Several months after Magnum’s arrival, Emma and I were at the Performance Horse sale. Magnum was happy at home – grazing, enjoying his freedom – and space away from any human interaction!
I had felt sorry for Emma that her horse training plans didn’t turn out. She was still keen – and as her brother was headed off to university, I thought having a horse would be a great interest. I was also always on the lookout for myself – but in my mind I had put my own plans on hold, as we were busy planning and preparing to owner build our house.
At the sale, I enjoyed seeing the horses being ridden, and just being in that atmosphere. At that time I didn’t know enough to notice if the horses were also enjoying their time. But what I did notice was all the open mouths on the horses as their riders pulled them around in the campdraft action. It looked painful and I wondered why they couldn’t get a better system. This generic photo is what I mean.
Once again Emma disappeared while I wandered around looking at horses and talking to people. When she came back she said “Mum – you have to come and see this horse – there’s something special about him”. I rolled my eyes – it sounded like a repeat of the Magnum episode.
This horse wasn’t in the stabled area. He was down in some open pens – tucked away a little – his owner was with him. Emma said “This is Ducati and look at how nice he is. He’s not angry like some of the others – he’s curious and he seems to like people!”. I spoke to his owner. She had recently moved to the coast from western NSW. She had around 8 horses and had no room to keep all of them.
She had decided to sell Ducati – she had started him young. I don’t think he had quite turned 3. It also looked like he may have some mild itch on his face – although his body was fine. Hmmmmm…… way too young – and would he develop more itch? I asked her about him. She had started him – and if she didn’t sell him she would probably keep him for her 10 year old nephew. She said he was pretty quiet, a quick learner and very willing – but she needed to part with some horses. He was registered – an Australian Stock Horse. I really like the breed. There’s something about them that feels familiar – they are well and truly part of the Australian country!
There were some nice horses in the sale – some I would have considered if I had felt ready for a horse. In all there were probably around 100 horses. They had a big sandy arena to work in and a herd of cattle to work with if needed. There was some great work by both horse and rider – but way too much of that pulling the mouth around.
Then it was time for Ducati. We had already seen about 60 horses. We were watching him in the waiting area – standing quietly with his owner on his back. As he came in to work a cow I was surprised when the auctioneer had a special introduction for him. He had watched him through the week and thought he was the stand out horse of the whole sale. If he was in the market for a horse – this was the one he would buy. Well! Maybe there is something special about him!
Off they went – what beautiful athletic action – a great rider and a willing horse – and no pulling on the mouth! Off went the bidding – I was sold on him – despite my misgivings – and we were lucky he was on towards the end of the sale as there were only two bidders – and we were the winning bid. We found someone to transport him home and off we went to decide on where to put him.
By this stage we had three paddocks. The little one – where Magnum first started – a ‘top’ paddock – at the top of the hill – which was now Magnum’s paddock – and a smaller ‘bottom’ paddock. We were yet to fence the large bottom paddock.
When Ducati arrived, the people delivering him said – “Don’t put him with that horse (Magnum). He will learn bad habits. Keep them separate!” (Yes – the story of Magnum – the wild, difficult horse, had spread throughout the district!) So we started with him in the top paddock. Soon though he was pacing up and down the fence – and he couldn’t see Magnum. We moved him to the bottom paddock – they could ‘talk’ over the fence – but were still separate. Sadly, he still paced up and down the paddock fence. Was this because he was in a new environment? Was he missing his mother and friends?
The pacing went on intermittently for quite a few weeks – however both horses spent more time close to each other. The arrangement seemed okay – and he had settled down.
Now it was time for Emma to ride her horse!
Coming up – ANOTHER HOME FOR MAGNUM!
IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS STORY, PLEASE START HERE – Part 1 – An Introduction