My lessor had called last Sunday, asked if Wilbur was always so spooky, and shared that she'd fallen off earlier that week.
Uh-oh...I steeled myself for the bad news and was surprised to hear that she was still on track for the purchase. I let her know that she was welcome to extend the trial and assured her that Wilbur has a forever home should it not be the right match. Of course the first two weeks of March kicked off with downpour after downpour- not ideal conditions for a pasture board trial period. Maybe if the rain just got a little better!!!
So after a week filled with beautiful weather, I stopped out after my ride on Ellie to try and catch a little bit of Lessor's lesson and pick up the lease paperwork. We passed each other in the drive and she said, "I just have a gut feeling and am going to have to pass on him. Have a nice life." She also shared that some students had been roping in the arena and Wilbur was panicked. She, like all the other's who have tried him, need something a little quieter.
We wished each other well and, while disappointed, I was also glad. Wilbur needs to find the best match for him and if it's not right let's move along.
I popped a Corona and settled down to chat about next steps with his trainer. I shared what Lessor had told me about the panic roping situation. What in the world did he do? According to trainer Amanda? Nothing, He didn't lift a hoof or even turn his head when they were flinging ropes behind him...his eyes just got a bit bigger.
I'm not writing this to suggest there was anything wrong with Lessor's assessment of what constitutes panic. I'm speaking more to each rider's different interpretation of what spooky, panicked, and wild means.
For me the definition of spooky is very different from that of Lessor. Ellie was feeling pretty fresh on Friday and decided to run off with me a few times right as we passed the very same corner that housed the mounting block I climbed up in a short while earlier. Not my favorite behavior but not a deal breaker by any stretch.
Wilbur seems to be attracting a certain demographic of rider. Generally older, somewhat self taught, looking for a pleasure horse. And while there is a lure with a flashy horse with a good "handle," they are quick to find that they are actually looking for a horse that won't flick an ear as a tarp blows past them. After reading and re-reading his ad- I can't find anything that suggests he's a packer on the trail.
So what now? Amanda and I agree that we don't feel confident we'll find him a home in the Western market. I think a sensitive horse is more generally accepted in the English discipline and for crying out loud- he's not bad! He just stands there in a nervous state- he doesn't bolt, buck, or rear. He IS fancy, he DOES have a good handle, and he'll try his heart out to do what's asked.
Personally I think he would make a great lesson horse. He's comfortable in the ring and can handle flat work, poles, and low crossrails. Not a rank beginner horse- but a kid who's got a few rides under their belt. When I was growing up all the lesson horses had something- this one was spooky, this one would buck, that one would run off with you. It teaches you how to ride!
So his ad is down. The Westhaven team is on their way back from Thermal and we'll borrow him for a week or weekend to visit the barn and Ali can assess where he is and a best fit for him. I think he's fabulous so I'm super excited have the chance to ride him. Ellie no longer likes sparkle bit- Wilbur will freakin LOVE it! And my husband is sighing because he knows it's a real possibility that I'll just carry on with both the horses at the same place and spend more money.