I couldn't believe (sadly) the number of ads for horses looking for homes. It was crazy. My riding lesson buddy, Jean, was very supportive and I would bounce ideas off of her and we would send ads back and forth. She admitted that she was living vicariously through me. I let The Instructor know I was looking for a horse and he indicated that there was room for my new companion to board at his facility.
I decided I wanted a been-there-done-that gelding, ”easy keeper”, barefoot, between the ages of 8-14 and that was going to be able to carry a round person. STA agreed with my wish list. I came close a few of times of making the wrong decision, but fortunately STA was the (screaming) voice of reason.
Me: "I test rode this horse (gorgeous 15.0hh Norwegian Fjord), and have had the pre-purchase exam. He was listed as a great trail horse, but also rides English. The vet says he looks like he may have some slight tendon issues in his right front leg because he shows some sensitivity over time doing circles to the right. Other than that, he's great! What do you think?"
STA: "Are you planning on having your lessons doing circles to the left only?"
Me: "I see your point."
STA: "You need to learn how to ride. Let him find a home where he can just do trail riding. Walk away."
Me: “What about this handsome Palamino? Has everything except he has mild COPD.”
STA: "Based on my personal experience, a horse with COPD has good days and bad. He is not an "easy keeper". If you were the primary caregiver on a daily basis, you may be able to manage this. But you won’t be. Walk away."
Me: "What about this beautiful dun mare? She was trained but hasn’t been ridden in a few years because she’s been a brood mare."
STA: "You are not experienced enough to re-train her. Walk away."
Me: "OK, this guy has everything!"
STA: "He only has 30 days of professional training."
Me: "I know! Professional training; great, eh?"
STA: "He's green broke, not a horse that has been-there-done-that. Walk away."
And so it went - sigh.
One night, I happened upon a newly posted ad for a registered Canadian gelding. There he was, a glory of blackness with a white spot on his forehead. A childhood memory presented itself...Black Beauty! Here he was staring back at me from inside my computer screen. MY Black Beauty? I immediately started an email communication with the lovely young woman, Megan, who was selling him for the owner.
“He is 8 years old and his owner is a 45-year old woman who’s circumstances have changed dramatically and she can no longer keep him. She used him for trail riding, but I use him occasionally for lessons. He rides English or Western. He is smart and needs to be ridden regularly so he doesn’t get bored. He is used to living outside. When there are bad storms he comes in if he has too. I used him in a lesson with an older man one year. He hadn't been on a horse in like 30 years and needed to start right from scratch. He was so good and patient with him. And this man was really rough on him. Not intentionally but just cause he was learning again. I would have to say I have never been more proud of him! He has always been barefoot and only needs good quality grass hay. He is an easy keeper.”
What??? Trail riding. English or Western. Easy keeper. Barefoot. Is OK with beginners. Has had old people ride him. HE sounded PERFECT. Oh, BTW, how tall is HE??? What? Around 16.0hh??!! Holy crap! “But HE doesn’t feel big when you are on him.” she says, “You feel secure.”
OK, so really, the difference between 15.0hh and 16.0hh is only 4 inches. Really, what’s the big deal? I confer with my horse expert to see if he was worth the 6 hour drive for a look-see. Road trip!! Yipee!!!
What was I thinking……..