How I Found Autumn
A few years ago I was made aware of a link to a farm in Florida where a woman who bred police horses was going out of business. She had many draft crosses that had been handled well through their younger years but when the trainer left, they all went to pasture for as many as 10 years! I hopped a plane and flew down in December. She let me purchase Autumn and Red. She agreed to board them there until I came down in January with the trailer to stay for the winter.
Autumn’s First Ride
I picked Autumn and Red up on my way to Ocala and kept them with me for three months while I started them under saddle. Autumn was phenomenal. Her first ride out of the pen was straight across the yard to the gate, with Red whinnying for her behind. I opened the gate from her back and took her down the half mile drive to the road, watched a few vehicles go by from a safe distance and rode back. She never flinched, didn’t try to run home and seemed very curious about the world outside her pasture.
After that I had friends join us on Traveler and explored area parks. She was a bit tough to load on a trailer at first but as we traveled almost daily she began to pick it up. She really didn’t want to be left behind. We saw animals, went through water, crossed bridges and passed strange horses. She was always well-mannered and easy to control.
Her first group ride was with a benefit ride in Northern Florida. She did extremely well but did kick out at another horse that was cruising just off her hip for a while. She tied to the trailer for hours, content to eat hay and relax.
Bringing Autumn Home
I trailered all three horses home in late March to snow and nasty spring weather. She adjusted without any issues and we used her as guide horse all summer long. She did well in front but as a green horse still needed a consistant rider and we had a few setbacks because of inconsistancies among the guides.
That fall we put her in harness, did a few days of intense ground driving, dragging things behind and hooking the yoke with Traveler. Then we hooked them to a few logs and she was again a pro! She seemed to love it. She never got too excited and put all she had into it. Later that fall we hooked her to the pole for the first time with Traveler and she acted like she’d done it her whole life. Tight turns, jangling sounds, hitting the pole and the feel of the cart pushing on the collar and britchin downhill didn’t seem to make a difference to her enthusiasm.
Autumn Finds Her Niche
This year she is one of our best lead and rear horses. She goes anywhere in the line but prefers not to be crowded from behind. She ponies kids, carries experienced riders and beginners. She is steady, willing and loves attention.