You knew there had to be a next one!
I’m in the very early stages of horse shopping, something we all know to be both an exciting and frustrating process. And unlike the last couple of times I’ve shopped, my trainer will be the one driving the shopping process.
Don’t get me wrong–I’ve always had trainer input on my horses. Usually I go through 100 videos online, share 50 of those videos with friends, and 10 with trainer. If there’s one they like, I try to go see it. Sometimes I go alone or with a friend, and sometimes I go with the trainer. And if we all like it, we try to buy the horse. Bing bang boom, pony!
Looking back on my track record of horses purchases, my success rate is pretty mixed. My first heart horse, Elvis, I found myself out of the Raleigh “News & Observer” newspaper. My heartiest of all heart horses, Simon, I met at a former barn. Really, he found me.
I’ve owned a few horses that I never would have met if it weren’t for my trainer making the connection. And, um, I–cough–didn’tlikethosehorsesatall–cough–. Honestly, I don’t really want to get into which horses or why (longtime readers can probably guess). I chock it up to life lessons, and Captain Hindsight.
So now I’m here letting a relatively new trainer drive the process. Because I’m a bit of a control freak who is used to doing a lot of things myself, it feels strange. But in the spirit of making my life easier right now, I’m going to trust trainer’s expertise. I really like the horses in the barn that she’s found and produced. There are several of them I’d be happy to own myself.
The other thing I’m doing differently, which can be a little uncomfortable to talk about, is that I’m planning to spend more money. I may be horse poor, but I’m privileged. I work really hard to afford all of this, and as a trainer once told me “It costs just as much money to keep up a nice horse as it does a not-so-nice one.” That isn’t saying the horses I’ve been fortunate enough to own or work with aren’t nice. I’d dump all of my bank accounts in a second to have Simon back, even though he’s not the kind of horse that would have stood out at most shows.
But at this point in my life, I want more training. I refuse to buy something that doesn’t already have a lead change. And with horse prices being absolutely insane right now, I have to pay for that privilege. In hunter horse budget terms, I still don’t have much to play with. I’m not shopping for a Lexus or a Tesla. We’re going more for like a Honda crossover SUV. And you know, I adore my Mazda CX-5. 😉
I feel like this is the point of the horse shopping experience where I’d write a funny, honest ISO. Even though trainer is the one posting those in Facebook groups, here’s my take:
Emotionally battered adult amateur seeks fun horse. She really wants is a 17hh hack winner palomino or pinto with a 10 jump and an auto-change, but her budget is more along the lines of an honest citizen who safely jumps with an easy swap. Quirky is fine, as long as quirky doesn’t involve spooking at imaginary fairies or stopping for funsies. This horse’s version of funsies should be 2’6″ hunters and getting groomed (currying and all). Would love to have scope and step for the 3′, but buyer only ever wants to jump 3′ if she’s had a really good night’s sleep and perhaps an extra glass of wine. Can be older (buyer is getting older herself) or need maintenance, as long as horse can likely do the job for the foreseeable future… or at least as much as anyone can predict these things. Looking for a can do attitude. Can deal with all sorts of mental issues (owner has a lot of experience handling her own) so long as the desire to work and please is there. The dream is something that’s been to a few shows, but is green enough for buyer to afford. But really, there are so many different varieties that could be the dream. Just looking to start a fresh one.