When writing about my amazing saddle yesterday, I mentioned Paige, who hasn’t been introduced on the blog yet. She is the only horse that I’ve owned who I haven’t blogged about, so without further ado…
Paige is a quarter horse mare that was born in 2000. She’s a dun mare, and I found her in training at G’s prior to Copper being moved there. After my father passed away last summer, I decided that I wanted to do things with horses, so I started looking for another horse. I know right now you think I’m crazy because I already own two horses. You’re right, I’m crazy. But, at that point I was intending on selling Copper. That left me with Robin, which isn’t a horrible arrangement, but she is quirky. She’s not super on trail rides because she is insanely sensitive to bugs and will drop to the ground and roll with you and your saddle without hesitation. That’s always fun. Also, Robin is spooky, which makes her unpredictable out and about. She also pulls when tied. So she isn’t the most fun to take places, so anything fun with her happens at the barn.
*Sorry this part will be very text heavy as I’m not comfortable posting pictures of a horse someone is trying to sell in combination with my opinions on the horse.*
So I began the search. I knew I wanted a papered quarter horse mare. Color wasn’t a big deal really. I’m weird and not a huge fan of bays, but if I found one that fit the criteria, I was able to get over that. I wanted the horse to have good lines, because I currently have a contract with a stallion owner that ends this year that I was intending on using on Robin. I wanted something nice enough that it would make me want to switch the contract from Robin to the new mare.
Ideally I wanted a reining/working type horse. Something thick and strong that would keep me from looking big on them due to my weight gain, but NOT Copper’s height. I found exactly what I wanted on one of the FB Horse for Sale groups, but when I contacted the people, she was sold. Story of my life, right?
The next horse I inquired about was a AQHA buckskin mare in a neighboring town, so I decided to try her out. I took a couple of friends, R & L, with me because I wanted more opinions than my own on the subject. We watched her owner, a middle aged man, ride her first. She was a cute little mare, perhaps shorter than I wanted, but she was in great shape, and was accustomed to carrying a man around my weight at cattle events, so she seemed to be stout. It didn’t take too long watching to determine that he didn’t have a lot of formal training in riding. His hands weren’t particularly forgiving and he kept his spurs in her a fair amount. I took that as a testament to her character that she was tolerating him so well, then I realized that may be why they were selling her. She was well behaved for him at the walk and jog, and hopped up into little bucks at the lope. My interest dropped healthily when I saw that because my timid rider self was hoping for something without the urge to buck. I went ahead and rode her myself anyway since we were already there. I walk/jogged her successfully despite her being tight from his style of riding. I let her out on a looser rein for a while and just let her go how she felt she should and she relaxed. When I asked for the lope, I was much more subtle with my legs than he was, and she launched into it with gusto as if she expected retribution for acting slowly. She did a tiny crowhop with me, but I just pushed her forward with my seat instead of clamping on her with my legs and she moved forward fine and finished the ride without issue. But I’m not sure if it was her attitude, her stature or what, but she reminded me of Lil Man. R & L agreed with my thoughts on her, and we determined that while she would very likely work, and we all wanted to see her in a better situation, she wasn’t the right fit.
So a few days later L and I journeyed much further from home to North Carolina to look at an AQHA red roan mare. She was taller, and according to her pictures, more versatile. The pictures made it appear that she was capable in hunter, jumper, trail, western pleasure, etc. I was intrigued and upon speaking with her owner, decided to make the three hour drive down to see her. We started early in the morning, and I skipped breakfast. We drove down and arrived around lunchtime, when we stopped at a Bojangles and got fries and a tea. It was a hot day, 93 degrees, so we stood in the shade as often as possible. We watched her owner tack her up and ride her in a large arena and she looked great under saddle with her owner. When I got on her, she was very responsive to signals, but didn’t seem as soft in her mouth as she appeared with her owner. Plus, she REALLY liked to lope. So we loped. A lot. And it was really more of a very forward canter. I was at my heaviest at this point and was very out of shape, so I was winded easily. After riding for a while, I let L ride her to get her opinion on the mare. She agreed with me, and thought we could work on the things that she needed work on, but that her price was steep for her to have these issues. After seeing her owner ride her, we both wondered if she was trained differently than we knew how to ride. After we put her back in the stall, we walked around to see the foal that had been born the night before and I felt a little dizzy. L and the owner lady were chatting about her foal and I started to feel worse. I just felt like I needed something to hold me up, so I awkwardly backed out of the stall (I don’t advise fainting on a newborn foal…) and to the fence. Obviously I looked like something was wrong, because the next thing I know, the owner was holding my back as I fainted in the paddock. Whoops. Well, they were pretty freaked out because I’d seemed fine a few minutes earlier, but the combination of the heat, the lack of food in my system, and my body condition didn’t mesh with riding. After some water and sitting in the air conditioned car for a while, I felt up to to drive, and buy a horse apparently. To abbreviate the next few days, I decided that I wanted the mare, talked to a friend about hauling her for me, then backed out because of her issues vs. her price.
So I called G to check on a spot for Copper so that I could move forward with selling him while I looked for a new horse. He didn’t have a spot open yet, but he had mares I could come look at. So R, L, and I drove to G’s to see a dun mare that was a little older than I was looking to buy, but was otherwise ideal. He rode Paige (then named Sandy) and she looked great. I rode her and she felt great, a huge improvement on the last two that I’d tried out, and for half the price of the NC roan mare.
I bought Paige a week later and took a couple of lessons on her while she finished out her 60 days at G’s. When I brought her home, I took Copper to fill her spot in training, which was a huge perk of buying her out of training. When we got her home, she continued to do well, though since she isn’t in constant work, she isn’t as fine tuned as she was at G’s, but she is certainly not dangerous or sassy when not in work. After getting to know her better, L and I agree that she could very easily be a kid’s horse.
We took her to her first show a couple weeks later, where she wasn’t phased by anything. She did lope once of her own volition in the class when she realized that L and her gelding were ahead of us, but it wasn’t anything uncontrollable, it just meant I wasn’t getting a ribbon in that class. The other class that we were in had almost 20 people in it, and Paige was clearly not used to being ridden in close proximity to so many strange horses. She didn’t do anything bad, she was just very aware of where they were in relation to her body. Outside the ring she was unflappable.
Since then L and I have been riding Paige on the farm with Robin. It is nice to have multiple horses that people feel comfortable riding. L even lets her five year old son ride Paige when he’s with us. She’s just a good, consistent mare, and will be a great trail horse if I decide we need to head out on an adventure.
I also did decide to switch the contract to breed Paige this spring instead of Robin. Paige is more reining/working horse type than Robin is, and would make a better cross on the reining stud that I am using. Paige is also more obvious about being in heat than Robin is. When Robin is in heat, she’s just more affectionate than normal and will lick you for as long as you allow it. When we tried to breed Robin to the stud when I initially got the contract in 2013, she wouldn’t even act interested when she was in raging heat and we teased her with a stud donkey, whereas Paige thinks that all the geldings need seducing when she’s in heat. Okay, I’ll save the weird breeding conversation for another day. Happy Friday!