Here's Carmelle, my newish mare. I bought her from the same people, Gordy and Diane, who sold me Star, the wonder horse, over 10 years ago.
After my drill mare Taxi went lame last summer, I was on the lookout for a new horse. Star was 25 at the time and although still certainly capable of reasonable trail rides, he wasn't up for the whole Missouri adventure anymore. Diane had told me earlier in the summer that she had this mare "Brownie" that they had repossessed because the boarders hadn't paid board for, oh, 3 years. She wanted me to come out and ride Brownie, and I had ridden her a couple of times which was rather brave of me, being that the mare had only been ridden maybe 5 times in the previous 3 years. She did ok.
So I'm on my horse search and one day I was out at Diane's place, actually with my buddy Kim who was also looking for a horse and had just ridden another one of Diane's mares. We were walking back up to the barn and all of a sudden I took a good look at Brownie and thought wtf, why am I looking for a horse when there's a perfectly good one right here? I bought her within a couple of weeks and took her to Missouri. She was overall very good, just a couple of shenanigans. Best part: she's mighty easy on the eyes. Brownie is not a name for a pretty mare, so it's Carmelle. Accent on the last syllable, please.
This spring, after not having ridden her for 5 months, I brought her out and tacked her up. Katie was at the house and I mentioned that perhaps Katie would enjoy riding Carmelle first. Kate just looked at me, didn't really say yes or no. And then another brave moment: I decided what the hell and got on the mare myself. She was just a little pissy, nothing at all major. Yeah for the old lady!
We've been working on a few fine points, difficult maneuvers such as backing up. This was a newish concept, one that Carmelle was sure involved throwing her head up and tossing it around while she braced. She's now gotten to the point that she stops when I sit down, and backs up nicely when I lift the reins and touch her in front of the girth. Praising seems to work well with this mare. We're working on side-passing. Thus far, Carmelle has only advanced to the leaning stage. At least she's leaning in the right direction.
Star is 26 now and getting to be an old man. For the first time ever, he was laying down today with the other horses. I almost had a heart attack and ran in there to be sure he was ok. He has seriously never laid down in the 10+ years that I've had him or the 5 previous years at Diane's house. But he was fine. A little pissed at being roused, but fine. I have mixed feelings about his laying down. On the one hand, I'm pretty happy for him that he's maybe going to be able to actually take a nap. As long as I've known him, he falls asleep so soundly standing up that he generally falls over onto his knees and sometimes his face. On the other hand, it makes me sad. He's getting old.