Day number two was an evening appointment and was in an indoor arena! Yah! However, it was two hours away and not until dark so I knew I'd be doing something I hate to do - drive at night on roads I'm not familiar with.
This horse was a relatively young Paint (10) and had been used mostly for Western pleasure by his owner (a teenaged girl). She wants to run barrels and he "doesn't seem to have the heart for it" so she bought a new horse and is trying to sell him. Side note - young girls who ride, especially jumpers and barrel racers, are fearless. They tend to fly over things and around things at breakneck speeds while giggling. For instance, while demonstrating his canter for me, she was having a conversation with a friend, grabbing at her cell phone that she had forgotten she left in her back pocket, talking to me and smooching and kicking her horse all at once.
The little bugger was a nice horse. And at 15hh a great size. Pretty laid back too. My main issues with this visit were that I was not at all sure I wanted another Paint and also not sure I wanted to have to work on bringing a horse back around to more natural cues (which I'll explain in a moment). As with many large barns (and I do not get this) there were three horses loose and unattended in the arena with us as well as a couple of younger girls riding. He took it all in stride. The barn itself was huge, close to forty boarders and lesson horses.
He was actually SO laid back it took some nudging to get him to trot. As a rider I do not use spurs (which a lot of Western riders seem to) and I have seen horses like him often owned by kids. Kids like more GO than WHOA and they tend to (over generalization) overdo cues, aides, etc. So, if you regularly use spurs, the horse gets to a point where if you don't have spurs in his ribs he doesn't feel the need to be very cooperative. After all, your heel isn't gonna "nudge" him along like a piece of sharp metal poking him. My first lease and best horse ever, Apache, was a horse who had been "over-aided" for most of his life. This little horse had a nice trot and I wish I would have been able to use the whole arena and work him a bit more without all the distractions.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart