Horse shopping trip last week. The first two horses were in Kentucky, but close enough to the border that the land was hot, flat, and Midwest-inspired. The second stop was in Indiana.
Potential Horse #10: Chestnut, 4 year old, ASB gelding. Big, sturdy, sweet. A fabulous hunter for ASB Hunter Under Saddle. As with most breed shows, saddleseat hunter or western is won by standard Saddlebreds wearing english or western tack: knee action, elevated heads, contained paces. I have seen a few horses who clearly do straight-up hunter/jumper enter the ASB classes. They don’t get the time of day. So, no cross-over for this dude. Did not ride.
Potential Horse #10.5: Black, 3 yo ASB gelding. Cute look. Nice potential for resale. You can always market a black horse. Didn’t go farther than his stall. I’m not looking for a project. I already have 17 hands worth of project.
Potential Horse #11: Chestnut, 7 yo, ASB mare. This one already did sport horse activities. Had even attained elevation over a few logs. Not so typey that she would have gotten immediately laughed out of a dressage ring. Quadra-tracked around the corners with ease. Square with her knees over a jumplet. Compact but rode big. Yes, I actually got on a horse. Mostly because we had come so far. I even jumped. Or more accurately pointed while mare zipped over/through a pair of lathes propped on buckets.
Despite all of the above, she did not hitch a ride home. First off, I rode for sh$t. That’s never a good feeling. But that had less bearing on my decision than you might think. When I tried Previous Horse, his gaits were walk, jig, and buck. How you ride on the day is important. How you will ride in the future is vital. This mare would be perfect for someone who wanted a fun, reliable ride around lower-level events. When we came out of in corner and headed down the long side, I had no problem envisioning a cross-country course unrolling in front of us. She would be fabulous … for someone who wanted a hot, responsive, controlled explosion of a ride. That’s not me. (Not I?) Sure, I could ride her, or eventually learn to, but hers is not a personality that would be a good match with mine for the next 20 years.
Potential Horse #11.5: There was supposedly another horse, who might have had hunter/jumper potential. By that point I was too hot, sick, and mired in despair to ask.
I was hot because it was over 90 and the indoor rings of both barns were built to withstand Midwest winters. In the summer, they could double as saunas. I was carsick from all the driving. I was in despair over my usual hopeless stew of horse hunt anxieties. In this particular variation, I began to wonder if there was any intersection between the set of horses I was able to ride and the set of horses I had an interest in owning.
Pluses: All the horses we saw came as represented. This is more unusual that it should be. They all looked as if they would be suitable for some job, if not mine. Ditto. Plus, both barns were run by trainers with whom my instructor had long-standing relationships. Everyone had an interested in maintaining good trading partnerships for the future.
Minuses: The previous week, I had a case of swimmer’s ear. A nasty little infection that hurts all out of proportion to the severity. Simple to fix. Get the right drops. Over and done. Or so I thought. I am not the hardiest of travelers. I wasn’t surprised to be a little carsick after spending the majority of two days in a car. I was surprised to be a lot carsick. Apparently my inner ear was still irritated enough with me that it fought back with a vengeance. No mess, but much whimpering.
Being that sick for that long colors the entire experience. Just writing about it makes my head a bit swimmy. I’m considering never buying a horse and taking up Tiddly-Winks.
On a lighter note:
I have started Tweeting again, see sidebar. Hubby is following, using the handle @Mathilda_minion. Yup.
Mathilda’s Assistant Minion