Horse trader!

I have been known to sell a horse from time to time. But I don’t make money on the deal. Just doesn’t happen. But I was accused today of “flipping horses to make a buck.” “She gets free horses and then turns around and sells them.” That’s not exactly how it works.

Generally I will get a phone call that so and so has a horse that has not been ridden in 4 years, if ever. Or there is this horse they picked up that is under weight, can’t be caught, bites, kicks, is maybe pregnant, is probably still a stallion, has never had its feet done or a halter on it, is so spoiled it runs people over to get fed, whatever. Somehow these people get MY phone number and they have been “told” that I will take this miserable excuse of a horse. No one ever admits a name of who gave them my name and number. I think there is a secret listing somewhere for horse sucker.

If you know anything about horses, you know you never make any money on a “free” horse. The most expensive horse I have ever owned was a free horse. A free horse is usually in desperate need of farrier care, and it is never a single trim, and oh look how nice their feet are, visit. This is an every 4 week, For several months, major over haul on a horse that objects, strenuously. He has never had his feet done before, and doesn’t care if he can walk. Hey, just throw that hay closer, or better yet get me a round bale and a bag of grain.

They also have never had their teeth floated. It then takes the whole bottle of happy horse injectable and 4 large men and power tools to get this horse having teeth that would not look like something a shark would be proud to own.

Next we get to deal with weight issues. Most free horses are very underweight. Usually with rain rot or even, shudder, lice. So I get to pour food down them, after their teeth are floated, by the bag and bale-ful. Dewormer is next on the list, along with supplements that cost as much as some people (like me) make in a week. Every once in a while, someone will have a 9 year old unbroken, overweight, spoiled, pushy, (but he is registered!) gelding that is ready to founder. Those are the funny ones. They cannot understand why they can’t sell their fat obnoxious, dangerous untrained gelding. “But he is registered!” (But don’t get to close, he will bite you ‘but he is only looking for treats’).

So I get to pour feed, training, time, and of course love, into this horse for the next 2 to 9 months, then I may find him or her the perfect home. I sell these ‘free’ horses for $300 to as much as $1000 depending on the horse. How much is full care board and training? I don’t make any money on these horses. No one could. Most horses I end up with are ones who would likely go to the meat man. A few, I admit to having bought off the meat truck because I thought there was hope of them becoming more than dog food with a little time and effort.

I had a friend get in touch with me last night. She has an Appy gelding that hasn’t been rode in 3-5 years. He is a little underweight. Maybe needs his teeth done and a retrain. Wants to know if I will take him, see if you can get him rideable. Sure I say. I like Appies. Yup, sucker, that’s me.

I guess I am a horse trader, horse flipper, whatever. (Call me what you want, just don’t call me with your 3 legged one eyed, underweight horse, cuz knowing me I would try an fix him). If that is what I am, they wear old boots, drive an older truck, and generally have broken nails and nicks on their hands from fixing fence on the cheap. Cause there is no money in it!

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Riding a friends horse

So I am called up one day and asked if I can come ride a friend’s new horse. She tells me she bought this gelding at the Hermiston sale. He is a registered Quarter horse, and she saw him ridden through the ring. He had been quiet and had impressed her with his composure at the sale, which is loud and has the smell of fear and illness. She brought him home and let him settle in a few days and when she went to saddle him up to ride he was acting “weird” so she wanted me to come check him out.
These kind of calls are the kind I get that make me want to say things like, sorry, I have to go to Tunisia for work and wont be available for the next 2 months. But no, my curiosity is up. I seem to always forget what happened to that damn cat.
I get to Lacey’s house and see a rather pretty Buckskin stallion in her smaller arena. After moving to this place after her Father died, she decided to board horses. She had 24 acres of nice pastures. All separated into 1.5 acre areas, with a half dozen 1/4 acre runs.
I go up and check the buckskin over. He seems very well mannered, and accepts a treat I toss into the arena for him. I give him another scratch and go knock on the door. Lacey and I exchange pleasantries and then I ask her about the gelding she bought. She tells me about watching him be ridden through the sale, how he ignored all the noise and other horses. He was really quiet and hardly even moved around, except when urged to do so. He mostly stood very quietly while they un-tacked him and then jumped back on him bareback. She decided he was the kind of horse she needed as she had been out of horses for several years and was basically starting over. She still had her old mare, but she was arthritic and was just a pet for the kids to occasionally be led around on.
When she had went out the day before to try to ride him, he had been much more animated, had not been very willing to stand still to be saddled, and hopped around so much when she was trying to mount she had become intimidated and had called me. While unsaddling him he had even pulled off the saddle pad himself and had flapped it around before tossing it aside.
I told her to show me the horse. She leads me out to the Buckskin Stallion. I turn and explain that she either brought the wrong horse home, or she did not understand the sale information on the horse, as this is a stallion. She told me he cant be a stallion because he was in with her mare and didn’t try to “do anything” except talk to her, like any new horse. And she was sure the guy selling him had said he was a gelding.
The buckskin as if to prove a point, starts strutting around ‘proudly’ proving his ability to be as manly as any other stallion, while parts of him are at attention. Where as Lacey’s eyes become the size of dinner plates and she makes no, no, no, noises shaking her head rapidly in denial.
“But he was so nice and quiet when he was in the sale yard. He was even quiet and nice when I went and pulled him from the pasture.”
She says he had been turned out with the mares in the main pasture for 2 days when he first came home; the boarders’ mares. Seems like she was going to have to explain the birds and the bees to those who had mares out in the common pasture. I am trying not to chuckle.

