Heidi’s Strengths: She’s mellow.

Heidi is super chill. When I picked her up, she got right into the trailer despite not seeing one for about 6 months. When she had a pissy attitude about being handled, she never kicked or bit or tried to push me around on the ground. Pinning her ears was about as far as she went. Even when she bucked me off twice in about two minutes, afterward she just stood there and looked at me. She didn’t run back to the barn or take off toward her buddies. She looked at me like, “I told you I didn’t want to be ridden.”

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During our first few lunge sessions, she was nervous and reactive but she didn’t buck or kick out at me. She simply trotted faster and faster trying to figure out what I wanted. When I said “whoa,” she turned and faced me politely. My last project horse bucked and bolted back to the barn a few times, leaving me standing in the pasture like a chump. None of that from Heidi.

Sometimes I take her for walks down to the lake to expose her to people, dogs, cars, kayaks and kids. Even though it’s all new to her, the worst thing she does is plant her feed and refuse to move forward  without some coaxing. But there’s never any major drama, just a little resistance.

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She was checking out the kayaks.

When I walk her on trails, she is AWESOME. She crosses  water, jumps up a bank, has her ears up the whole time like she’s having fun, and is generally a fantastic horse to be around. On our last walk, I stopped to pull down some vines that were hanging down on the trail. When I pulled them, the whole tangle came down on top of her back. She just stood there like nothing had happened.

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Those are all things that some horses have to be taught and desensitized to. But Heidi acts like it’s no big deal and she’s a champ about all of it. My goal is to find a job she enjoys, whether that’s hunters or dressage or trail riding. I think people underestimate the value of a good trail horse. Out in the open you want a horse that isn’t going to get you killed, that will take everything in stride and take care of you. Once we work out her issues under saddle, Heidi is going to be that horse.

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