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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

May 18, 2011

I spoke at length with the vet about both of these horses

All things considered it is going to be a HARD choice.  Of course when I ride them, I may just naturally have a preference.

The mare is registered, thoroughbred, 15 hands, in your pocket personality, came from a killer pen in very rough shape.  Now healthy and in good weight, good feet, oblivious to needles, not dominent, loves grooming and fussing over, walk, trot, canter on a loose rein.  Nothing seems to trouble her with Vet handling (shots etc).  She is actually ready to turn 7 yrs.  Bay.  Has trail experience, but is still in training.  Calm, tractible, and willing.  She has been ridden solo, and they don't know how she'd react to horses blowing past her.  She loves to canter and will play out in the field.  No vices, no health issues.  She won't load a straight load but is great with a slant. She has no experience on the road.  She is a hay burner, eats more hay than the gelding and drinks more water than the gelding.

The gelding actually they aren't "sure" he has arab cross.  They are basing that on his size 14.1 hands, and the way he's built in his backend.  He was abandoned in a field by owners who moved, and he and his pasture buddy later broke out and were on the loose for three weeks in search of food and water.  He is sorrel in color, "bombproof" but energetic.  He is not a warm and fuzzy horse, but is all business about his job.  He's sensitive to rein, seat, and leg, walks, trots, canter on a loose rein, 7 yrs.  He is a good solo trail horse, and not likely to get upset with other horses blowing by. He is an easy keeper.  He may need a special saddle has he has prominent withers and a quarterhorse tree "pinches".  When I looked at his photo he looks wide in the withers more than "prominent", so that may allude to an arab cross or not.

I get 30 days to "try" the horse.  If I don't like it, I can trade for another no questions asked, or get my money refunded.  After a one year trial period I will get ownership of the horse. 

I've got a lot to mull over.  We will drive up to look at them on Saturday.  If I'm really taken with either, I'll bring one home.   I see positives in both horses.  I like the experience and level headedness of the gelding, but does he have a real arab cross?  And how successful are straight QH's at completions?  It would be so nice to ride a settled sensible horse.

The mare also has a lot of really good qualities.  I LOVE an affectionate in your pocket  horse.  They say she isn't reactive at all or panicky in new situations, so she has plenty of potential, but there are a few unknowns out there that would be up to me to train her through.


  1. Tough choice! I have only one useful suggestion, sometimes a gaited tree is a good fit for horses that have a pinch in the withers with a QH tree.

    Either way, riding a sensible horse is a good idea!

  2. Sounds like you have two great prospects there! And I would not let breed be a factor in your choice unless your goal is to win rides. If you just want to have fun and finish with a healthy horse, then I really think any sound horse with the right training can do endurance. :-)

  3. exciting! can't wait to hear how it goes. Sounds like there is a good trial set up even if you bring one home and don't end up loving them, which is nice!

  4. Also, I wouldn't base a whole lot on the breed either, unless you are aiming to be extra competitive at some point. What I have found in my endless cycling through horses in the last few years is that the crucial point is HEART. If the horse's heart isn't it, and by "it" I mean DISTANCE, 10, 20, 30 miles, it doesn't matter what breed they are. And if they do have that heart, it doesn't matter what breed they are either! God bless them. I had a 15 hand very athletic appendix mare that did great up through about 10-12 mile training rides and as I pushed for 15+ miles, though she had the fitness for it, she quickly demonstrated it was NOT what she wanted to do. She found a new home as an arena horse packing kids around and loves it. Go figure.
    So a trial is definitely a good thing, like you said you just HAVE to get them out on the trail to see what's what.

  5. I am by no means an endurance expert. However, from what I have read on your BLOG, you seem to enjoy shorter distances. Any breed of horse has the ability to do 25 to 50 miles at a REASONABLE pace. If you are going for top 10, then maybe not.

    Have you considered a mustang? I may be a little baised, but I know there are several out there looking for the match.

  6. Both sound good!

    With the TB mare I'd be concerned about her experience - was she raced before? Might she in hyped-up situations (endurance rides!) turn into a bolter?

    And, for me, I like easy-keepers! A horse that gets fat on hay is much easier on the pocketbook.

    Hopefully, though, like you said - it will become clear after you ride them both.

    How exciting! Keep us all posted, though I know you will :-)

  7. In general, all the TB's I have seen tried in the sport usually end up with issues. Mostly their mind says they want to "win", but they have a tendency to not take care of themselves as well and will push themselves too far. Also, with your recent issues with tie ups, and mares being more prone to them in our sport, do you want to have that possibility again? Yes, it can happen to the geldings to, but it is not not as common.

    Good you get to try them for an extended period. Can't beat that plan.