breed: Haflinger
color: Palomino
age: 8 (born 2003)
sex: mare
height: 13.2 hh

Training: Well-broke, with 30 days professional training since arriving at SAFE. Needs a confident, balanced rider, as she is very forward and sensitive.

Lucy, along with another Haflinger pony named Leo, was surrendered by her owner, who could no longer care for her and was going to put both horses down. She is a typical Haflinger, sturdy in stature, sweet in nature, with a thick blond mane and tail. Since coming to SAFE, Lucy’s had one month of refresher training and she is ridden walk/trot/canter in lessons on a regular basis at SAFE. She is well-broke and well-behaved under saddle, but she is a very forward, hot horse, and she is very sensitive to leg aids so she needs a confident, balanced rider. Lucy has been ridden on the trails and seems to love being out in the woods! She has boundless energy on the trails; she’s very hard to wear out! She was also taken on a beach trip by a SAFE volunteer and cantered happily on the sand and in the water. Her primary rider describes her as “beyond fun, and beyond sweet, and will make an absolutely amazing partner for someone.”

Updates & History


Congratulations to Diane G. of Yelm, Wa on her adoption of Lucy!

Lucy’s history

Adventures with Lucy– 10/8/11

I’ve been working with Lucy for about 6 weeks now and she is every bit as smart and brave as she is adorable. In September Lucy and I took at trip to the beach (joined by SAFE’s Zanadu and Jaime’s personal horse Slam). Lucy was incredible. Not only did she haul just fine, both directions, and settle right in to a foreign environment– she was an absolute blast to ride at the beach! Although she might take a moment to look at things, she did everything I asked of her. She splashed right into the water, showing Slam and Zan it wasn’t so scary after all. She had boundless energy and wasn’t worried, at all, about the large flocks of birds, vehicles driving on the beach, or any of the other obstacles we encountered. Jaime’s horse, Slam, preferred to spend his time right on Lucy’s tail– literally touching her at times. Lucy didn’t even seem to notice. We did a lot of trotting, some galloping and a little cantering. A highlight of the trip was little Lucy *trotting* as 17.2+ Slam Cantered along beside us.

At home, we’ve continued to work on relaxation in the arena, at all three gaits. The trot is coming along nicely– the canter still a work in progress. Some days the canter is more of a hand gallop but others (like yesterday) we get some nice consistency.

We’ve now had a couple of fairly beginner riders up on her and she has done fine with that. She is still pretty amped at the beginning of every ride and would prefer her rider ask for forward their voice, rather than leg, at first but she hasn’t offered to do anything more than jump a bit and scoot forward from an overzealous leg.

Lucy is an absolute sweetheart on the ground and is now quite easy to catch. She’s extremely easy to handle and the mounting block is no longer an issue at all (she stands like a statue for mounting). She tends to be mid-low in the pecking order and hasn’t demonstrated any “mareish” tendencies.  Her overall uncomplicated demeanor makes her suitable to a wide variety of disciplines. I can’t say enough about her willing nature “out and about”; Lucy is a fabulous trail horse. Unsurprisingly, we’ve had a lot of interest in Lucy and I have a feeling we’ll send her off to the next chapter of her life very soon.

Getting to Know Lucy…

The more I get to know this little horse, the more I like her. I’ve now had 3 lessons on Lucy and 10 or so rides. I think she’s getting used to me– she no longer feels quite so electric at first. She’s still rushing a bit but she settles in fairly quickly and we are starting to get some really good trot work. In our lesson last night, the lightbulb finally went off and she suddenly just dropped all of her defenses and relaxed through her back. I will work on recreating that magic between now and the next time I see our trainer.

She’s still a bit silly about being caught. I remove all doubt by carrying the whole jug of cookies out to the field with me. I become the pied piper of ponies as the whole herd come to the gate to see if there is a treat in for them. The jug reallyu only has a few cookies and a few sugar cubes in it– it’s mostly the sound that brings her to the gate. I can see her making the decision to get the cookie, rather than go racing around the pasture. It’s pretty cute, really.

