Thursday, June 6, 2019

Adventures in Horse Shopping

If you've ever posted an ISO (In Search Of) ad or have ever read an ISO and it's comments, you KNOW they can be infuriating.  Either the add is too vague so every horse suggested turns out to be wrong, OR the ad is exacting.... and every suggested horse is wrong!  

Damned if you do and damned if you don't!  

Even though I know this to be true, I posted an ISO ad on a handful of heavily populated facebook groups, just to see if a miracle would occur.  

Here is the add:

ISO: Smaller Smooth Gelding: 15h MAX. AQHA (or minimal/solid APHA) GELDING with good extensions at all Western gaits. SMOOTH ride at all gaits. 4-12 yrs old. Easy going, been-there-done-that type with no maintenance and no shenanigans. Under 8K. Within 3 hours from Columbus, Ohio.

Seems pretty clear, right? 

Now, to be fair, I'm aware that I'm looking for a Unicorn.  I did not expect my inbox to be flooded with horses fitting the criteria, but I was hoping that people would READ before commenting.  Of course, I was wrong.

Here are the responses I received: 

Horse 1: 6K trail horse in New York State. Has had "minor" hock surgery.
Horse 2: Iowa.
Horse 3: 2 year old.
Horse 4: 16 hands
Horse 5: "Would you stretch your budget to 12k?"   
Horse 6: Mare.  
Horse 7: Cribber.  North Carolina.
Horse 8: 16h Mare.
Horse 9: Washington State
Horse 10: North Carolina.
Horse 11: Appaloosa. New York.  12.5K
Horse 12:  "A little higher than your budget."  Utah. 
Horse 13: 12.5K Missouri
Horse 14: 10K 15h 3 year old
Horse 15: 16 years old. Oklahoma

The ONLY promising lead: Then there was one comment with a semi-distant photo of a 5yo $4500 horse ACTUALLY IN OHIO!  I asked for more info in the comments. The commenter said they were at a show and would be "Sunday or Monday" before they got back to me.  I commented again on Tuesday saying that I PM'd and sent a PM.  That day they updated their profile picture but didn't respond to me.   Today is Thursday.  🤷🏻‍♀️

I promise I was very kind to all of the responders, and I really do appreciate the folks that reached out, even the ones too far away.  Many of them were very nice horses, but just not my criteria at the moment, and I don't yet feel the need to settle for something that isn't what I want. 

The thing for me about distance is that I NEED to ride the horse.  With my back issues, it's important that the horse is comfortable for me and that's hard to find.  If I have to travel to see the horse I need to be able to bring my saddle so it needs to be within driving distance, and then since I don't have a trailer I'd need to get the horse shipped at the minimum cost of $1/mile.  It just adds SO much to the cost, and my budget really is firm. 

What has your experience with ISO ads been like?

Here's a picture of sleepy content Kevin out in the field, because nobody likes blog posts without photos. :)  We head to our 3rd Ranch show of the year this weekend, and it occurs to me that I haven't posted about the first two!  Expect a Show Post dump next week!  Happy Riding!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Diamonds in the Rough vs. Store Bought Diamonds

I've been casually horse shopping for, well, my whole life. 

My first two horses were what I'd consider Diamonds in the Rough. As I'm gearing up to be a horse owner again, I've been wondering if I should stick with that routine, or do I just go to the diamond store?

Junior was 7, broke but unmannerly and unrefined, and cost me 4k.  He was being used as a trail horse.  Five years later we were showing the full slate of all-around pleasure classes and placing well in most of them. I had some training rides put on him in the beginning but I never sent him to a trainer.  Before I lost him he was appraised at 8-10k. 

I don't have the original photo he was advertised with, but it was pretty "backyard".  I mean he didn't look like a professionally marketed horse. 

Huck was 7, very well trained, but nearly feral from two solid years of solitude and minimal human interaction and cost me 4k.  He was sold as a "trail horse with reining training".  We attended many clinics and had many lessons and several different trainers hopped on him during the two years I had him, but I never had him in training - I'm still not sure if that was a mistake or not. 

This is the photo he was advertised with when I bought him:

And here are the gorgeous photos he was advertised with when he was sold again 5 weeks after I sold him. 

I don't know how much he went for, but I think we can all agree that he looks like a fancy expensive show horse in the last two photos, and a dumpy yard ornament in the first. His blaze and how wide his feet were set were what made me look past the horrible camera angle and sour expression.

This last year I also brought Kevin back from an overweight/unbalanced pasture ornament to a soft balanced handy horse and we won the Open Division at our Ranch shows.  He's never been to a "ranch" trainer, but he was professionally trained for pleasure by a reining trainer.

Even from the start of my riding career I was riding borrowed horses that were never as fancy as the other kids'.  I LOVED the horses I got to ride and they were good to me, and so was the wonderful woman who let me ride with her.  I was so proud as a 4Her to win champion or res. in ALL FOUR divisions at my last 4H show, on a $500 borrowed horse, in borrowed tack. Champions in Showmanship and English.  Reserve in Western and Contesting/Games - all with the same horse. 

So you can see, in my history I've always had to make the horse.  I've never been handed a professionally trained horse in show-ready condition and gone into the discipline they're trained for.  This is what I call a Store-Bought Diamond, and isn't it what everyone wants?  Is it what I want this time?

My current plan is to become a horse owner again "in the fall".   It's a soft goal meaning somewhere between now and next winter.  The longer I wait the more money I have available for the purchase price, since I've been squirreling away money since I'm not paying board. And I'm sure I'll need some new equipment, at least a new saddle pad... it's time for a 5 Star......

