I’m going to sound incredibly ignorant here, but I honestly thought horse shopping would be fun and easy.
I’ll wait for your laughter to die down before I continue. Better now? Okay, good.
The first horse I bought was selected from a string of school horses that an older barn in Raleigh were liquidating. My trainer brought me over there, and I liked the first mare I sat on because she did “dressage movements” sideways that I thought felt really neat. Spoiler alert – this was less impressive in the hunter ring.
My second horse I found in the paper. After the hot OTTB mare, I wanted something quiet. When I was cantering Elvis in the round pen trying him, the horses in the pasture right next to him started galloping. I said “Easy” and he stopped. Sold.
My third horse was brought in by my trainer. My fourth horse was found on Cragislist, and Simon just kind of showed up in my life one day and refused to leave. When I think about it, I’ve never really horse shopped… especially with as many pennies as I have scraped together now.
When I started this process, I thought that the pennies I had would give me a lot of options and I’d have my pick of all the ponies within a few hour driving radius of me. Easy peasy!
Except then I remembered I was shopping in hunterland, and my pennies mean nothing. It seems my budget can buy me a pretty average Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse without a lot of show experience. Want to know what I already own? A pretty average Thoroughbred with a lot of local show miles. Sooooo that’s awkward.
The ISO ads I’ve set out on Facebook are pretty simple.
ISO: Hunter prospect. Needs to be roughly 16.2hh+. Started w/a developing change preferred. To be finished by amateur rider in a program, so good brain a must. Prefer AQHA/APHA but any breed considered.
However, the reality of my search is not that simple. I’m kind of driving on gut instinct and what makes me personally excited… which varies from horse to horse. I’ve gotten those butterflies over everything from a smancy baby QH to a somewhat plain horse going 2’6″ with a change. If I were to write an honest ISO ad, it would sound a lot more like this.
ISO hunter unicorn to help me get over the trauma of 2015. Can be anything from a track broke to seasoned show horse so long as it’s in my budget and makes my little heart go pitter patter. Needs to be giant – the bigger the better. This could be tall big or chunky big or preferably tall & chunky big… however it can’t be big and bucky because that’s a long way to fall. Doesn’t have to win the hack, but has to be calm enough to actually participate in the hack since I haven’t completed an under saddle class in about three years and kind of miss it. Preferably palomino or spotted… but more realistically would love some chrome. Want a horse that picks up his knees over 3′ but doesn’t crack his back, because equitating is hard yo. Lead changes don’t have to be auto, but they need to exist. Bonus points if they exist consistently and are easy to get. Would like to walk down the lines (see previous section on “big”) because owner really enjoys going slow.
Most of all, want a horse that can help me accomplish some hunter show goals in the 3′ local and 2’6″ rated divisions. Will be lovingly admitted into the nerd herd and promptly doted and blogged about.
Surprisingly enough… I haven’t found that horse yet. In all seriousness, I’m pretty much looking nationwide for my unicorn at this point. If you know of something that could work, shoot me an email or Facebook message (I’ll discuss budget off the blog… my Dad reads this shit). In the meantime, I’ll be asking for videos and perusing Dreamhorse if you need me.