Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Energy and Second Opinions

So, despite my misgivings about good old Licorice, my trainer asked me to go see him.  She had really solid reasons, a big one being that the horse had two good horse people recommend him.  She also pointed out that his current trainer does not want his owner to sell him, so to take what she says with a grain of salt.

Here's what I had forgotten.  When other horses spook, it's not an Arab teleportation spook.  In fact, I saw Licorice 'spook' today and I would be hard pressed to call it a spook.  Not to say that he may not have more in him, but at least today he was not at all spooky.

On the other hand, he wasn't nearly the deadhead she made him out to be.  He was goofy and sweet and definitely required leg to get moving.  In fact, I had to do a very un lady like thump to get him to trot but once he picked up the trot he was relatively forward.  He's used to being ridden on a long, loopy rein and he enjoyed looking around a bit while we trotted around.

His energy was so different from Tessa's.  It was a great reminder that we all carry our own energy and have our own quirks.  My energy is a bit high energy, talkative and on the anxious side.  Tessa's energy is a bit in your face, intense and sometimes on the anxious side.  If you know dogs, Tessa reminds me of a herding breed.  She wants you to pay attention to her ALL THE TIME.

Licorice would be more like a golden retriever.  Licorice's energy is wanting to know if you have a cookie.  He also wants to get his face into everything and use his mouth to pick up stuff.  When I stood with him in his paddock, he stood with me with his face close enough to get any treat I might have.  When  a treat didn't materialize, he let me rub his face for a minute and then walked off to have some water.

I was surprised how much I liked him.  And how anxious I was riding him.  I really take a long time to get comfortable with a horse and though I'm anxious with Tessa, she's much more of a known quantity.  I know what she does on her worst days or if you push her too hard. 

So, the next step is for my trainers to go ride Licorice and push his buttons.  This way we'll have an idea of what he does under pressure and what his potential is.

The only concern the trainer had is that Licorice's living arrangements would be changing significantly.  He's currently stalled at night, but then has a 40 acre pasture to go out into every other day.  He also gets to jump regularly and he gets to go on trail rides a few times a week.  His life with me would be more boring, I'm afraid.  I could ride him down the driveway and on some short trails, and I could have him available for other folks to jump him on jump night but we do not have giant pastures and our arena is pretty small.  I suppose this dilemma will be true for most horses though.

Anyways, I always say 'never say never' which is why it's funny that I said 'never' about Licorice and here I am taking the next step with him.  But, in my defense, he turned out to be way less 'dull' and 'out of it' than the trainer called him.  Or at least we have different ideas of what is dull.....
 Licorice showing that he's a good size for me.  And that he can take prettier pictures.
His eye in this picture is much more aware and open than in the other pictures, which makes me happy.  He just looked so depressed and dull in the other photos.

Of course, I had to take a selfie of the two of us.  Licorice just wished I had a cookie.


  1. See if you can try several other likely candidates before you decide - he does seem like a sweet horse - try him out on the trail since that's the place he's likeliest to spook.

  2. Kate - That's exactly what I'm thinking. I also REALLY want to see if we can get a trial on home so we can bring him home and I can see if I can conquer THE DRIVEWAY, which has now become the thing by which all horses will be judged quiet or not. If he can walk down the driveway and back without losing his mind, we may have a good match. The driveway is dappled with sunlight for half of it, has a dog living on one side and is just generally a spooky place. Also, he's going to a show on the 29th so I'll get to see him there as well.

  3. And two words - vet check . . .

  4. I have a thing for black horses. :-) He looks good, but I totally agree with Kate. Be prepared to walk away if he doesn't pass the spook test or vet check.

  5. He sounds nice - just don't ever buy the first or only horse you look at :)

  6. He sounds nice, would it be possible to move him to some place where he could have a similar living situation to what he has now?