Earlier this year, I thought it would be a lovely idea to get another horse. I remember so fondly my days of working with young Dreamer, that I decided I wanted a young horse. An impressionable one, if you will. Something I could really take my time with and do all the ground work over the course of a year, or even two, until eventually, said horse was big enough/old enough/developed enough and had been through enough ground work, that I could begin riding said horse.
So I began my search. I perused ads, impatiently, I might add, waiting for the right one (or maybe just one that would do) to pop up. A cute little bay filly came across the screen, and I kind of liked her pedigree (well, let’s be honest here, I didn’t know jack squat about her pedigree…but my highly esteemed, dearly beloved cousin knew her blood lines and liked them…winner winner. Seriously, my cousin is amazing with her horse how-to and bloodline knowledge.)
Now, my cousin is the sensible type, and she takes picking out horses quite seriously, and she has the patience to really make sure she acquires one that will fit what she needs. So she urged me to view the filly cautiously, play with her, and then maybe even come home and think on it for a night or two. But it was a 3 hour drive, that I made on a day (my birthday!) when I had to work the graveyard shift at a job I had temporarily (you know, before owning a feed store).
So, husband dear and I show up to look at the bay filly and the woman selling her already had her caught and tied to the fence. I think I should have thought something of it then, but I didn’t. She wasn’t being terribly impatient at the post, but she was a little edgy.
Listen, at this point even my gut instinct kind of said to let this one go. But I’m the only one who knows this, I know my husband doesn’t want to hear he drove me 3 hours for a birthday present that I changed my (very fickle) mind about, and she’s pretty. She has good blood lines. Besides, Dreamer ran uphill and cleared a 5 or 6 foot gate (I mean, I kind of remember it being a 10 foot tall gate, but I was smaller and younger and memories are weird like that) to get away from us when we first brought him home. And he seriously was my best friend and the most incredible little gelding. I still miss that sweet boy.
So, I came for this one, I’m getting this one, we are here, and I can’t admit that she seems like she might be a handful. (Just the vibe I was getting, she wasn’t doing anything particularly noteworthy all tied to the post like she was.) So my husband has his eyes on this little sorrel filly, and he’s talking to the lady and kind of trying to steer my attention off the bay filly. Maybe he sensed it too, he just didn’t say it.
I glance over the sorrel filly, rub her down, feel the calm in her presence, and declare like a bull-headed brat, “I really like the bay.” That’s who I was there for, after all. Husband dear, still focused on the sorrel, tried to nudge my attentions her direction one final time, and I firmly plant my feet in the ground and declare that I’m taking the bay filly home.
So, like any good horse lover’s husband would do, he buys them both from the lady. And I’m nearly cross that he spent extra money, and thwarted the whole plan that I had set out to accomplish anyway.
Without much fuss, both fillies load in our two-horse trailer, ride like little charms, and I cut the wire so close on my work shift that I didn’t even get to help unload them (seriously irked me, too).
I find out at work that we are the proud owners-to-be of a feed store. (Definitely a noteworthy birthday…two horses AND a new feed store, all in one day? I thank God for that day.)
And I begin playing with the fillies. The little red filly loves attention, likes the people and all the people-y things, is easy to catch, and is incredibly responsive. She has a pleasant attitude, seems quite nearly bomb proof already, and will try anything I ask of her. And she’ll try until she succeeds. And she reads me so well, she knows immediately if she’s succeeded. Then the little charm will do the successful thing to the same cue over and over again. And she looks so happy while she does it.
Apparently, my husband can pick a good horse. We won’t talk about my gut feeling on her, let’s just say, I was being way too stubborn about the bay and I knew better when I was doing it and I just couldn’t help myself.
The little bay filly is something else entirely. She doesn’t like people-y things, she doesn’t like doing the things, she doesn’t like the halter or the lead rope, and she is skittish. By the time I catch her, I’ve used up all of my horse time, and I end up letting her stand tied for patience lessons. She stands tied like a pro.
That is about all she does well.
I’ve resorted to letting my 11-year-old son lure her in to the round pen with her breakfast or supper, whichever we are serving, and closing the gate. Then I can chase her until dark (if it’s supper) or until it’s time to leave for work (if it’s breakfast) and still not have her caught. It’s just easier than doing so on 6 acres.
Then she eats in the round pen. So I can try again 10 or 11 hours later, when I have time. And I try again. And by the third time, she’s tired, I’m tired, and she gives up. She let’s me catch her. But she turns her stubborn nose away from me and putting the halter on her is like some yoga pose that I’m not in good enough shape for. But boy do I get a good stretch in.
