride her. Hopefully I won't ruin her! We will spend the summer getting to know each other, maybe go to the next ASHA clinic in Flagstaff in June. Actually I'd like to take both her and Trax.
My riding schedule will now just include one more horse, and as long as everyone gets ridden once or twice a week, for the heat we are about to have, I think that will work. I probably will not ride her until I get her in some good shoes. She has never been barefoot in her life so I'm not sure that I want to do that just yet. I am not ruling out the possibility in the future but not yet.
So there she is, in all her glory! What do you think?