Today I went out to Cedar Creek to ride Alice and Pepi. Both mares were loads of fun. Alice is a half quarter horse, half Arab mare, a pretty chestnut, with a ton of attitude. She was definitely a daddy’s girl. She had a solid rapport with the man who owned her, and while she put up with me, she didn’t really like me.
She was way too spirited for me, and didn’t like direct reining at all. Since I’m not that proficient with neck reining, she took that to mean she didn’t have to listen to me. All she really wanted to do was walk over to her guy and be with him. I joked that he couldn’t sell her. How could he sell a horse that loved him that much?
Pepi was a lot easier to get along with. She was sweet and docile, which was cool, and since she had little training, I probably could retrain her English. She didn’t really understand direct reining, but she was willing to go with it. You could tell that she was eager to please.
We rode in their arena and then went out for a trail ride in the woods behind their place. A lovely ride, and Pepi was sweet, but I’m still not sure. I could work with her, but they said she might have some teeth problems (if you look at the pictures you can see she is wearing a hackamore, a bitless bridle, so as not to aggravate her mouth) and so I’d have to have a vet take a look. Of course I’d have her vetted completely.
I think, though, that I’m going to have to stop looking at horses that I would have to “convert” from Western to English. For instance, no way would Alice be comfortable with that. And while Pepi was pretty untutored in anything, and thus would be easier to retrain, I think I can get a horse that I don’t have to do that much work with.
I also have to say that I really prefer to ride English. We were chatting after the ride and the man said that he didn’t understand how people rode English, there just didn’t seem to be anything to hang on to. I told him that I preferred to ride English because a Western stock saddle is just too much saddle between me and the horse. I can’t feel the horse, and I bounce around way too much, and it just doesn’t feel right. I just think I’d get a better feel for whether a horse is right for me if I could ride English to begin with, rather than trying to guess whether it would work out.