I think I'm about to buy a horse - jumping clip added

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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I've been looking for a while now, although I haven't sold Charlie yet. I really didn't like the idea of Mattie being left alone, even though my YO offered to let him in with her old boys, and YO also said it would be fine for me to have 3 for a little while. So, as I say, I've been looking. Shopping list was:

14.2 - 15.1 up to weight (I'm not that heavy but I have friends who are!)
Established riding horse for pleasure hacking and me to have lessons on. Not under 7 or over 15.
Pleasant on the ground, easy to do
Generally no stress.

I tell you, finding a horse like that is like finding a needle in a haystack. I've booked to see 3 and have them sold before my turn came, called about horses advertised POA to find they were beyond my(really quite respectable) budget, and today was the first horse I've actually got to meet. My message enquiring about horses went to the yard on Monday and he had just arrived. The dealer called me and I arranged to see him today.

Here's the horse in question. His name is Mike. For God's sake!

Screenshot 2021-03-18 at 21.43.37.png

Not me on him. I have a picture of me on him, but I haven't ridden for 2.5 years and I am ashamed of my position (and my girth) so I'm not publishing those!

He is 12 years old. He came from Ireland as a youngster, worked in a riding school for a couple of years, and since then has been with a family - their hacking, local show all round horse. The dad lost his job recently and they had to sell him and a local dealer snapped him up.

The good: he has a good physique

IMG_0982.JPG

and a good step, a nice long walk. The dealer's rider, shown on him, got a perfectly workmanlike walk, trot and canter out of him in the school, though she admitted that getting him to maintain a spanking trot took a lot of leg!

He is not wide to ride although his chest and backside are immense. In fact he is less wide than Ziggy!

He is as steady as a rock and feels as safe as houses. I took him out for a 15 minute hack on our own and he tested me by trying to eat (once) and trying to turn back to the yard (once) but I told him no and he didn't try again. He walked and trotted nicely. I couldn't get canter: but I am very, very out of practice and he rides so differently from Ziggy I was honestly unsure of how to ask, and his big easy walk and trot instilled me with tremendous confidence. He's like riding a sofa. Before I got off him I did a Round The World and he didn't move a muscle.

He's nice to handle, polite and easy, though he puts his ears back when you first come into his stable. He's no oil painting, but he has a kind eye (and a moustache):

IMG_0989.JPG IMG_0992.JPG

The not so good: I think he's a bit lazy, or at least dead to the leg, but my RI listened to me babble for half an hour this evening and reassured me that being dead to the leg is common in ex-RS horses and he can be retrained. Also he has scabby bits in the feathers of his right front leg. Also, when you ask him to change pace, he puts his head up and/or down as if he's not happy. I think he may need the dentist, and my RI said she thought he might have learned the behaviour from people pulling hard to stop him (totally unnecessary - he stops on a whisker and a Whoa).

I struggled to say Yes because my image of myself as horsewoman is a sort of centaur sitting on a beautiful curvetting beast. But I am 60 now and overweight and I don't bounce, and talking to my RI made me realise that what I really want is a safe horse to wander around and look at the scenery from, and I think Mike can do that job very well.

He's being vetted next week. Cross fingers. I am going to go the vetting and volunteer to ride him for the vet.

Mike? Mike?! Surely we can do better than that for a name. Captain? Trojan? Really, anything but Mike...
 

carthorse

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Sounds promising, so fingers crossed for the vetting. I'm nosing at the moment as there's a horse I like who I could have on loan, but she was backed last summer, hacked a bit and then turned away - at my age and only having ridden my own for a while I would like someone else to sit on her a few times before I do! There just doesn't seem to be much around that I like the look of, and the prices :eek::eek::eek:. I'm only looking for a nice person that will hack politely, is reasonably forward and is happy to do a bit of schooling, it feels like Pegasus may be easier to find.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
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Sounds promising, so fingers crossed for the vetting. I'm nosing at the moment as there's a horse I like who I could have on loan, but she was backed last summer, hacked a bit and then turned away - at my age and only having ridden my own for a while I would like someone else to sit on her a few times before I do! There just doesn't seem to be much around that I like the look of, and the prices :eek::eek::eek:. I'm only looking for a nice person that will hack politely, is reasonably forward and is happy to do a bit of schooling, it feels like Pegasus may be easier to find.
I had just the same experience, and the prices really are sky high. Mike will cost every penny I have! All you can do is keep looking, I suppose...
 

Huggy

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Well of course I love love love him! He sounds like a Hogan without the attitude, the laziness included. If I could exclude that attitude, I would have found my perfect horse, so I'll cross everything for a clean vetting.
 

Jessey

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Oh wow, it’s all happening for you, 🤞 for a successful vetting 🙂
I found prices are crazy and sales are so fast now, there’s no time to sit and think about things, you just have to act. It’s a far cry from the old look 2 or 3 times before deciding.
 

Skib

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I dont think he is lazy. Nor Hogan. The Mark Rashid approach is that horses are geneticly geared to maximise food in put and minimise expenditure of energy. In Rashids demo disc of walk the horse is constantly asking is he may stop now and you need to signal (leg, seat, energy or voice) that you want him to go on walking. Moreover, if the walk is not as brisk as you want, dont attempt to speed it up. Return to halt and ask for walk again until you get the first step of the walk you are looking for.

I dont ride cobs or wide horses due to age and my back and hips but if he fits you physically and feels safe that seems a brilliant start. Moreover, riding school horses are often taught not to trot on unless you use leg.

My theory is that because horses learn quickly, any horse I ride becomes quite similar, giving me the responses and behaviour I want. He isnt going to turn into a zippy Connie but he has to become a horse you enjoy riding.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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I dont think he is lazy. Nor Hogan. he Mark Rashid approach is that horses are geneticly geared to maximise food in put and minimise expenditure of energy. In Rashids demo disc of walk the horse is constantly asking is he may stop now and yu need to signal (leg, seat, energy or voice) that you want him to go on walking. Moreover, if the walk is not as brisk as you want, dont attempt to speed it up. Return to halt and ask for walk again until you get the first step of the walk you are looking for.

I dont ride cobs or wide horses due to age and my back and hips but if he fits you physically and feels safe that seems a brilliant start. Moreover, riding school horses are often taught not to trot on unless you use leg.

My theory is that because horses learn quickly, any horse I ride becomes quite similar, giving me the responses and behaviour I want. He isnt going to turn into a zippy Connie but he has to become a horse you enjoy riding.

Of course I agree with Mark that horses are programmed not to expend energy unnecessarily, but my feeling is that a horse should be trained to continue in the gait until you ask it to stop, without being constantly reminded. My RI seems to feel that retraining him to be more responsive will be entirely possible, so I am less worried about that than I was.
Oh wow, it’s all happening for you, 🤞 for a successful vetting 🙂
I found prices are crazy and sales are so fast now, there’s no time to sit and think about things, you just have to act. It’s a far cry from the old look 2 or 3 times before deciding.
Absolutely. You can forget getting your RI to come and ride him for you!
 

carthorse

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I had just the same experience, and the prices really are sky high. Mike will cost every penny I have! All you can do is keep looking, I suppose...
I'm still holding off looking properly until I've had a chance to sit on a young mare that a friend would let me have on loan. I've known her on and off since a foal and always liked her temperament, and indeed the temperament of both parents that she also owned, but I need a sit on her to know if she feels right and due to yard politics that isn't possible at the moment. Given some of the horror stories I hear a known quantity, even if young and very green, is appealing plus there's something about her that I really like despite not normally being a mare person

Of course I agree with Mark that horses are programmed not to expend energy unnecessarily, but my feeling is that a horse should be trained to continue in the gait until you ask it to stop, without being constantly reminded. My RI seems to feel that retraining him to be more responsive will be entirely possible, so I am less worried about that than I was.

I think the level of necessary varies a lot between horse - I've always had ones that seem to feel strutting their stuff and moving actively is necessary and I get less enjoyment from ones that have stop as a default, though that said there have been times when I can see the appeal 😂 . I completely agree with your RI about it being possible to retrain, and often teaching them to maintain pace and be more responsive isn't even that hard as long as you mean it and are consistent. You're unlikely to turn him into a "let's go mum!" pony who's always looking to go up a gear, but then if that was what you wanted you'd have looked at hot cobs to begin with. He sounds like you could have a lot of fun with him, and start having it straight away rather than having a lot of work to do with Charlie x
 
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Skib

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My RI seems to feel that retraining him to be more responsive will be entirely possible, so I am less worried about that than I was.
Absolutely one can teach and re teach horses. Personally I wouldnt buy a horse I had not cantered. RSs insist one canters before hacking out on a horse just in case of a spook and unsolicited canter.
 

carthorse

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Absolutely one can teach and re teach horses. Personally I wouldnt buy a horse I had not cantered. RSs insist one canters before hacking out on a horse just in case of a spook and unsolicited canter.

I think there's a difference between not having cantered a specific horse and not having cantered at all. I have no doubt that @Jane&Ziggy is experienced enough to get a feel for a horse and whether or not she'd happy with it without having cantered, jumped etc, particularly if the problem was struggling to get him into canter which at least suggests he isn't the type to dash off at a slight wrong move. I'm currently hacking a horse for someone and the first thing I did after riding him across the yard) was take him straight out for a hack, it was quite clear the second I was in the saddle that he wasn't the sort to be an issue.
 
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chunky monkey

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Make sure if you are doing the vetting you do canter the horse. So the vet can see it move. If you think you will struggle then take someone to ride it that can put it through its gaits.

When i had billy vetted they had no school and the field he got cantered in was rather too soggy being winter and flood land. So vet could not assess the canter gait properly.

With billys ongoing lameness etc i got someone to ride him for me last summer. Her words were i doubt this horse could maintain canter in an arena. So if the horse is reluctant/stiff to canter it could indicate there being an issue. If you have the vet there and a good rider to ride test hopefully an issue would be identified.
 
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Skib

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I really like despite not normally being a mare person
I think gut feeling (cant explain) is most important. I fell for Maisie the first time I rode her. My name was always coupled with the lesson mare whom I eventually shared but she was not the love of my life. She flattered me by behaving with me but that wasnt because I sucked up to her. You had to be fierce or she bit you.
Grace and Ella are also mares, so one way or another I became a mare person. Being a bossy woman I feel I may have something in common with them. Mares have lively minds. They absorb information.

I am sorry yard politics is preventing you. Can that be changed? Or is it competition to buy her?
This makes me want to buy one myself. As I havent ridden for a year maybe I need to think everything out again from scratch. But I just watch a vid on horsemart where they cut out the actual transtions to canter.
 

carthorse

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@Skib neither I nor the owner can do anything about the yard situation right now, a shame but things are what they are. There's no competition to buy her because she absolutely isn't for sale and the owner would be very particular about who she was loaned to as well - if it wasn't for time then she wouldn't be going to anyone at all.

Videos cutting out the canter transition, and indeed other transitions too, seem depressingly common. I'd far rather watch a longer unedited video than carefully edited snippets that tell me far less. And why, if people say something schools well and has a good jump do they show it going round unbalanced and hollow or falling over a 12" cross pole?
 

Kite_Rider

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Oh @Jane&Ziggy hes lovely and I think Mike suits him really, I hope the vetting works out for you and he gets to be your new friend, keeping everything crossed for you.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Thank you all for your interest! I did see him canter in the school easily and well, with the classic rocking-horse cob movement.

I'd love to pop a log, something I never dared to do with whizzy Ziggy, so I asked seller if he could jump. She sent me this clip:

She also sent this one, in which I think I hear the rider laugh that he won't quite make a show jumper. I don't care, this is high enough for me!


My RI's response was very positive so I feel good about that.
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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I love him, I don’t know why you think a Pegasus would be any more handsome and I also like the name Mike, or Micky.

For me the tash would have to come off though (but that's because of a really disgusting comment someone made once that really put me off them 😛 )

And I think he's a super little jumper, how dare they laugh at him?

Hope the vetting goes well 🤞
 
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