Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goin' on adventures

Part of the fun with getting a new horse is figuring out all of the little quirks that makes every horse unique. Fiona is a sweet horse, but she's aloof until she actually knows someone. I didn't really notice that, since I see her so much and she adopted me as 'her' person pretty quickly, but someone she didn't know was holding her at the show and she was pretty distant with him. Then her favorite man from the barn came over to see her and she was right back to being a pocket pony. She tried to take his hat off and checked out his pockets. And even with me she's getting more trusting. She would love to groom me back if I would let her, and she steals my gloves or my sunglasses whenever she gets a chance. My dressage whip is her personal toy. The handle is rubber and she will sit and mouth it for ages. Sometimes I think she's more pony than thoroughbred with that little mischievous streak and being so very food motivated.

I'm handling her like she has no history before she showed up with me. Nothing I was told about her is panning out, so I consider her a blank slate. Running with that paradigm, I try to get her off the property and seeing the world as much as possible. I'm sure some people question my sanity when I ship my green TB off to go play (and I don't pack anything but her snaffle), but she seems to like it. She's better behaved away from home where she's not so distracted. This time her favorite man at the barn invited us to go on a trail ride with him and some of his friends.

Context for this:

1. This particular rider does cowboy mounted shooting.
2. So do the friends we were going to go riding with.
3. Fiona was the only one that was not a stock breed, was the only one in English tack, and was about a hand taller than the other horses.

She certainly did her part to disprove the image of thoroughbreds as not being able to handle new situations and being hard to manage. She straight tied at the trailer (hey, that's where the food was), walked into a smaller indoor arena with a huge white tarp along one side, stared at the goats, and bravely followed the two paints in front of her wherever they wanted to go. There were water crossings and rough terrain. At one point there wasn't even a trail, and she just put her head down and plowed through. I got some branches to the face, but it's not her fault she was considerably taller than the rest of the horses.

Of course her favorite was when we jumped or galloped. She did well, galloping in a field with the group and still stopping. She really, really wanted to pass the two in the lead (they were galloping, she was cantering), but she was willing to stay on their tails. Someone had been schooling cross country on these trails, since there was a clearing with a couple logs clearly set up. Fiona gave the Western broke horses a lead over them, since they didn't understand. Trotted the first log, beautifully cantered the second, then powered up the hill looking for the next obstacle and not at all concerned about the other horses. Looks like the herd bound issue won't be a problem cross country.

I'm sure the others at the barn are tired of the glowing reviews. I can't quit babbling about how proud I am that she's handling everything so well. I definitely wouldn't call her a beginner friendly horse, or even amateur friendly with some of her more interesting quirks, but she's certainly versatile. The same horse that's willing to drag me at the canter to jump will walk on a loose rein down a dirt road with her new buddies, so long as we are out and doing something. I think the really challenge with her will be to keep her from getting bored and sour.

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome. I am continually amazed at what bothers my OTTB and what doesn't. She is a total pro on the roads, and only dislikes large trucks and anything with a rattling trailer. She goes on a loose rein on the trails and trots after the wild turkeys when we see them instead of running away. These horses are great :)