Gem- well she's a mystery. We don't even know her real name! The dealer thought she was 10/11 years but the dentist thinks 12 so we've gone with that. No-one knows what breed she is for sure but we (inc. vet, farrier & physio) are pretty sure she's full TB, although there may be a bit of something else in there... who knows! There was absolutley no history whatsoever for her, and her name whan i brought her was 'Number 6'. As you could see from earlier photos, she looked like a toast rack and she was the one i never intended to buy but couldn't say no to.
In the early days she was incredibly aggressive and defensive over food. I used to have to throw her breakfast & dinner over the stable door in the first few weeks as the minute she knew food was on the way she would come over the door at you, all teeth baring. This gradually lessened and as i got used to her faces and insecurities i just began to ignore her. She's quite happy to let me in now, and backs away from the door when i walk in but those ears still go right back and she attacks the bucket like it's done something to offend her. Silly horsey! I think it stems from not knowing when her next meal was coming, so as soon as the bucket hits the floor she's in there before anyone can take it away but i may be wrong. As i said earlier, who knows!
To those who don't know Gem, she can be quite intimidating. Especially if you are nervous around her. She picks up on nerves very quickly and doesn't appreciate it. For as bold and brash as she makes herself out to be she's quite a sensitive soul really and any nervousness on her part tends to show itself as aggression. She's also a proper face puller! It makes me laugh no end! When i first had her i was a bit unsure if the faces and leg twitches would be followed up with actual bites or kicks but not once has she ever done anything and now i just think it's part of her character. She's just a grumpy madam, like her mother really!
The real issue i have with Gem is how cold backed she is. Now i've rode a few cold backed horses in my time but i can honestly say she is one of the worst i've met. I've owned her 8 months now and still haven't rode her. We're making progress, but it's painfully slow. She's still having physical conditions ruled out too so until i know it's definitley a remembered type pain rather that there being an actual physical cause no-one will be getting on her. I'm convinced she's had very badly fitting tack in the past as she has 2 white patches either side of her withers and the same in the girth area, so i'm hoping she's just expecting the saddle to pinch & rub and there's no underlying physical cause but we'll see. I've got to the point where she will have a saddlecloth over her back secured with a surcingle and will happily eat her breakfast wearing this. I can also lean over her back in the school and she doesn't seem concerned by this either, it's just when the saddle goes on, and the girth is done up that the real problems start! I put it on her once, tightened the girth gradually and she was fine until i did it up a bit tighter, then she went bucking and plunging around the yard. Not huge rodeo type bucks, and if a rider had been on they would have been able to sit to them, but nevertheless she wasn't a happy horse! The one thing i do know is that she was definitley rode the summer before i had her. A friend of mine's instructor rode her whilst she was at the dealers yard and said she did exactly the same thing to her for the first few minutes then settled down and hacked out very nicley with no other problems. Maybe there's hope for us yet!