My sister's co-worker purchased Brandy for $400 as a weanling from someone who had confiscated the filly from her previous owner. The co-worker was hoping the Pinto would work out as a future gaming horse for her teenage daughter. When the mare was a yearling, the co-worker put about a month of round pen work on her by a horse training friend. But in the end, the mare and the daughter never really got along. At one point the mare spooked on the trail and bucked. The daughter was able to stay on because her belt got caught on the saddle horn. She got off of Brandy and said she'd never get on her again.
The filly was a bay and white tobiano when the co-worker brought her home. I point this out because Brandy has greyed out more and more every year since then. Even in the 4 years my sister has owned her, she has lightened considerably. You wouldn't guess she was the same color of horse she was as a yearling! My sister secretly wishes Brandy had stayed this color.
Since Brandy wasn't working out for her daughter, the co-worker offered my sister the opportunity to buy her. The mare was about 4 or 5 years old at the time. My sister looked at pictures of the mare, but at the time, she lived in the city and could not afford to board a horse. Four years passed, and the co-worker offered to give the mare to my sister. She wanted to give her to someone who was experienced around horses and would give her a good home, and she trusted my sister. By this time my sister and her boyfriend had moved to property in the country, so owning a horse was doable. They went out to look at the mare on a sticky, 90-degree day. Brandy had only been ridden about two handfuls of times total, in her nine-year old life, and she had only left her pasture during those 9 years when she was hauled to the 4-H club vet appointments. Although the co-worker took relatively good care of her horses, it was not up to my sister's standards. Brandy was a little underweight and her hooves were long overdue for a trim. It took the owner forever to catch the mare. She saddled her up and rode her, doing a basic walk, turn, back, and an attempt at a side pass. Afterwards she asked my sister if she wanted to ride. My sister said no. She doesn't remember why she declined the ride. She said I just figured she was free and heck, what could go wrong, right? Oh goodness.
My sister and her boyfriend put up a fence, built a shelter, got a couple of goats as pasture companions, and brought Brandy home. My sister spent almost every day brushing Brandy, leading her around the property, and getting to know her. The mare was head shy. She was very nervous. She pulled back when tied. After about 3 weeks my sister rode her for the first time. She wouldn't stand to be mounted. She was terrified if you rode up to a puddle, and would start to crowhop in any uncomfortable situation. She spooked and jumped at everything. Once, when my sister wanted to go one way and Brandy wanted to go another, she turned and tried to bite my sister on the leg in protest. If you look at these pictures from their first ride, you can see how Brandy is standing. She is very unbalanced and unsure of how to even carry a rider on her back.
Poor little thing. She looks so physically uncomfortable and ready to bolt of buck at any moment.
Most of these mare's problems were obviously due to a lack of handling and training. For example, at one time her previous owner wanted to give her a bath and tied her to one of those old metal children's swing sets that sits on top of the lawn. You can probably guess what happened next. When the water came at her, the mare pulled back and nearly toppled the swing set back on top of herself. No wonder she had issues with tying....
A couple of years later my sister's boyfriend got himself a mare that needed some additional training, so my sister had the trainer ride and evaluate Brandy, too. By the way, this trainer was the trainer that leased and sold me My Boy! Just thought I'd throw that tidbit of information in there for you! Brandy had never loped with a rider on her back before. The first lope the trainer did on her, they ended up all over the yard and through the horseshoe pits (this was pre-arena) and nearly ended up in the pond. It only improved from there. Brandy was moved to a barn and was stalled and ridden every day. After several months of training, this little mare was moving like a dream, collected, side passing, leg yields, you name it. She learned to stand in cross-ties and get a hose down in the wash rack after every ride. Her trail ride skills improved greatly. She still spooks at the occasional daisy or culvert, and gets a little claustrophobic on the narrow brushy trails, but it is night and day from the trail horse she used to be.
Brandy, blazing trails.....
That little mare has my sister's heart. She taught my sister a lot about horses, and about herself. In retrospect, my sister realized that getting a green broke 9 year old mare probably wasn't the best decision for someone who hadn't ridden or been around horses in 12 years. However, in the 4 years they have been together, and after all that they have been through, she said that she will never sell or get rid of this sweet horse. None of this mare's issues were really her fault. Her previous owner meant well, but she just procrastinated. With a lot of hard work, some patience, trust on both of their parts, despite a few doses of frustration, Brandy has come around to be a very nice horse. Despite her slow start, she still has amazing potential to do great things.