I've been planning this post in my head for a while and I thought I would be telling you about how I bought Kevin.... but, I didn't buy Kevin. I'll tell you the tale...
As you know, the show on August 1st didn't go well. Up until that point I had been hoping that I would become Kevin's owner. We were in good standing to win a year end buckle. MY FIRST BUCKLE!!!! At a RANCH show! I was making a western pleasure horse into a Ranch Versatility horse!!!!
But then the show happened. I was so taken aback by his behavior I tried to find what to blame it on. There had to be an explanation. I had a lot of thoughts about footing, bare feet, my vacation, ridden by multiple riders.... but the more I thought about it, the clearer the picture became. Could it have been those things? Oh sure. BUT, this horse had been so willing to work for me for so long.... I think he doesn't WANT to do this. When I lope along the rail and pretend it's Ranch Pleasure he's just a doll. When I ask for harder things: spins, good stops, fast lope, trotting poles in a spoke, working on natural footing, he STILL gets uppity and has been since the show. It's like it took him 11 months to reach his tolerance ceiling. Kind of like a nice Uncle saying "Yeah, okay sweeting, we're done playing that game now, BACKOFF."
Or it could have just been a bad day. Now, I know that horses have bad days. But we've not found our groove again since the show. We're good if we do pleasure. We're not if I try to work on anything else. It's like his switch finally switched from "Oh, alright, we can do this new thing" to "NOPE."
I took him to the little local open show on Saturday just to see how things were going to be, whether or not we'd progressed from the debacle of the last show. We were 2nd in Showmanship, his backup was crap. 2nd (to my barn mate) in Ranch Pleasure and 5th in Horsemanship. Horsemanship did not go very well. 2/3 of it were respectable. The last 3rd (lope, stop, back) was ugly. Seriously that's not even hard.
AND the best part is it took me over an hour on Thursday to get him on the trailer. We were just schooling loading. OVER AN HOUR and B had to step in. Brat.
So the real question is... either way... are we going to be competitive? Oh yeah.... I'm up for the GREEN buckle, where am I in the whole big pack?... Oh.... We're not very good. We place in Green classes and we tend to place in the Ranch Riding class (rail only).... but that's it. He'll let me track a cow but he doesn't seem to attach the cow to what I'm asking him to do... he's just not cowy. Thankfully he's not been afraid of them, but we haven't tried going in the herd, our only time with cows has been the one in the Boxing class. I'm afraid we've reached Kevin's potential success as a Ranch Versatility horse. He can go do the Ranch Pleasure I think. He'll need some work over poles but they're at least straight travel.
Then the next question was... do I choose Kevin over the possibility of being competitive? After I lost Junior and started to consider a next horse I knew I wanted a Ranch Versatility horse. When Kevin showed up I wasn't ready to buy and I just wanted a horse to ride. Then I got a little attached to him. I adore him when he's not being a jerk, which unfortunately is less now than it was in June. He is super smooth and SOOOO easy to ride on the rail. Point and shoot most of the time. Do I want to be good at just one class? That's kind of the opposite of what Ranch Versatility is. We cut, rein, rope, and ride. We do it all.
I have been a habitual horse ad looker for years now. While I was in Wisconsin, I came upon a brief ad with an unfortunate photo....
This butterball just became my new horse.
I will tell you more about the new horse in Part II, but I'll leave you with a photo of him showing his excitement when his new girl-next-door disappeared into the barn....