Okay, there were no actual diamonds today, but I feel like I’ve hit the proverbial gold mine. I know this is the best dilemma in the world to have, but all of a sudden, I have two very nice horses on the table.
Today, I drove to NH (to the same town where Image was from!) and got to ride with a coworker. Said coworker has Paso Finos. I didn’t actually know that J had Pasos until about two weeks ago…she friended me on Facebook after we chatted a few times at work, and I immediately noticed that she was friends with a big name Paso Fino farm in Pennsylvania.
I had a minor spaz attack over this little bit of information, and then stalked the SHIT out of her photos. It was pretty obvious she had a couple of Pasos. The next morning, I ambushed her, and despite the fact that I was admitting to being a super creepy Facebook stalker, she was delighted to chat with me. When I mentioned that I was horse shopping, and reallyreallyreallyreally (did I mentioned REALLY?) wanted a spicy Spanish gaited horse, she smiled and said she had a mare she was looking to sell.
|She cuddled with me. It was adorable.|
Pros? Sweet, kindhearted, perfect level of brio, well trained, sure footed, brave, forward, and FUN as all get out.
Cons? She’s 19.
I know it’s not a death sentence for a horse to be nineteen. GP was 34 when we had to put him down, and we were still running around like fools on the trails right before he colicked. 19 does not mean the horse is going to come home and break down on me. However, it really, really ups the risk factor here. Again: all horses are risky, no matter what…but I really wanted to bring my risk down to the bare minimum this time around!
I went into the ride not expecting to be impressed. I got off of the horse a little blown away. First of all, can I say how AWESOME it is to ride with a bunch of like minded, fun, chatty people? J, her daughter, and her husband all tagged along (on Pasos, of course!) for the ride and it was just a blast. There is truly nothing like cortoing along, four abreast, chatting like you’re meandering down the trail at a walk.
Lucy was easy to catch, even though J warned me she can be a little shy. She stood tied without issue, and quietly hung out while I groomed her, fussed with my saddle — and yes, I remembered my stupid stirrups today! — and untangled her bridle. Of course, it wouldn’t be me without some minor tack malfunctions. I had to use a mini girth on her because my size 26 western girth was waaayyy too big. Thankfully, the mini girth did the trick! It wasn’t long until we were all saddled up and ready to go.
All the pony kids were psyched to be going out, so we set out at a lovely pace. There are few things that bring a smile to my face and get it to stay there like riding a Paso Fino!
It wasn’t long until Lucy was able to show me what she was really made of. Now, these horses are little firecrackers. They have lots of go, but they usually have excellent brains and temperaments to even out the “go”. J’s daughter was on the spunkiest grey gelding out of the group, and once we hit our first hill, it was time to go hell bent for leather. Yee-haw!
It’s not often I feel comfortable galloping a horse I don’t know. I’ll do it, because it’s fun, but there’s usually a part of me that goes “you know, this is potentially stupid and you may die because if this horse bucks, you’re going to take a header.” That thought didn’t even enter my mind with Lucy — I felt like I’d be riding her for years the second I got on her. I had no problems whatsoever getting up off her back and letting her fly.
Dear friends, there is truly nothing better than a good gallop on a good horse. Lucy flew after the spunky grey gelding like a bat out of hell, and I laughed and whooped the entire time. What was even better, was that when I asked her to come back down into my hands, she didn’t fight me. She quietly dropped back into a happy corto, even with all the energy coursing through both of us. I could have turned around and gone back to the barn right then and there, and been happy as can be. The ride continued, of course, and there were plenty of opportunities to go zoom. One gorgeous stretch of grassy, flat wide trail was cause for internal squeals of glee. Lucy was more than happy to indulge me.
The rest of the ride was equally as fun, spent at a lively corto for the most part. The only time Lucy even considered doing something “wrong” was when a sheep (no really, a sheep!) came bouncing over to us from the other side of the fence. All four horses went “WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF” and scooted away from the horse eating monster. We had a good laugh and I thoroughly wish I had caught that on film!
The entire ride was one to stash away in my mind and revist when I’m having a bad day. It was probably one of the best rides I’ve had since I lost GP, and I’ve done a decent amount of riding since then. It was truly the most fun I’ve had with horses in a long, long time!
I thanked J profusely, and after filling her in on King, told her that I’d probably have a better idea of what was going on come next Sunday. She waved me off, as she’s in no rush to place Lucy. I’m sure we’ll chat at work — I don’t tend to feel at ease immediately around a lot of people, but like some horses, there are just some people out there you “click” with!
I was half hoping that I didn’t like Lucy. That didn’t happen. I’m kind of going to have to hold steady until I ride King, but I fear I’m going to have a very, very hard decision to make. 19 or not, Lucy is a fabulous little horse and I feel that we would have an absolute blast together. However, am I willing to take that risk? I don’t know.
Then there’s King, who is so much like my little black horse that it was almost painful. EVERYONE saw just how much he was like Image, even just through pictures. I have to reserve full judgement on him until after I ride him, but even then…I really had my heart set on a Paso Fino or a Peruvian. Riding Lucy really reinforced that. Not to mention…as much as I loved Image, I don’t know if I want one exactly like him right now. It’d be a lot of mixed emotions, and that would be complicated.
I’m feeling rather conflicted, even after discussing it over salted caramel brownies with B (have I mentioned how much I adore her? Because I do. A lot!), who lives right up the road from J. I know I’m going to just have to sit tight until after I ride King…but I fear my decision isn’t going to be any easier then. Part of me is wondering that maybe this just means there’s something else out there meant to be mine?
I don’t know.
What I do know, is that I had a really, really fabulous day. I’m going to stick with that for now.