Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Purchase of Lady Luxury, Lucy, LuLu Bean

Elaine and Dax, Grace and Sugar, early 2004
The story of the purchase of Lucy starts way back in mid-2005 when we first moved into our current home, Prairie Corner Farm. Laura (me) had decided that it was now time for Elaine and Grace to join Pony Club since we finally had a horse property and enough room for everyone to keep a mount affordably.

Elaine was 12 years old and had been taking lessons and showing our Appaloosa, Dax, for about two years or so already and was content. Grace was almost 11 years old and had been using a friend's older quarter horse mare, Sugar, for two years and had lots of success, but we were unable to bring her with us to our new home. So Grace would need a new mount.
Elaine and Dax, Grace and Sugar, early 2005 with Egon
We started shopping early on for Grace and were having trouble finding something appropriate. The problem seemed to be that all of the horse sellers that we called were blatant liars who didn't care at all if my child got killed riding their rank animals. Week after week, I would call the listings and ask the same questions: This will be a horse for a 10 year old child who is just an advanced-beginner rider, a very petite rider. Would your sale horse be safe for her to ride? "Oh yeah, fine sure come and check him out!"

We'd arrive to find either a crazy Western horse that had no idea how to trot or canter, was used to having his head tied to his chest or a 16hh+ Thoroughbred straight off the track who still had his racing plates on. Suffice it to say, it was a long stretch weekend after weekend being disappointed at not finding a nice child-safe mount.

Clyde, fall of 2005
Luckily, during this time we had purchased (and trained - another long story!) a 1/2 Percheron, 1/2 Appaloosa horse named Clyde for Michael to ride. So Grace was able to use him for the various riding we were doing in the latter part of 2005 after leaving Sugar behind.  While Grace was getting plenty of riding time in between working with Clyde and trying out potential sale horses, we were both more than ready to settle on something permanent for Grace.

Our first look at Lucy

Enter Diamond E Horse Company in Coal City, IL about an hour away straight south from our farm to theirs. I had called one day after seeing a promising-looking ad and asked about their child-safe horses. "Oh, sure, that's all we do here! My kids ride everything and make sure they are ready to go and then we show and sell them. We are guaranteed to have something for your child to ride - come down for the day and we can show you 8-10 horses." Wow. What an exciting prospect to look at so many in one location. I had mentioned somewhere along the way that Grace was headed to Pony Club come the spring but this small side note was well forgotten by the time we packed up our riding clothes the following Saturday morning super early and headed down to Coal City to ride some horses.

Pony mare
 "Skeeter" was ready for us when we arrived and started saddling up horses and bringing them into the arena. He would ride first, then give me a turn and then if that all went well Grace would ride next. I reminded Skeeter again: "Just remember, we don't want any ponies and No Mares!!" So, after trying 4-5 cute geldings we heard a large truck pull up and Skeeter looked excitedly towards the barn door. "Here's something I think you're going to like!" he said.

I went out first to the trailer and peered inside. It was a large stock trailer and there were two horses inside, one chestnut quarter horse type and a smaller, pony-sized bay. Skeeter met me outside and announced "This is that Pony Club horse you were talkin' about!" Huh? I thought...what was he talking about? "yeah don't you remember on the phone - you said you wanted a pony club horse. This horse has done that pony club stuff!" I looked at the horses again and asked "Which one?" of course to my sadness he pointed to the pony and said "this mare here." Uh oh I thought. No ponies, No mares. Did we really want to look at her?

I asked right away what her price was and he told me what he would want for her. She was unloaded and placed into the cross-ties and we took a look at her. yep, she was a pony and a mare, all right!

Lucy at Diamond E Horse Company
So far, the horses we had tried were all "ok" - safe, unexciting and well trained. We could have taken any of them home and been happy. Then Skeeter brought  the little mare into the arena. He rode around for a bit and then gave us the money shot: As the mare was cantering in a perfect 25m circle, he dropped the reins and put his head up over the top of his head. The pony never missed a beat and just continued to canter, perfectly maintaining her cadence and path around the 25m circle. At that moment, I looked at him, I looked at Grace and said "SOLD! - one bay pony mare!"

Lucy, the day we made her part of our family!

Grace was so excited she could barely contain herself. She climbed aboard and the two of them rode like they had always known each other. It was magic. Three days later we came back to the farm with our trailer and brought her home.

Our first several months at home with Lucy took some adjustment - as wonderful as she was under saddle (for Grace) she was a heinous wench to deal with in the barn. Someone in her past had obviously not treated her very nicely. I was kicked and bitten several times, she struck out at the vet with her front hooves and was just generally not what we were used to. She was very difficult.

However the riding went great and she and Grace had a fun first few months getting to know each other.

We will continue our Lucy story some time in the future in another post.

Lucy's first few months with our family - Photos

For more about our horses, visit our web site at Prairie Corner Farm

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