Dixie Mae

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Dixie is a 13 year old Appaloosa mare that we found in Monroe, Washington. Her background was largely unknown but it would appear that she was on a “dude” string for quite some time. The lady we bought her from had used her as a trail horse in the summers, but found that she wasn’t able to “bond” with Dixie the way she wanted to. 

Dixie was by no means skinny or underfed when we got her but she was in poor condition. She had no muscle definition or body tone. Also, her training had been limited. Dixie had an issue with tossing her head so the first thing we did was get her teeth floated. They were very bad and probably were part of her head tossing issue.

We have had Dixie Mae for two years now and I must say she has, and continues to be a challenge to work with. She gives meaning to the phrase “stubborn as an appaloosa”! At the same time Dixie has beautiful forward movement and is a gem on the trail. Since trail riding was the main purpose for buying Dixie I have not pushed her hard in the ring. However, in order to stay fit for the trails (I ride summer and winter, when I can) she needs to be ridden in the ring and she has had to learn some ring manners.

Dixie has her own idea about what she will and won’t do. For instance, she is very stubborn about her canter leads; believing that one lead will suffice. She isn’t particular about which one, although once she picks one she will go to great lengths not to take the other one. This seems to be the only time she will buck (well, almost the only time). The last time she got to bucking over taking a lead she didn’t want, we persisted until she took it and then we cantered the ring for a long, long time on that lead.

It is important with Dixie, as with most horses, to keep up the work. I try to make sure Dix is ridden at least 4 times per week. One of our young riders here at the barn has recently asked if she could show Dixie in dressage classes this summer, so we have a real objective to work towards. I hope is works out, I can’t wait to see her showing off in the ring – she will undoubtedly to very well!

If Dixie never makes it to the show ring she has already more than made herself a valuable addition to our lives. She has taken me on countless trail rides, and has packed newbies and children around the park safely as well. Also, Dixie has ponied Iris Mae around the park on several occasions over summer 2009 and will go with her as a companion horse when Iris Mae takes her first trips to the park. Poor Dixie is the timid one and Iris Mae is bossy so it has been a challenge for Miss Dix, but she is such a trooper she takes all in stride and does her best. 

Dixie is also learning to go to the park on her own. This has mostly just taken a lot of persistence and practice, as she has definitely not been happy about going solo. Once on the trail, though, Dixie is a real pro and keeps a sharp eye out for potential problems. She is a safe ride and has never offered to drop me on the ground (thank you, Dix!)

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Dixie in Winter by Jennifer Pallison
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Dixie in her new 'jean jacket'
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Go Dixie Go
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Dixie's Windblown look