Archive for July, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You DO!

Susan and Sue at James A Reed Park – July 2007.Sue, a Missouri Fox Trotter, came to Pine Dell to be sold. Jenny told me, “I really like Sue! She’s light, fun to ride and very smooth. “WOWSA”, I thought. “I wish I could have her”.

I had a horse for sale then. Our pasture was being fenced and part of it was off-limits to horses until fencing got done. There was no way, I thought, that I could buy another horse. Of course the price was what Sue was worth and I couldn’t justify paying that for another horse to ride!

And the husband had a sell-some-horses edict! You can ignore husband edicts just so long.

Sue came back about 4 months later. The owner told Jenny to “unload her”.

Sue had been ruined. Sue was “fried”. She startled and flinched at everything. The stall cleaners couldn’t clean the stall without her flinching and throwing her head up at every move of the pitch fork. Jenny tried to ride her in a lesson. She flinched at every movement. What could have been done to her in such a short time to go from nice experienced trail horse to nut case?

It took Tony and Jenny about two months to get her back to being something that they could advertise for sale…Two months of playing, riding and desensitizing her to everything. That’s a long time in the book of retraining an already trained horse!

Several people came to ride and try her. A woman and her friends came and rode her up in the 40 acres. It went well. The potential buyer decided that she wanted a test trail ride before she would commit. The owner agreed.  They went to James A Reed park.

The trail ride went badly at the half way point. I believe the rider reached back to pat Sue’s behind.  That wasn’t an option for Sue’s nervous system.  Sue cam unglued.  The potential buyer fell off when Sue spooked forward. Sue ran off. She ran back to the trailer / headquarters and became an “uncatchable horse”. All the people that were available at the busy park made a big cirlce and surronded her. Finally she was caught and returned to Pine Dell…no sale!

My two horses had been sold and the fence was up. The husband was a happy guy. I remembered what Jenny said about Sue being fun to ride.

Jenny and I were talking about Sue. Things were glum. Tony and Jenny had decided that they could not recommend her to anyone after that. Things were double-glum. Sue had also reverted back to terrified of everything! She returned to “fruit loop” status horse

I remembered how Sue was the first time she came to be sold. Jenny had said all those wonderful words…fun to right, smooth and light. My mouth opened and someone’s voice said, “I’ll buy her!” Oh Goodness, it was my voice!

I made an offer. The owner accepted. Sue had been unloaded into my hands!

I went into Sue’s stall and met her for the first time as her new owner. She flinched so bad the skin on her back rolled when I raised my hand to pet her.

This blog is about bringing Sue’s sanity back.  When you work with a horse like Sue, very small improvements bring you intense happiness. 

 PS I bought Sue and then two more young horses. That’s one more horse than the number that I had when husband told me “too many horses, sell some!” That will teach him. It’s horse math! One of the horses was Diva, Sue’s foal and is a champange gold horse and Nova’s half sister. It’s a family thing!

Approximately fourteen months later, Sue and I went riding at that same park where she spooked and dumped her rider. It was almost “a walk in the park!”

Sue and I in the Sunflower field.
Sue has a sunflower in her mouth. This was our first trail ride with a bunch of other horses and she did great. It was more of a walk in the park…as we got to lead, be passed and be in the back!

Sue’s story is a happy ending. Promise that you’ll read the blog stories in order!


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