Katie's Journal

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Musical Horses

by @ 4:26 pm on December 29, 2013.

Here I go again. I don’t really mean to do this. I hate the buying and selling of horses all the time. And with every horse that arrives I really am hopeful I’ve found my riding partner that will die on the farm. And for one reason or another it just keeps not working out.

We are gaining in our permanent herd. Sami’s pony Jim is definitely here to stay, and I imagine Boniface is too. Ornery though Boniface can be, he is safe and a good solid cart horse. And he is perfect to go out riding with Sami on Jim.

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And then Ern has his team. Boone is most definitely dying on the farm. He’s a big club, but as steady and solid as they come. He knows his job, is happy to do it, and is just a pleasure to work with and around.

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Bill remains on his potential. He’s only 4, and is a remarkably good boy for his age and no more training than he’s had. With Boone to train him, I truly believe Bill will end up just as good a horse as Boone in a few years.

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Those are our best 4. Then there are our pasture puffs. Junior was Ernie’s first draft horse. I was lied to about him. His training is every bit what they said it would be, and as Ern once put it, he drives like a Lincoln. But oh my his feet. That poor horse has had one hoof abscess after another. He walks sound, though I don’t know how. Ern can’t bring himself to put Junior down (which would be my call), so for now he is just a retired pasture puff that lives with the dry cows. Ern has promised if he gets to the point he seems in chronic pain we’ll put him down. But I agree he doesn’t seem there yet.

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Banner is the mini I bought when Sami was first born. I remember it was during the week of the Buckwheat Festival. Banner can be an ornery little snot. She’s kicked Ern and has nipped several adults. But she is an absolute doll with kids. I was told she was 4 when we got her, but given how much she’s grown since I think she must’ve been younger. At the time she was 36″ tall and in, I believe, a 13″ collar. She’s up to 40″ tall and last I measured a 16″ collar. So sadly she outgrew the nice harness I splurged on for her. She works well to leadline Sami on, although I’ve had trouble finding a saddle that will properly fit her wide back. I don’t trust her for Sami to ride alone (Jim is my go-to pony for that), so she’s mainly just sitting around right now. I do think Sami will have a blast with her in a few years when she’s old enough to really ride by herself, but until then Banner is just another pasture puff. I asked Sami once about selling Banner and it made her cry, so we’re stuck.

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And finally are the two riding horses: one mine, one Ern’s. These two came as a package deal. Mingo is an appy mare, and the only riding horse Ern has ever gotten along with. He hardly ever rides, and we were a hair’s width from selling Mingo. At the last minute, Ern backed out. For all that he hardly ever rides, the rare occasion he does Mingo is his go-to horse. Toro is my Tennessee walker. He’s a good boy. He listens well and is fun to ride, although his gait is not near as smooth as some of the pasos I’ve had. And at 15.2hh, I rather wish he wasn’t so tall. It’s funny because when I was younger, bigger was better and anything under 16h was too small. Now I’m going the other way – at 13.2h the ponies are the perfect height. But at the same time, I get along with Toro, he’s safe, he’s smoother than a trotting horse, and he’s fine to pull out and ride once every 6 weeks. He’s friendly and sweet and comes when called. If his gait was just a little smoother, he’d be perfect. He does have times when it’s really nice, and I often tell myself to just have some patience and wait till I have more time to ride, to see if I can learn to help him find that nice gait all the time.

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So what’s the problem? I miss that ice-smooth get up and go that pasos have. I’ve been keeping an eye out for the potentially perfect paso, and apparently they’re rarer than hen’s teeth. Across the country, every few months I see one listed as kid-safe. Usually they’re small, and more often than not are mares. The rare gelding is $4k+. In no universe will I ever spend that much on a horse (at least not until I win the powerball!). And honestly, I’ve been burned on every single paso I’ve had. Not one has worked out. I’m gun shy of trying again. Sane doesn’t seem to be a quality paso breeders are at all concerned with.

And that brings me to my current position. I found an ad for an icelandic horse gelding. I’ve read that icelandics have a smooth gait like pasos, and are excellent family horses. The Icelandics had enough sense to breed out the crazy, and only keep the nice ones. Years and years ago I saw them at some horse expo or another mom and I had gone to, and they looked like an absolute hoot to ride. Ever since I’ve dreamed of owning one. But not only are they more rare around here than pasos, the few that do turn up are almost always $4k+. I happened to find one in OH for $1200. Thinking maybe there was something major wrong, I caved and wrote just to see. He prefers to tolt over trot, he’s easy to catch, and he’s kid safe on the ground (or so they say). Sigh. So now I’m waiting for videos. I KNOW this is insane. We already have 8 horses. EIGHT. I really don’t want to give up Toro. He’s proven himself as a good boy who is worth keeping. I don’t have time to ride as it is. Baby is due in April, at which point I will have even less time. I’ve never even ridden an icelandic. I may hate the gait 160 miles is a long way to go to find that out. We really don’t have $1200 to spend. If he’s that good, why is he only $1200 when most icelandics are do much more? The list of reasons why it was a bad idea to ever write in the first place could crush a nut. But despite all the reasons I should just let this go, I can’t. And so I’m on pins and needles waiting for video, both hoping he sells out from under me to save me from myself, and hoping he’s still there to go look at next week. Sigh. God help me.

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