Will I buy another diamond in the rough?  A horse with good blood, good bones, that fell through the cracks, or just with untapped potential?  Or will I splurge for the store-bought diamond and for once in my life not be the kid on the backyard horse?   Or do I splurge on a fancy youngster and put it in training until it's ready for my getting-older-every-year ammy butt?

Here's my unicorn list:
AQHA or APHA solid/minimally marked
Gelding (I'm too moody for mares)
walk, jog, lope, back, lead change
Smooth gaits
Pleasure horse brain
Ranch horse athleticism
Pretty - open to all colors, but needs to catch my eye. Life's too short to ride ugly horses.
Good Hair
No pink nostrils - they always look dirty
Not too much white - see above
Excellent conformation - sue me, but conformation class is an easy way to get points
Barefoot - baby sliders during show season are fine, but I don't want to have to shoe.

So do I buy another <5k 10-15k="" and="" buy="" diamond="" do="" go="" i="" mark="" nbsp="" or="" p="" polished="" project="" the="" to="" up="">They all cost the same to feed. 
What's your show-horse buying strategy????


Friday, January 4, 2019

Equilutions 2019?

2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019

  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination about something equine.
  1. A resolving to do something related to the equine.
  1. A course of action about the equine determined or decided on.

My 2018 Equilution was to remember why I love horses. 

Had I really forgotten why I loved horses?  Yes.  Yes I did.  

How did it get that bad? 

-I hadn't really gotten "over" Junior's loss (and I still haven't TBH)
- The financial strain Huck's injuries and maintenance put on me
- The barn drama about all the fences he broke through 
-how badly my back hurt when I was trying to show him at Congress.

I surrendered.

As I think back on it, it reminds me quite a bit of a car accident I was in in 2006.  I was next to a truck that changed lanes directly into me, pushing me off the Interstate at 75 mph. We both overcorrected trying not to go in the ditch and our vehicles hit a second time, sending my car spinning into the ditch.  I remember the moment of clarity in which I realized I no longer had any control over the vehicle.  I surrendered and took my hands off the wheel.

So now a year later I contemplate where I am mentally, physically, and financially.  People are still asking me if I've gotten a new horse.   My BF and I went to a Christmas Dinner Party two weeks ago with a bunch of my horse friends.  In the car on the way home he says "Baby, you need to buy another horse. Horses make you so happy - you were having so much fun tonight talking about horses."  Truth.

So here's where we are.  My back is touch and go. Disk bulges suck. Mine are L5S1 and L4L5 so they're PERFECT for riding!  Ha! I am trying to be more consistent with my exercises and I'm trying to eat fewer inflammatory foods.  I was taking weekly reining lessons, but had to stop for a bit because I was in too much pain.  I'm seeing my Witchdoctor on Wednesday, crossing my fingers I get the OK to ride, though I think I need to hold off on the sliding stops for a few more weeks.  My poor trainer.  He coaches and trains these NRHA people and I'm over here like "Can we just do small-slow circles for my whole lesson?"  😆I suddenly feel like an old lady.

So what are my goals for 2019?

I just want to get to the point where I feel like writing a big expensive check for a horse and taking on the responsibility of expensive board and unexpected vet expenses seems WORTH IT.  

When will that be?

Each month I don't pay board/farrier/vet/dentist/chiro/massage, my horse purchase budget grows.  I've only every bought craigslist project ponies.  I think I deserve something a little nicer this time around.  So I'm not in a hurry.  I like seeing the account increase every month, and I should probably be a more responsible adult and not drain the horse account to zero with the purchase.  I never had a money cushion with Junior or Huck, and I think I'd be less stressed out if I had one.  You know; Adulting.

So much is up in the air right now that I really can't make any more goals.  I don't even know if I will be showing this summer.   I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to find out what 2019 will bring to this Overanxious (Former/Future) Horse Owner.

Happy New Year!

My lesson pony: Hollywood

Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Arrived Early!

Oh What Fun!

This was the 6th year for the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, hosted by Tracy at The Printable Pony.  This is my 2nd or 3rd year participating and it's ever so much fun.

If you're a horse blogger and have never participated, keep an eye on Tracy's blog or facebook for next year's entry deadline.  Tracy sends you a blogger's name, address, blog, and some guidance on what your blogger might like, then you choose a gift  (around $20) and send it off to your blogger.  It's a great way to find new-to-you blogs and it's so fun to see what all the bloggers exchanged.

My gift came so early that I stared at the package on my doorstep for a good 45 seconds wondering why this unknown person sent me a Priority Mail package!  It may also have been before coffee...

Once I realized what it was, I excitedly opened the box to find a cute Santa bag with this adorable tag!


Inside was a sweet little zippered bag, and a nice haul of homemade beauty items from Elizabeth at the Clover Ledge Farm Blog

The bag is made by another fellow blogger Amanda at Bel Joer Blog  - another new-to-me blog!  She has an ETSY STORE if you want to snag one for yourself!  She has lots of fun things for sale!

The  "Praise" soap, 'Czangria & Shiraz lip balms, and Peanut Butter Cup Coffee face scrub are from KJ Creations. 

I'm excited to try all of these fun gifts!  Thank you Elizabeth!!!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful Holiday Season. 

And if you are still in need of a quick stocking stuffer, check out my Etsy Store: but you better hurry, we're getting close to the shipping deadlines. Gift Certificates (printable .pdf) can be purchased up through the 23rd!