I sigh hiding my grin, and tell her the horse was probably drugged at the sale, and when she pulled him out of the pasture, he was probably tired from 2 days with a herd of mares. I will do an evaluation and we will see what he does know, and what kind of training he has, and what he may need.
Buffalo Joe, his registered name, is easily caught. Especially by me the one who had thrown him nummies, and had known the right place to scratch.
He has had some handling, and knows I mean business. He is really smart and keeps his attention on me the whole time. I am a bit impressed, but I also know there must have been a reason they drugged Joe.
I get out her saddle, and immediately set it aside and go grab one out of my truck. For one thing, he needed a saddle with full quarter horse bars as he was much wider than her old mare. For another thing, My ass was not going to fit into a 14″ barrel saddle with room to wiggle or bail fast if I needed to if he decided to be an ass.
He stands still and I get him saddled easily enough. He does not stand as still as a finished well behaved horse, but he is supposedly 4 and may not have had all the ground work he should have. I walk him a bit, do some ground driving and he knows a bit. He even lunges both ways and is giving to me and getting into the work. He has had some training and is enjoying this. Maybe he was only drugged so he would not get too wound up at the sale? Warning bells should have went off in my head, but instead I was relaxing.
I decide I am going to get up on him. By now several boarders have shown up, as well as a curious neighbor. They are all pulling up lawn chairs and chatting, watching “the expert” evaluate this horse. So I have an audience of about 9 people and Lacey.
I grab a cinder block, as I have an artificial left knee, and Joe is about 16hh. I grab the reins and a hunk of mane and swing a leg over Joe. I had almost got into the saddle when it came up to meet me. Hard. I managed to keep the reins and a big handful of mane I had ripped out. The tearing of the mane was an extra power source that made access to his auxiliary batteries, like those toys or flashlight you buy that has the plastic thing between the batteries and the main switch. Or as my daughter said, a rip cord, only I had no parachute.
He didn’t buck. There is no word for what this horse did to my ass. He jumped sideways, he did things cartoon horses do . I remember a cartoon movie when I was a kid about a cowboy raised by coyotes or wolves who meets a girl and she decides to ride his horse on their wedding day and the horse bucks her to the moon, It occurs to me I may be visiting her very soon.
He slips and goes down, I feel my foot hit the ground and the stirrup and the horse’s weight twist my ankle, I feel something pop. Now I am mad and determined that I am going to win this battle. I am not a fancy rider most of the time. I have to concentrate to be a pretty rider, but I have been on a horse since before I could walk and not much can buck me off once I set my mind to staying put. Also there is the audience. I try not to let that influence me, but it does.
Joe sunfishes, and I stay on, he rears then bucks, I stay on. He is covered in sweat and so am I. He races around the small arena and stops abruptly and throws down his head and bucks hard forward, planting his front legs with his head between them. I manage to stay on even though I am slammed in the back of the head by his ass and my neck feels dislocated. I kick him in the sides viciously, only then realizing I only have one boot still on. He is startled and takes a step forward. I hear “good boy” come out of my mouth, wondering about how I said that to this horse I wanted to strangle, then eat with BBQ sauce, after I get out of the hospital anyway.
His ears pricked up though. I said it again. “Good boy……Walk out.” The same command I gave him when ground driving him. He takes a few tentative steps. He looks at me, and I look at him. I pat him on the shoulder. I squeeze my leg a bit and say, “walk out boy.” We walk around the arena about 20 steps. I pat him on the shoulder making much over him, telling him what a good boy he is. I decide to get off and stop on a good note.
I step off and when my right foot hits the ground I scream and collapse to the ground, having forgotten about my broken ankle. I scare him and he starts jumping around stomping all over me. I woke up in the hospital and not the moon, which I guess is better than I saw this turning out. I still had some mane hairs wrapped up in my fingers of my left hand. I had 2 broken ribs, a broken ankle, a concussion and whiplash.
2 months later, I went out and got on Buffalo Joe again. No one else had any intention of getting on him, so when I was better I felt it was my job. He didn’t even try to buck with me again. A month after I finished his training Lacey sold Joe as a Stallion to a very nice woman from Montana who wanted a stallion to show and breed. Lacey was too afraid to try to ride him after seeing the events of my first ride on him.
There were 7 very cute foals at Lacey’s place next spring. Even her old Arthritic mare had a cute little Buckskin Colt. I did not offer to break him out when he was old enough.

My day went to the Dog

I have not been feeling up to writing for a while, was sick for a time. Now I am feeling better and the words are starting to flow again.
I was feeling pretty good this morning, fed the horses, took my friend to work at a new job, dropped the boy off at school….Things were going great. Came home and cleaned the house. Cleaned the bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed. the works. Even washed the dog bed covers. Yes, I only have one dog, and yes, she has 2 beds. Sigh. I get all done and decide the house smells like dog. Um…. No, the dog smells like dog. Time to wash the dog. I decide I am going to be all prepared. I put on a bathing suit, mix the shampoo with water and put it and the rub a dub dub dog scrubber ( I kid you not, that is what it is called,) in the shower in preparation. I get out the old towels and get them all ready. We are set.

I then decide that brushing her to get rid of all the extra loose hair will make clean up easier. Sounds like a good idea, right? Worked 40 minutes and got off a good bit of hair. Now we are really ready!

My dog is a German Shepard and though well trained is spoiled rotten, and weighs a good 90 pounds or so. She doesn’t weigh as much as me, but she has 2 more legs for leverage and is pretty sure the bath is a really, really bad idea. I should have listened to her.

I finally get her into the shower stall and am getting myself in with her. I am getting worn out already. The opposite shower door is open a tiny crack, she gets her nose in there and flings it into me and bolts. I get a really nice bruise on my hip. Argh!

Again, I get the dog into the shower after using a zip tie to make sure the opposite door cannot be opened.

I Scrub and scrub poor Grey and am sure I was in a delusional state when I thought I was brushing off all the loose hair. Either that or the dog gets wet as a protective action it sheds all the wet hair. Handfuls and handfuls of wet dog hair. I am scooping it out of the drain and flinging it onto a pile on the seat in the shower. It will eventually fill up half a plastic grocery bag. Do German Shepard’s have that much hair? I took a whole grocery bag of hair off her earlier, but it was all dry and fluffy. Where did this all come from? She certainly doesn’t look to have lost any hair at all!

I am rinsing all the shampoo off and she decides to start shaking. More hair. All over the walls and shower doors. And me. I look like I have not shaved my legs since the Paleolithic. After getting her rinsed off and trying to get as much water out of her coat as possible, which has become 20 times thicker somehow, even after losing 30 pounds of hair, I let her out of the shower and try to towel her off. She is still shaking massive amounts of water and hair. Now it is covering the bathroom counters, doors, walls and cupboard doors.

I towel her off, using all 7 towels, all now soaking and covered with hair. I do not want to use my good towels on her so this is as good as it is gonna get. She seems drier. Not dry but dry enough when she shakes, there is only the sound of flapping jowls and ears and not the sound of a power washer spraying the walls.

I let her out of the bathroom so I can try to clean up the once pristine bathroom. I wipe off the counter and cupboards first so no water spots, then scrape all the hair form the shower. Then I take a shower again to remove the smell of dog and the hair. Then I clean the shower again. That makes 3 times today! I am exhausted. I finally get the bathroom clean and am thinking a nap sounds like a fine idea. It is only 10 am but I got up at 4am and I am telling myself I deserve a nap. I have worked hard and am wiped out.

Then I see the rest of the house I just cleaned and vacuumed this morning. I nearly fainted. Grey must have decided she was not nearly dry enough. She has rolled on every carpet, leaving a nice coating of hair, (More hair? Really?) all over the carpets. She also seemed to have walked back and forth along the couches covering the front of them as well. Those dog bed covers I had washed and used fabric softener on? Yep, you are right. She managed to cover those too.

Then I look out the kitchen window, and the 5 month old fillies have snuck out of the fence again and are helping themselves to a mid morning snack. I get them corralled and heave my tired butt back into the house.

I decided to sit down, have another cup of coffee instead of a nap. Then I write this down to share with you all, and soon, but not too soon, I will get up and clean the house again.

But the dog looks and smells great! Until I let her outside again anyways.

Moral to this story?

Hire a housekeeper, take the dog to the groomer and go get a mani-pedi or a stiff drink!

My Day Went to the Dog……

 I was feeling pretty good this morning, fed the horses, took my friend to work at a new job, dropped the boy off at school….Things were going great. Came home and cleaned the house. Cleaned the bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed. the works. Even washed the dog bed covers. Yes, I only have one dog, and yes, she has 2 beds. Sigh. I get all done and decide the house smells like dog. Um…. No, the dog smells like dog. Time to wash the dog. I decide I am going to be all prepared. I put on a bathing suit, mix the shampoo with water and put it and the rub a dub dub dog scrubber ( I kid you not, that is what it is called,) in the shower in preparation. I get out the old towels and get them all ready. We are set.

I then decide that brushing her to get rid of all the extra loose hair will make clean up easier. Sounds like a good idea, right? Worked 40 minutes and got off a good bit of hair. Now we are really ready!

My dog is a German Shepard and though well trained is spoiled rotten, and weighs a good 90 pounds or so. She doesn’t weigh as much as me, but she has 2 more legs for leverage and is pretty sure the bath is a really, really bad idea. I should have listened to her.

I finally get her into the shower stall and am getting myself in with her. I am getting worn out already. The opposite shower door is open a tiny crack, she gets her nose in there and flings it into me and bolts. I get a really nice bruise on my hip. Argh!

Again, I get the dog into the shower after using a zip tie to make sure the opposite door cannot be opened.

I Scrub and scrub poor Grey and am sure I was in a delusional state when I thought I was brushing off all the loose hair. Either that or the dog gets wet as a protective action it sheds all the wet hair. Handfuls and handfuls of wet dog hair. I am scooping it out of the drain and flinging it onto a pile on the seat in the shower. It will eventually fill up half a plastic grocery bag. Do German Shepard’s have that much hair? I took a whole grocery bag of hair off her earlier, but it was all dry and fluffy. Where did this all come from? She certainly doesn’t look to have lost any hair at all!

I am rinsing all the shampoo off and she decides to start shaking. More hair. All over the walls and shower doors. And me. I look like I have not shaved my legs since the Paleolithic. After getting her rinsed off and trying to get as much water out of her coat as possible, which has become 20 times thicker somehow, even after losing 30 pounds of hair, I let her out of the shower and try to towel her off. She is still shaking massive amounts of water and hair. Now it is covering the bathroom counters, doors, walls and cupboard doors.

I towel her off, using all 7 towels, all now soaking and covered with hair. I do not want to use my good towels on her so this is as good as it is gonna get. She seems drier. Not dry but dry enough when she shakes, there is only the sound of flapping jowls and ears and not the sound of a power washer spraying the walls.

I let her out of the bathroom so I can try to clean up the once pristine bathroom. I wipe off the counter and cupboards first so no water spots, then scrape all the hair form the shower. Then I take a shower again to remove the smell of dog and the hair. Then I clean the shower again. That makes 3 times today! I am exhausted. I finally get the bathroom clean and am thinking a nap sounds like a fine idea. It is only 10 am but I got up at 4am and I am telling myself I deserve a nap. I have worked hard and am wiped out.

Then I see the rest of the house I just cleaned and vacuumed this morning. I nearly fainted. Grey must have decided she was not nearly dry enough. She has rolled on every carpet, leaving a nice coating of hair, (More hair? Really?) all over the carpets. She also seemed to have walked back and forth along the couches covering the front of them as well. Those dog bed covers I had washed and used fabric softener on? Yep, you are right. She managed to cover those too.

Then I look out the kitchen window, and the 5 month old fillies have snuck out of the fence again and are helping themselves to a mid morning snack. I get them corralled and heave my tired butt back into the house.

I decided to sit down, have another cup of coffee instead of a nap. Then I write this down to share with you all, and soon, but not too soon, I will get up and clean the house again.

But the dog looks and smells great! Until I let her outside again anyways.

Moral to this story?

Hire a housekeeper, take the dog to the groomer and go grab some leather and a good horse and go for a ride!

 

Rant warning and Thank You Big Dee’s

 I order tack online all the time. I always need another halter, another lead rope, brush or a fly mask. It is an addiction I know.  Everyone with horses knows this is an unending cycle. I have enough tack, like bridles and saddles, to start my own tack shop, but the every day items seem to walk off or break. I have ordered from every tack store online. I keep going back to Big Dee’s because they have awesome customer service and there stuff has better quality. Also their people are great when I ever call them for anything. I have yet to get someone who is cranky or pissy, they all have a pleasant demeanor and a sense of humor.  I have ordered form them for at least 20 years! First from their catalogs, then online.

