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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ebony Comes Home

As you may have noticed from the title, we went from having two horses in the backyard to having three. It took one week. Actually, it took less than a week. You might recall that the conversation that started us thinking about another horse or two occurred on February 13. Ebony came home on February 19th. Scary how fast things can move sometimes.

After we decided (rather abruptly) that we were in the market for a third horse we talked to Carly. She and her brother each had a horse for sale. Mojito is a paint and he was the first horse we were considering. We had watched Carly’s brother training the horse several times while were there for lessons and we were impressed. So we went and rode the horse and it just wasn’t right. Tira-Toes just did not click with the horse. You could see in her eyes that she was a little frustrated since the horse did not respond well to her. I rode the horse and it turns out he is still learning to neck rein and hasn’t worked out all the cues yet. He tends to turn his head to far to one side or the other. He would be a great horse for a more experienced rider who is comfortable with training a horse, but not such a good horse for a novice rider.

The horse that Carly had for sale is a 13 year old registered paint though it does not have the typical paint markings. Ebony is nearly jet black but has brown highlights all through her coat. A very pretty little horse. Tira-Toes had a much better connection to this mare. Ebony responded much better to Tira-Toes’s cues and you could see the joy in Tira-Toes’s eyes as she rode the horse around the arena. Carly and I talked a bit and we both felt the Ebony was a much better horse for Tira-Toes. Ebony has been trained with flags (VERY important for a Westernaires horse) has done a fair amount of trail riding and has been known to go through a drive through or two to get some refreshments. She neck reins well and still moves off of leg cues. She is forgiving so when Tira-Toes stands up in the saddle while trotting, Ebony holds her pace. We are doing a little work to get Ebony to improve her stops as she tends to take a few more steps than she should. Just the kind of horse I was looking for a novice rider.

Next step, vet check. It’s not that I don’t trust Carly, it’s just that Carly is not a vet. It is never bad idea to have a vet check over the horse you are thinking of buying. A friend from Westernaires was looking at a horse they found on Craig’s List and they liked what they saw. They did a vet check and the horse did not pass. It had a lot of issues and they would not have been able to ride it. A couple of days later the add on Craig’s List had changed to discourage potential buyers from doing a vet check. Anyway, we went off to the vet and Ebony did really well right up until we started to lunge her. She was limping a bit on her left front. Carly (who came to the vet check with us) and I just looked at each other. I had ridden Ebony in a lesson once and Carly had ridden her quite a bit over the last year and she had never shown any sign of lameness. But the vet gave her a lameness score of 1. The vet also said that it looked like the front shoes were not on properly, that the shoes were causing Ebony’s feet to twist ever so slightly to the outside. The vet, as part of her fee, told us to bring the horse back in two weeks and she would recheck Ebony for lameness again. That sounded fair to me and, frankly, I wasn’t too worried about it because I trust Carly and I was familiar with the horse. Carly and I decided that I should take the horse home and have my farrier come take off the shoes and re-trim her feet. So we load her into the trailer and set off for home. The voyage home deserves a post of its own.

In the mean time, Tira-Toes has a few words to say about her horse. Without further ado, I give you Tira-Toes.

Hi, it’s Tira Toes again and I have just got my own horse. Her name is Ebony and she is jet black all over except for a white star on her forehead and two white socks on her back legs. She is thirteen and we bought her from our trainer, Carly. She is very sweet. In her first few days she did not bite or kick the other two horses until she became fed up with Beamer bullying her around and kicked him. She rides easy and has a smooth lope and a trot better then Beamers. By better I mean it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting through an earthquake. I have decided to join Westernaires with my friend Tessa Toes in August. I think my dad was about to shoot me when I looked at him and said I want her. A new horse means new tack, a new trailer, and all that commotion of two daughters at Westernaires at different times. But I wrapped him around my little finger and I got my horse. My goal for Westernaires is to be the most obnoxious Tenderfoot there. I have neon rainbow colored reigns, a purple saddle blanket, a multi colored saddle pad, a lime green breast collar, and a purple helmet. I love my horse.

What I love about Carly is the way she helps you learn. She builds you up step by step until you reach your goal. Carly is a fun and nice teacher. She has worked with many different horses and students and she knows the perfect way to help you learn. My goal when I first went to Carly was to be able to ride Mariah. She started me on a easy going horse like Beamer then she put me on a more, shall we say, exciting horse and I barley felt the difference.

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