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Let's Hear it for FUN Horses!

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  • Let's Hear it for FUN Horses!

    I'm just now getting back into riding/eventing after taking 9 years off. I have 2 children under 7. I work. My husband travels a LOT. I thought riding was lost to me and I gave up. I had neither the time nor money to do it. Or that's what I thought.

    Then my friend and my mom kicked me in the butt. They said, so maybe you can't afford a nice horse, lessons, shows, clinics and maybe you don't have the time to do it "right". But don't quit. You can still ride. With their encouragement I bought a super laid-back but very brave and willing appaloosa. He may not have much of a tail but he never says No. He may have speckled eyes but he can stand in the field when my kids are sick or life gets too busy.

    Today I had one heck of a great ride and have been floating on air. He makes riding fun. He fits into my life.

    The only reason I post this - is because so many times I see posts about people riding horses they don't enjoy or worrying about how they're going to fit it all in. I post this to say don't give up. How about the posts about conformation critiques for lower level horses? I get that it's educational - I like them - but what I appreciate most (for me) is a brain. So I post this to say look for horses that fit your lifestyle. Because it sure is nice to have a worry-free, fun horse. And that's something I didn't even know I needed.

    --- I don't think I need to say that NONE of this applies to serious competitors. This is for the person who is on a budget, is over-worked and is trying their hardest and it's still not enough: There is a way.

  • #2
    I have my Irish Draught mare back from training and she has been giving me confidence as I try to get back in shape and I get off smiling every ride. Shes not an UL horse but shes safe and willing
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

    Join us on Facebook


    • #3
      Fun Horses

      I couldn't agree more with the OP. My "Christmas Pony" is a 7-year-old, 16'2" Andalusian/TB cross. We are just getting to know one another, but my coach and the UL rider who helped me find him agree that he's the perfect pony for a very intense professional who has limited time to ride and wants to have fun and be competitive at the lower levels. Will we ever go prelim? Maybe. But that's not my focus at this point. I'm looking forward to bringing him out at BN in a couple of months. And I'm extremely pleased he isn't a nut when I'm forced to be a weekend warrior because of my work schedule.
      Last edited by Caballista; Jan. 4, 2012, 07:04 PM. Reason: typo
      Early to ride!


      • #4
        I have one - a little Appaloosa mare! She is just a blast to ride and such a good girl too! Not fancy but sane, safe and a ton of fun. She is worth her weight in gold! Gotta love the fun ones!


        • #5
          OP, I love your post. We seem to share the same philosophy.

          Years ago I decided to quit showing/eventing for various reasons (money, too much time away from my family, money, etc). And I couldn't be happier. My little, bay, non-descript, conformationally-challenged Ottb mare is FUN to ride, and we do all sorts of things that we both enjoy, such as competing in Hunter paces, riding on the beach, taking flat/jumping lessons or clinics...etc. etc. She totally fits into my lifestyle. She *could* be eventing at least at Training with the right rider, but who cares if she's not. We're having fun all the same!
          I do need a horse that has a bit of a quirky side, or I get bored, and she totally fits my bill!
          Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


          • #6
            I've got one too! Wonderful pony who is a saint. Gives me 100% every ride, which may have been yesterday or two weeks ago! I've got limited time to ride him due to my school schedule and the young mare I'm bringing along. But it keeps me sane to be able to get on something and just go. If he doesn't sell I plan to take him Training in the spring and bop around over some prelim stuff. But until then I'm just going to enjoy him. Cheer to the fun ones!


            • #7
              I LOVE this thread!!!!

