Molly is definitely ready to start trail-riding--she is much better trained than I thought when I originally placed this ad. So here is an update!
Molly hadn't been ridden in a long time. She has been a broodmare all her life, and although she had been trained for riding and driving double and single, that was a long time ago. I don't ride--I drive instead--my daughter who does ride some hadn't been able to visit us and ride her at a time when she wasn't worried about leaving a foal locked in the barn. But now her last foal is weaned, and she is not in foal. So I asked our Amish trainer's son, who at 19 or so is well on his way to being a professional trainer, to come and ride her and evaluate her. She stood beautifully for tacking up. She moved maybe a step when he mounted. He walked her around near the barn for a few minutes, decided all was well, and headed off for our trails in the woods. Didn't see a sign of him for quite a while, other than some deer bounding out of the woods. About 45 minutes late he came cantering up our lane with a big grin on his face. He had ridden several of our trails, trotting and cantering, walking, stopping and standing, backing. All very willing, no fuss. He said once or twice she resisted turning a little, but all it took was a little nudge. In the process he opened and closed four gates without getting off (he was impressed). He just dropped the reins on her neck so he had both hands (one gate is tied, but even that one he didn't have to get off because she was willing to just let him wriggle around in the saddle as needed to get it untied and then tied). Eventually riding along a trail he saw a deer track and decided to follow it. But then he lost the track and just, as he said, 'bulldozed' through the underbrush. At one point his hat got pulled off and he had to ask her to back to where he could reach it on the branch where it was hung. She didn't mind the underbrush scraping along her belly, etc. He said she seemed to really enjoy the whole thing. He had her step over big logs--which she did very carefully, got her legs over one by one. And he did a little with our cones, which went fine. So after he described all this, I asked how I should describe her. He said she is definitely not green, which is how I had previously described her, not wanting to mislead anyone. He said she is a good horse right now. I said, you mean just not polished, and he agreed, she's not polished. But she is ready to go trail riding. He said she has a nice canter and her trot is 'OK.' (I have seen her doing a flying extended trot when I call the horses in for their feed--looks really good! So she does have the ability, although hasn't developed it under saddle.) He also said she doesn't need an experienced rider--intermediate is fine. Maybe not a beginner.
So, Molly is much better trained than I had thought! Of course, she still lacks lots of riding experience and dealing with strange situations. He also commented that he would never have guessed she was 17. Our vet had previously made the same comment.
Our place, with lots of woods in the pasture, and with some pretty rough trails, has given Molly lots of experience with picking her way along trails, dealing with branches brushing her, turkeys flying up, logs to negotiate, and deer bounding across a field or rustling in the woods. She is unflappable about gunshots, tractors, and chainsaws.
The bareback riding pictures for this ad were taken during my daughter's visit in June 2014. This was the first time she had been ridden in several years, and the first time in several years for my daughter also! Molly's foal was cutting up in the barn, so it really wasn't much of a ride--but even so Molly did OK, although my daughter had to be pretty firm with her. I think she would need a good bit of work before she would be good for driving--but for riding she is ready to go!
Molly loads and trailers easily, and stands for the farrier. She is, of course, also a proven brood mare, and produces lovely foals. She is now available for sale, purely because I fell in love with her daughter Makia RE, and if I am going to keep Makia, I'll have to sell Molly, or we will have too many horses for our pasture.
You can go to our website, Roads End Haflingers, to see more of our place and horses. I have not been able to update the site (technical computer issues!) so Molly's page there is out of date with none of this most recent information. Her most recent foal is Argonaut RE--you can see him and her earlier foals on the Horses for Sale Button. .