Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sure, take the new horse foxhunting. What could possibly go wrong?

This weekend was our hunt's blessing of the hounds. I'd planned to ride in the hay wagon with MC, while hubby rode Red (after all, Red is actually hubby's horse) and Fuzzypony rode Taran. But suddenly, we had a Paddington! Maybe I could ride in the hunt after all!

Here are the reasons this was a bad idea:
  • We'd had him for less than a week
  • I'd only ridden him 3 times, including the tryout
  • He'd never been hunting before (but he had walked out with the hounds)
  • He's ... uhhhhmmm ... a little out-of-shape. Unless you consider round a shape.
Here are the reasons this was a good idea:
  • He has a great brain.
You know that exercise they tell you to do when you're trying to make a big decision, where you list the pros in one column and the cons in the other? Obviously I didn't get the message about what to do when the cons outweigh the pros, 'cause I stuffed Paddy's fuzzy butt in the trailer and off we went to the opening hunt.

As it turned out, he was AWESOME. We ended up going second flight (slow, no jumping, but still a good gallop or two) and it was perfect for him. He watched the hounds but was not at all bothered by them - one even came loping up behind him and he barely flicked an ear. He was a little uncertain about the cows, and he had a tendency to leap over ditches, but otherwise he never put a foot wrong. He was more than willing to keep up with the 2nd flight leader, who was riding an ex-Intermediate level eventer! I definitely need more brakes hunting, because when we were galloping he completely ignored the loose-ring snaffle I was riding him in.  Ooops!

He got a TON of compliments on the hunt, mostly involving how cute he is. Good thing HE thinks "cute" is an acceptable compliment! The huntsmistress even commented on how well he did, and said that in another three outings he'd be an old pro at it. Coming from her I'll take that as a compliment of the highest order!

MC generously took some pictures from the hay wagon, so of course I must share:

Easy to pick out in a crowd!

We did a lot of walking during the holds... he hasn't figured out that he can stand around and relax yet.

Fuzzypony on my right on Taran, Hubby on my left on Reddums.

I love this shot!

Gratuitous ear pic. Because, how can you not?

Post-ride, Paddy decided it was time for a roll. MC is holding Paddy (and the camera), I'm in the background holding Red.

I had a super, awesome fun time and am SO glad we decided to take Paddy after all. Now we just need to get a bit more fit, find some brakes, and we'll be set for the season.

Tally Ho!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New ears in town! Meet Paddington.

There's someone new I'd like y'all to meet:

Yes, he really does come with those adorable tiny pony ears.

And this adorable face. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THE FACE?!?!

I swear, we weren't looking for a horse. I had just said goodbye to Echo. I wasn't interested in riding, or really even being around horses. I was questioning why we even HAD horses.

And then a bloggy friend (you know who you are) asked me - hypothetically - what kind of horse we wanted. Gelding, I said. NOT BAY (Oberon, Saga, and Echo were all bays). Kind. Safe. Good manners. Lots of miles. Fun to ride. Really, the horse that most appealed to both of us was another Red, only a little taller, a little younger, and not gaited. She said we should get a Haflinger. I though, haha, right. Plump little pony, probably not an athletic bone in its body. Not really what we were thinking of. 

But of course, I'm a moron, so I looked up haffies on Dreamhorse. And I saw this:

Handsome little bugger...

Oooh, and he does dressage...

And he's a super cute jumper!

I watched the video of him doing dressage, and it was decent. And then I watched the video of him jumping... OMG ATTACK PONY JUMPER. He just locked on and took his rider to the fences, sailing over 3' like it was no big deal. He was also tall enough (15.1 and a half) and hefty enough to tote hubby around in his armor.

So I called. I talked to the owner. I talked to the trainer. The more I heard, the more I liked him. I rode him for all of 30 minutes, and we bought him. 

So that is how we became the owners of a Haflinger named Paddington (registered name Arno in Action). He's too cute for his own good, and he's just what both hubby and I need right now - a kind soul with a good heart that's fun and uncomplicated to ride. We are both - finally - feeling good about horses again.

And, YAY! A happy blog post! :)