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!


  1. I've never posted an ISO ad, but your experience seems pretty typical unfortunately :-( The horses I've found were word of mouth through my trainer (bought 2 that way) and STALKING Facebook groups. I actually found Niko because he was in the comments of someone else's ISO post on a Facebook group.

    I think you're doing the right thing by being picky. "Ruthlessly exclude" was my motto during horse shopping -- a term I picked up from fellow blogger SprinklrBandits. It served me quite well!

  2. YUP. Every time. It's always good for a laugh tho! Good luck on your horsey hunt! (That pic is gorg!!)

  3. Try a NC horse and overnight with me? :) I'll go with youuuuu.

  4. I never had the courage to post an ISO ad for the reason, so kudos to you! I think that is probably pretty typical, people always say "I know what you said you wanted, but I think you will love this thing that is not what you want." It's kind of like those threads I always see on COTH where people ask for affordable tractor recommendations for a small farm & multiple folks chime in with how much they love their $30,000 tractors. :/ Not so helpful.

    Horse shopping is hard & seems like it keeps getting harder! But stick to your list -- I almost gave in a couple times the last round to "not quite what I wanted," just because I was tired of it. I'm so relieved I didn't though, because when new horse inevitably has some issue or hurts itself, it makes it bearable if you held out for a creature you really love.

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