Mugwump's Mouthy Monday post yesterday made me think. The post was about the common mistake of buying a "Pretty" horse over a plain colored horse that's more suitable.
Let's take the Wayback Machine to summer of 2008...
I didn't really mean to buy a "pretty" horse. I'd ridden a ton of bays and greys, but only one sorrel. In 2006 I met 4 bay roans and learned what my least favorite color was. It didn't help that one of them, Rosebud, a stocky little QH cross, was only the 2nd horse in history to dump me on my ass and was a complete impossibility to catch. I didn't like how most of the roans progressed from solid bay heads to white butts. Then throw in the black mane/tail and you have a very busy and unbalanced appearance. I've never been fond of Appy's either.
I wanted a red horse. I was looking for a Sorrel. Why? 'Cause I'd never had one and since they tend to be looked over for flashier horses, I thought I'd be able to find a diamond in the rough. Bay would be okay, too. I admit I desired a loud paint, but I was looking at QH's too because I was pretty realistic about this whole "there is no bad color on a good horse" thing. And a sorrel horse looks great with green chaps.
Then I found Junior. There was a photo of him, taken from the back end with his head turned around to look at the camera. I wish I had a copy of it. I remember thinking "ugh, it's a bay roan... but he's actually pretty!" I don't know what I felt but I knew I needed to meet him. It was like pulling teeth to get a hold of the owner, but eventually I drove to meet him. He was the first horse I went to try. LOVE. The only thing I didn't like was that when I handed him a treat after the ride he damn near swallowed my arm. Not aggressively, just really impolite. I couldn't let myself buy the first horse I looked at. I was smarter than that.
So I kept looking. I nearly bought a solid sorrel QH. Gave a deposit and everything, but took my Vetfriend who said he was lame and pointed out he was already 15 yrs old and was over at the knee and had terribly long toes/short heels... So I didn't buy him. There was also a stunning sorrel solid paint bred with a ton of halter, showmanship and HUS points but he'd been navicular and needed corrective shoeing every 4 weeks.
All I could think of was Junior, and I was in a bit of a rush since I didn't want to try to horse shop during the school year. I'd only tried 4 horses - well 3 actually, because the prettiest loud sorrel paint was a full hand shorter than his ad and he reared as soon as the owner got on and the only place she had to ride was in a small enclosure of uncapped T-posts and hot wire..... so I didn't actually ride that one. So I took KAT down with me to try Junior again. And I bought him.
He turned out to be a royal pain in the ass but he's exactly what I needed. I needed a horse who would do whatever I wanted to do from trails to open shows to dressage lessons to relaxing in a lawn chair and letting him graze next to me while he steps on his rope and simply moves his foot. I needed a horse who wasn't going to make things easy for me, but trainable enough that I learn how to teach him. A horse that (knock on wood) seems to have sturdy limbs and good digestion. A horse that is silly and moody and lazy and willing all at the same time. He keeps me on my toes but nearly always delivers when it really matters.
Yeah, he's pretty. Random strangers make a point to tell me he's pretty all the time. Sort of like bringing a puppy into a sorority house. I've had compliments from cowboys AND dressage/eventers. My usual response is "thank you, he thinks so, too." I wish I could explain to them that pretty came with some terrible ground manners and an infuriating fear of trees and that "pretty" isn't everything. But yes, he's VERY pretty, even I think so. ;)
NOT FOR SALE:
2000 APHA Bay Roan Overo Gelding 16hh
All-Around. Sound. Pretty. Barefoot. Performs best with an intermediate to experienced rider but arena safe for beginners of all ages. Stands quiet to mount from ground, block, bleachers, car bumper, etc. Dislikes college-aged boys. Masterful at Carrot Stretches but should not be given treats by hand. Ground manners need strict boundaries. Dislikes rough grooming, will pick up feet for you. Okay for farrier (if farrier likes to be nuzzled and licked). Great for vet and deworming. Trailers (but he'll snort), bathes (but it'd better be warm water), clips (ears are a slight challenge). Lunges on voice commands on a good day, but will ignore you if you have no whip. Been shown in open shows, placed or won in: Halter, Showmanship, HUS, WP, Eq., HMS. Maintained by amateur owner. Very inquisitive and "looky". Gets uppity when the line-up leaves him. Best gaits are working trot and jog. Canter and hand gallop are good. Walk is not refined. Lope is meh. Has been introduced to crossrails. Supposedly worked on cows. Placed at Cowboy Challenge. Not spooky about weird man-made obstacles, tarps, flags, trash bags filled with tin cans, etc. Has been trail ridden -better with a group. Likes to lead. Okay with water. Nervous/spooky in trees when alone. Small Corpora Nigra cyst in right eye - does not affect performance/vision. Visible scars on face. Needs daily turnout with a buddy/baby-sitter to play with. Will crib on feed tubs when frustrated with lack of turnout. Does better with ground tub. No collar needed. Will stand on hose when he doesn't want a bath. Very entertaining. Barn favorite.
How would you list YOUR "NOT FOR SALE" horse?