Then we try to do the things the red filly does. Simple things, you know, like backing, or side driving, or tipping her nose my way when I’m at her side. Resistance, at every thing. And even if she gets it right and I praise like crazy (but calmly) and release the pressure, I get the same response on the next ask. Resistance. And she doesn’t really want to pay attention to me.
And then there are the times that she acts like I might get her…Like I’m scary, and crazy, and must be kin to a mountain lion. (I mean, my kids think so too, but what do they know? The other two horses don’t react in such a way to me. Is it her or is it me? Both, probably.)
My stubborn pride is feeling trampled on and I’m wondering why I couldn’t just say, “Wow, the little red filly seems like a dandy, let’s go ahead and just take her home.”
That would have been way too easy. I never do things the easy way. Just ask me, I’ll tell you.
She makes me work harder than I want to for every single thing. And as hard as it is for me to admit, I made the wrong call with her. Not that she’s a bad horse. I think she’s going to really make an excellent mount for someone who can work through all of her silly quirks. She’s never blown up. She’s never reared up at me. She’s never done anything dangerous. She’s just a hard filly for me to connect with.
Like one of my kids. I feel like I’m shouting at a brick wall and NOTHING IS GETTING THROUGH.
And I recently found out that my brain is kind of falling out of the back of my head (okay, that’s just my odd way of processing that I have a brain hernia, but it’s seriously weird to walk around knowing that about myself). I’m nervous now because head trauma is a bad thing for any one, but if I’m wrapping my thoughts around it correctly, it would take less trauma to be bad for my brain than I knew.
Now, God is good and God is bigger than any thing I could face with the horses, so I try to not worry and I try to leave it in His hands. But I am trying to be cautious and wise, too. And I am quite certain that with my skill level, and her way of being, Drifter and I make a great combination for a potential accident. At least once we get to the riding part. Which I don’t know that I’ll ever get to with her.
Which brings me to my next consideration… I love my horses dearly, and I love riding horses, very much. I want to ride. In fact, when I set out looking for a young horse, I didn’t really think it through, and I should have been looking for a 6-10 year old, well broke gelding. A horse I could rely on. One I could ride for 30 minutes after work, or 30 minutes before work, or an hour on my day off. Down the road, haul with a friend for an afternoon trail, take to a play day here and there. Nothing terribly fast. Smooth is a must. I need a smooth trot, smooth transitions between gaits, and a good attitude.
Grade or registered isn’t too big of a deal to me. If I could pick a color I would go with grulla or buckskin, but honestly, a good horse is never a bad color.
I don’t want to feed a filly that doesn’t like me for the rest of her life and never ride her. Especially a sound, gorgeous, well-bred filly. I have a lovely bay mare that I feed (and will continue to do so) and she is a pasture pet. She has clubbing of the foot on her right front, and more days than not, she limps. The kids can wander around on her a bit, at a walk. But that’s it. And I’m okay with that. She’s getting a little older, and I knew what I was getting in to when she came in to our lives. I’m eternally grateful for Risky and the gift she is to our family.
Back to Drifter.
Drifter is for sale. I’ve had differing opinions on what she’s worth, and I don’t have great pictures of her. I set out to get great pictures to prove that she’s worth the money, but then I get caught in the three-day cycle of getting her caught, and when I do get her caught, I spend time practicing the few things we can do together, but I don’t end up getting any more pictures.
Drifter is a 2-year-old bay filly, she is double Nu Cash bred, and she’s a looker. She has a star on her forehead. She’s quick, athletic, and too smart for her own good. She has a stubborn side, and she needs someone who has the time/energy/effort/commitment to working through that stubborn side. I know once she gets it, and is pushed a little, she’s going to blossom.
I am open to reasonable offers on her. You can come look at her. You can come watch me try to catch her, or try yourself. We can lure her in to the round pen with her feed and we can try in a smaller space than 6 acres.
She loads in a 2 horse trailer without complaint, but I’ve never put her in anything larger.
More than just reasonable offers, I’d be interested and willing to trade her for the right gelding. I’ll want to see him. You can show me that he’s broke to ride, of sound body and mind, and I’d like to ride him, too. My main requirements are: Not too old (12 years is probably the limit) and SMOOTH GAITS. Like, floating trot. I know they exist because that awesome cousin of mine has two of the smoothest horses I’ve ever ridden. Seriously, their trots are divine.
We have the red filly who doesn’t seem mare-ish yet, and the big bay mare who is definitely mare-ish. So to sell me on a mare, she’s really going to have to be something. But I know good mares exist.
So, if you have a horse I should consider, and you’re still reading and you think Drifter might be just want you’re looking for, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
We are located in Jones, OK, and don’t want to travel too far to view prospective trades. We don’t have our two-horse trailer any more, and it will be a while before we get another trailer.
Until next time,