Writing the check. A dreaded activity that I’d be glad to engage in.
[Photo by K. Mautner]

You’re helping me & you didn’t even know it. I took a tiny step toward a third horse today, thanks to this blog.

An astute reader suggested I post about the barriers keeping me from looking for a new horse. Not the barriers to horse-hunting & buying, we all know those: riding a lot of toads, deciding this particular toad is for you, writing a check for toad-purchase, and so on. What practical & psycho-social issues are keeping me from even starting to look?

Boy, did I get wound up. Almost 200 words of notes came spilling out of my fingers. I was all set for an epic whine on the subject. But, why? The area I live in doesn’t have the density of horses that Lexington has. So what? I have trouble getting people to take me seriously. So what? My past decisions didn’t always work out. So what? Much as I would have enjoyed a good solid rant about horse-selling – you want how much?! For that!? – at the end of the day, I would be no closer to the tertium quid*. Instead, I decided to dedicate this week’s posts to aspects of the subject & perhaps get help from the collective knowledge lurking in the ether.

As I toodled to the the post office, I noodled with bloggable points. Must remember to include that before Mathilda had gotten hurt, I’d had an email conversation with a local barn selling OTTBs. But then, all plans had been shelved. Up to this point, I was strictly think about what to write, completely in a narrative headspace. Then I took stock. The truck was running. The mare was up for a few hours. Why not now? So I did.

Since my visit was spur of the moment, the horses in question had already headed for the back of their 50-acre pasture and the trainer was deep into her activities of daily living. We chatted a bit about what I was looking for. I saw the barn & watched her ride. I didn’t see, much less ride, a single sales horse. The point is, I did something. Activity before progress.

[*We often referred to Previous Horse & Mathilda collectively as “Thing 1 & Thing 2”. A new horse would have been a third Thing, i.e. tertium quid.]

What is your most amusing &/or uplifting story about finding a horse?

6 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing

  1. I have to say that I have many stories about finding a horse…I’ll share a few. For me, in my price range, and for what I wanted, (jumps 3’6, between the ages of 5 and 9, bigger than 16 hands) it was extremely difficult. I tried upwards of thirty horses, vetted three and finally purchased the third after the first two didn’t vet. With the first horse that we vetted, the saga began. And don’t let this discourage you, just take it as a warning to be careful and only deal with trainers who you trust! I tried a horse whose name will remain unknown because I am afraid of getting sued for slander (yes this got messy!) I thought that this horse was perfect. Needed a little work on his changes, but everything else was exactly what I was looking for. He was going to be a great Eq horse and had a lot of scope and potential. Well, the owner said that we could only take him on trial for one week and that in order to do so, we had to give him 90% of the purchase price and he would not cash the check until we had signed the contract. The contract said that he could be sent back if he was unsuitable or didn’t pass the vet. (My mom is a lawyer so she reworked the contract to make sure that everything was there.) We decided to take him home to my trainer over winter break and see what she thought. After I hacked him maybe three times and lessoned twice on him, jumping some small courses, she decided she liked him and we vetted him. Unfortunately he didn’t pass the vet. He had the beginnings of a torn meniscus in one of his hind legs and he was likely going to go lame in the next couple of years, especially if he was jumping bigger fences. Obviously, this was not the kind of horse I was looking for. Distraught, because we loved him and had gone through this whole trouble and spent money on the vet, we had to call the owner and tell him. He didn’t believe us! He told us that the horse had “overuse” syndrome and claimed that we had ruined him! We couldn’t believe it! I had only lightly ridden him and it had only been five times! He not only refused to give us our money back, but he refused to take the horse back, even though we had ultrasounds to show the meniscus tear and a contract that specified we could send him back for a number of reasons. The owner was a real jerk. Obviously, we sent back the horse because we didn’t want to keep it. In the end, the owner decided to give back my half of the money, but not my mom’s (we had split the cost) because he felt bad taking money from a college student. That didn’t even matter to me, it was still my horse fund and that’s all I had! He clearly knew that he was doing something wrong if he felt bad keeping my money. Long story short, be careful! After that, we only went through trainers that we knew really well. Sorry for such a long winded and not so uplifting comment, but hopefully it’s amusing. We did, however, after vetting one more, find my current horse and I love her to death. You can read all about her on my blog 🙂

    1. You are blogrolled. You have been warned.

      I’m surprised you got a trial. The books/articles all recommend it but I have never met a seller who would let the horse out of his/her sight until it was mine. OTOH, if it had worked out you wouldn’t have Hallie.

      1. Wow! I’m surprised you don’t usually take one on trial! It is my trainer’s number one rule that you must be able to take them on trial for at least a week, otherwise how do you know that the trainer hasn’t drugged them or that they won’t be psycho when you take them off the property? Reading your later posts, here is my advice for horse shopping…find a barn where you can try multiple horses, that way even if it’s a couple of hours away, it’s still worth it. You have a much better likelihood of finding “the one” if you can sit on more than one of them. Videos are key also. Pictures can be deceiving (not that videos can’t too, but at least they give you a little better idea of how the horse goes). Where are you located? If you are in the New England area I might be able to recommend a few barns! And thanks for blogrolling 🙂

        1. re trial: Perhaps your trainer is well-enough known that folks feel comfortable sending a horse there on trial? My purchases have gone to boarding barns or my house.

          re pycho: Previous Horse was a fruit loop when we tried him, so that was one less mystery. He was OTTB with 3 gaits: walk, jig & buck. Seriously, you cantered him by bracing your leg, holding his head up, & letting the buck travel forward.

          re area: Southeast, and not the Eastern-time-zone, forward-thinking parts.

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