So Ok, I met my trainer over at the barn, even got my husband to come. This horse looked nothing like the very deceiving photos of it, and I clearly recall asking the seller (who never helped me with the horse tonight, instead she had someone else do it) if the horse was broke to quietly walk trot and canter under saddle, I specifically said I was wanting something that moved nice to take to open shows and was not looking for a greenie. The seller said the horse moves nice and would be a nice show horse, much nicer than the bald face paint she had for sale a few months before. She said this horse goes around very quietly and was a good looker.
Judging by the pictures this horse looked really cute. When I got there, I saw something I didn’t see in the pictures. This horse had the longest back on the whole planet. An entire family and then some could fit on his back. My trainer pointed out that this could potentially cause problems when asking the horse to work in an arena, frame and round up, engage his hind end and jump. Personally I was more concerned about the condition of his front feet and the massive horizontal crack that looked to me like a horse that had a major abcess or white line disease and lost his hoof at some point.
His conformation was terrible, very upright through the neck, starting in to sway backed, and bad feet. He was quiet and sweet and gentle, for sure. So the lady rides him – in a full cheek double twisted wire snaffle, and the horse goes around with his head attached to his butt and his mouth braced open the whole time. Totally fighting everything, counter bent the entire time, and swaying in more zig zags than a drunk could do if he tried. But he did nothing technically wrong. He just didn’t do anything pretty. He was sweet, and there really isn’t a buck or rear or bad thought in him. He moved like his knees and hocks were fused together – very short strided, very ugly mover. I was a little reluctant to get on him because I have never ridden with such a severe bit. The seller and rider kept saying they ride in a simple snaffle usually and yet had some random excuse about why they were using a severe bit on him. The seller said his foot had cracked because he was in mud and then it dried out. Yea, right. I believe that. That foot was warmer than the other one, too. Digital pulse was not elevated in that foot, but it was questionable.
So the three of us watch this woman ride this horse around and then jump. The jumping hurt my eyes. Literally. It was painful and one of the worst representations of jumping I’ve ever seen. The rider I don’t think knew what she was doing and the horse swayed every which way in between fences, broke to whatever gait he felt like breaking to and flopped face forward over every fence. It was awful. My trainer commented “you don’t have to jump him if you don’t feel comfortable.” I laughed and said there’s no way in hell I’m jumping that horse. Not tonight, not ever.
But I did get on the horse and immediately back off his mouth, and he responded well, dropped his head and tried to be nice. He cut corners everywhere and would raise his head and run every time he felt my leg. I trotted him around and he just sort of plodded along in a western style jog when he wanted to, and then raced when he felt like it and threw his head up in the air the whole time everytime he tried to run. He had no idea what a circle was either. I tried to canter him, but he was so unsteady – so head-uppy- in -the- airy that I just said OK enough is enough. Not even worth the effort.
These people told me before I got on him that he’d actually been a trail horse for many years and then sat and did nothing for most of the past year before just coming to the barn a few weeks before and starting back into arena training. So, in 3-4 weeks this horse had learned what exactly? I’ve personally seen green broke 2 year olds with more training and better riding abilities than this 14 year old horse that’s been in work for a month.
I’ve only looked at three horses so far, and this paint horse, was by far, the absolute worst one of the three. At least the black horse, while a little more rude on the ground, knew w/t/c and was ready to take his leads and responded to cues. Even the chestnut horse that didn’t know how to canter under saddle had better potential than this one. This horse is a trail horse, for sure, and he belongs on a trail. He’ll make somebody a nice horse because he was sweet and kind and NOT spooky at all. But he also wasn’t exactly broke enough for me either.
At least he was close and all said, I wasted less than an hour seeing him. Well, it wasn’t a waste really, you don’t really know until you see and try, right?
I’ll keep checking around for another horse, but so far, nothing.