Rudy bought a house with 5 acres and a barn and, most importantly for my daughters, a pool. His own daughters are nearly the same age as mine and they were pumped to have a weekend of swimming while mommy hung out with the horse.
I asked Sierra if she thought Canyon and Woody would paint hooves and gossip about the other horses at the barn.
Mom, she said, they're boys. They're going to tackle each other and run around.
I was still a little reluctant. We'd be in a new place, and given that we hadn't had much time to work out our problems really, I felt it might not go well.
But I decided to give it a try anyway.
I worked Canyon in the neighbor's round pen three times as long as usual, at Rudy's suggestion.
Here's the thing with Canyon. He joins up instantly. But you can tell he's not all that into you, if you know what I mean.
It reminds me of guys I'd date way back when. They'd say all the right things, make all the right moves, but you knew they were full of shit. That they'll be doing the horizontal tango with the chick in the double Ds five minutes after you left the room.
So even though Canyon was doing absolutely everything, (by which I mean yielding to a look, flexing, backing, dropping his head) I kept him going until he was starting to sweat. Then I pushed him out until he came up to me, licking and chewing. Just coming up to me wasn't going to be enough.
I hopped on his back to check his attitude towards cues and he was right on them.
And he behaved very, very well. We eventually went on a ride through the neighborhood, and he managed to hold it together even when being charged at the fence by crazy dogs. He was startled by the silhouette of a metal horse. Rudy had warned me that even the bomb proof Woody had startled there.
It was a great sleepover and the kids had a big time.
During this ride, or maybe during a walk later, Rudy and I talked his requirements for his next horse. He had emailed me this long list of what he was looking for, which I've excerpted below:
I want a gelding. The 2 geldings I have stabled right now don't have a scratch on them. I want a gelding that gets along with its fellow horses.I laughed when I saw this list. But it's good to know what you want, precisely. Rudy had also suggested (after my last post) that maybe it was time for me to move on to a different horse given Canyon's issues, and asked what my dream horse would be. We talked about it as Canyon settled into his guest stall.
I want a height between 14.2 and 15.1. 15 HH would be ideal. Anything shorter than 14.2, I would just look and feel goofy on. They could probably carry me, but I would never be happy with how I "feel" on the horse.
I want a paso fino. I've ridden Tennessee Walkers and I like them, but if I'm going to go "gaited", I want a paso fino.
No temperament hotter than 3 on a scale of 1-10. I think I could handle a hotter horse, but I don't want to. This is to be a good second horse, and I want to be able to put the occasional semi-newbie on the horse or pony a rider.
Cannot be a "dead head". It's OK if he goes "dead head" with a beginner, but I want him to come alive when a better rider is on him. Spirit and Woody can both "turn it on" when asked and calm down for a beginner.
Must be able to do the "paso corto" AND "paso largo". I do not need the "classic paso fino" gait, and nothing less than $10,000 would get it for me anyway.
While color would be nice, "you can't ride color". So any color is acceptable, if the other criteria are met.
I want the horse to be registered. "You can't ride papers" either, but if I'm going gaited, I don't want any crosses. I want to know the horses lineage and that it is a purebred horse. You can't be sure of anything without papers.
Horse cannot be extremely high withered or mutton-backed.
It goes without saying, I want a horse that works well with a farrier, loads well, and stands for mounting. If the horse doesn't move his hindquarters or do forehand transitions, I'll teach him. If he doesn't back well, I'll teach him. But he needs to do the basics well.
First of all, until I can ride more, I can't fully give up on Canyon. The reality is that when I rode him the most, he did well enough for me. But without consistent wet saddle blankets there is no point to either giving up or trying a different horse.
And in nearly every way, Canyon is my dream horse. He's got great color, a sweet trot and lope, willing attitude, love his fine face and arab tail. He's a gentleman on the ground. If he just wasn't insane.
If I get to a time where I can ride him 4 times a week and he still doesn't do well, then I may have to make another choice. But not until then.
We also joked around about the list. "If you think that's bad," he said, "you should see the list I have for dating. I really want it all." But more on that next time.
Also, Rudy took delivery of his new horse this week. I'll have to write about that next time too...