Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shopping for a New Horse Part 2 - Test Drive!

Here's Bob, my possible new horse, with my friend and trainer (Frainer) Rachel during one of our recent "test drives".  I've asked Rachel to assist me in assessing Bob to make sure he's the right horse for me. 

Rachel has worked with me for over two years and knows my riding strengths and weaknesses which are pretty weak right now as I hadn't been riding much since I'd brought Poco home in March of the wettest spring in history. 

Bob is a Registered AQHA 15-year old Sorrell Gelding.  He's 15.1 hands with a history of working at a feed lot in his earlier years.  For the past eight years Bob has attended sorting events and been on many trail/overnight camping trips.

Our test drives always start with ground work.  Our first drive found Bob was "goosy" and "touchy".  Rachel spent most of her time on the ground desensitizing Bob and then briefly rode him.  I didn't ride the first day but observed her techniques and results.

Bob hadn't been as calm as I'd like.  We took into consideration that he was at a new place and isolated from any other horses for the first time in eight years.  I also wondered about his diet.  Bob had been getting a flake of Alfalfa and Orchard Grass at feeding time.  I decided to eliminate the Alfalfa and put him on straight Orchard Grass.

We're happy to find that Bob is now much calmer.  Here's Rachel doing some ground work to check on how sensitive he is.

Bob's sensitivity level has dropped dramatically (good).  We find he's a willing partner, trying his best to give us what we want.  He's pretty smart too.  He may not know how to do what we ask but figures it out quickly and doesn't forget the next time.

Bob has a soft mouth and neck reins on a dime.

This picture is a good example of how hard Bob tries to do the right thing.  From what we understand he's never been ridden in a snaffle yet he picked right up on it.  Hmmm, I wonder if there might be a future for schooling shows in Bob.

Bob's gaits are smooth; he responds promptly and moves off your leg nicely.  He also has good brakes.

That's one thing about being up on Bob, I can't take the pictures and Rachel is busy coaching us so neither can she.  We have to settle on whomever else is there or go without them.

So far Rachel and I have given Bob a thumbs up.  We'll keep working him on the ground and riding him for the rest of this week.  We'll be taking him down our private gravel road and riding him out in my pastures next to see how he does.  Pre-purchase is scheduled for Friday so stay tuned!


  1. Wow, sounds like you might have a winner right off the bat.

  2. I like how Bob's owner is allowing you to test drive him. She obviously wants what's right for you and for Bob. Hope the upcoming rides meet your expectations!

  3. He sounds wonderful and looks hope you guys work out, most trail horses are calm and placid I find. Love the photos ! Have a great day !

  4. So promising! He sure looks like a nice fellow and he seems to move very well, too.

    I hear ya on the alfalfa. Some folks say that it doesn't make a difference, but I do think it does for some horses. My mare is an air fern and alfalfa makes her fat, but it also makes her jumpy, moody and overly sensitive to outside stimuli.
    I've only fed her alfalfa for two weeks since I've owned her and during those two weeks she kicked me in the face and another time in the hip.