              A good friend of mine has MY very talented, OTTB at her place getting ready for the next event season...me? I just want to ride, learn, hang out with friends, go trail riding, ...compete? Yeah, maybe, if I can fit it all in with working full time, working 2 extra gigs (writing units for the state dept of ed for mathematics and tutoring in our after-school program) to pay for it all. The MOST wonderful mare - my twin in age, personality, attitude, and willingness has miraculously fallen into my life (thanks to friend who is happily jockeying around very talented OTTB this spring )...I'll have to add that for our advanced age, Perfect Pony and I are sorta cute () in an advanced age sorta way . The bottom line is YES, I'm at long last having fun...me and PP bonded in a nanosecond, sized each other up, grinned and life looks fantastic.

              Thanks for starting this thread - let's keep each other posted on our FUN - that may include ribbons, it may include long trail rides, amazing or sucky lessons, nights in the barn just hanging out listening to music and enjoying that great smell of a pony's neck and the sound of hay getting crunched, and in my case, may include chopping ice in the mornings (hey, GA has it's "moments" of winter! )

              FUN ROCKS!!!!!
              ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


              • #8
                My fun is a 13.2 mutt pony who loves to jump and does whatever I ask on the trail. She is bratty and stubborn otherwise but what fun!!! And she gives me confidence as a re rider (44) I love her!!


                • #9
                  I'm all for it! Lucky enough to have two of them in my backyard, one is semi-retired; the other, after some rough spots, is stepping right up to take up the mantle of all-around fun fellow.
                  "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                  Spay and neuter. Please.


                  • #10
                    Bravo!!! This is what horses are all about.


                    • #11
                      Yay! Good for you getting an appropriate and fun horse to enjoy. While I am someone who does a lot of competing (during our fairly short season up North) I appreciate the value of FUN horses. I have 2. I can trail ride them (WTC, alone or with others) jump them, gallop around x-c, do dressage, throw them in the trailer and go somewhere with them. Both are very sensible mares with a great work ethic. I bought them because of their temperament. I think they are both lovely but they are far from well-bred. One is an OTTB cheapee and the other is what I call my "Wal-Mart Warmblood" heh, heh, (an unregistered Trak stallion x Tb mare)

                      I have seen numerous riders get something fancier then their previous horse, only to end up being too intimidated to ride the horse. In fact, there is a horseless college student that rides about 4-6 horses at our barn because the owners aren't riding them. Good for her--but kind of weird for so many people to pay board on horses they don't enjoy or aren't capable of riding.


                      • #12
                        Bravo indeed!!

                        I am at a similar place in life.... although much of life revolves around horses, very little of that involves riding ( I am a vet, we breed). We ( meaning DH and I) have been discussing making some changes as we are not getting any younger- and our children are getting more self-sufficient. More time in the saddle for Mama is about to become a priority ( and less work!) My fun partner though is a broodmare- and needs to focus on that as she is one of the best of her breed around ( yep prejudiced- rightfully so) - so I have been looking - and think I have found a new "fun" partner. A BIG goal for me would be a BN horse trial! A hunter pace, a fun show, a trail ride, a clinic etc. are my goals. I used to show very competitively - and now I just want to maybe jump around an unrated show or do a combined test. We raise Connemaras and travel quite far to go to our breed shows when we can- they are few and far between and FUN! Nothing better than watching a bunch of people who have driven 5-10 hours to show compete to the bitter end for the egg and spoon challenge trophy!!


                        • #13
                          Why can't having a fun horse to ride apply to "serious competitors?" If we're serious, are we not allowed to have fun and enjoy our riding and the horses with which we do it? Why can't we celebrate ALL fun horses?

                          I consider myself a "serious competitor" (or at least I try to be...usually fall short), but I also consider my horse an epic BLAST to ride. He's probably not everyone's cup of tea (definitely not one you'd let sit in the field...there was a reason I was told "he's not really an amateur's horse" when I tried him!), but he suits me, my life, and my outlook on life. Is he not worthy of a mention in a thread about fun horses?! Just because I don't work a "real" job, have a husband and kids to juggle (just 16 other horses and all the humans that go with them), does that mean he's less fun, less worthy of the s**t eating grin I have on my face after a great jump school, or the fact that he cracks my ass up as he ping-pongs down the road on a hack? He's fun. He deserves at least an honorable mention.

