Still on the Hunt

December 26, 2012

This past Sunday I tried another pony.  Buddy, a 13.1h, 10year old grullo paint gelding.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive, through pretty small town Virginia, and I arrived timely and hopeful.

Buddy was just being brought in from the field and tied up.  I immediately approved of his size.  Truly 13.1 with a thick build, Buddy fit my criteria.  His owner was extremely friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her about his past and reason for selling.  I feel like she was very honest, and told me that Buddy had originally come through the Amish, but had been used as a hunter lesson and show pony for the past two years, but is very adverse to jumping.  His teeth checked out, and he politely picked up his feet and stood placidly to be brushed and tacked.

His owner hopped on first, and put Buddy through his paces for me.  I noticed straight away that Buddy was very slow and plodding, typical of a lesson pony.  He took a few funny steps at the trot, but I am unsure if he was preparing to pick up a canter or stepped on something.  When he jogged out he looked just fine.

I climbed on Buddy, who stood nicely for mounting.  He plodded along with me as well.   He politely picked up a walk, trot and canter, on nothing other than voice command, and pulled up with the slightest signal, but each gate was performed at the slowest possible speed.  I asked Buddy to move out, and he did, reluctantly.  It was a contradiction of his usual riding requirements, and he did step out slightly, he did so very unhappily.

I brought along some games equipment, and trotted and cantered through flag movements with ease.  I also picked and placed a ball off of and onto a cone with perfect success.

I discussed my concern of his lack of speed with his owner and she offered for me to ride around some barrels outside of the riding ring.  So I gave it a try.  Buddy cantered a barrel turn with ease and experience, and I decided to push for more.  So coming out of another barrel turn I gave Buddy a big kick, landing on the flank.  He let out a few big bucks, nearly unseating me.  I lost both irons, and grabbed mane.  He zagged a few times and then took off, around the outside of the ring toward a small herd of field mates.  Once I had my seat back, I pulled up, and Buddy instantly put on the breaks and dropped back to a plodding walk.

I decided to think about it for a day or two.  I asked myself, could he be ready to compete by spring.  Yes.  Do I see him as the pony I want?  No.  Essentially it was his attitude that turned me off.  He did what was asked of him, but he was not happy to do it.  He did not show that heart I am looking for.  I don’t want a pony that will play games or be ridden because he has to.  I want a pony that *wants* to be ridden.

So the hunt continues.  ho hum.

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