Last weekend we went on a trail ride. Lucy was a super star!! She hauled just fine and paitiently stood tied to the trailer for tacking up. She boldly led our group of three all over the place. We crossed streets, passed off-leash dogs, cyclists, other horses, hikers, crossed bridges (including one with a small waterfall under it) and tried a little trotting. She was impatient about staying at a halt too long and preferred to be in the lead. This little mare has a walk on her and loves to put it to its best use on the trail. Don’t let her short stature fool you into thinking you’ll have to work to keep up, in fact, it’s likely to be the other way around.

Next stop? Beach camping! Stay tuned for more adventures with Lucy, in the meantime, here are a few pictures from our trip last week.

Lucy from the rider’s perspective…

I have now had the pleasure of riding Miss Lucy twice now. The rumors are true, I am absolutely smitten. I mean, come  on, what’s not to love? Not only is she totally adorable (you’ve seen the pictures, right?!) she is incredibly sweet. To paraphrase Jaime… inside everyhorse woman is a horse crazy little girl… and Lucy plays right into that!

Ok, ok, enough gushing! Here are my thoughts, after our second ride:

The good:

Did I mention she’s sweet? Well, she is. Very. She’s easy to catch (now!) and politely (if a bit suspiciously) accepts treats. She’s very well mannered on the ground. She quietly accepts (most of) the normal “horsey” stuff like cross ties, a shower after our ride, tacking up, grooming, and so on.

She has a *fabulous* halt. One need only utter a low ‘whoa’ and all four feet come to an immediate stop. She has a lovely walk, moments of  a nice trot, and (although a bit frantic) her canter is quite comfy to sit.

She’s been turned out with a variety of horses and seems to do just fine with anyone. She’s even ok alone. As bonded as she was to Leo, I wondered how she’d do separated, but she seems just fine.

Things to work on:

The thing about Lucy is that there is this constant underlying nervousness/tension. Ultimately, this is why the trial didn’t work out. She has yet to do anything “bad” (and I use that term very losely)… but she never quite drops her defenses, never quite settles in, never quite gives you the sense that all is well in her world. You definitely can “feel” it under saddle– but it’s also there when you lead her, while you’re spraying her with the hose, while you’re grooming her, etc. She’s trying… but she’s not yet totally ready to trust.

This seems to manifest itself as an over reaction to simple requests. I know this about her so I try to “whisper” my requests. One example is that our cross ties are pretty open. As many horses do– she walked forward as I was grooming her. Normally, I will ask a horse to back– while walking towards it, if they don’t respond, I will ask a little more strongly. With Lucy I simply, calmly, quietly said, “back”, and she shot backwards several steps. When she got a bit crooked I gently nudged her over and she lept away from my touch.

Of course, one hopes this kind of thing will go away as a relationship is built. However, our trainer (who has worked with many young and difficult horses) thought it might take a good long time to break through those barriers. I suppose we’ll just have to see. I have this sneaking suspicious this one won’t stick around very long, but in the meantime, I plan to make the most of my time with her.

For all the things Lucy *does* she also has a few “doesn’ts”. Apparently she doesn’t do the mounting block (we’ll work on that) and she doesn’t do clippers. She doesn’t have a canter cue yet… we’ll work on that too.

For now (under the instuction of our trainer), I’ll keep things positive, and short– not pushing her, or insisting too much on things like bending or straightness. We’ll take it at her speed. Giving her some time to develop the trust that she seems to have lost along the way.


Videos of Lucy Under Saddle

I visited Lucy while she was on trial at Half-Trak farm. I included the first video because you can really see how fussy she is about the contact. You can also see, in subsequent videos, how she tends to settle in a bit– although she still requires a light touch.


Lucy under Saddle!

Lucy has been at our trainer’s for the past month.  They were hoping that she might work out for them as a personal trail horse and to be used in beginner riding lessons.  She’s a little too hot/nervous under saddle to make a good beginner horse, however, so she has returned to SAFE and is available for adoption.  Our trainer speculated that she has been ridden pretty roughly in the past as she is a bit defensive about the bit and leg aids, but she is not naughty or evasive at all.  Sara rode her in a lesson the night she returned to SAFE, and she was great…she rode her walk/trot/canter without a problem, but she is a very sensitive, forward mare so not for a beginner.

A few photos:

More photos of Lucy