                          All that being said, I give a hearty HERE HERE to the OP!!! I wish more of the people I run across in this sport who DO have to make giant sacrifices and balance their time very carefully would look for horses they can truly, completely, and totally enjoy and actually DO things with! I feel sad for people who end up with too much horse or too green a horse and they never seem to get anywhere or do anything fun with them. Find someone you can truly, totally enjoy. That's why we do this, after all! Even us "serious competitors."


                          • #14
                            PS- There is a very big spot in my heart for appies.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                              PS- There is a very big spot in my heart for appies.
                              No pun intended?! LOL


                              • Original Poster

                                I keep thanking God that my horse has the spots and is missing a tail -- because if he was solid bay and a smidge taller I couldn't have afforded him. Above all else, he's taught me that a WILLING, BRAVE horse is worth their weight in gold no matter how dinky their trot.

                                WILLING -- it had been 8 years since I last jumped and on a whim, I decided to pop around a course that was set up. The jumps were only 2'3" but I buried him at some, totally missed my lines at other times and was laughing so hard at myself I could hardly see. He just kept on trucking with his ears pricked looking for the next jump. Cheerfully trying whatever I ask = priceless.

                                BRAVE - the other day an up-down group lesson was in the indoor ring -- all boys -- playing follow-the-leader on ponies. Very cute, but fairly loud as little boys can be. Two women at the barn chose not to ride that day -- afraid of what might their fancy horses might do. Not only was I able to ride - I joined in the lesson to teach them some new "figures". I had a blast. The women kept saying, "What a great horse you have!" I thought yes he is - because when I DO get a chance to come out to the barn - I can count on a fun ride - no matter I choose to do. Dressage=fun, jumping=fun, trail rides (75% of our rides)=FUN!!!! And I've had horses in the past that I couldn't have said that about -- horses that were spooky, lazy horses, hot, tense OTTBS, and even a horse that would decide he was done and stop dead then rear up and buck on the way down if you touched his side or mouth.

                                so yes! HOORAY FOR FUN HORSES!!!


                                • #17
                                  My mare was a hosebeast tonight... (forward? what's that, Stupid Monkey?) but really, most of the time she's awesome. And letting her canter over a pole fixed the forward problem

                                  Thanks, OP, for reminding us what it's really about.
                                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                  • #18
                                    I LOVE my OTTB I think she is fun personified!!! She puts a smile on my face and makes my spirit soar.


                                    • #19
                                      Raising my hand!

                                      I have one of the super fun horses! We have evented, tried a competitive trail ride (and won!), open show, games, trail rides, costume class, barrel racing, pole bending, he did a polocrosse clinic with my daughter and was her PC mount. He is safe, fun, learns quickly, and always tries to please. He was also used as a conformation demo horse at PC camp to teach the kids all the conformation faults, my poor pony!
                                      But his mind is what attracted me when I bought him and I love him to pieces. Oh yeah, he's an Ay-rab!
                                      "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I love hearing about all these other FUN horses! Especially the ones in unique wrappers.

                                        I love how the fun horses fit our lifestyles. YB - I think your horse totally qualifies bc he fits your lifestyle! I guess originally I was just thinking of the people like me, who thought they could only be happy if they were riding a "real" horse at real competitions. You know - the tall, dark bay, fancy horse that will take you to the upper levels. I'll be honest, it was hard to swallow my pride and say, THIS is the horse for me. THIS horse - being marketed to 4H, is the one I need in my life. I'm not going to Rolex on this one. I will not inspire others with our brilliance and garner attention from famous trainers. But it doesn't mean I've failed. It just means that I know who I am - right now at this moment and that feels good.

                                        I may not be the same competitive, serious-minded rider I once was - but I feel like a kid again whenever I swing my leg over - each and every ride.