The New Go-To Girl
By Patty Wilber
I have leased Penny to one of my students for the show season! It is going to be fun to watch them.
But that leaves me without my “go-to girl”!
The Tootsie Roll is going to have to step in.
She got here in October, right after the World Appaloosa Show, because Wendy, of All-Star Appaloosas, convinced me I needed to own Toots. Sight unseen. Like a new hole in the head!
Except she was right! Toots is coming four –ok–technically she turned four Jan 1, but actually she was born in…May…I think. Have to go check her papers.
I have been riding her a little here and a little there, and she is a sensitive, sweet and stunningly athletic little block!
And, now that Penny is busy, I need a replacement show horse and a replacement back country horse.
LT is coming three and she is a bit too busy to be my back country horse this year–she could do it if I didn’t want to pack, but adding towing a pack horse to her plate is too much. She is super smart, easily bored, opinionated, charismatic and has a sense of humor, but she is not ready to fill Penny’s shoes.
Lacey is coming three also but due to her joint infection (of 2011) and resulting bone and cartilage erosion, I have given her extra time for internal repair. (She is sound!) She is not yet started, although she keeps telling me she is ready: Pick me! Pick me! She will pack this summer and I will start riding her, too.
So, that leaves Toots. One year older than the L’s (Lacey and LT), and a solid, sensible personality.
She is also lovely mover, so has potential on the rail; watches where she is going, so has potential for the showing in “obstacle poles” oh wait they call that “Trail”; is stout enough to appeal to judges for halter; is bred to work cows and rein and has a big ol’ motor (i.e. butt), so I bet she can turn a barrel (i.e. excel at the “games” like barrel racing).
Of course, she is not a tall horse and I am not short… and she is built in the old bulldog style. Thus, the Hunter Under Saddle (English riding on the rail–walk, trot and canter) and Hunter Hack (jumping) are events for which she really doesn’t “look” the tall and elegant English part.
It’s ok though! We will just tell the judges to think of her as a “medium pony” in Pony Club terms. 13.2 to 14.2 hands. And they will see her long, reachy trot under her stout bod. Truthfully, she will have a rough go of it against the taller English “types” but because she is a nice mover and good minded (so will be consistent and pleasant to watch), she will probably be able to go top three regularly, in local competition (by next year)!
No idea how she will take to jumping, yet!
This past weekend was Toots’ first weekend as The New Go-To Girl.
Saturday we met our Back Country Horsemen pals and rode up in the granite rocks above the former Town and Country Feed Store (currently and unfortunately out of business). I rode Toots and ponied Lacey.
Toots is my “I don’t want no drama in the herd” horse. She just wants to get along. Lacey is my top mare (now that Penny is gone, but Cometa and JD are still ahead of Lacey). But when working, no squabbles arose. They seemed happy to be with each other, especially since they did not know anyone else on the ride.
Our only sticky spot was the creek. Neither had ever done a water crossing.
The first crossing was narrow and the water, though shallow, was camouflaged by cottonwood leaves covering the surface. We were leading, but Toots took one look at the creek and said “NO WAY!”
We let the other animals go first and then I dismounted and led her across. She wanted to follow me (thankfully) and as she decided to cross, she placed one foot on the leaves, which sank since they were on water. Toots then declined to put her full weight on that foot, and sort of hopped over.
Lacey watched everyone else, studied Toots’ progress and then just walked across. Nice! Like her ability to figure things out!!
Toots didn’t quite get it on the first crossing and the second crossing was wider and muddy. After a series of “i CAN’T do it, i can’t DO it!”, I tricked her. I backed her in and all the way across (ponying Lacey the whole time). Then I backed her in again and turned her around.
At this point she said, “hey! this is water! i am thirsty!” She drank and then we went back and forth a few times.
Lacey, meanwhile, said, “i have no clue what the problem is here!” She got a drink, too.
On Sunday, I hauled Toots to a Buckskin Shaggy Show. Thank-goodness it was a Shaggy Show as Toots fits the “shaggy” bill and white horses tend to look a lot better if they are bathed…hey we were busy on Saturday! No time!
Toots is loping and picking up both leads, but she is not ready to lope in a group in a slow and cadenced way. (Need to work on that big time.) So we entered the walk-trot classes.
We did halter (2nd! Not so clean and in a barn halter! Yay for Shaggy Shows!), English classes, western classes, trail, boxing (keep the cow on the back fence) and then we pushed cattle back to the pen for the other cow classes.
She got third in Hunter under Saddle! (Got beat by two really nice horses and we were placed ahead of the two horses that misbehaved–consistency paid off for my medium pony!”)
And we won walk-trot high point on the day!
A halter was her prize! Purple!
Nice weekend for The New Go-To Girl!!