Thursday, March 24, 2011

The little bay mare

The girl child informed me last night that she does not want me to sell the mare.

"I want to ride her," I am informed. "I don't want you to sell her. She's so sweet and so good and I really like her."

Oh, dilemma, dilemma. I've been wanting to and trying to sell Calypso. I don't ride her enough to justify feeding her, and honestly, she's just not my "type." She's a good mare, don't get me wrong. She's a fabulous little quarter horse: Willing, able, quiet and good-tempered. I can put anyone on her and she is a gem. She can be a little quick at the beginning of a ride, not trotting or crazy, just fast-walking, but she settles down into a slower pace about 15 minutes into the ride, drops her head, relaxes and just goes along for whatever is asked.

She goes English, Western, trail rides, does some jumping, longes, has enviable ground manners, ground ties, comes when called, is an easy-keeper, is very surefooted on the trails and is one of those horses that does what is asked without question. You can aim her down a cliff and she'll ask "how fast?" not "How come?" Her conformation sucks: Very straight, upright shoulder and pasterns and she's built downhill rather than uphill. Her trot is like riding a pogo stick and impossible to sit without your teeth getting rattled out of your head. Her canter is quite nice, if you can keep her off her forehand.

I estimate Chief, at 25 years old now, has another good 4-5 years in him, if we can keep the arthritis in check and keep him comfortable. That's 4-5 years of non-strenuous work. He can't be jumped, due to not wanting to put any kind of additional stress on those arthritic joints, and we don't ask him to canter on any kind of circle, again, the arthritic joints. I made a promise to Chief that he'll be with me until he dies or until I have to have him put to sleep. He won't be sold, period.

Kayleigh has gotten to the point in her riding confidence that she wants to canter and jump and do all the crazy horse things I did at her age. She can do that on Calypso...she can't do a lot of that on Chief. Calypso is 10, so she has another good 15 years, barring any major injuries or accidents.

One of the reasons I've been trying to sell Calypso is because she's basically been just another mouth to feed: Useless to me beyond a pasture pony. I know, that sounds terrible, but when you're on a limited budget, another "useless" mouth to feed isn't an option. I've been feeding her for this long, so keeping her really doesn't add to the feed/upkeep/vet/farrier expenses, it just maintains them. I was looking to decrease those expenses. But if Kayleigh is willing and able to ride her (often, not just once or twice a month!) then I'll keep her around for as long as she is useful in that respect.

So, I told the kid she gets this summer to show me that she'll ride Calypso regularly, that she CAN ride Calypso, and that she enjoys riding the little bay mare. All while making sure she keeps giving plenty of attention to Chief. Kayleigh is Chief's kid, and I worry he'll be heartbroken if he gets dumped and ignored for the mare.

If not, she'll go back on the market.


  1. Awww, great call. You gotta give the kid a shot. And how terrible would it be to sell the perfect kid's pony, then have to try to find a horse for the kid next year?

  2. I get it! They are expensive to keep if they aren't being used. Great tho' that Kayleigh will give her a go and how cool if it all works out. So nice that you and your daughter share that horse love!

  3. Oh good..sounds like a fun summer of new firsts and showing... I am glad too, she wants to do it with the bay mare!Perfect!

  4. Good parenting; sometimes giving a kid an ultimatum is enough to get them going and take responsibility.

  5. That sounds like a great compromise. She gets a chance and if it doesn't work out, you tried. Good for you.

  6. Hope it works. I don't think the little one will ever neglect her CHIEF! Funny that it took her to figure out what to do with the 'extra' horse. Can she figure out something for me to do with our 'extras'? jk....

  7. She rode Calypso Wed. night. We started out in the arena and ended with about a 2-3 mile trail ride. She had a really good time on her! That mare is really going to teach her to ride with sensitivity...she's much, much more responsive and sensitive than Chief is. She was trotting her around the arena and went to turn her and slow her to the walk at the same time...well, she really hauled on her face like she has to to with Chief sometimes and that mare sat down and gave her a couple of decent spins. Needless to say Kayleigh was a bit surprised! I know, why does a trail horse need to know how to spin? She doesn't, but I thought it would be fun to teach her and she picked it up FAST.

    I think this will work out, and I don't think she'll neglect Chief at all...he'll always be her baby.

  8. Spin? Of course! She is a QH you know! I bet Kayleigh had no trouble staying aboard for that spin.... PS My work verification is mother!