Friday, June 5, 2009

A gift horse...?

It’s been a busy week at Acer Farm. The first three days of the week involved breeding JB to one of the Morgan mares that showed up. That pretty much put any riding out of the question for JB. He’s not exactly willing to focus on arena work. Believe me I tried and sometimes, you just have to choose your battles! The good news is that we are through her cycle and we are done with all that nonsense. Not sure if we caught her in time as she was already in heat when she arrived.

The second mare that arrived, April, was supposed to be bred as well but that was a huge snafu. It’s kind of complicated, but the owner brought her to breed to JB because Tom mentioned a while back that he thought the cross would be interesting. The owner took that to mean we wanted a foal out of the cross and brought April along. It was a small misunderstanding. Needless, to say, April is just on vacation at our place and will not be bred.

………………Tom is eating crow at the moment….

It gets even more interesting. It happens to be that the owner has also offered April to us. She is a well bred Lippitt Morgan. The owner is downsizing his herd as he is getting older. If we don’t take April, she may be headed to Oregon. Big deal , right? Well not so. Here’s the kicker. Tom has a lot of interest because of what April is and her bloodline. Tom used to have a pretty successful Lippitt Morgan breeding program. He is partial to the breed and partial to April because she is a half sister (same sire) to Cassidy, his last remaining horse from his breeding program.To add to the mix, the bloodline from the sire’s side is no longer being bred since he is so old. That is the bloodline that Tom followed in his program. So it’s not just another horse. Believe me, the last thing I want is another horse, especially a mare. With JB getting gelded next week, our herd management is about to get really easy with 5 geldings. I really like that idea.One mare will change all of that. We haven’t made a decision yet, but April is here hanging out until the other mare is bred. We told the owner we would give it some thought.

Since I can’t do much with JB since he is a testosterone loaded , screaming fool and Rebel has a sore shoulder, I figured what the heck, I may as well work with April and see what she is all about. The owner has ridden her but I opted to start at the ground level. The owners horses are notorious for being spoiled and clear boundaries are an unknown. She has spent her entire life out on lush green pasture and as a result, she is about 2-300 pounds overweight, atleast. Even if I wanted to ride her, I couldn’t get a saddle to fit her or stay on for that matter. It would be akin to putting a saddle on a whiskey barrel. I don't even think I have a girth big enough to get around her!! She literally has a table for a back. It’s worse than that, her spine is a low spot with fat pockets along the length of it Poor girl. That is another reason he wants to get rid of her. He doesn’t have a way to dry lot her and she is such an easy keeper she needs to be somewhere with little access to grass.
It will take some time to get the weight off her enough to where she can be ridden but just in the couple of ground work sessions I have had with her, I am seeing some potential For not being exposed to much , she is very calm and very tractable. She is a very quick study and seems to be enjoying the opportunity to learn new things. She needs a lot of work but I think she would come along pretty quickly.
I have had another thought as well. She might possibly make a great second endurance prospect. Second endurance prospect??? Possibly… While Morgans are not as light in the build as an Arab, they are tough and have certainly proved themselves in the endurance sport in the past. Cassidy and Tom did the 25 mile limited distance CTR with me last summer with only one month of actual distance conditioning. ( I know, not exactly what is recommended but Cassidy was being ridden regularly prior to that). It turned out that Cassidy almost won that ride had it not been that he had to wear bell boots for overreaching. The Morgan breed is made to trot. April , even as heavy as she is, has a nice big trot. Her movement is hindered by her weight , obviously but she definitely has some fire. Underneath all that extra weight, there might just be an athlete.

We’ll see what happens. I am trying to keep the emotions in check and make a well thought out decision that includes space, finances, time etc. Tom is leaving the decision up to me because he has already decided he would like to keep her.

This weekend , we are headed to Hamilton with JB . I am riding him in a Liz Tukey clinic . She trains and teaches dressage. Hopefully , JB will be a little less frantic away from home and the mare and we can actually accomplish something. We 'll bring Cassidy along as a Plan B.

Pictures to follow!

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