Uncovering the Diamond in the Rough

Today’s Tip: The right horse often takes a little work, but it’s also helpful to have an attitude that if your horse ends up not being right for you, a change might be necessary. Read on to find out how we’re creating a plan for uncovering a diamond in the rough!


No, we didn't get new snow! This picture is actually from a couple of months ago. They made excellent winter pasture ornaments!

Today was a bittersweet day at our house. Dee Dee and Merit, the two RideAbility fjords who were living here for the winter went home today. Classes get started again next week, so they needed to get back and re-adjusted before getting back to work. When I came back from dropping them off, my horses ran to the gate calling for their friends. Even though they were never turned out together, they had still bonded over the fence. As I went in and out of the house this afternoon, it seemed so quiet without having someone banging on the gate and begging to be fed.

Despite the momentary period of mourning, life must go on. I had a lesson today with a woman and her new foxtrotter. Last time I just rode the horse to tell her what I thought of her. This time I had her get on to see what we could get the two to accomplish together. Good thing. I realized pretty quickly that she is, in fact, a pacey mare, not a trotty one. She has a different pace than my horses, so I thought she was trotting the other day. Good thing her farrier didn’t come this week as scheduled! Now I was able to correct her and tell her a few small tricks that might make a little difference. I never advocate for doing anything drastic or unhealthy for the horse, but there is a little bit of a range with angles, lengths, and shoe weights that can make some subtle differences.

This woman has made it clear that she is willing to sell the horse if I tell her that it’s not the right horse for her. As I said the other day, the horse you’re looking for and the right horse for you right now isn’t always the same thing. Her biggest concern is if the horse is a safe trail horse. I’m very impressed that she isn’t looking for something to spook at. In fact, she didn’t spook at all today and she was at a new, strange place (the RideAbility outdoor arena). She’s a great horse, just not a great foxtrotter. Push a little and she switches right over into a pace. We worked on some balancing exercises like serpentines (the horse doesn’t balance well on tighter turns) and pushing the speed just a hair (basically a working walk, a little more active than her natural “plod”). I’m hoping that by checking in once a week or so, giving the owner some feedback on what she’s been doing on her own over the last week, and giving her some new exercises for the coming week. Hopefully we’ll find a horse that can be improved and become an excellent horse for her owner. Hopefully we will uncover a diamond in the rough! If not, and if this woman who has joined the world of gaited horses due to a bad back decides this horse isn’t right for her back or in any other way, hopefully we’ll at least have a little “shinier” horse to sell to an owner who does “need” her.


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