What a strange week last week was! I’m a bit of a planner (being a teacher and all) and so I often plan out my week in advance so I know what I’m doing when. Viewing a horse was not part of any plan I had.
The week before last, a livery at my yard bought a Highland Pony from a lady down at the Scottish Borders. She mentioned how this lady had another Highland Pony, though she was considering loaning him out as she didn’t want to sell him. She encouraged me to have a look because she thought he would be a lot of fun for me.
I was apprehensive to begin with because another horse is still another commitment. Though, I had to admit to myself that a full loan was definitely desirable in my situation because my fiancé and I are planning on emigrating to Australia next year which means that buying another horse was not an option. Loaning however, might just work.
I began to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of it all then ultimately decided to go for a viewing and decide from there. The lady was lovely and very honest. The horse was also lovely and very sweet. I brought him in from the field, gave him a brush, tacked up and went for a hack. He was really good for the most part and I felt safe. His only issue was that he is very worried about traffic. We encountered not one, not two but THREE tractors (with HUGE containers on the back) which the poor horse was upset about. He didn’t do anything bad- he just danced around for the most part and tried to get away from them. After the three tractors, he was unsure and uneasy about cars passing by but he still didn’t do anything bad. We then went into the small area used as an arena and I got to see how he was in the school. I could tell he had been well schooled and a lot of work had gone into him in his younger years. He was light and responsive, though very unfit. I could see the potential in him.
On the way back, my mum and I had extensive discussions on whether to go ahead or not. My main concern was the traffic because we have quite a bit where we are. However, I do think that in time he could overcome this insecurity. After all, the owner explained to me he used to be led from a quad bike and was no problem with traffic. Basically, it whittles down to a lack of confidence in first the owner and then subsequently the horse.
In the end, I decided that I want to give him a chance. I need a challenge as Bo is not all that challenging these days and he just likes to go one or two hacks a week. Though the Highland has this issue, he still has potential to be fun and we could do bits and pieces over my last year in Scotland.
So, I would like to introduce my lovely new loan horse: Ghillie.
Ghillie is a 10 year old, 15hh (oversized) Highland Pony. He has done pleasure rides, cross country, dressage, show jumping- basically a bit of everything. He is super fun but is also super sharp.
He does have some issues. For example, his ground manners are not great- he is quite bolshy and rude at times. He also panics in traffic. These are his main issues but they are things that I can work through and desensitise him to, in hopes that he starts to feel more confident in his rider and simultaneously respects me from the ground and the saddle. He’s a big boy to be throwing his weight around!
He will be a challenge for me, that’s for sure but I’m looking forward to it. I’m especially looking forward to building his confidence out hacking again and hopefully in turn building my own confidence and ability. You never improve if you’re not challenged.
There will be more to come on Ghillie soon!