One day, while sick at home with a nasty cold, I decided to peruse the Equine Now site where we had found Flynn. I started to scroll down the list of local horses for sale when my eye was drawn to this remarkable paint horse. The ad said that he was a registered Paint Horse and showed a video of him being tacked up and ridden in a fierce wind storm. Despite the gusty winds rattling fences and blowing plastic bags down the street, he didn’t flinch. I was most impressed. I immediately called the owner to arrange a meet and greet. Now, I had learned a few things by this point in the game. Before going out to meet Walker I asked why the owner was selling him, and whether he had papers. The owner had all of his papers; he was being sold due to financial problems faced by the owner and her husband.
Having explained to Walker’s owner that I was looking for a trail horse extraordinaire, she suggested that she meet me at the ranch where we kept Flynn for a trail ride. When she arrived I was completely smitten by Walker’s beautiful markings. However, I was determined not to be shallow and get too swept up by his looks. First, his owner rode him in the arena so I could make sure that he wasn’t some wild, crazy horse. Then, I tried out my saddle on him to make sure it fit (that may have been a deal breaker for me given how much I had paid for it) and climbed on board. Other than some issues getting him down a steep ravine with flowing water, we had a wonderful ride. He was solid, steady, and had the most lovely relaxed lope I had ever experienced. Best of all, he was insanely brave, not spooking at any of the deer, bobcat, and various birds that frequently jumped out of trees along the way. After a two hour trail ride I was sufficiently convinced that he was the one. I should mention that I had looked at and even tested a couple of other horses before finding Walker, so I did heed my own advice and shopped around.
Now, Walker was definitely more expensive than either Hope or Flynn, but he was priced fairly based on his exceptional trail riding abilities. Of course, no horse is perfect and I quickly discovered that his ground manners were severely lacking. Also, he completely abhorred riding in the arena, clearly grumpy at the prospect of having to go around in circles. I felt fairly confident that I would be able to improve his ground manners (which I did, eventually), and I wasn’t too concerned about the arena riding since I only wanted to ride him on the trails. Walker saw trail riding as his job and he took it mighty seriously.
Walker was brave, but he was also pushy and very dominant. My newbie mistake with Walker was that I didn’t stop to consider why he was this way, or whether I had the skills to handle a horse with such a dominant personality. My newbie brain saw only two things: pretty horse that was good on trails. Horses, as with people, have complex personalities (or horsealities). The same character trait that made him courageous also made him stubborn and pushy. At the age of ten Walker had been permitted to get away with all kinds of bad behavior that no newbie was going to break him of. It’s like expecting to change an adult who has been spoiled senseless their entire life. It would take a little while before I had to deal with the full consequences of his bull headed ways.Share This: