Day two of my perseveration on horse shopping. The first step to buying is knowing what you want. I don’t.
Back when Previous Horse was retired and Mathilda was a sprightly, young 20-something, our goal was to gradually locate replacements for both horses. As I said back in January, “This has been the plan all along: one fancy show horse for me & a husband horse that could double as my second horse, not as talented but fun. A sports car & a truck if you will.” [Truck Shopping] Clearly, Rodney was intended to be the sports car, or luxury sedan as it turned out. So which to get next?
Yang: The Sports Car
Get an interesting young horse, perhaps a OTTB, and start riding, training, showing. If Rodney decides to get his act together, I end up riding two horses at the AEC. Worse things have happened. This would be the road for a motivated, upper-level bound rider. Buy & work a bunch of youngsters. Sell the ones that don’t suit. We would suck at selling. It’s the La Brea Tar Pits around here. Once a critter comes on the property, it stays. [Explosion]
Or find an upper-level horse looking for a happy, working retirement. Yes, an older horse looking for an easier gig is a gift for us lower-level critters. It does happen. After all, somebody has to win the lottery. Then again, with the best of intentions, it may not work out for soundness or rider compatibility reasons. Other times, intentions are not the best.
But even if I was handed a set of reins to an amiable, four-star horse & told, “Here, he’ll pack you around Training.”, there is something unutterably wearying about the idea. Either I lack the fortitude to go down that road again or an insufferably optimistic part of me still harbors the hope that Rodney will be that horse. For now, no hot rods.
Yin: The Truck
“A non-Thoroughbred might be fun. Get a Morgan or an Arabian to cross-show in jumper classes at breed shows (do they even have these?). I used to show with a woman who did this with a Quarter Horse and earned herself a big-time belt buckle.” [Truck] You know, I know, and the universe knows that I will end up with yet another bay, Thoroughbred gelding. It doesn’t hurt to start out open-minded.
I’ve never been particularly brave about getting on strange horses. It took me years to get up the nerve to ride the mare I’m holding in the picture. (When I finally did, we had an absolute blast, but that’s another story.) How can I face trying out horses when it’s been over a year since I’ve even sat on one? Perhaps that is the test. A horse I can face riding now would also be a horse that would continue to bolster my enthusiasm and confidence in the face of the Amateur Operatics that are the life of a Thoroughbred. OTOH, is it fair to ask a horse to carry that much psychological baggage? I’m also concerned about introducing a third horse and sorting out the resultant herd dynamics. Again, a calm, sensible soul would solve more problems than cause them.
Of course, a solid citizen who was also gorgeous & talented would be nice, but until they invent holodeck horses, I must be reasonable. Plus, there is a side-effect to finding Mathilda’s replacement. There’s nothing like bringing in the replacement dog to have the original dog live forever.
Leaving aside the question of whether this paragon exists & how to find him or her, is looking for a “truck” horse wisdom or wimping out?