Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Horse shopping - worse than shopping for jeans. Or a husband.

I haven't posted for a while about shopping for my next event horse. Honestly, it's been less than a month since Saga's been gone, and I haven't really felt like doing much about it. And of course I've been riding Red and feeling less pressure to find a new horse. However, in late December I spent quite a lot of time on various horsey shopping sites, checking to see what was out there. I've probably called and/or sent emails on 30-40 horses, although I've only been to see a few in person. I know I said I didn't want an OTTB, but I've started looking at those too since I wasn't finding anything to speak of in the non-TB world. Karma, right?

There are a few horses that stood out. I have opted not to post videos or links to any of the online ads, simply because the horse world is small and I don't want to burn any bridges.
  • I called about the RPSI gelding that I posted last time I mentioned horse shopping - he paddled like a duck, but several people commented that it wasn't considered a fault. After a bit of prying, I got from his owner that he "came out crooked and had to wear a cast for several months" but was "completely sound." She wouldn't say any more about what had happened, but suggested that I do a vet check on him. Um, thanks but no. (He's also been for sale for over a year.)
  • A LOVELY 7 y.o. OTTB gelding who was jumping 2'6 very quietly and tidily, and clearly had the scope to go higher. I really enjoyed watching the video of this horse - he looked like a super fun ride. But pictures of his legs revealed a splint the size of a golf ball in a very bad location, and an old bowed tendon. A conversation with his owner - where she talked about him getting 2 scoops of senior 2x/day, plus free choice hay, and him still being a hard keeper - screamed ULCERS in a big way. Pity, he's a lovely boy.
  • A farm in north Texas had several 4-5 y.o. QH geldings for sale, bred for HUS and whatever passes for jumping in AQHA shows. All of them were attractive boys, but they were all downhill and sort of heaved themselves over the fences. One of them had hind cannons that were literally TWICE as long as the front ones. Yikes!
  • Another 5 y.o. OTTB (one I actually went to look at) was reasonably put together, seemed quiet and steady, if green. I confidently WTC him both ways, and things were really looking good. Then I went to trot him over a tiny X. He stopped dead about 10 feet away, and it took several kicks to get him over it. We came back again with the same result. The next two tries were worse, if anything, and on the 5th try, he took the jump apart. I decided that he didn't really want to be a jumper and politely told the owner he wasn't what I was looking for. 
  • A completely adorable 4 y.o. palomino pinto half-arab, green and at 15.1 hh a bit smaller than I wanted, but with lovely gaits and almost clearing the 5' standards on a 2'6 jump. He was sold to someone else two days after I contacted the owner. Bummer.
  • A super-cute 4 y.o. BLM mustang gelding who had to be half draft. He'd had extensive ground work and about 10 rides, seemed very level-headed. I had a very pleasant ride on him and hubby even took him for a tiny 5 minute trail ride where he went through a creek. He free-jumped very nicely and we both really liked him. Unfortunately, the combination of an upright shoulder, short neck, and toeing out pretty badly, saner heads prevailed (y'all know who you are!) and I passed on him. 
  • An athletic 4 y.o. Trakhener gelding who looked like a cross-country machine in the videos. However, his gaits were only just OK, and the confo shots showed why. Long back, long pasterns, upright shoulder, and no hind end. He was above my price range anyway, which I suppose is good.
  • An adorable 8 y.o. Paint gelding who has showed 2nd level and has jumped some. Unfortunately, he's got a looong back and cannot really get under himself because of it. In the videos of him being ridden, his extended trot is really only happening in the front end - the hind end just trails behind. He looks like he's gotten super-good training, but he's just not built for what he's being asked to do. I'm also not sure how he would do jumping long-term, as he's about as round as a snausage and probably weighs as much as Oberon, even though he's shorter.
I've looked at OTTBs in other states (ermahGAWD there are some FUUUUGLY horses out there!), horses WAY out of my price range, 2 year olds, 10 year olds, and everything in between. What I've come away with is that unless you are willing to spend upwards of 30-50K, it is very, very hard to find a well-conformed horse of any breed, with a short back, good neck and shoulder, and decent legs. How some of y'all ended up with the lovely horses you have is completely beyond me!

