After the trail horse sale, I left with a weird feeling. Something about that lot #84 gelding really stuck with me. Enough so that I contacted his owner on facebook to see if he sold or not (he didn’t). She immediately started trying to sell him to me until I told her what my budget had been when I was foal shopping (not that I ever thought my foal budget would purchase a finished, aged gelding). That sent her running the other way pretty quickly. I had a few thoughts when talking to her about the gelding.
- What possesses a person to sell a horse to someone they know nothing about? I would be a good home for her gelding, but she doesn’t know that. All she knows about me was that I attended the sale and have decent looking horses in my pictures on facebook (and that’s assuming she even looked at my facebook page…)
- What does she not like about him that she wants to get rid of him to just anyone? Does he have some vice (despite his glowing bio in the sale catalog) that keeps him from being a good fit?
- This horse is exactly like Copper-just with more seat time. This horse didn’t do anything that Copper wouldn’t be able to do with more training. Considering that the sale gelding is 15 and Copper is 9, we very well may be that skilled by the time he catches up with that gelding in age.
I haven’t ridden Copper since last fall when we rode outside to work on our lope (unsuccessfully for the most part, but we did eventually lope briefly without theatrics). Since he was less than ideal that day I think my brain just flipped a switch that said “send him back to into training, time spent here is wasted.” So I didn’t do anything with him really. Story of his life. When he is hard, I do the easy, whether that means ride Paige or just don’t do anything horsey for the duration of my undergrad years + two years post graduation.
So last night after talking with Courtney about Copper and his potential, I decided to see where he is mentally. Physically we are both very out of shape, so I didn’t intend to ride long, mainly just to test his willingness. When I went to mount he backed away from the mounting block like a turd, so I smacked his belly and put him back in place and he stood for me to mount. I let him walk on a loose rein for a few before picking him up and asking for more contact and he was as soft on the bit as he had been last year when I was riding him regularly. While he was on a lose rein, I used one hand and guided him around with my legs/quasi neck reining and was surprised to note how well the concept stuck over the winter. He is generally the type to stew on a concept after a ride, and I think he was better at neck reining last night than he was last year.
This realization made me appreciate my horse for who he is. He is a highly intelligent animal who digests and retains all information he’s taught, whether it be good like the neck reining or bad like the bucking when asked to canter. It is with this knowledge that we’re moving forward. We may not get ballsy and attempt the lope until we’re back in training, but there’s no reason for us not to continue to work towards more finesse and precision in the skills that don’t terrify me (so basically anything but loping…).
This horse is a long term project, not something that will magically reach completion overnight, and in order to move forward, I have to put forth effort. He isn’t going to become a finished horse without work, and while I may not have the skill set with which to conquer all our demons by myself, I’ve been selling myself short by thinking that I’m incapable of progressing alone.