At the end of my last post, my friend and I were off to see two horses that may suit us. We had been to a horse sale and had got talking to ‘Max’ who had two horses to sell. We arrived at his property just as he was sending his son off to catch these horses. The son was gone for quite a while! The horses obviously didn’t want to be caught!
Finally he came back with two chestnut horses. Chestnut!!! I have to be honest and say that chestnut is my least favourite colour – and I had observed some very cranky chestnuts! Both horses were about 14.2 hands – a gelding and a mare.
We looked at both – the mare was quite nervous, flighty – but the gelding seemed relatively quiet. His name was Danny. Max said they tried to campdraft on him but he was no good. Campdraft!!! He was then used for his younger daughter to ride – but she rarely rode him – or took any interest. Max saddled him up and the son hopped on first. All seemed okay – so my friend hopped on. As we were both now only interested in the one horse -she had first choice. She felt fine on him …. then it was my turn.
Surprisingly I felt okay hopping on. I didn’t have that same fear that I had with Ducati. We walked and did a short trot – he was okay – a little hard to steer – but okay! We both noticed the scars on his back legs – and his rough coat. Max told us he got him from a friend – at about 18 months old. He’d had an accident in a fence before that time, but it didn’t seem to affect him. I also noticed he was marked on his nose – like a halter had been on him for a very long time. He also told us he was only 5!!! Well…. I thought that was a lie. He looked much older…. As it turned out – he was correct! When I had the vet to him, he confirmed his age.
Max then showed us how he could pick up his feet….. well – he wouldn’t pick them up – it was a wrestle! And his hooves weren’t great…. but I guess okay… Danny quietly stood there while we examined him – ears slightly back….
As my friend continued to inspect Danny, I started talking to Max about his other horses. I asked him what his ‘training secrets’ were. “Wet saddle cloth” he said…. “What??” I replied. “Ride them till the saddle cloth is wet. Then they won’t play up”. I was horrified!!! “See that horse over there” he continued. There was a horse just standing in a round pen. “He’s in there to learn a lesson – he tried to throw me off – so he’s in there to think about that – no food or water for a while”. “Oohhhh….” I feebly replied…
I was starting to wonder what sort of a nightmare of a place this was for horses!!
My friend was really keen on Danny. We had decided she could keep him at my property until she had done some more paddock work on her own place. We were going to go back the next day to pick him up. She rang me later that night to say she was having second thoughts – not about Danny in particular – but about whether she had enough time to take on horse ownership again. I had said earlier that if she wasn’t interested in him – I would consider him.
I was excited with the fact that here was a horse I wasn’t afraid to ride. I said I would still pick him up the following day – I could pay for him – and if she changed her mind she could take him on…
So the next day we took the horse float to pick him up. He travelled well and after a few hours on his own, I put him in with Magnum and Ducati. Here is a photo of him on arrival. To me it looked like he had been crying for years.
He cringed as Ducati came up to greet him – like he was waiting for the bite. Magnum hung back. Was he really only five??
I did wonder what I had done. This was NOT my dream horse!! I had been carried away in the moment because I had managed to ride this horse – but, in my mind, I would never have looked at a horse like Danny. But he ticked the boxes – smaller, quieter – a confidence booster.
So Danny ticked the boxes – but I will be honest and admit I was not passionate about him. I hadn’t fallen in love…..
COMING UP – DANNY’S EARLY MONTHS
IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS STORY, PLEASE START HERE AT THE BEGINNING – Part 1 – An Introduction