I met a load of horses and donkeys on this day! Really nice farm and beautiful country. They specialize in trail horses, do lessons and have a small breeding program. We were able to talk about my wants/needs and then actually walk amongst the horses in the field, meet them and get a feel for how they acted with each other.
I had originally contacted this farm about Jacob (pictured), having seen him on-line. In the field I thought he was somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, smart enough to stay well away from the Alpha mare, nudging in to eat without making a ruckus, waiting patiently to drink and with only a couple chewy marks on his neck. Horses bite each other for various reasons, even if they have plenty of food and water and space. Sometimes it is during play, others it is sort of a "hey, move over would ya" nip, sometimes more serious... Jacob looked healthy and sound and we brought him into the arena to clean feet, tack up and ride.
His feet were solid and his legs seemed strong. He had no shoes. Score. I may have shoes put on my horse depending on the roughness of the trails at my new barn but I'd like to wait and see first if they are really needed.
We rode first inside the arena and then went outdoors, took to the country lane beside the farm and then up into a field across from the barn. I won't say it was my best ride. LOL. No fault of the horse and nothing to do with how he acted. Just a reminder to me that I am a novice rider and have a great deal to learn about actually owning a horse and being on my own with him or her. All horses "ride" differently. It takes a bit of time to get used to what each of them feels, prefers, etc. The communication usually isn't immediately crystal clear, especially to we novice horse people. These last few days of visits were particularly stressful as well because my girlfriend couldn't go due to her work schedule. I depend on her opinion and expertise quite a bit, but know that I am going to have to start trusting myself at some point.
Now, the thing that a novice can generally tell about a horse is what its overall attitude is about. The big Paint from day one for instance - knew immediately this was a horse you would have that little battle of wills going on with consistently. The TWH - absolutely apparent that horse knew what he was doing, what to do and that he wouldn't hesitate to work because that was what he did. Very well trained horse. The little Paint, gonna have to work on other ways to encourage him besides overuse of artificial aides. So, you get my drift. Novice horse riders like me can get a general feeling about a horse.
I really enjoyed this visit and related to this barn's approach to horses. Jacob has never eaten grain. He eats grass and hay. Dan, the farm owner, said "grain messes up their brains and their bellies" and I laughed out loud having never heard it put that way before. I don't like grain because I have been around horses that colic often and lots of times grain can be a contributing factor in that. Grain is just not a natural horse food.
Jake also doesn't wear a blanket. Blankets are a major argumentative issue with horse people. I'm not against blanketing but I think issues can occur, especially in our area where temperatures can change drastically between morning and mid-day. This ARTICLE has lots of good information on blanketing.
So, Mr. Jacob is a pretty natural horse in a pretty natural horse environment!
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart