The whole purchase process went very smoothly and the pre-purchase exam went well. The only comment the vet made was that HE was “over-conditioned”, which was a polite way of saying that he needed to loose weight. I love that term; over-conditioned. That's what I am. :-)
The most stressful thing for me was the board situation. Within a two week period, the board rate increased an additional $180/month and the availability of space became an issue. I now owned a horse, but could no longer afford to take lessons if I boarded him with The Instructor....and there may or may not be space for him. STA calmed me down and said I could keep him at her place until I decided on where he was to be housed.
At STA's suggestion, I approached the owner of a local riding facility 15 minutes further than where The Instructor was located. The owner, LA, has been riding since she was a small child, she has competed, trained horses for competition and has instructed at all levels. As it turns out, I knew someone who boarded at this place and gave it a glowing recommendation. The environment at LA's facility was geared towards the horse's well-being. It was a little more rustic than I was used to, but the place was spotless and orderly. I liked seeing the horses freely walking around. I liked that she did not use barbed wire fencing. The board rates were excellent and the lesson rates were competitive. The herd was made up of quarter horses, appaloosas and paints with access to 70 acres. HE would be the only one of his breed. This was a "Western" environment; there were only 2 other boarders that rode English. Smiling, she said, "We won't hold that against you."
HE arrived at his new home the next day and as he stepped off the trailer, I could see LA's eyes widen. "He's a big one, isn't he. I think he's a little bigger than 16.0hh" "Really??" The measuring tape came out - HE came in just shy of 16.2hh. I regretted asking. LA estimated his weight around 1500 lbs. HE was anxious and it took a minute to get him settled in a stall. His routine for the next few weeks would be a few hours day of paddock time on his own and then HE would be slowly introduced to the mixed herd. HE was anxious to meet his new friends.
I went back to The Instructor and told him that I had found another place to house my boy and thanked him for all of his help. We parted on good terms.
My riding buddy, Jean, was going to take lessons with me at the new place. She asked if I would come and watch her last lesson with The Instructor. Everyone was excited to see me and hear about my boy. As I was watching Jean's lesson, I noticed a man standing at the entrance of the barn, looking a bit lost. I asked if he needed assistance. He was new and having his first lesson that night. It turned out that GM was to be his mount. I showed him where the tack was and then took him to meet GM. I gave GM a nice rub as I told him about the lessons and then slipped her halter on and put her in the cross-ties. I told him how great GM was for building confidence and how smooth her ride was and how much she taught me. Then I heard myself saying "Stop and say hi to her and then ease into it. Respect her. Don't rush her.....". When I was showing him how to tack up, GM was the perfect lady. I think she knew I wasn't coming back and it was her way of a "gift", a last memory. As he was donning his helmet, I wished him luck, I deeply breathed in GM's smell for the last time, gave her a gentle rub around her eyes and walked away.
GM and me.