Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finding "the one"

Thank you for the comments on my last post. I know it was somewhat pointless to ask for opinions with bad photos. I don’t know why I bothered posting it, really. I’m just getting distracted because I haven’t really ridden Brumby for two months. So when a cute gelding paid me some attention I was flattered, lol. [Yes, I thought we would be back to work but he plateaued for quite awhile. The farrier was out yesterday so we’ll see if there are any changes.] It's good practice for owning - paying a fortune for something I can't do anything with, lol.

I guess I was hoping that some of the flaws that I’m not seeing could be pointed out so that I notice them too and see if I find the same thing in person. I hoped enough would be evident even though he is immature and the pictures aren’t good. I can’t really tell what is lack of maturity and what will stay “weird”. Maybe it’s not possible. Oh well.

It doesn’t really matter, there will be a lot of time and try-outs before I settle on a horse. There are plenty out there with good temperaments, I’m sure. Soundness and a good “fit” are most important to me in the sense that it can be harder and take longer to assess them. But realistically I will not end up with a conformationally perfect horse and I am trying to learn what flaws can be managed and which I should consider deal breakers.

I know I should be looking for something older and well-started that I can enjoy right away. But then, I’ve enjoyed working with a green-ish horse too. I agree completely that the money spent would be equal, if not more! I think the temptation is there generally (not just for this guy) because I worry more about acquiring a horse that is trained “badly” than one that is a blank slate.

I am in no rush to find something. At this point, I think my time frame for purchase is about one year, give or take. I think it is worthwhile doing these little ‘thought experiments’ as practice. Reminds me of when we started looking at houses to buy – at first we looked at a bunch that we were quite sure we wouldn’t want just so we would start to know what we DID want. Does that make sense? Besides, these types of opportunities could lead to a lease situation that would allow me to assess the horse over a longer term, so I’m keeping my eyes open early. You never know!

I SO need to ride! Oh well, I’m off to reunite with friends from Grad school in Toronto this weekend and have some much-needed fun! See ya next week!


HorseOfCourse said...

RB, do you really want to have some thoughts?
I am no expert, and I do not want to critisise.
And it's not easy to make a fair judgement out of the photos.

But here are my thoughts, for what it's worth:
- In the pic of him as a 3 yo he seems to be rather straight in his shoulders. How does he move?
- in the same pic it looks like he has a slight dip in front of his withers, which you can see in some TBs. I would not want that in a dressage horse as this is the connection point for the back and neck muscles which the horse use when working correctly. With a good attachment of the neck in both ends, you will most likely get a horse that finds it easy to work correctly.
- he also seems to be rather straight in his hind legs, which might affect his ability to collect.

Looking at pictures of 3-y-o is difficult. Proportions can slightly change as they grow in bouts, and I am no expert!
In the recent picture I can see what you mean about the toe, which again might be a soundness problem over time. Ideally I would also like have some more width of his chest, where he's narrow.

To me, I believe he looks more like a show jumping type of horse than a dressage horse. How does he jump?

I do agree with you that it is better to buy a young horse than an older one that is not correctly educated.

What I did mean in my previous post is that buying a young horse is kind of buying a foundation to a house.
If the foundation is weak, all the construction work you put upon it might be worth close to nothing in the end.

The perfect horse is difficult to find.(At least not with a price tag that is affordable to most of us.)
A good help is to make a list of what you want, and try to make a prioritation of what is most important to you.
Some things you might sacrifice, some others should be non-negotiable (like soundness, a good temperament etc).

And it is a process to find out what you want, just like buying a house, lol! Finding the right horse is difficult - but it is a very exciting process!

Have fun with your friends this weekend!

Golden the Pony Girl said...

wow Horse of Course gave some really good advise! I am going to add to that by saying I have been happy with the young horses in my life even if it takes a little more time and elbow grease to get to the "fun stuff".

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

The perfect horse can mean so many things, I've met many "perfect horses" that were conformationally not perfect but it didn't hold them back any and they were wonderful horses for their owners. I think temperament is #1 for me, but of course I'm certainly not interested in buying a horse with awful conformation. The horse you posted pictures of, I don't want this to sound harsh, but nothing about him caught my eye in the pictures. But he's in an awkward stage with a big winter coat so it really isn't a fair assessment. I thought he looked a bit straight up front but it can be hard to say since he wasn't set up properly for a conformation shot.

My horse Sky that I bought a few months ago is a bit straight behind. It doesn't stop her from being a drop dead gorgeous mover though. It would stop her from being an upper level dressage horse (I think she'll top out at 4th level) or a big time jumper (3'6" will be her max), but she's more than capable of being my amateur mount. However if I want to do FEI level dressage or jump 5' jumps again I have Bonnie. She is pure athlete and is conformationally stunning but a hard ride. If you are on a budget there is ALWAYS a trade off! Maybe I should start playing the lottery. :)

RuckusButt said...

Thanks you guys. Don't worry about being "harsh" - I promise I won't tell Willi and I myself call him weird looking all the time (I just don't always have the sophistication to identify WHY).

I fully realize all comments are made with the caveats of photo quality and age/maturity of the horse. I am a researcher and never just take once source of information for anything BUT I crave gathering all the bits I can - including from you guys!

HoC - I really appreciate the time you took to give your honest thoughts. Those details are things I would like to learn about as I embark on the long journey of finding a horse. This is a really fun and dynamic way for me to do that, so I thank you!

He has not started jumping - he is being allowed to mature first, which he needs. I was glad to see your comment about his narrow chest, I wasn't sure what to make of that. In my mind, I know I can do better than this poor sweet guy! I still think it will be cool to see what he looks like by the end of summer.

And HoC, I totally got what you meant by the unopened book. I agree entirely.

Golden - I know, she is awesome! You can't blame me for wanting to pick bloggers brains, can you?? See, I like to hear that cause I've worked with a lot of green horses and find that just, if not more, satisfying. But *everything* says a first time owner should get something older.

Melissa - very true. Perfect is over-rated anyway, right? When I see these $85,000cad Westphalian dressage horses for sale...well, I feel sorry for the horse, really. Something with Sky's ability would be just about perfect for me, I think.

Rising Rainbow said...

I noticed the same conformational issues that HOC did. It is important when considering such issues to also consider the number of them. One issue is easier for a horse with a good heart to overcome but the more issues you have the more difficult it will be for a horse to do what it isn't built to do.

Good luck in your horse shopping. It's one of my favorite things to do. LOL

RuckusButt said...

Hey Rainbow, thanks for visiting and your comment. I look forward to checking out your blogs! You raise a good point about looking at the number of issues in addition to just severity of the issue. Horse shopping IS fun, but also intimidating! Especially when you move from "window" shopping to being a little more serious!

Once Upon an Equine said...

You are being very thoughtful about you horse purchase. Not rushing is the key. You will find "the one".

There is an award for you at my blog. You needn’t play if you’ve already received this. Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your blog and have linked to it at: