Lil Man’s saving grace was that he was adorable. He was loud colored, had a fluffy forelock that I loved, and was just cute all over really. If you never intended to ride him in wide open places, or at the canter in unfamiliar show rings we later discovered. you were fine.
He was also ridiculously hard to catch. He had no intention of working for us at all, which he made abundantly clear before the halter was even on his head. Once we chased him with a ATV for 2 hours before giving up. He was agile as a cat, and knew all the places that we couldn’t chase him, so he’d run there until one of us on foot caught up to him.
Well, needless to say, I only owned him happily for a few months before I decided to put him up for sale. It took me two years to sell this horse. I had him sold once to a lady who handed me the check, then watched as he was not only hard to catch, but for the first time since I’d owned him, kicked at me in front of her. I handed the check back and learned a valuable lesson that day. When someone shows up to buy your horse…have him already caught.
With this knowledge under my hat, I was more prepared the next time that someone came to look at him. He was in a stall, being his adorable-already-caught self when they showed up. Apparently he was the twin of their old stallion who had recently passed, which gave him lots of brownie points. I gave them a crash course on how to handle him under saddle and told them that he is hard to catch, but to just take a little feed out with you, and you can grab him easily that way (which was the truth). I explained to them that he was sensitive about having a lot of leg on him, and to be soft with your hands, because that was what he was used to. Well, the husband got on him and didn’t really listen to me. I could see the telltale signs of Lil Man’s boiling point rising. His ears were laid back and he was tossing his head and speeding around the barn a fair amount. The husband dismounted and told his wife (for whom Lil Man was being considered) that she had no business riding that horse.Half of me agreed after seeing the husband ride, but she was determined that she would ride him. She got on, and actually listened to the things I’d told her, and had a very good ride on him (despite the fact that he wasn’t amused after the husband jerked him around). The husband was as amazed as I was and agreed with his wife that they would return for him the next day if that worked for me. I was totally fine with that of course.
I have since seen him for sale online, so it wasn’t the perfect fit, but according to the description, “his senior owners and their grandchildren successfully trail rode him for years,” so that doesn’t sound completely negative?
Hopefully he’s happy somewhere, possibly giving someone hell. We always said he needed a stubborn teenage boy to match his personality. Maybe he found that.