Hi all, am back from my very long trip to Michigan and am ready to dish you the scoop. I headed out Friday afternoon around 3:30 to head to my friend Candy's house which was about half way. We had vicious storms moving in and I was racing against mother nature to get there before they hit. I just pulled in Candy's driveway and the emergency alert on the radio went off anouncing a tornado warning for a few counties. I had no idea what county I was in! I flew into her barn in a panic as the sky's were dumping rain and it was black as night. She assured me she had heard it also and it was for counties south of her. We finished her barn chores and headed to the house, a phone call from my hubby who was concerned if I was caught in the storms or not. We watched the radar and went over some of my prospects I have saved and talked horse over dinner. She had just recently (1 month) bought a finished reiner for her husband who is a novice rider. I was dying to try him! She had contacted that trainer about finding another and he had emailed her earlier Friday that he had two for me to look at in Ohio. Off to the barn we headed, I saddled up Disco (reg. name It's a disco bingo) and was treated to the best ride I have had in awhile. He was a complete gent and I did all the maneuvers on him and found out that indeed I can ride better than I think. Since her husband was off getting Candy's horse from the trainer's barn I decided to clean up Disco for him in exchange for my ride. Fast forward to Saturday morning.....
We left the house at 5:45am and headed north to Alto, Michigan right near Grand Rapids, another three hour trek. We had two horses in tow and Candy, Jeff and I in the expedition. We chatted about horses, the ranch horse club and an up coming fun weeekend we have planned. I came up with the idea for a ranch horse race at our fun weekend as a fundraiser. We are going to do it, sort of like an extreme cowboy race thing. We arrived at Lyle Fredrickson's, Triple F Ranch fifteen minutes before the start of the clinic. What a beautiful place it is, large indoor with clear panels around the entire top making it very bright and we needed it on the gloomy day we had. After parking and checking in I introduced myself to Lyle. He promptly told me he had forgotten all about me coming to try the horse, and that he had done nothing to him for over a month. I was not discouraged by this at all. We went to the paddock where "Stetson" was happily munching hay and had a look. He was a bay in his winter hair still and not as small in stature as Harley. He was what I considered just plain. Never the less if he was all that, I could over look his plain looking appearance. We decided at lunch break I would get him out and try him. There were nine riders at the clinic ranging from green horse to just green rider all the way up to green rider on finished horse. I audited the clinic and found Lyle to be a very good communicator and watched as he rode a mare recovering from West Nile.
I liked his idea's on training mostly and thought he was a good clinician.
Lunch came and we caught Stetson with no issues and brought him in the barn. He was quiet and well mannered for the cross ties and grooming and saddling. We decided I would use my saddle and just get up on him without Lyle warming him up. I must say I did not have any intrepidation that I thought I would. Lyle told me to ride him like I owned him already and ask if I needed insight. One thing Lyle does that I have never been exposed to is get his horses "in frame" by using both spurs against the belly until they frame up. After walking around a piece and saying our hello's to one another, I tried framing him up for some serious stuff. He responded with his head going to the vertical but WOW he would grind his teeth whenever I asked. I had him jog and it was a most pleasent jog with no jarring at all. I did notice he did not neck rein all that well, wouldn't call it plow reining but definately had to guide with the off rein. I asked him to lope off and he took five faster steps in the trot before he loped. Oh the lope, not an oh the lope good either. It was the most horrible ground pounding lope I ever sat. I tried framing him up, speeding him up, slowing him down all of that. NO Go... this lope was bone jarring no matter what.
I pretty much had my answer already but decided to spin him and stop him anyway.
His spins were lathargic and his stops half hearted. Not sure if he would be any more peppy if he were in shape. Lyle saw me get off and asked to ride him some. I watched and he definately got more out of him than I did but I knew he was not the one for me. So........ the search continues on and I feel good about it and am glad I went to try him. Let's me see how good of a horse I do have right now and that I am a better rider than I think. I am trying to set up a time to view the Ohio horses soon, will keep ya posted.