Friday, September 20, 2013

Thoughts about Licorice

In no particular order, here are some random thoughts about Licorice:

1.  He will need some ground manners refreshing.  He's just thoughtless.  Not in a quick, dirty way but in a doofy, not paying attention kind of way.

2.  The first thing my husband said when he saw a picture of him and I (my selfie) was "That horse needs a new halter.  A nice leather one."  Oh honey, that's reason 341 why I love you.

3.  When I took the family out to visit Licorice, I went into his paddock and was petting/scratching him.  He put his ears back and his face came towards me.  I stopped what I was doing because I didn't have a halter on him and was uncomfortable.  Later, as I was grooming him on the shoulder, he kind of did the same thing.  I don't know him well enough to know if this was a 'Stop That' reaction or a 'That feels good, let me groom you also.' kind of reaction.  He is the kind of horse that will pick up brushes and play with his leadrope, so I'm hoping it's a playful thing. I am going to ask the trainer about it today to see if she has any feedback.  He wasn't giving obvious cranky signals so it was hard to tell.

4.  This may just be nerves talking, but his mouth looked a little hard while I was grooming him.  He seemed a bit more frustrated than the other times.  This may be because I visited him in the late afternoon and he was hoping that he was coming in for dinner.  It's something I'll pay attention to in the future.  I'm really looking forward to getting my trainers out and getting Licorice out of his comfort zone.  I think it's SUPER important to know what he'll do when he's out of his comfort zone, as that will be a make or break thing for me.

5.  I haven't been riding Tessa at all and now she no longer kicks out at the canter.  I will miss her adorable, bright eyes and dainty princess face.  I sometimes feel guilty that I'm not riding her.

6.  I think about riding Licorice EVERY DAY.  Maybe this is because he is a new horse, but mostly I think it's because when I ride Licorice he just does what he's asked.  Okay, we kind of run into the trot. He's been used as a lesson horse so his transitions need some help and he needs a lot of work on using his body, BUT if I want to tool around at the trot practicing MY body, Licorice just goes.  And goes.  And goes.  Until you ask him to stop.  It feels like a minor miracle to me when I get on him and he just goes.

7.  I actually want to go on more trail rides with him.  I can see a future of taking him places.  Of me doing things.  Of joining in because I'm not worried about my horse.

8.  I may own two horses at the same time.  Ugh. Eek.

9.  I will need a new bridle.  My fingers have been positive itching to buy things for Licorice.  He needs blankets, a bridle, a new halter, saddle pads (okay, my hot pink one would look pretty awesome on his black coat).  But I'm waiting patiently until the deal is done before I spend money buying things for him.

10.  I had expected this process to take a year, not a month.  I know in my gut that if Licorice is everything my trainers, his trainer and our mutual friends say he is, that he is the right horse for me.  I also know that this horse is not one that I was 'shopping' for, but one that comes recommended by my farrier, his wife, their daughter, the trainer who has him and my trainers.  That's a pretty solid background.  Still...unexpected and leaves me a little emotionally gritty.  I'm so excited about Licorice (also I have a lesson today with him!  yeah!  will post updates!) but also grieving over my darling little Tessa.  I'm sure it will be better when Tessa finds her person and we can all celebrate that.


  1. ...breaking up is hard to do...
    No words of wisdom here. Just empathizing.

  2. He may be right for you. Since he's been a lesson horse, he hasn't necessarily had consistent handling on the ground and may be used to doing what he wants - the ugly ears/face may be part of this - he may not understand personal boundaries - and the chewing on things (Red did this a lot but it went away at the same time the nipping and personal space issues die) also indicate he doesn't necessarily understand what's OK behavior and what isn't - just consistently keep asking him for what you want. Personal boundaries are absolute essentials for me - but that doesn't come from him, it comes from you. (When someone says their horse is pushy on the ground or doesn't have manners, it's not the horse that's the issue.) Also, if he's been a lesson horse, he may not have had a human to bond to. Continuous trot when asked for is a very fine thing indeed.

  3. You seem very excited and that is great! I am still a bit worried because he is already making you nervous and tentative. Honestly, there are so many horses out there. Ones with good ground manners, who are sweet, and will take care of you. Just some food for thought.

  4. There are *so* many horses out there, and they're such a commitment, so why settle for one that isn't 100% what you want? Putting his ears back when you're just petting him sounds like a cranky signal to me.

  5. Ya know I love riding Oscar, my lease horse in the winter time. Hes a great horse and we get along well. But we don't always want the same things, I love to brush and snuggle and Oscar hates that. He 'deals' with me because I take care of him but its just a friendship.

    Lucy (the horse I leased this summer) and I had a love affair. We snuggled, she loved being bushed and we worked well together when we rode.

    You need to find your Lucy. I think Licorice is a good confidence builder, but why settle for a second time?

  6. Looking forward to hearing about the lesson! Sounds like a great match and you two look so good together :)