But there is ONE...

18 comments:

  1. You'll find the one, and you'll know it when you do. You might have to kiss a lot of frogs in the meantime.

    And thank goodness a certain (definitely not cute) backup horse is there for you until you do. :D

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    1. Ew, kissing frogs is gross. Especially since we only have toads around here.

      Good thing for the Feerless War Pony.

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  2. You only need to find ONE that works for you. Oh, the suspense.

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    1. Haha, only find ONE. It sounds so easy!

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  3. I can enable and send links to 2 - 6 OTTB (my flavor of choice) sadly all on the East Coast though.

    I think the Feerless War Pony is amazing.

    I was wondering if it is ok to ask you a few questions about your reactor saddle. I am interested in it for my TB, who has wide a,d very mobile shoulders but a more narrow rib cage.

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    1. Gina, sure, send me the links on the OTTBs you've got. And you can definitely ask questions about my RP, although you'll probably want to call RP and talk to them directly. They're super-helpful! Anyway if you want to contact me privately my email address is jen jobst at gmail dot com.

      And the Feerless War Pony agrees with you. ;)

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  4. I've been half heartedly horse shopping online. I haven't gone to look at anything in person or even really emailed about any of them I sort of liked. My heart is set on getting another OTTB from the ranch where I got my last one from. The price is right on them...free...but it is a crap shoot because you aren't able to try them out and most of them are race trained or not trained at all. The owner of the ranch is a vet and can give you a heads up on anything that might raise any red flags though and will let you return the horse if it doesn't work out.
    I had won the horse lottery with my Pinecone because not only was he sweet, calm and just what I wanted in a horse, he was a beautiful mover and put together very nicely. I can only hope to be so lucky when I go back this summer.

    oh and another bad thing about this place...it's in Western North Dakota...

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    1. Wow, it really does sound like getting a horse from that place is a total crap shoot. I'm not sure I'd be willing to take the chance, you know? But that's super awesome that you got a nice horse from there - hopefully there's another one there with your name on it!

      North Dakota, eh? Yikes!

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  5. As I've always said- you have to be VERY lucky to find a good horse with a reasonable price. Keep searching- you'll find one eventually!

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    1. I am definitely starting to think that luck plays a biiiig part in this!

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  6. Every now and then I'll browse the horsey classified ads just to see what's out there if I was horse shopping, and I'm amazed at what I find. And I'm not amazed in a good way...

    I hope you're able to find the perfect horse!

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    1. in2paints, what's out there for sale totally blows my mind. Be glad you've got Princess Lilly!

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  7. OMG, first of all your title made me crack up and I agree.
    You can always facilitate jeans shopping with one martini (or three), which takes my self criticism down a notch.
    Frankly, husband shopping also benefited from a cocktail or two. But horse shopping... I have yet to think that horse shopping would benefit from cocktails. I have a feeling that beer goggles would result in some poor purchase decisions... lol

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    1. Oooh, I have not tried jeans shopping with martinis. Clearly I have been doing it wrong all this time! And I admit that my husband-shopping expedition was done sober... but he was wearing armor when we met, so maybe that had an effect on things? I will say that horse shopping, at least online, over a cider or two does result in some rather snarky commentary, but fortunately has not (yet) resulted in any poor decisions. I'm aiming to keep it that way!

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  8. 4 stalls, 4 horses, and yet I troll the horse ads. Even pretend horse shopping is hard.

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    1. Terry, trust me, you can always cram another one in. Ask me how I know!

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    2. In spite of the shirt...

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  9. When the right one comes along, you'll know it! Good luck!

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