So as some of you remember I had to take my gelding to his breeder for him to rehome for me because I have a neuromuscular disease called Myasthenia Gravis. I am giving him away with a contract stating he must be given back to me if they cannot keep him for any reason. Anyways, one girl named Crystal came and tried him and he was obviously too much horse for her. He is REALLY a good boy but a pure bred Arab and he is what he is and she was obviously a beginner even though I told her he needed someone with more experience. Soooo, we said "NO" to that one. Now another girl named Crystal is in love with him. She is supposed to come ride him today. Sweet girl, seems to understand Arabs are "sensitive" etc. etc. Here are my concerns: She is 25 years old and came to see him with her parents (who also have a horse) and her husband. What if she gets pregnant??? What happens to Mischief?? Also, she told me she won't canter him until there is a "bond" reached. Is this code for I'm scared to canter? And if so, Mischief is not the right horse for her. He knows when you are afraid and will test the crud out of you. Not in a dangerous way, just in a bratty way. This girl worked for the humane society, doesn't have a job, and spends every day at the barn.
An arab trainer is coming today with a couple of clients to try him. Pretty soon I am going to have to make a decision. This is so hard!
FYI, first right of refusals are almost impossible to enforce, but you have a much better chance of keeping him safe if you keep up a relationship with the new home and a good eye on him. I think until you see this girl handle him it's really difficult to say. She may be cautious, but not fearful, and as a sensitive horse that tests he is probably better in cautious hands then with a rider that has a noisy hands or an insecure seat. I found that poor riders often overestimate their skills, and that good solid novice riders underestimate their skills.
I think you will know more after you meet the potential adopters. I would try to get a feel for how financially stable they are as well. I am less concerned about a married 25 year old getting pregnant and not riding for a year, then if she does not have well off and supportive family since she is not employed at this time.
At the same time I think that your concern about him not being ridden and used is valid. Since the economy is still shaky and they horse market has really not recovered, a horse that is doing well under saddle and progressing to more training has a much better chance at a secure future than one of a thousand sweet pasture puffs. You have some tough decisions to make.
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I wouldn't worry about her getting pregnant unless she is the only one capable of caring for the horse. If that's the case, I would not sell to her because she needs to have someone on standby for emergencies and plans in case she is not able to take care of the horse for a while - illness, accident, you never know.
Most of the riders I know that have gotten pregnant ended up riding into their third trimester unless there was a complication. Besides, there are ways to exercise most horses that don't involve riding. Lunging, long-lining or driving (if she has or can borrow the equipment), or just letting the horse out into the paddock to get in a good run and graze in a pinch. The break shouldn't hurt anything - we used to go a couple of months after show season exercising the horses this way to let them have a nice vacation. Now, they were a bit 'fresh' the first time or two back under saddle, but they certainly hadn't forgotten anything except what they could and could not get away with ;P
Personally, I would wonder about the cantering thing. I can't think of a single good reason why you would not want to try all the gaits on a horse. If there's a conflict between my riding style and the horse, I want to know right off, not be surprised with it later. Why would she think that cantering needs more bonding than trotting, or just mounting for that matter, unless you've said something that makes her think there is an issue with the canter? Even at that, I would want to experience the issue for myself.
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Thanks All! Well she came out to ride him. I wasn't there, my trainer handled it. I am too emotional and would cry the whole time. Said she had a good seat and soft hands, quiet legs. She was a bit timid, but my trainer pretty much told her to get over it, he is a been there done that type of horse and she needed to just ask and he would do it. Mischief sensed she was nervous and wouldn't go! lol...She would leg him and he would just continue to walk. He has always done this when I put kids on him. So trainer handed her a crop. She didn't have to use it. As soon as she had it he responded immediately to her cues and...she cantered! Trainer said he actually thought they would mesh well. That Mischief could teach her to be more confident. I guess the Arab trainer came out and tried him too, but she was looking for a lesson horse. Both my trainer and I feel Mischief needs his own person. Also, Crystals parents were very involved. My trainer talked to them and feels they would be there if she needed them for financial support or otherwise. So we agreed that Crystal is the one. Contracts will be signed tomorrow and my trainer will deliver him. The place she will board him is nice too. They have a website so I got to see pictures. I'm feeling pretty good about it. Crystal and her parents invited me to come see him whenever I want, and they also invited me to a bar-b-que in about a week so I can come and give Crystal pointers after they have settled in. Now to keep my emotions in check when I go...I will probably be a blubbering idiot!
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