Her nickname was Sadie Sue and her registered name was Smoothsational. She was a bay, 15 hand, Quarterhorse mare with very little white. She was definitely her own self!
She was an outstanding show horse, very broke to ride and competed in a number of events - Western, Hunter, Trail, and more and very, very successful at them all. I kept this mare for years because I didn't want to be beaten by her.
But here's the thing: If Sadie did not have a halter with a little catch rope (6 inches or so) on her, she was wild and unpredictable. She would spin out, run off and kick up her heels for all she was worth and God help you if you were in the way. And, yes, I tried various things to change this behavior. I roped her from the ground, I made her drag a rope when loose, I put kicking chains on her, but nothing changed her.
She was also very "snarly" in her stall. She wanted to be left alone thank-you-very-much! But.... as soon as that halter went on she went to work and I had no problems at all. She would go quietly to be groomed, saddled and ridden. She was such a joy to ride. I even gave lessons on her. This mare really liked to be ridden and worked.
I have heard some very good trainers say they assess a horse by it's behavior when it's loose in a stall or pasture but Sadie proved that theory very wrong. You can't know a book by its cover and you can't really know a horse until you've worked with them. Rest in peace Sadie Sue - you'll live on in our memories! (And I hope those of you who have won her perpetual trophies over the years enjoy knowing a little more about her!) Talk to you next week, JD.