Friday, January 16, 2009

Colder Than Cold

Well Below Freezing: The Daily Weather Report Blog

Woke up to temperatures of 6 F (-14 C) this morning. When I went out to feed Toby and Tucker were in their stalls. Well, Tucker was in Toby's stall and Toby was in Tucker's stall. I'm not sure what Chance was up to but he was right there for the morning feed in his own stall.

The good thing is that the day will be sunny. While nothing is going to melt, the sun will offer some basking benefits during the day and the horses certainly have plenty of shelter from whatever stray breezes may kick up, although it seems to be quite still out, thank goodness.

So, there will not be riding news again today so I thought I'd update you on Stacie's search for a horse.

This week, she tried a warmblood cross mare not too far from where she lives. I think the mare is around 11 years old. She is going at a good price and has had some good dressage training.

The stable has no indoor, so she had to ride on frozen ground. That, of course, does pose some issues, but she was impressed at how well the horse handled the surface and kept herself in good balance. She is also apparently very sound.

However, when Stacie called me, her opening line was, "I've just ridden the female version of Tucker!" Apparently, the mare just shuts down at times and will not go forward.

Now, I would have thought, from what Stacie has said in the past, this would be a complete turnoff. "Forward" was one of her criteria for a new horse. For some reason, she is considering this horse as a good prospect. Supposedly, the mare had been either abused or badly ridden at some point and learned to quit as a defense when the pressure gets too much. She does not like the leg but will work correctly from the seat--something Stacie insists she needs to work on in her own riding. The trainer said you can't really "get after" the mare because that just makes her less forward.

However, Stacie also said that when she had the horse going well, she was absolutely wonderful. She insists that of all the horses she's tried this one is the best "value for the money." She wonders if she will have the patience to deal with the problem and fix it by getting the horse to trust her. (Mares, I know, do have a different mindset than geldings.)

I am a bit puzzled, as I told her. I know Tucker can be driven into forward by an aggressive rider who is not intimidated by his antics as I often am, but apparently that's not so for this mare. While there are tactics to use to encourage her to go, why would you buy such a complicated ride unless it was purely for you to learn how to ride that particular horse? I'll admit, Tucker is teaching me a lot, but if I had an option, I'd much rather Tucker had Chance's attitude attached to his body. Life would be so much easier and more pleasant in the saddle.

Apparently there is a Belgium cross gelding she yet has to look at, and, of course the horse across the woods from me. I'm not sure where the Belgium is, but the horse near me is "on hold" due to the same weather and footing issues keeping me indoors. (Who can stand out in the bitter cold evaluating a horse you really can't ride?)

Stacie may be able to arrange and "evaluation" lesson of the mare with Patrice Edwards when she comes in the next month, as there doesn't seem to be a lot of sales pressure at the moment. I just hope it all works out in Stacie's best interests. I know how frustrating a difficult horse can be.

Meanwhile, I just keep talking to my Boys using the "think method" (Anyone know the story of "The Music Man??") to teach them the upper level movements. When I get back in the saddle, I am sure we will be all set for Grand Prix! (Well, my modified fantasy version of GP, anyhow. *G*)


  1. on the other hand, if she knows she can get the mare forward by tactful riding, then she increases her sum of knowledge all round (says she, feelingly!). Seriously, it wouldn't be ALL bad

  2. Exactly why I am at odds about it, Claire. Knowing Stacie, though, I don't know if she really has the patience to deal with it. And it was definitely not one of the criteria for the horse she really wanted. Over and over she said she wanted one that was forward.

  3. The mare must have been fantastic when she decided to go well. I have heard that once you win over a mare's loyalty and trust, they will do anything for you. Maybe Stacie has had a glimmer of that possibility.


  4. Yeah maybe it felt 'right'?
    Does sound like it could either be a good learning experience or a disaster!

  5. I think Stacie has to understand that she won't "fix" the mare. If teh mare was really abused, and that she quits under too much pressure, it is from fear not defiance like Mr Tucker.
    Linda Parelli says that these horses go to their "happy place", and switched off the outside world.

    If Stacie considers the horse, that *she* would have to grow, and to learn to be tactful and to use her seat. The mare won't change.

    Just like me, I had to learn to relax at the canter. It is Cutter, who taught me, because when I tensed, he went much MUCH faster.

    My riding has radically changed because of him. But *him* did not change *I* did!

  6. i've heard that about mares as well, but it's a long row to hoe! (says she, hoeing it...)