Finnegan’s World


Kiowa Scout
September 10, 2008, 1:01 pm
Filed under: horses | Tags: ,

I may have about reached my limit.  Six months of horse shopping and now it was the end of January 2007.  I was driving back from somewhere up in Indiana after looking at a chestnut quarterhorse with the smoothest canter I’d ever ridden.  He was trained in English, had done some jumping, etc., but his owner had instilled some training quirks in him that I didn’t particularly like.  That, and she wanted to raise his price.

As I drove toward home, I realised I had another appointment near Frankfort, Ky, and I really didn’t feel like driving for three more hours that day.  I thought about cancelling so I could just go home and take a nap on this blustery, gray day.  But I didn’t want to be inconsiderate toward the owners on such short notice, and I comforted myself by adding, “This is the last horse I’m going to see.  I’ve been doing this for too long and it’s time to stop.  There is no ‘perfect horse’ out there for me”.

Somewhere north of Frankfort, I drove through some of the most backcountry, run-down farms and country homes I’d ever seen.  Now I was really annoyed for not having cancelled.  This was going to be a big waste of time.  I pulled up to a tiny farm (if you could call it that), and hopped out.  There were a couple dozen, very random-looking dogs penned up alongside the house, and about as many horses all standing in a mud pit no larger than a half acre.  Take a deep breath girl, let’s just get this over with.

I walked into the barn and there stood the horse I had come to see, Kiowa Scout.  He was taller than I had expected, a bay Tobiano Paint, and he was standing very quietly waiting to be tacked up.  “Don’t let yourself get sucked in by his colour”, I had to remind myself.  “Focus on his personality.”

There was a lot of activity in this little barn.  Dogs barking, people tacking up other horses, and some sort of a heat-blasting furnace that sounded more like a jet engine.  I watched Kiowa’s eyes, ears, and feet.  He stood quietly through it all – even when they cinched his girth so tight and so fast his eyeballs could have popped out.  Poor guy..

One of the farmhands hopped on and I started to wonder where we were going to do the test ride.  Well, I found out that when you live way, way far out in the country, what better place than the road?  Yes, I said the road.  So off they went, walking, trotting, galloping – whoops! I mean cantering down the road.  Note to self:  Do NOT ask for the canter on this guy!  I took lots of video because I knew Maggie would catch all sorts of clues and signs about him that I had no hope of seeing at this point in my riding career.

Then my turn to ride came, but down the street??  This was a 3 1/2 year old, half Thoroughbred, whom I had just witnessed take off like a bullet up the road and into a neighbor’s yard with this poor kid on his back.  “I’m here, I might as well do it!” I told myself as I climbed on and the last wisp of reasoning floated right out of my head.  I very quickly realised this guy didn’t know leg commands and had a little panic attack.  He didn’t even know how to move forward off my legs.  This was more than I wanted to get into.  As I started riding him up and down the street, a car approached and I had panic attack number two.  “Will he be okay?”  I yelled to the owners, and they quickly reassured me he was used to sharing the road with cars.  And he was.  He didn’t even bat an eye as that car (and a few others) rolled past us.  As we were making our way down the road, I started to notice that he was responding to my weight shifting.  I asked him to bend and turn, and while he didn’t understand what I was asking, he was trying to figure it out.  He wanted to do what I was asking.  A good sign.  A little more riding, and I noticed he was just as happy to go as he was to stop.  So here was a horse with some go who was trying to work with me.  Hmm…