I have another horse to play with – a 17-year-old Arabian mare named Bahea. Now…let me start by saying that Bahea is NOT a rescue. She was a youth dressage/jumping horse that’s been hanging out in a pasture for several years. Her owners were getting out of the Arabian business and looking for homes for their horses. Bahea’s first stop as a horse for an at-risk youth program didn’t work out (through no fault of her own…she just wasn’t the right fit). I offered to take her, get her back into riding shape and look for the right person for her. She definitely has some training on her. She does lateral work VERY easily! I can see her being a good horse on which to learn, but she is sensitive, so she is not a beginner horse. I don’t think she would do anything bad (she is a total sweetheart), but I think she would end up going this way and that as she is very responsive to the leg.
Bahea was bred to be a race horse, although she never did. Her sire is Virgule Al Maury, an imported French-bred Arabian stallion who has been one of the most successful French sires in the United States. (http://www.lonechimneyranch.com/virgulealmaury.html) At age 25, he’s still standing stud in Oklahoma. Her dam is a Polish-bred mare named Bintkana (Pierrot x Baska Lana, by Cytrys). Bahea has more of the Polish build to her. She is relatively small and compact, but she has the chestnut coloring with chrome that her sire is known for passing along.
Bahea is very sweet around people…and very food motivated. She barely leaves a scrap of hay behind. The barn manager at Windy Oak mentioned that they just need to figure out what is the right amount for her. I said that she’s the kind of horse that will eat as much as you give her. Hence the considerable hay belly. (Don’t let that picture at the top fool you. She only looks narrow there.)
Bless her heart she is a trooper. I rode her once before taking her so it’s not like she knows me. Last Monday we loaded her up and hauled her to her new residence, Windy Oak Farm (www.windyoakfarm.com). She loaded and traveled like a pro, settled right into her stall and started munching hay. The next day I led her around the indoor, outdoor and outdoor jumping arenas. Other than looking around with the occasional whinny, she was quiet. Thursday she had her feet done and Friday she had her teeth done. She handled it all with the professionalism of a quietly confident mare that’s been through this a time or two.
On Saturday, I got on and walked her around the indoor arena. Since she hasn’t been in regular work for several years, I want to bring her back slowly. She does need some work with bridling as she swings her head around. Otherwise she is good in the crossties. She stood quietly to be mounted at the mounting block, but was hollow initially under saddle, and she did get spooky by the open door. Her trick seems to be coming to a dead stop and then backing up. She goes forward with some persuasion and after a few times of confidently riding her past it, she was fine. I’m still not sure if she is really afraid or is testing me. Probably a bit of both. Eventually, she did relax some and stretch down with her head and neck. We did large circles, diagonals, and 3-loop serpentines. It was fine for the first day back.
I was told by more than one person that she is an alpha mare (she is a chestnut Arabian after all…). So far, however, my mare Nadia is keeping her away from the other horses. Watching herd dynamics is fascinating. Bahea is keeping a respectable distance so far, but I suspect she is buying her time. I look forward to getting to know this mare better and finding the perfect match for her. I think she’ll do great with a small adult or teenage girl who wants to learn lateral work. She still has many good years left to give and she deserves to find a person of her own.