Thanks, everyone, for all of your thoughts and comments on Tucker. You have all given me lots to think about! I'm definitely looking at other horses, but as I said, the pickings are slim and, uh, suboptimal. Let me show you some examples.
First off, how about a
nice OTTB? Like half the blogs I read are about OTTBs that are eventing,
so surely there's something out there. In fact, there's a great
organization near here called LOPE (they sponsored the show we went to
this fall, where Saga won the Ex-Racehorse award) that helps place
OTTBs. So I checked out their web site...
Of the 31
geldings that are listed, 9 matched my age and size criteria. But almost
all have things like a "slight tendon bow" or "racing ankles" or "knee
surgery to remove a bone chip" or "completely sound following recovery
from bowed tendons". EEEP! There were one or two that I called on but
they only have track training, and one was "out to pasture letting his
hooves strengthen" (?!?!). I'm just not willing to take the chance on
one of these guys, no matter how much heart they might have.
Next up, we have a 4 year old breed stock Paint.
He's got a super long back and you can see in the trot picture of him
that the angles between his front legs and back legs don't match at all.
There are a couple of videos, and I don't really like the way he's
pulling himself along. He certainly doesn't seem like he'd be good
prospect based on his conformation and movement.
For $7500 we have this guy,
who has a cute expression in the picture, but watch the video. He's got
something funny going on in front - you can see it especially well when
he's trotting to the first fence. We also have a 4 year old gelding bred for polocross... now I can't find the video but suffice it to say he had something odd going on in his hind end. But wait, how about a 2 year old RSPI gelding?
He's bigger than I want, at 16.3 hh, and he's still got some growing to
do. I figured he was worth a look, until I watched the video. Tell me
what you think you see going on there.
I had the opportunity to try out a lovely gelding who went to the
2011 AECs at Training level with a pro rider, and he's jumped around
all the Prelim courses in the area. He was bought earlier this year by a
junior rider as a jumper, but it didn't work out. They are selling him
for a super-crazy discount (let's just say this guy originally cost more
than a car) because they just want to be done with him. He was
everything I expected a Training level eventer to be - tried hard, liked
his job, knew his stuff. But after every jump, he bolted off with me.
It seems to be a pain reaction, my guess is in his back, but probably
being caused by something wrong in the hock or stifle (70% of back pain
in horses can be traced to hind leg problems). His current owners are
not willing to put the $ into him to figure out what's wrong, and I'm
not going to take a chance on a horse that's got something like that
going on. Poor guy.
There's a 7 year old Azteca gelding
who seemed from the video of him jumping that he might be worth a look. I
called up the trainer, and it turns out he's only been going English
for 30 days. He was reining-trained before that, and so he won't touch
the bit. I've already retrained two horses who were trained like that
(Cash and Red), and they never really get over it. So thanks, but no. A
coming 9 year old Paint gelding who looked quiet o/f in the arena, but
y'all, he's almost NINE and he's basically green-broke. And a coming 8
year old QH who looks nice but really hot o/f. I'm sure that's something I could work on, but I'd rather work on it with something younger. And on and on.
And y'all, these are the NICE horses. The actual possibilities. These don't include the ones that look like this or this or this.
P.S. When photographing your horse for a sale shot, please don't get a picture of him just after he's done peeing. Really.