Astute observers of the black friday sale list updates may have noticed that after Thursday night there were way fewer updates than I normally do. That’s because I was busy getting other things.
The acquisition of Grace worked out pretty fortuitously. Hillary was already planning to take Lex up to Megan’s after Thanksgiving to drop him off for a few months training. Michelle needed to take Nalah (Lissa’s Catoki filly, if anyone remembers her… she’ll be 3 soon!) over to Megan’s husband Reed to get her started under saddle. We were able to coordinate things to where Michelle took Nalah and Grace over to Megan’s earlier in the week, and then Hillary and I came up on Friday, dropped off Lex at “camp”, stayed overnight and socialized, and then took Grace home in Hillary’s trailer on Saturday. It’s only 3.5 hours from here to Megan’s, vs 6 hours from here to Michelle’s, plus I got an excuse to see Presto while I was there. Worked out great, and I much appreciate both Michelle and Hillary’s efforts in helping me get Grace here, and Megan for letting her squat in her barn for a few days. Horse friends are the best friends.
We left Megan’s shortly after dawn on Saturday with Grace, and while she was snorty about it all she loaded right up with no funny business and rode home like an absolute champ. I don’t think her head left her hay net the entire ride, and she was quiet as a mouse back there even when we stopped at a strip mall in BackassNowhere for donuts.
It was cold and rainy by the time we got home and kept raining all afternoon, so she had to spend her first day in her stall, which is situated right between Henry and Quinnie (Presto’s stall!). She mostly ignored them and ate her hay. The good part about the horses having to spend that first day inside is that they all got to meet and settle in together with the stall walls between them, so by the next morning we were able to just go ahead and turn them all out together with little drama. Well… Grace has been living in the desert of West Texas for a while, so she seemed to be having some real Ireland flashbacks out here at first.
She woohoo’d for a while before settling in to eat grass, and largely avoided any kind of direct contact or confrontation with Henry or Quinnie. She seems to want to opt out of drama in general. She’s not super submissive, but she also would rather remove herself from a situation rather than escalate it. She’s smart and has a good sense of self-preservation. Henry kept trying to pester her into drama but she just wouldn’t take the bait.
Later that day it had dried up enough to hack, so Hillary came out to ride Henry and I hopped on Grace. My saddle fits her pretty decently, and her head is the same size as Henry’s so that works out bridle-wise. The only thing that didn’t fit her was my girths, I had to squish her into Henry’s, but luckily the next day my Black Friday girth showed up and that one fits better.
We walked them all over the property – front field, both rings, and then all the way to the back to and around the hacking path. Grace was definitely alert and a little snorty but she’s the kind of horse that still wants to keep going forward even when she’s unsure, which I REALLY like. We trotted a bit once we got out in the back… she’s also quite sensitive and light, definitely rides more like a TB. Which again, I like. That’s my type. She’s VERY wide in the heartgirth though, boy… she’s not very tall but she’s stout through the shoulder and chest and there’s a lot of neck up in front of you, so she rides a lot bigger than she is.
On Monday she got her feet done. She’s been barefoot out there in the West Texas sand, and her feet are pretty good, but my farrier and I both had some concerns about trying to keep her barefoot and in work here where it’s rockier and the soil is more coarse. She’d already started to chip off a little piece of toe so ultimately we opted to put shoes on her fronts. Once again she was perfectly behaved for the farrier and never put a foot out of place the entire time. She gets a lot of gold stars for how easy she is to do things with and how she conducts herself in the barn and on the ground.
I hacked her again yesterday as her first ride with her shoes and she felt great, so now we’ll start moving into a more normal schedule. Michelle was riding her some, but not consistently, so I want to give her body time to acclimate to being a riding horse again before just throwing her into full work. Friday she’s getting her teeth done and that’ll be the last thing she needs before we’re “all systems go”.
Henry definitely has some jealousy issues to work through. I’ve been giving him lots of cookies and attention but he still stood at the gate and shot daggers at me with his eyeballs the entire time I was tacking Grace up yesterday. He’s got issues. He was being a little bit mean to Grace the first couple days too (he can be a MASSIVE asshole in the pasture sometimes until he decides he really likes the horse) but that behavior seems to have settled down. Henry is just extremely territorial about Quinnie and doesn’t want anyone else near her, even though Quinnie is damn well capable of taking care of herself. It’s more of a “she’s my friend, you can’t talk to her” dynamic. He’s a stage 5 clinger. I’ve actually caught him and Grace hanging out a couple times with Quinnie further away though, so I think in a couple more weeks they’ll be the three muskateers. Henry just has to get over his drama.
We’re only a few days in but so far, so good, knock on wood. She seems to have transitioned just fine, she’s eating and drinking well, and she’s behaving herself impeccably. And even having just sat on her a couple times and seeing her more in person, its changed my opinion on stallions for her slightly, or at least re-ordered my top 3 favorites. This is exactly why having rideable broodmares is such a nice bonus, it really gives you a better picture of what they’re like.
At some point next week I’ll do a post all about her pedigree and family, since she’s a pretty interesting one having been imported from Ireland. For now it’s kind of fun having a redhead in the barn for a change!