It’s Inner Beauty that Counts

I bought a new horse. I felt kind of rushed to find a buddy for Joy. I worried about her being all alone.

I scoured all the normal sites for a small horse or large pony that was safe, somewhat broke to ride, wasn’t lame, and moved somewhat like it’s legs had actual joints.

Let me tell ya… slllliiiiiiiim pickings in the under $2k budget where I live. All kinds of fantastic ponies further south or waaaay up north, but I didn’t want to drive 6 hours to look at something.

Friend of mine was selling this horse.

He’s a 10 year old, small Paint gelding. Limited ridden education. Doesn’t really canter. I got about 2 steps of canter from him on my test ride. That was it.

The good points:

He’s extremely mellow. When he got here, he acted like it was nothing new.

Very laid back. His “spook” reflex seems pretty minor so far.

Supposed to load and haul easily (which would be so freaking awesome!).

Has good feet as far as I can tell.

He’s a cute mover under saddle. Nothing to write home about, but not a total train wreck.

The few canter steps I got felt wonderful.

The bad points:

Bit ewe neck, bit straight behind, neck set too low, and something wonky about his loin/butt (not sure if its just the fact that he has no muscle and padding along there, or if he’s built wrong and/or has an issue).

I’m not sure how much correct training and maybe a change in diet will improve his topline. I’m hoping a lot. He’s all bone up there.

This is what you get when you’re limited on funds and also don’t want the challenge of unstarted horses. You either get a “something’s not quite right” or you buy a youngster and do all the breaking out yourself.

He’s still a little suspicious of me. He over-reacts a bit when I correct him.

Pasture with Paint horse

I hate his color, I think he’s ugly, I didn’t want a Paint at all, AND I wanted a mare. Hahaha But, he seems safe enough and malleable.

And his ears are HUGE!!! 😁

One of the things I’m hoping to do with this guy is some low level eventing. I figure I have approximately 10 months to get him steering, stopping, and going in all three gaits reliably, and put some (at least basics) lateral work on him. Then next spring we can start jump training and see how he goes. If it doesn’t work out then I’ll find a nice 4H kid to buy him, or a trail rider, and then I’ll have upfront cash to buy another horse.

We’ll see though… I thought I’d sell Joy after a year of training too. It’s been 5 years with her. 😆 But dang.. she’s a cool pony.

I’m having a hard time connecting with horses. Ava died 10 months ago, Jessie a week ago. I feel shut down emotionally. I’m trying to remain open and optimistic, but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My senior mare died

I recently lost my old mare, Jessie. She died unexpectedly last Sunday from what appears to be colic. She was 34 this year.

I had noticed that she stopped laying down to sleep this year. The last few months she’d really slowed down, had more trouble stepping over things, and a few occasions where she seemed unsteady walking.

And then one day, I found her down, sweating profusely and in distress. The vet came and palpated her. Checked gut and stomach and intestines. It was not a good outcome. So we euthanized her in the pasture, and buried her near Ava.

She was such a sweet mare. I really miss her.

Show #2 Recap

The second show went well.

I won a lot of swag.

Two first places (Test 2 and 3), one second place (Test 1). We won High Point Grand Champion for First Level, and Reserve High Percentage Champion. There were 6 to 8 riders in each test.

My scores sucked. 63% was the highest score (Test 3). Ironically, the scores increased the more wore out Joy became. haha
No scores below 60 though (whew).

I was really tight that day. You ever just have one of those days where you can’t ride as well as you’d like? This show was my day.

You can watch First level Test 1 here (movement w/scores):

Judge was an ‘S’ judge. The main issues she noted were bracing, short, tight neck, rushing, and balance issues. Pretty much the same as the first show.

However, our stretchy trot and lengthens improved greatly.

I decided after this show that I’m done showing for the year. I wanted to see if Joy could handle a dressage show, and if she was ready to compete at First Level. I think I achieved both of those. I’m not getting the scores I’d like because I have some holes in my training that need to be addressed first. Yet, she’s competent enough at this level to beat out 7 other riders and receive a 63% under an S judge. We have room to improve, but I’m feel like we’re on the right track.

I’m spending the remaining 4 to 5 months on monthly lessons and fixing the holes so we can move up next year. Along with the bracing/tightness, the canter needs a great deal of work. The jump from First to Second, in my experience, is pretty hard to make, and I want to make sure we can do it successfully. I think this pony has a lot of potential for collected work, and I’d love to see her excel at dressage. Maybe eventually go to someone with the money to show her at the upper levels? That would be so awesome.

So, that’s my plan for this summer. A lot of consistent (as consistent as I can make it) work for both Joy and I. I’ve been trying to stick to a running routine to increase my stamina. I’ve added a similar routine for Joy, but at the canter. Both of us are not in the physical shape needed to be true athletes, but we’ll get there.