Never Settle

The fourth & final day of the psycho-social drama that is my search for a new horse.

Buying a horse combines the mechanical uncertainties of inspecting a used car, the emotional baggage of adopting a pet, and the imponderables of hiring a co-worker. It’s a wonder any horses get bought.

My Uncle Jim knows little of horses but a lot about hiring co-workers. In the process of starting up and running a successful advertising agency, he spent many hours on personnel matters. This hard-headed businessman’s advice is to go with your gut. Once you have sorted the acceptable candidates from the unacceptable, wait for one that excites you. If you have a space to fill in your business or your barn, don’t you have to take the best of the available candidates? No. If your search hasn’t yielded the right candidates, change your search. Somewhere out there is the sort of person you want who in turn wants exactly what your company has to offer. Not just someone who has to live in your town for family reasons but someone who wants your mix of work/salary/corporate culture. Any time Uncle Jim has settled for “the best available”, he has regretted it.

I called him 6 months ago when I had finally found a decent horse after 6 months of looking. He was the best I had seen. Uncle Jim told me the above. I didn’t believe him. For various other reasons, I didn’t buy that horse. Turns out, Uncle Jim was right. Six months later I found absolutely the right horse, way higher quality than I had been looking for, who came to live here thru a concatenation of circumstances.

I wrote the above text the month Rodney arrived. Having just slogged through a year-long ordeal of horse shopping, I was attempting to capitalize on the agony by selling an article on buying horses to an editor. I wasn’t blowing smoke. Rodney was & is a higher-caliber horse than I ever expected to own.

On my Day 3 post [Eeny], I said I don’t trust other people’s opinions. I have my reasons. For the sake of libel suits, I will leave it at that. Insert your own unsuitable/unsound horse horror stories. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. You might have the advisory team of Matz, O’Connor, and Gurney with a Gates budget, but at some point you & you alone have to say, Yes, let’s do it.

I don’t trust anybody else, after Rodney I don’t trust my gut, & a third pasture ornament might just do me in. What criteria do I use when I don’t trust any of the criteria?

Related Posts
Horse Shopping day 3: Eeny, Meeny … oh you know the rest
Horse Shopping day 2: Yin or Yang?
Horse Shopping day 1: Crowdsourcing
Shopping for Rodney in Horse Illustrated
Horse shopping online: Putting Myself Out There … On Horseback.
Truck Shopping

So, Astute Reader, that is the long-winded answer to what is paralyzing me into inaction. In sum:
What should I look for?
Where should I look?
&
What should I do when I find it?

Categories: Barn Life, Horse Shopping, Horses, Writing

3 replies »

  1. Sounds familiar but for me w/ dogs…The last few times I said I wouldn’t take a puppy if he wasn’t exactly what I set out to get. Well after flying out to see them, I took one home each time in spite of my promises to myself. Each one has been so different and while Deuce never was really what I wanted, each of the others grew over time (or very quickly) to be very close to my heart and to perform quite well. Whist didn’t fit it but I’m having a blast with him, so much so, that I went to the lengths of breeding a litter and now have his son.
    So – what should you look for? What is it you really want? Prioritize there…what are you willing to compromise on and what aren’t you
    Where- hard for me to help you there, but for me, I look for the dog(s) I want all over the country. I know it’s not the same but I try not to limit myself though others do. I do admit to breeding my own this time but it’s likely to be the only time and that’s not a perfect thing either.
    What to do – buy it 🙂
    I know it’s not your style, and it really isn’t and wasn’t mine either at all, but you can rehome or sell one truly if it’s not right for you or the horse. I *never* thought I’d do it – esp being in rescue – but I rehomed one dog after 3 years (Drummer) and more recently the mom of the pups. In both cases, they had/have far better lives for them in the situation that I found for them. Much better match in temperaments. It sounds and feels like the end of the world, but you find that it’s not and you feel ok about doing what’s best for everyone. So keep that in mind though it’s not where you want to plan to go of course.
    Good luck in the process………starts with thinking about it, I know.

  2. Don’t go write a check for a new horse just now. Not until you can find some faith, of sorts, in yourself at least. Or can be 110% comfortable with the possibility of an additional pasture ornament.

    Is it possible to go do lessons or lease a horse from a decent trainer in your area? Maybe not even for the discipline you are (still hopefully) pointing Rodney towards?

    While a change up in riding styles can be a serious cause for brain scramble, it can also help with figuring out why we do everything that we do with our horses the way we do it.

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