Wednesday, June 25, 2014

hump day haflinger series #24

Figure, from Topaz Dreams always wanted a horse, but was taking a practical approach and waiting until she could afford a horse comfortably. Even though she did not have a horse growing up, she took lessons in a hunter barn when she was in middle and high school.  After she graduated college and got a job, Figure was lucky enough to be gifted a great horse. 
Haflinger: Confetti DYH or Confetti or 'Fetti
Sire and Dam:  Aspect x Cayleen AFH
Age: 18 year old mare, but no one told her that, she thinks she is 10!
Height: 14 hh
Favorite Food: Grain mash.  Confetti gets quite upset when it's not provided as part of dinner.  It does not matter much which grain - she just wants to feel like she's getting something special!  She also likes one particular type of local fern.
Personality: Confetti loves people - she is quite social and she'll wander over to new folks at the barn to introduce herself.  She has generally excellent ground manners but has a huge opinion of fairness under saddle.  Compromise is important.  Smart horses get bored, get in habits easily, and get cranky when asked to do things they strongly disagree with.  She will absolutely take advantage of uncertain riders or unclear cues to interpret things the way she wants.  Did I mention that she's smart, stubborn, and opinionated?  
Likes: Eat, run, and jump - but the latter two, only for as long as she wants to, of course.
Quirks:  She does not longe on a line at the canter.  Walk/trot is fine; canter she turns her nose out and leaves.
Discipline: Endurance, 25-mile rides called Limited Distance or LDs.  Confetti has also been a jumper, Pony Club horse (dressage, jumping, games) and was originally Western-trained.
Endurance is about completing a set amount of miles in a certain time - but finishing with a happy and healthy horse who is 'fit to continue' to (theoretically) go out for more miles.  Horses must pass brief 'vet checks' before, during, and after the ride to be allowed to continue/get their completion.  For a 25-mile Limited Distance ride, you get six hours (including a 30-60 minute hold, depending on the ride), so you're looking to keep a 5 mph average pace throughout the ride.  

To train for endurance, the rider and horse must build up the miles, build up the pace, and try not to do both at the same time.  Confetti and Figure tend to ride around 25 miles a week.  It's a balancing act between overtraining and wearing out the horse, or not training enough and running out of horse during a ride.  
They have completed all three LDs that they have done so far. You do not get places in endurance, but completions. 

Figure discovered Haflingers at the end of her second year in college. She was looking to lease a horse after the summer was over. She saw an ad for a pretty little Haflinger in May, but thought nothing of it. When she saw the ad again in August, Figure went to go look at her. She fell in love and was bouncing with happiness after the first two rides! After she leased Confetti for two years, her owner gave her to Figure!

Figure is blessed to have a generally solid mare that will try whatever is asked of her . . .  if she sees a point to it.  Point her over jumps, take her on the trail, chase crows, walk along the edge of a cliff, climb up the side of a hill, gallop along or trot a while... she's not an easy mare, she has opinions and does express them, but if asked the right way, she'll generally oblige.  Figure and Confetti do a lot of negotiating (mares?).  As a trail horse,  she thinks for herself, but she usually checks in with Figure before deciding which action to take for herself.
On the trail
It easily took Figure a year to read and understand Confetti; but  now, she knows what the subtle signs are of a meltdown or panic or just a needing to get a good run in before she can settle for work.  She's not terribly obvious about most of them - it's a hint of tension and feeling of firecrackers when mounting, though she looks like she's walking totally calmly, and that tells Figure to let (or make) her run first.   It's the tense muscles and insecurity that tells Figure that Confetti's brain is just about completely fried and she needs a break.  Sometimes, you just know.  These are the subtleties that make her totally unsuitable for kids and beginners that just aren't quite sensitive enough to pick up on the little things.  
Figure plans on doing  LDs as long as Confetti is happily going down the trail and holding up to the distance.  If things go really well, she would like to try and do a 50 mile endurance ride.  Whenever they are done with LDs, Figure guesses that they will mosey along on (mildly brisk) trail rides.  Confetti is a versatile little horse and she is sure they will find something to do.


  1. Can she tow our horses behind her? So they can keep in shape too, LOL LOL LOL!!! Lovely team!!

  2. I always wondered if haffies could do endurance. I have a good friend that does it on Arabs. She rides the tevis every year. Anyway I think it's cool you ride endurance on my favorite breed :)

  3. AN ENDURANCE HAFFIE?!?!!? I think I'm in love.

  4. Careful what you ask for.. we do occasionally pony some of the other Haffies along :)

    There are a small handful of us riding Haffies in endurance, though I've never seen another one at an AERC ride that we've been at. We definitely stand out from the Arabs!

  5. Very cool! Who knew Haffies were so versatile?


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