Drum roll please/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ I went out to see Amaretto Blu yesterday. It was about an hour drive. My list of questions in hand as I tend to get a little nervous and lose my brain. I decided I was not going to be too proud to not look at my list.
Let me give you the setting first, if you don’t mind. This was a very rural location. Out in the boondocks you might say. The property was on a dirt road, I believe the farm is about 150 acres, but the house and barns were right up front near the road. This is an older farm and probably not one that would be capable of supporting a household financially from what I could tell by appearances. There was an accumulation of farm equipment scattered about the property. There were several barns and smaller out buildings that provide shelter for horses. The small lots where the horses were kept were all very muddy. The horses all had access to round bales and water, and they all looked very well fed and happy, yet muddy. I am thinking that probably in the summer months they are turned out to larger pasture areas, I hope. Inside the barn the stalls were all clean and well bedded. No foul smell of built up manure and urine, thank goodness! The barn was very cluttered and absolutely no organization. So you can imagine I was a smidge bit disappointed in some of the conditions, but I reminded myself I was not there to judge the property. I did make mental note of how this could affect the health of the horse I was about to look at.
Now for the owner of the horses. I would guess her to be about 40. She has lived there all her life with her parents, except when she went away to college. The youngest of 6 kids. She helps her parents manage the farm, takes care of them in their aging years, and works a full time job at a local TSC store. She is a very busy lady, who has made these horses her life. She was very talkative and enjoyed telling me many many stories of her horses. She does some light breeding, and breeds for temperament first and then color and confirmation. Which I believe to be true, as all the horses seemed very mild mannered yet not the finest in build. She did not appear to be an animal hoarder by any means.
Now for the mare. She was already in the stall with a halter on, which at first bothered me, so I said “oh, she is already in”, and the lady replied “yes, I knew it would be easier then going out in the mud to get her”. No biggie at this point, it was quite deep! As the pictures show, she has a very thick and beautiful mane and forelock. Her coloring is wonderful. I could only imagine her in the summer with a sleek sheen to her coat! Her mane and tail coloring is a flaxen, but more of a greyish not blonde. She is VERY round right now. As the owner groomed her I took it slow and approached her easy, I didn’t want to rush anything. I let her sniff my hand first and then eased around to pet her neck, head, and face. She never acted snorty or fearful, yet her eyes looked clear and alert. I never saw any signs of irritation as she was being groomed, her ears stayed perked yet moving back and forth paying attention. She stood nicely in her stall and was tied without problems. She did take a couple steps to the side for saddling, and I immediately thought oh great here we go. Nope, that was it, a couple steps.
We led her to the round pen for some light longe work, off the line, as that is how she does it. She never batted an eyelash at leaving her barn buddies, though one was whinnying for her. She has a beautiful light floaty trot. She did not canter much as her hooves are very long right now and she did trip a couple times and we both agreed not to push her. Neither one of us were wanting to risk injury for the sake of a sale, I would rather go back and watch her go after seeing the ferrier. She bridled o.k., not jerking her head up or anything real naughty or fearful, but needed some coaxing opening her mouth for the bit. She has only been very occasionally ridden the past several years, so it’s not like this is all a daily routine for her.
The owner rode her first. She stood still for mounting and moved off with some encouragement from swinging the rope. She trotted around with the same floating ease and did extend nicely. Again no cantering at this point.
Then it was my turn. We shortened the stirrups, and up I went. Ameretto never acted nervous or jittery. I had to use a little more encouragement to get her moving, but she never overreact nor seemed irritated. It was a struggle to keep her moving at times, but nothing we couldn’t work through. This mare is broke to ride, but that’s it, no fancy techniques or buttons to push, she is very uncomplicated.
We led her back to her stall to untack. She didn’t her hurry back, but followed nicely. While untacking I played with her a bit more. Pressure on the poll, head down, touching her all over and watching her reactions. That type of thing. I was probably there close to 2 hours and I never saw any reason to think the horse was drugged or misrepresented in any way.
I liked her. A lot. But, I did not commit to buy at this point. Her feet desperately need a good trim, so the ferrier is to be out on Friday, then I will go for another visit on the weekend with my daughter who will giver her a test ride as well. She is an excellent rider and has a good feel for horses. I am confident she will have her moving off better and into a nice canter, but I did not want to commit until she has the opportunity. I definitely think we could be a great fit. I would feel much better about the purchase itself if the price was lowered, she is overpriced for sure, especially needing all her yearly health care yet.
So, there was no earth shattering moment, but I do feel good, very good, about the potential, and I have exercised some great self control and common sense. I walked away feeling good about myself and confident that I made the right decision to only commit at this time to a follow up appointment 😉 That being said, I do plan on getting this horse. We had developed a bit of a connection while I was there and it just felt good 🙂