 I now have decided never to order from anyone else after ordering form one of their competitors. I got an email solicitation from Chicks that had a $10 off coupon. Well everyone wants to save a few dollars. So I placed an order. When ever I ordered from any other place I usually got an email in a day or 2 with tracking info. Big Dee’s usually sends one the same day if I order in the morning. I called Chicks after 3 days of no email thinking maybe I had put my email in wrong. Nope, they tell me they don’t fill orders or ship for 3-5 days! So I wait. Then I get a partial order and the fly masks are missing and a burgundy halter too. I call them, they are on back order so I tell them to cancel them as I am going to go buy some as I need them NOW and have already waited almost 2 weeks. I call up Big Dees and order my fly masks and they put them in the mail that day, I got them 2 days later. All of a sudden the other day I get some fly masks from Chicks, I had canceled the order! Then they are very cheap and poor quality and the stitching is pulling out and not even on a horse yet. Then I get an email from my bank, Fraudulent activity inquiry. Chicks has charged me 2 more times for the order. I call them and tell them I do not want these fly masks and I had canceled the order. Also they have charged me two more times. The guy is not very friendly and acts like I am wasting his time! He tells me I should take this up with my bank! I am not feeling the love here, and am not very happy with Chick’s at this point. I tell him I did not want these fly masks, I had canceled the order, and I want these charges off my bank card and I want to send these masks back.  He finally tells me to keep the fly masks and he will take the charges off. The fly masks are mine to keep free. Fine, that works, I can try to stitch them up and use them for spares or something. I am feeling better about them, they will handle it, right? Um….. Ok, that was yesterday. I check my in on my online banking today and they have taken one charge off, BUT they have charged me for 3 fly masks! And one of the extra charges is still on there! So now I have paid for the whole order twice, and then again for the fly masks I do not want! So, to sum it up, I paid double for the wormers and halters, triple for the crappy fly masks, and now they are closed for the weekend! It is a good thing I got a $10 off coupon, which by the way was not applied to the order when they charged me the second time! I have paid $193.84 for my $79.97 original order, oh but wait, they charged me extra shipping for the fly masks too, because they were not shipped with the original order! That brings the total up to 205.67. I am so glad I order online to save money!

 I called Big Dee’s today and told them I will never shop anywhere else. I had gotten my fly mask order from them that one item was not the right one. It was a sticker for the trailer that said “CAUTION HORSES” but I had ordered a sign that said caution horse crossing. They tell me they are so sorry and for me to just keep the stickers and they would send out my sign asap. I am so grateful they are so nice and all, that I order some halters too.

