Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Acquiring McKinna

So as I mentioned before, we bought McKinna at the Woodburn auction for less than you usually pay for a decent used saddle. At the time I still owned Bailey, and we were looking for a horse for my beginner mother. The auction sounds like a great place, right? Right!

No really, we were smarter this time. We took along Ellen, family friend/trainer, and we knew a woman who worked in the auction house: she knew the horse traders, and was pretty darn good at telling the bad from the good when they came through. We didn't really bid on any -- didn't ride through, too big, too old, terrible conformation, and so on. Then they ride this little grey mare through, and our friend gives us the nod. Of course, mother was a bit confused and overwhelmed by the atmosphere, and by the time she realized what was going on, the mare had been sent out with the top bid at over $500, the auctioneer claiming that the price hadn't met reserve. We sighed.

At the very end of the auction, when most of the bidders had left, they led in a little appaloosa that we recognized -- he'd been ridden through before, and also hadn't "met reserve." He sold for less than he'd been bidded on before. Next came that little grey mare, led through, and this time we all had our wits about us! Before we knew it, we were the proud new owners of "McKinna: QH/Arab mare. Crosses water and bridges, been shot from." She loaded up calmly into the trailer, and off we drove.

She didn't get much riding time at first, since I focused on Bailey. She was sweet, if a little unsure of what we wanted, but she gradually learned to longe and keep her gaits to something below Mach 5. She got along fantastically with Bailey, who loved to boss her around. And that was all, for about a year; then we sold Bailey. McKinna seemed pretty upset and lethargic for a little while, but soon all was well -- and now she was my main riding horse, so it was time to have some fun.

Our biggest obstacle has been cantering. She had to learn how, really; she wasn't strong enough and must have been quite inexperienced, because she damn near fell on her face if you tried it on the longe. She fell on the forehand, rushed, scrambled, and practically peeled out in the corners. Thankfully she's gotten much better, and if I remember to sit up straight (which feels like leaning back, but hey), we can even get a pretty balanced canter going down a slight slope. Let me tell you, it's made jumping a *lot* easier.

Speaking of jumping, we had our first outdoor-arena jumping lesson of the year last night! It started off a bit frustratingly. I normally jump Chaucer first since he does low fences, then McKinna, but I couldn't ride Chaucer because he'd been all bitten up in turnout. McKinna reverted back to her scrambly, rushing ways -- I think she was a little thrown off by the elevation changes, because our outdoor arena has a bit of a slope. After I remembered to keep my own weight back, though, she settled down and we got some nice fences in.

And here are some pictures from our Inavale schooling session on Sunday!

And, just for good measure, here's a picture of me landing from a jump with Chaucer (forgive my mother's timing with the camera, she's getting better!)

I don't know if you can tell, but he is rather huge compared to McKinna! Next post I will tell you Chaucer's story. He's a fun guy -- about 10 years old, and a bit clumsy. He's getting much better about jumping, but sometimes he still forgets where his legs are. On the plus side, he is a real sweetheart!


SquirrelGurl said...

McKinna is a real cutie! And so is Chaucer! She looks like a wonderful horse... if you have a good eye you can get some good ones from auctions... good luck with her!

I used to do some cross-country when I took lessons. I miss it sometimes.

manymisadventures said...

Thank you! She is quite wonderful :)

I have to admit, XC is some of my favorite riding. Not much beats galloping in a huge open field over big solid things, eh?

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