Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our spicy little red head...

The last of our big four legged herd is Sugar. We just got her late last winter. She is a 3 year old registered Quarter Horse mare and she is definately a red head! She is spicy and energetic, but she loves to work, has a very good mind and is cute as a bug! The boyfriend is having a lot of fun on her and I try to be only a little jealous. He does let me ride her every once in a while and she is very nice! He started chasing buffalo on her at the beginning of summer, while I was in the midst of drill season, and then she was the one that he showed at the small cutting shows we went to. She will also be the one he'll be on for the reining series this winter. She is definately still a baby and needs lots more exposure and wet saddle blankets, but she has a great start on her.

We ended up getting her from the same sale we got Mister from, one year later. The sale is just a great excuse for us to take a weekend away. It is a fun place to be, seeing all the horses and checking out the vendors. We took the trailer with us again and ended up getting our tax refunds the day before we were headed down there. Once again, we went down there with the attitude that we didn't NEED to get anything, we had Mister in training and I had my Midori, and though we did practice a lot more restraint, neither of us were surprised to have a horse with us coming home. I also made it thru the whole sale without getting sick. Wohoo!

So Friday we got down there, checked into our hotel and headed to the sale yard. We had already hunted thru the sales book, I guess when you buy a horse, they start mailing you the books. The bastards. We had a good idea of some horses that we wanted to check out and started wandering around the pens. Since it was still early, there were a lot of empty pens but one aisle of the sale barn was mostly full already and we kept going back to look at them. They were all from the same barn and all very nice looking, the smaller cowhorse build, really good condition, just gorgeous.
The next morning more of the pens were full and we started seriously checking horses out and circling or X'ing them out in the book. Eventually we decided that since we really did not need to get a horse, we should just pick ONE that we would spend a little more money on, set a top dollar and wait for that horse. So that's what we did. We ended up back in that barn aisle with all the really nice horses and picked our favorite out of them. The trainer was there hanging around that morning so we chatted with him for a little while, got the scoop on our pick and watched him tack up and jump on. We were both VERY impressed with him. He was very quiet and gentle and you could tell the horses liked him and wanted to please him, but judging by the barn he was with and how well mannered the horses were, I'm sure he could be firm and discipline as needed as well. I think he sold the horse for us as much as anything else. I know there are all sorts of stereotypes with horse auctions and I know I probably sound rather naive, but I really do consider myself a pretty decent judge of character most of the time and this is the kind of guy that I'd want working with my horses!
Our pick's number was later in the day so we wandered around the pens, visited vendors and watched a few horses go thru the sale ring, itching to bid. It was torture seeing horse after horse that we would have been happy to take home go for low prices while anticipating our pick going way over our top dollar. A few of the other horses from that barn came thru and sold for decent prices. One that was our second favorite came thru just a couple horses ahead of our pick and just was not getting a bid. It was sad and we kept giving eachother "the look". The look that says, damn, this sucks, we should just bid! But we didn't. We held back.
Finally our pick came thru. Immediately there were bids. It slowed a little so we bid. We still had a little cushion before our top dollar that we had set. Eventually the auctioneer was just looking at us. But it seemed that we were bidding against eachother or something! Turns out, our biggest competition in bidding was sitting right behind us! Luckily, she stopped bidding on our very last bid. If she would have gone just one more, we would have been over budget and had to say no. After an eternity, the auctioneer said "SOLD" and our number. We both looked at eachother and went holy sh**! We got our horse! I was a little conflicted about winning the bidding war though. We had set our top dollar and stayed under it (barely) but we had, of course, hoped to not actually spend that much. Our tax refunds certainly could have gone to better use! But at the same time, we got our number one pick out of the whole sale! We got our paperwork all taken care of and went to see our new pony. She really is the cutest thing ever. We talked to the trainer some more and admired our new little red head. Complete with the mandatory white sock.

Sunday we headed home and got her all settled in with her new buddy, Midori. Of course they did their little mare thing across the fence for a while, but seemed to get along alright. We also noticed that Sugar had basically no ground manners or patience. That's easy enough to fix though, no biggie. The barn she came from is a big reining barn in the next state. From everything we hear, they have a great reputation, so that is reassuring. They had been shooting for the futurity with Sugar, which I'm not such a huge fan of, but apparently she was a flunky. She was also completely neurotic. She could not stand still for 2 seconds. Not in her paddock, not tied, not even while she was eating! She would take a bite of food, walk a lap around her paddock, come back for another bite and off for another lap. I was mesmerized by her though. Even watching her pace around her paddock, the way she moved and used her butt and would get to a corner, stop and do an amazing rollback, she always moved with her head nice and level and her back rounded. She is naturally very athletic. Eventually we turned her out in the big pasture and watching her run around, she would change leads like nothing, lay tracks in the wet grass and turn on a dime.

We decided to just let her hang out for a while, see what it's like to be a horse. After all, she wasn't even three yet. We worked on some ground manners and she spent lots of hours tied. She must have heard some fabulous things about China at some point, because she is absolutely determined to get there one of these days. This summer we have completely fallen in love with her. She is always willing to pose for me when I head out there with my camera. Which I do quite a bit. She is great to ride, light, responsive...though I usually get to ride after the boyfriend has warmed her up and gotten the edge off. She can be quite the energizer bunny! I did ride her for a bit at a drill practice and she did awesome! She is really fun! I can't wait for her to grow up a bit and see how she does as she matures.

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