The Next One

The Next One

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.

24 thoughts on “The Next One

  1. I love this and can’t wait to follow along! I wish I could clone my Simon and send him to you. He’s only 16.2h, but he checks all your boxes I think. Granted, I haven’t shown him, but he’s never spooked at anything while foxhunting and he has a lovely lead change. Alas, I’m pretty attached to him. Those Simon boys are the BEST.
    Best of luck! I hope it stays fun and you find something loverly.

      1. I hope you find a great horse to be your next heart horse! That said, *personally,* I hope you somehow end up with another OTTB :). There are definitely some good ones out there, and usually priced a ‘bit’ lower than other breeds. Despite that I own 2 QHs and 1 OTTB (different life when I got the QHs), I always advocate for the OTTBs, and were I in the market again, that is the ONLY breed I’d consider. Anyway, best of luck to you, Lauren!

  2. Best ISO ad possibly ever. I hope this trainer will find you a great match. There is always that worry that trainer finds a great horse… that needs training to validate their necessity.

    1. I’m confident in things working out. I think the past possible mismatches were mostly due to budget and some other factors. I know it’s been an issue with others, but I’ve never felt like any trainer I’ve worked with has ever picked out something for me in order for them to make more $$ overall.

  3. I have the 16h palomino version of this sitting in my pasture as a pet. Wish you were closer to GA because I’d feel he would get the care I want him to have to hand him off!

  4. wishing you the best of luck in discovering a perfect horsey partner who shares your desire to rock around whatever looks like fun that day!!

  5. Your ISO is hilarious- I love it. I hope your matchmaker finds you the best match, in terms of both brains and $$! I think most of us can relate to that challenge- hell, the reason I got Jack so cheap is because of his fear of butterfly farts.

    I hope you keep us posted on anything you get to try out!

  6. Awesome! I did something similar and for my current beast – handed the reins over to a professional. She knew my budget, sourced the horses we went to see, rode them first, told me whether she thought I should even bother getting on them (half of them I didn’t ride).

    I thought I wanted a sleek, 17.1 h, flashy TB, w/ 4 white socks. I ended up with a plain bay draft cross that I thought was too short and too green, and too expensive for what he was when I first got him. I trusted the process and … he’s a freaking saint, decent mover, no Olympic dressage horse but he’s done the local hack classes and a dressage test here and there. AND, he has the loveliest tail that is so fluffy when It’s washed and brushed out.
    Good luck!!

  7. My latest horse is my first one that I handed the reins over to my trainer to find for me and I’m glad I did, because there were a lot of horses that I thought looked cool that I sent to her that she passed on right away. It was great to have a not as emotionally involved person pumping the brakes and having a more experienced take on things. Good luck with the search, I know horse prices and shopping is absolutely insane right now!

  8. Horse prices are insane right now, just like a lot of other things. I hope the new one is da bomb. Young enough to be around for years to come, sane and sensible to do all the things without issue. All the basic programming in place but room to expand and tweak things to improve and said horse absolutely adores you because we all know you will be doting over them too.

  9. i’m thinking about my future next horse and I feel like your ad is something I could’ve written. looking forward to reading about your journey, and then coming back and re-reading it when I’m trying to do it myself!!

  10. Looking forward to seeing what the next step for you is. Your wish list pony sounds quite lovely to me! Good luck 🙂

  11. Love your ISO ad. Of course, what you get is never what you think you want. I took on my mare as a resell project for her owner. At the time I told her that I’d be happy for a commission but no way would I buy her as 1) I don’t like mares, 2) I preferred TBs, not a draft-x and 3) I had two kids in college and her horse was too expensive.

    Plus, the first month I rode her I hated her. Or more to the point, she hated me. She squealed, she bucked, she tried to rub me off on trees. She tested me every, single day. She did not want to play nice.

    Fast forward 6 years and that big draft x mare head still greets me every day. We came to an understanding and then a partnership. She’s wickedly smart and she still sometimes tests me, but I love her to pieces.

    She’s the most expensive horse I’ve ever owned by far, but she’s worth every penny.

    You will find your next heart horse, probably just not in the package you’re looking for.

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