The lessons I learn

I get a call the other morning, these people have seen my facebook page and need some help with a horse they have and want me to come evaluate her prior to them selling her. I have some free time and it is not far away, a couple extra bucks for an evaluation are always welcome. I head on over, it sounds fairly easy. I am so freaking stupid some times.
The Mare is very cute, not the greatest conformation, but passable. She has a really cute head and neck, but she has a look in her eye that tells me there is less sugar than spice in this little girl. They had told me they thought they should be able to get $4000 for her, I am halving that right off the bat.
I ask the couple about her back ground. The mare was register able, but they had never bothered, they still have all the paperwork though. I explain at her age this is not cheap and easy, so most people will not be interested in her for her papers as it will cost them a fair bit of change and so she therefore would not be sold at the price of a registered horse. They are not happy about this and argue the point. I finally have to explain, if the mare as a registered horse is worth $2000, you don’t get $2000. Because to register her it will cost the new owners $600, and so that means she would have the value of a grade mare. They can try to register her themselves and pay out the $600 and then try to get $2000 for her, and may only get $1200, then they have only gotten $600 for her, so they are better off trying to sell her for $1000 if she rides well and then use the fact they can register her if they want to as a selling point.
They are needing to sell her as they are moving out of state. They bought her when she was young, then sent her off for training for 60 days to a woman in Scottsdale when she was 3. The woman charged $800 a month for board and training and they hoped to be able to get some money back when they sold her. (This generally never happens, just so you know.) Nothing was ever really done with her once she came back, she had not been ridden since leaving training. I asked them why they did not contact the woman who did the training when they were getting ready to move, the man replied that they had wanted to, but she was no longer there and they had been unable to find her. Also the people at the stable did not want to talk about her or provide any information. This sounds a little fishy to me, but I let it pass for now.
They tell me they cannot get a halter on her and that is why her feet are long. They are really not too bad, she has the type of feet that wear pretty well and have no major chips or cracks. Her feet are a bit long, but really look ok. The mare will go into the trailer to have her grain, so she has been to the vet for her shots and de-wormer, the vet just did them while she was in the trailer through the side door. I tried to go up to the mare to even pet her, and she was having none of it. I asked about that and they said they didn’t pet or scratch her as someone had told them she would get spoiled. (Yes, my horses are spoiled rotten.) I felt a little bad for her at this point, there were no other horses there, and none close by, and the owners did not even have a dog for company for her. So instead of chasing her around or roping her, we put grain in the trailer and she hops right in. I opened the side door and put a halter on her, then after she had her grain, I let her out with her halter and lead on. She fussed around for a bit, but not really trying to be bad or anything. I picked up her feet and she was actually pretty good about it. The man had some tools as he had taken the 2 week horse shoeing course thinking it would save them money if he could trim his own horses. So we cleaned up her feet a bit. The guy actually was not bad at trimming for only having taken the 2 week course.
I tied her up ad she fought it for a few minutes, but settled down after she found she could not get away. I started scratching her and trying to find her sweet spot and she acted like I was molesting her. I finally found she like having her belly scratched behind where the cinch went. She acted pretty ticklish in the cinch area for a horse that had 60 days training on her, but I figured she had not had anything done with her for 2 years so maybe she was just more ticklish than some. My estimation of my intelligence is rapidly declining as I write this. I should have had some inkling of what was coming.
I got out their saddle and it really fit her pretty well. They had bought it from the trainer. She acted pretty raw about the whole process of being saddled, but wasn’t mean, just antsy. I should have been using my brain at this point, but nope.
I walked her around until I got the hump out of her back, stopping to scratch her and tell her what a good girl she was. I took her over to the built in mounting block they had. So I throw my leg over her and realize immediately I should not have had the saddle on her, or me, or even the non existent dog. This horse had NEVER had anyone on her back before. She starts hopping around, she is confused and scared. I can’t step off her without scaring her more and potentially one of us getting hurt. It is not that easy when you are old like me to gracefully hop out of, and clear a saddle, when the horse is trying to buck and jumping around. If you admire older riders for staying on a bucking horse and riding it out, keep in mind it is because we are too old to get off easily. I figure I am in it for the long run at this point, so I keep talking to her in a calm voice. She has no balance and doesn’t even know how to buck right now, so basically she is just jumping around, stumbling and trying to figure out how I got up there and how to make me go away. She was like a perpetual motion machine. She kept going for what seemed like an hour but was probably only about 5 minutes. But if you have ever been on a fractious horse, 5 minutes is forever. She did one pretty good jump and came down wrong and went to her knees when she couldn’t balance. This scared her and she stopped hopping around. She stood there huffing and puffing like she had just ran a marathon, and I took this opportunity to hop off while she was holding still. I may have been stupid for getting up there, but all the jumping around had gotten my brain going again. Me hopping off actually didn’t spook her, which I took as a good sign.
The couple come over to us at this point and ask me why I had made her do all that, and why I didn’t just ride her? I turn and look at them unable to even speak yet and wondering what in the heck they were even thinking? After I catch my breath and loosen the mares cinch and give her a couple good scratches and turn to them and ask them why in the name of little green apples would they think I had “made” the horse do that? They both look a little confused.
Then I then ask some questions I was obviously too stupid to ask before I threw my leg over an untrained mare. “Did you ever watch this woman you paid to train your horse ride her? Did she ever send you video of her riding her? Did she say how many days a month she was actually going to ride her? Why would you pay someone $800 a month to do work for you and not make sure they actually were doing something? This mare has never had anyone on her back before, she has no idea how to balance weight, and was scared and confused. I would never have gotten on this poor girl if I had any idea she had never been ridden. You threw away your $1600 and it is a good thing you never tried to ride her!”
They really did not want to believe me, only me offering to video tape one of them getting on her made any impression at all and that was not much of one. Then a young cowboy wandered over, he was their neighbor who works at the local feed lot. He asks them what is going on and that he thought they had said this mare was broke? They say she was broke and then told him about sending the mare up to Scottsdale to be trained and how I was trying to tell them the mare had never been ridden or trained, and would he get on her? He shook his head no, and said he could see she wasn’t broke and there was no way he was getting on her. He asked them if the trainer was named such and such and they agreed it was the same one. He then goes on to tell them that that woman had actually been a fraud, having the same name of a big name trainer, she had went to several stables and using the name, taken in many horses for training, never doing much of anything, then moving on with a lot of other peoples money, tack and whatever else she could get a hold of including some horses she had taken in “trade” for her training. She had finally been caught, and was now in prison for fraud, theft, animal abuse and neglect, identity theft, breaching a contract, horse theft and many other things.
The owners are very upset about all this and I can understand their point of view. Then they ask what the mare is worth. I am kind of floored at this point and tell them whatever they can get is what she is worth. If they can find someone who wants an unregistered, unbroken, mare who is not socialized at all, they should take what they can get. They come back with “Can we get our $1600 back?” No I tell them, you threw that away. It is like you took your car in to a mechanic to get a new motor and never looked under the hood or tried to start the car for 2 years. You will be very fortunate to get $400 for her. They ask what I would give them for her? Nothing, I don’t want her. They tell me I can train her and make a lot of money. No, I tell them, I can’t. She isn’t worth that much even trained, she doesn’t have great bloodlines, she isn’t all that exceptional, she may come around to liking people but the horse market sucks. If I put 90 days into her, then I would maybe be able to sell her for $800 if I am lucky, and I would be out 90 days of hay, and 90 days of my work, besides the fact she isn’t thrilled with people and objected to me on her back. They are now mad at ME, and tell me to leave. Oh well.
What I have learned that I had forgotten, don’t believe anything anyone says about a horse, don’t get on a horse you don’t know with a saddle on or at all, always ask for your money for an evaluation up front or they may decide not to pay you, and bruises on your seat tend to hurt more than when you were young!

