Katie's Journal

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Ka-Wa Stormy

by @ 9:52 am on February 12, 2012.

I have 5 horses. I did NOT need 6. And yet, I found myself obsessing over this ad:

[quote]Pacer is a 13 yr old sorrel paso fino gelding. He has had professional training for trail riding. He is extremely smooth and you look like you are floating while riding him. He needs a confident rider because he has lots of forward motion. He has flawless ground manners. He stands for the farrier and is great for the vet. He follows you around and calls for you when he sees you around the barn. He is a very intelligent horse and trys to please his owner. Pacer is up to date on vet/farrier. He will only be sold to a good home that understands the paso horse. He may need a refresher course due to the fact we havent ridden him for a couple of years.

Price: $ 1,200[/quote]

The ad was up on the national horse web sites. At $1200, I let it go. Eventually the same horse showed up in the local bulletin board. His price had been dropped to $800. It took all my will power, but for a month I resisted calling. Finally they dropped his price again to $600. I confessed my obsession to Ern, who sighed and said “you’re not going to let this go till you call”.

Now I’d spent a lot of time thinking about this. None of my current herd fit the bill this guy would. We have Ern’s big Belgian we use to pull our carriage, his childhood pony who is so arthritic I’d have put him down already but Ern isn’t ready to let go, Sami’s mini, a paso filly who is only 1.5 and won’t be ready to break for another couple years, and my haflinger. So, really, only 2 of the five horses are actually mine. Just one if you figure the filly will grow up to be Ern’s riding horse. Admittedly, Ern wouldn’t have any horses if it weren’t for me. But still, the haffie is the main one that’s completely mine. He has a work horse attitude. He’ll do his job, but he’s not an in your pocket, hug me kind of horse. I miss that. And getting anything more than a walk out of him requires serious kicking or a good crop whacking. He’s great because he’s safe, safe, safe under saddle. He’s also broke to drive and fits my forecart well. He’s a lot easier to deal with for short drives than hitching up the Belgian to the big cart. Plus, the saddle I wanted so badly for Christmas was to fit this guy. I’d intended to try and ride more this spring, hoping to try and tune up the haffie a little bit and get him more responsive.

Really, though, there’s only so much I can do with him. He’ll never be particularly quick. He’s just not designed that way. Plus I don’t have the greatest back, and the last two times I threw it out was riding non-gaited horses. My back really does get along better with a gaited horse. And in my head I could see myself having a lot of fun with this paso, just brushing and bonding with a more personable horse as well as getting to ride more often. I don’t mind forward in a paso as long as forward doesn’t equate with loony. That said, the paso had been for sale for several months and I really did wonder what was wrong with him that he hadn’t sold. Pasos aren’t extremely rare around here, but they’re not a dime a dozen, either. I had a paso mare (my filly’s mother) and long story short she went back to her previous owner. She really was fun to ride. Much more so than my haffie. I could come up with the funds to get him, and we have plenty of hay and pasture.

And so Thursday I called. I wasn’t altogether sure if I wanted him or not. The guy said he would shake his head and pull constantly on his wife, but that she was pretty timid. The horse didn’t do that with him. On the other hand, the horse was a puppy on the ground with his wife but rather indifferent to him. He said the horse did really well with a trainer they sent him to a couple years back, and she just loved him. So he really thought that he was just a woman’s horse. I get that – Ern’s Belgian is a man’s horse. He just is. The guy also said the horse wants to go. I wasn’t clear if that meant you had to fight with him all the time to set your own pace or not. Ern asked if we should just take the trailer, as it was over an hour away. I said well, I’ll either really like him or really hate him. It could go either way. And so we took the trailer.

Friday we went to look at him. Ern was out of some groceries so we stopped on the way and ran into Tractor Supply and Sam’s club. We were, of course, late getting on the road. We also had to stop and get a new plug for the trailer (long story). And Ern just doesn’t understand how to be in a hurry. It drives me nuts.

We finally get to the horse at 4:30. And Chester needed fed. So Ern went first to meet the guy and the horse while I fed Chester. Ern later told me that he didn’t like the horse from the moment he saw him. The horse came up to the fence, looked Ern right in the eye, and if he could’ve talked he would have told Ern to get lost.

Anyway, with Chester fed I got out to look at him. He wasn’t anything fancy, and I can’t say it was love at first sight. But there were no deal breakers, either. So I put my new saddle on him, and was happy to find it fit okay. He didn’t want to stand at all when I got on. And then when I did manage to get mounted up, he refused to move. I kicked hard and he just stood there. The guy tried to drag him forward. Not sure what he thought that would accomplish. I just wanted him out if the way. Once the guy finally moved I gave the horse a good slap with the reins (they were 6 miles long and easily reached his flank). That got him going. Then we had to fight the head shaking battle. And then was the battle to get him to stand still. But in the space of 15 minutes I had him gaiting nicely down the road, me relaxed and with just one hand on the reins. In between Ern tried him once for about 30 seconds. They didn’t get on well. But I liked him and after some discussion, Ern talked the guy down to $550 and the horse went on the trailer.

They called him Pacer, but they did have registration papers on him. Sadly they had been ripped in half. Apparently the horse had been part of a custody battle in a nasty divorce at one point. He is registered as Ka-Wa Stormy. I like Stormy better than Pacer, so that’s what I’m calling him. Ern is calling him Nut Ball.

We got home too late Friday for me to do anything with him. This morning was cold, windy, and snowing, but dang it, I was going to ride my horse. So I took him while we fed the dry cows and heifers. He did really well – better than I expected. He didn’t fight me, he gaited well and we cruised along easily outpacing the tractor, he was very soft and responsive, he didn’t pay any mind to the dogs or cows, he did great with the wind flapping the plastic off the bales, and while he wasn’t 100% perfect he did stand fairly well a few times while we waited for Ern to catch up. My only real complaint is that he would not stand to be mounted. Getting on was hard enough being 2 weeks post baby and bundled in heavy boots and coveralls. But that’s something I can work on with him.

More than anything I think the people that had him just didn’t know how to deal with him. The wife he bullied and the husband I don’t think was sensitive enough. He admitted he was a tight legged, country trained rider who just gets on and goes. For some odd reason the show pasos I’ve known have been trained to move toward pressure rather than away from it. These people claimed they broke Stormy but I’m not convinced of that. They also said he was kept stabled the first 6 years of his life. I rather suspect he came from a show barn. He’s just too soft and responsive for me to buy he was broke out by a ya-hoo and then had only a month of trail/endurance training from a random local trainer. Maybe he’s just naturally that way but I doubt it. In any case, so far I’m really happy with him. And if I can just get him to stand for me to get on then I think I’ll have stumbled upon a real bargain.

My phone doesn’t like taking pictures in the snow, but this is all I have of him. Once the weather clears I’ll get better pictures of him.

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