Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maybe Forever Horses Take Forever to Find?

I wish I had something exciting to report like, say, a new horse. But no. No. Nope. Nada. No horse for me.  In case you too, dear readers, think surely I must be being picky, allow me to give you a rundown of the last few "prospects."

After canceling my trip out of town to see the wonder-winger and son from my previous post, I immediately set up a viewing with a more local possibility. This was through a girl (and yes, I do mean girl - she was surprisingly young!) who runs an equine sales website and organizes viewings and marketing for sellers. I could find no one that knew anything about her and was hesitant as it was to do business with that type of arrangement. But I'm willing to see how it goes.

So out we go to see a 3 year old gelding last Friday. I'm ok with young and green as long as it's got a good brain. This is roughly how the visit plays out. He's about 16.2/16.3 right now, has been started slowly, is barefoot, lives outside but is also ok coming in at night, appears sound, clean legs. All good, plus he's cute and well mannered. A bit bum-high but he's big and 3, so no biggie. Oh, and he got kicked in the face as a baby so you can see a very slight dent in his face (barely noticeable) and they had to have some teeth pulled on one side cause they were crushed and also when the adults came in we pulled those because they were coming in crowded. Ok, not great news, certainly something to ask the vet about if we get that far. Under saddle, horse is soft and relaxed. Lovely, really. A bit of a push ride but I'm sure with some fitness and a bit of waking up he will be fine. I like him quite a lot. Feel hopeful.

Oh, and seller was Brumby's owner's former coach. She asked me to say "hi" for her. So, I sent a message later on. I got a reply saying this person is a liar and a thief, has been sued for fraud, etc,etc. Hmm, she seemed so nice! Then, as I'm describing this to another friend later that night (my birthday, incidentally), we realize it's the same woman that sold my friend her first horse who, as it turned out, had navicular. Granted, my friend should have gotten xrays but it was her first horse and it seemed sound.

Anyway, not exacly the kind of person I'd like to give my business to.

Then I go see a mare who is 10 and has shown hunters and jumpers successfully, including in Florida. The more I watch the video, the more I like her but I didn't feel anything special for her. They jumped her 1.15m and I was just like "meh" about it. Not that it isn't impressive, and it's certainly more than I need right now, I just didn't feel it for her. They stuff her ears for every ride, which seems odd but I guess is really only a minor thing. What really bugs me is she has tiny feet. Now, she's not a big mare, either (maybe 16hh) but her heels were also crazy long and she had egg bars in front. They tell me that they've never had them on her before but she started developing a quarter crack in Florida last winter so they are supposed to help that grow out. I'm told the farrier isn't worried (he's a well respected farrier in our area, who also travels to and from Florida for his clients in the winter). I'm told she's never been lame a day in her life. My coach says we will need to "extensively" vet anything we buy from these particular sellers. This warning comes on top of our understanding that I will fully vet anything I want to buy, including x-rays, so it's an extra big warning.

Next up - two well-bred mares from someone who drives me crazy and is trying to steal my business in terms of board/coaching/training despite the fact I clearly said I was horse shopping only. I'm only going because the horses are nice.

I am NOT cut out for the business side of the horse world..


Anonymous said...

May not work for you, but when I recently bought my own horses, I dealt only with private sellers - no trainers, no agents, no dealers. At least then, by careful questioning and multiple phone calls before visiting, as well as full conformation pics, I had a chance to disqualify many, many prospects on the phone - when you see a horse it's easier to like it even if there are defects you shouldn't ignore.

And I started with the feet - the horse had to have very good, large, healthy feet. Both my boys were barefoot and have stayed that way, and have beautiful feet - not saying that barefoot is essential but it tells you something. Then they had to have very good legs - large bones and good overall conformation. Then overall balance and structure. I was willing to deal with green (Pie) and even with a horse with behavior issues (Red) because his conformation was outstanding, his movement was lovely and there was a good sweet horse in there somewhere - we had to do some digging to get to it but we did it.

Both horses are amazing - my advice is if there's any reason to say no to a horse, say no.

Good luck - horse hunting is a pain but fun in some ways.

RuckusButt said...

And that has been my approach exactly. What I post is only a small fraction of what I've seen, and what I've seen is an even smaller fraction of the horses I've ruled out through communicating with the owner.

That horse was the one exception where I went through the "agent" and I was comfortable doing so because by now I'm a pretty good judge if the asking price fair. I then also have my coach who will come out when I decide a horse is worth it and if that goes well then the vet. So that in itself was fine.

Yes, some moments are fun. I'm just naive and find it hard to know what many people are like once you scratch the surface.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

I don't know, so many of the really good hunter/jumper and dressage types are going to be available through trainers that I wouldn't want to rule all of those horses out. Every trainer and agent isn't a liar and a thief. Of course there are some but that is in every facet of life, not just horses.

I do always look at the feet first, and one that is already in bar shoes would not give me the warm fuzzies right off the bat.

Laura said...

The bay sounds promising... Interesting about his teeth - haven't heard that one before. The grey mare looks nice, but I think you would be bored after a while.

I think looking at horses from a lot of different sources gives you a good idea of what is out there. Fingers crossed that the right one comes along soon. :-)

Laura said...

The bay sounds promising... Interesting about his teeth - haven't heard that one before. The grey mare looks nice, but I think you would be bored after a while.

I think looking at horses from a lot of different sources gives you a good idea of what is out there. Fingers crossed that the right one comes along soon. :-)

RuckusButt said...

Oh, I didn't mean I was ruling out horses through trainers. That's how it's done with a lot of the better horses and to me it's a good sign that the owner and horse have HAD a trainer. I was hesitant with the "marketer" type simply because I figure there is mark-up. On the other hand, some friends have told me they've listed with someone like that simply because the horse gets a wide audience and the owner doesn't have to do as much of the legwork, so it's worth taking less on the horse for the same asking. This is where it's good as a buyer to know what a fair value for the horse is.

Laura - I honestly still really like the bay. He was really sweet. If my lineup this weekend doesn't go well I think I will bring V out to see him. She likes the video of me riding the grey but doesn't like what I said about the feet. Than again, it's not uncommon for horses to have some difficulty with their feet going from Ontario to Florida.