Brita and the crazy

Of course when you have horses, eventually you will have to sell one. It happens. For whatever reason, you need to rehome a horse, either to cut down, you and the horse are not a good match, you are contracted to sell it for someone else, or you picked up the horse to train and now it is time for it to move on, or whatever. Now comes the fun part,  The Horse Shopper. Now these come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all nationalities. That is fine. It is the common sense level that usually concerns me. There are some people are concerned and informed horse people with the ability to consider all new information, know that what works for one horse does not always work for another, and make great horse owners, others that are just misinformed, some that admit to being ignorant, some that are new and want to learn. I have no problem with any of the aforementioned people. Then comes the people that are dangerously stupid and  think they know EVERYTHING. These people have read or heard something about one horse and true or not that is their law. They will not believe anything other than what they believe even if shown evidence from the Pope, their favorite TV personality, or Me the one who has owned and trained the horse. They know more about everything than any one else ever and everyone else is stupid, liars and/or wrong. Those are the ones that make my head hurt. 

I had a mare to sell and placed an ad for her.  The mare was 5 years old and registered Quarter Horse. (Most Registries require a genetic testing and then their papers are marked as such) The mare had been registered as a 2 month old, with baby pictures on the registration that matched the markings on the mare.  I had this mare since she was 3 years old, and had broke and trained her. I had bought her from the breeder, who owned the Sire and Dam. People I knew very well and had bought many horses from and had trained many of theirs.

 This woman started right in on this mare that I was wrong about her age and I had been lied to, as this mare was obviously not a Quarter Horse at all, but was in fact a Morgan. She told me she could tell by looking at her (not her teeth even but looking at her over the fence) that she was at least 16 years old. She also knew she was a Morgan because she was too tall to be a Quarter Horse, that QH are all under 15 hands high and are much wider built. Since this mare was almost 16 hands high she was a Morgan. She went on to tell me that Morgan’s are all over 16 hands and All Quarter Horses are 14 hands to 15 hands. I thought I was talking to a rational human and tried to explain that the breed characteristics of the Morgan horse actually state a Morgan is generally between 14.1 and 15.3 Hands high, but there have been some bigger or smaller. And the Quarter Horse states no standard size at all, but that many foundation QH were 14 hands to 15 hands and that the racing QH were up to 17 hands, some even taller. She said who ever told me that was stupid and knew nothing about horses at all. (I have actually Judged a few shows in my time, and happen to know many breed characteristics)  

 She then pointed out my Stallion and told me she knew the people who used to own him and had raised him. I explained that was impossible as I had bought him at 2 days old and brought him home at 4 months, he had never been raised or owned by anyone but me. She gave me a strange look and then went on to tell me I didn’t need to lie to her, she knew the only people who raised Palominos in the area, and I could not have raised him. Huh? Only one place raises Palominos? What about me? I had about 8-12 hit the ground every spring for the last 5 years. I decided not to argue the point. By this time I just wanted to get rid of this nut job. She then told me my horses were not in good shape, they were too fat and needed better feed. That you needed to see their ribs a little like race horses, those horses were in the best condition. My horses were too bulky and fat. Since I had Quarter horses and Appaloosas, they are not built anything like Thoroughbred race horses. They were all of a heavier brand than any racehorse and were all worked daily, so were pretty heavily muscled.  

 She then started telling me that what I was feeding was not good enough feed and my horses would “literally starve to death” on it as it did not have enough calories or nutrition. Wait a just a darn minute, first my horses are too fat, now they are starving? You can’t have it both ways lady. I made a comment that maybe I had better call a vet and have him check out my too fat starving horses. She nodded and stated that was a good idea, but she could help me become better informed on feed as not many vets knew as much as she did about horse feed. Ho boy, what an ego!

 By now, I am getting a bit testy, and am making snarky remarks, which she either does not hear over her wonder at her own brilliant edification of horse knowledge she is imparting to me, or is too stupid to understand that I am insulting her. My stable girl is suddenly finding things to do in our general area and snickering. I suggest that since she is not finding my horses to her liking, I will stop wasting her time and she is free to leave. But oh no, she is not done pissing me off yet, or entertaining my stable girl, who is making funny noises behind her hand and has suspiciously cleaned the round pen next to us for much too long without emptying the wheelbarrow.

 My new expert on what I am doing wrong, (I already had an ex husband and a Mother, I really did not need anyone else to tell my what I did wrong) Has decided that she has nothing better to do than stay at my barn and annoy me. She starts telling me her training methods, and how she has been riding and training for over 4 years. That she has even shown a bit. She tells me this like I should be highly impressed. She tells me all about how she was taking lessons for a while but then stopped as she realized she was a much better rider than the person giving her lessons. she said her trainer agreed that she could not teach her anything. This made my stable girl start choking and I shot her a dirty look. She could be helping me run of the crazy instead of laughing, even though if I were in her position I would probably have done the same.

 She tells me to saddle up a black gelding I have, and she wants to see how he rides. I tell her he is not for sale and he would not let her ride him even if I wanted to sell him. (He had less tolerance for idiots than I did) She laughs and tells me she knows better and all horses are for sale and I am just trying to run up his price. Karen, the stable girl, with a malicious gleam in her eye offers to go and get the geldings tack. She knows this particular horse is an asshole to everyone, including me on occasion, but that I am the only one who he lets ride him on a regular basis. I do not want her killed, just off my property. I tell Karen to saddle up Brita. Karen smirks broadly and runs and gets the mare. This mare is very highly trained, but she is smarter than most people and if she decides you are not a good rider, she just parks her ass in the middle of the arena and refuses to move. Or her other little trick is to run back and forth across the arena at high speed, sliding to a stop at each end and whipping around to go the other way. Trained as a reining horse, she is hard to stay seated on when she pulls this unless you are prepared and have a deep saddle and good seat. She could lose most riders within 4 runs, more for good riders. She had lost one guy in 2 runs. Brita could also run straight forward with her head turned into your knee. She would only respond to leg aides, which I was betting this woman did not know or use. I may not be able to get rid of her, but I could have some fun right?

  Brita was a striking Buckskin Appaloosa with a blanket. The woman was thrilled and I told her how highly trained she was and showed her the awards and ribbons on Brita’s stall door. Telling the woman how this horse was so smart and highly trained this was the horse she needed. I am not very nice sometimes, and as I have said, I am probably going to hell. As a side note, Brita was not for sale, but this was just for me and my stable girl’s amusement. We got her all tacked up in her nicest show tack and she looked like a million dollar pony. The crazy lady takes her to the arena and mounts up. That alone was really amusing for me and Karen. I had never seen anything like her technique. She goes up to the side of the mare and standing in front of her shoulder facing the back of the horse, she puts her foot in the stirrup and holding the saddle horn swings from the stirrup and horn catching her heel on the saddle and is trying to pull her self up. Her head at this point is lower than her butt. I swear that Brita rolled her eyes, but she ever budged. Karen shoved the crazy up into the saddle at which point the crazy blamed Karen and Brita for her trouble stating the horse needed more work if she was going to move out from under people trying to mount her, and that Karen should not have interfered. What happened next should have been on America’s funniest videos. Crazy tried to make Brita move. Brita flicked an ear. That was it, her only response to crazy flapping the reins and actually kicking her. After I saw the flapping reins and flapping legs, I started thinking that this may not be so funny anymore, as Brita had never had anyone this stupid on her and I was not sure what she would do. After 4-5 minutes of the crazy trying all her rein flapping and kicking, looking like she was humping the saddle trying to get the horse to move and cussing, Brita looked like she was going to sleep. Karen and I were laughing out loud now and I started to say enough, you need to get off my horse and go check your self back into whatever ward you escaped from, when she did the one thing guaranteed to make Brita move, she smacked her with the reins. Brita ran to the end of the arena at high speed, slid to a stop, reared up on her back feet and turned completely around and came down running again. Amazingly, crazy was still in the saddle. She was making a high keening noise and had the reins pulled up to her chin. Brita was in revenge mode though and was not paying the least attention. I had not really thought this through. I had no way to slow or catch Brita, or do anything to get crazy off except the inevitable crash. She made even the next course reversal, but was half out of the saddle. Now the keening had changed to a repetition of whoa, whoa, whoa. Karen stepped into Brita’s path and held out an apple she had secreted in her pocket. Brita did another lovely sliding stop in front of Karen, and crazy was launched. I was not in the right spot it seemed, as she landed on me. Crazy started in on us putting her on an unbroken horse, then Karen interfering with her “training methods” and making the horse throw her. Before I knew what she was going to do, she shoved past Karen and raised her hand to hit my horse. At which point Karen grabbed her and I lost all amusement and threatened to blow holes in her fancy car with my shotgun if she did not immediately remove herself from my property.  Crazy did not believe me at first, but when I put Brita in her stall and grabbed my shotgun and a box of shells she ran for her car, screaming she was going to call the cops. Karen had the hiccups and tears rolling down her face, Brita had her apple. Me? I had bruises from a crazy half again my size landing on me at a high rate of speed, and cops in my barn laughing at me and drinking all my Coca-Cola.