Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Buying your First Horse - Part 2

 This is a continuation of the letter from yesterday. My student wanted to know what I thought of a horse she had gone to see, and this was my response to the video she sent me.
Shaman, Rascal, Ranger, Black Elk

This horse is a really pretty guy, very flashy. At 5 years of age you can be sure he is very green.  Parelli says green and green results in black and blue. I think he's right. I also know it's hard to find a good solid citizen that we could all hope for,  to learn from. The perfect horse would be closer to 10 and maybe even 18! Lots more hours on an older horse. Parelli says 2000 hours are needed on a horse for a beginner. Yes, that's a lot. If you figure 2 hours a day/ 5 days a week, that would be about 4 years. Some horses are quiet, unflappable and just cope. Quarter horses are bred for that quality. Those QH/Halflinger mares that I trained were more like that, especially Sadie, it's not that they were smarter, but they were so much less fearful that they progressed with out much fuss.

My style is to ask the horse only a bit more each day, my goal is NO DUST and NO BLOWUPS! I rarely have any. My training can look like grass growing, but you end up with a happy and confident horse who is delighted to see you and willing to participate. 

All this to say that temperament is paramount. There is a difference between temperament and spirit. Think about that!

This horse was not so happy being ridden. Did you notice his tail? Wringing, swatting about, either his back hurt or he didn't like what he was doing. You want to see a horse's tail relaxed and swaying, it's an extension of his back. He also seemed rather dominant and I think he could be pushy. (not terrible but you'd need to be firm with your boundaries)

He was not relaxed or happy in the arena doing ground work either.  He was much more relaxed on the road. I think you'd find him a lot to start with. That being said, if you are not in a rush to ride, if you are willing to spend time hanging out, doing ground work, walking the trails, working at liberty, knowing riding could be a year or more in the future for you, knowing the journey will be slow as you are both green, then find out more about him, if you like him.

Gotta go make dinner,

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