A If Not P, Part II

Part of the reason sellers may not take us seriously as buyers [Eeny, Report, Cultural (What can I say, it’s an ongoing issue.)] is that we don’t futz around. Once we’ve seen enough to know this horse is not coming home with us, we make nice-nice noises and leave.

For the horse shopping visit last weekend [A/P], we spent perhaps 20 minutes at the barn. Most of those minutes were on the order of confirming our initial decision. As soon as I looked over his withers, I was 99% sure this was not the right horse. My eye level is exactly 16h. If I can look over the withers, the horse ain’t 16.1h, no matter what the ad says.

Still, I was willing to admit the possibility that he would change my mind. After all, Charisma was “this little, fat, black pony” the first time Mark Todd saw him. We watched our possible purchase walk, trot, canter, and jump one fence. Red flags fluttered. We said thank you. I didn’t ride the horse. I never put on my britches. What is the point of making the horse work or of disconveniencing owner any longer than necessary?

We’ve been doing this a while, longer than Possible Purchase plus his rider have been alive, by almost a factor of two, for each one of us. We have learned what we like. We might be right. We might be wrong. We are definitely decisive.

Horse evaluating is akin to chicken sexing. It’s a complicated mix of factors but do it long enough and you get mighty fast at it.

How long does it take you to size up a horse?
Am I going too fast & possibly missing a wunderkind?

Prior horse shopping posts.

Categories: Horse Shopping, Horses

5 replies »

  1. The last two horses I REALLY considered took three rides from me on two separate occasions, and since I trust his judgement and horsemanship skills, my husband rode them both once too. (Although, like buying a car, he was much more interested in their feet. Obsessively so, since he’s our farrier.) I knew I was getting very serious when I had one horse vetted. (Turns out she was a bit “iffy” there, but probably the better match for me. Still, the vetting made me take a hesitant pass) Oddly, I didn’t vet the horse I bought, but that was telling too … I would have bought her anyway, unless she had a third eye or something …. which really wouldn’t have required confirmation from a vet anyhow. Do realize that with animals I tend to make emotional purchases, which I don’t exactly recommend. đŸ˜‰

    • Me too! I passed on one that didn’t pass my vet only to see him come up prelim horse of the year the next year (then again, never heard of him again after that year ….). I bought Moses (the horse of a lifetime) without a vet exam – but I’d watched him a whole year in the lesson program and knew he was sound. He got under my skin in a big way right from the start, and it was truly the smartest move I ever made.

  2. I’ve both gotten off a horse quickly and not gotten on at all if they weren’t for me (for whatever reason). Luckily most I’ve gone to see have been more or less “as advertised,” and worth a ride.

  3. When I was looking, I had a set routine that I asked for during the demo. If the horse didn’t pass that, I didn’t even get on. Why waste the time? If a horse can’t canter quietly on a loose rein, I don’t want to bother.

  4. it takes you as long as it takes. if you feel wonderful, try him. you’re a tall woman – you need the height. but if you see something smaller, try it! you never know. Priney at 13.2 took up more of my leg than Chief at 4.1. altho you shouldn’t go as small as Priney….:-)

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