So I wrote my horse-life story in about 3 paragraphs. I have a pretty good back story, and I am honest--a novelty in the horse business. I did not offer any price, just said I could/would do a lease, maybe. I told her I had always been a "wanna-be". And because I am a true horse nerd, I told her I had actually heard of Totilas--a famous dressage stallion in this mare's pedigree.
I had already heard back from the gelding's owner. She was very informative and responsive. She was looking forward to meeting me. The weather was a little uncooperative, as winter in this crazy state can be. So I had not gotten to see him, but was still very interested.
My big requirements? Sanity, safety, reliability, safety, sanity, no projects. Did I mention safety? We were sooooooooooo completely spoiled with Reno. I have seen my child walk under him--certainly not with my permission, or ever repeated, but he was cool with it. Dang his crooked ole leg and bad teeth and weenie pancreas! Dang it! Why couldn't he just be plugged in to "restore"? I had to move on.
So, I heard nothing back on the Warmblood mare. Bummer. I was glad to have found this new gelding and looked forward to seeing him. Made an appointment to take a horse friend with me, once the temp went above 10.
And then, I got a response. The lady with the Warmblood wrote back....
She thought we were very similar in a lot of ways and thought my place sounded like what she was looking for for this mare. She didn't want her to go to a show barn or boarding barn where she would be stalled 21 hours a day. Although the mare had been "yard art" for several years, the lady promised that she was all the things I was seeking--sanity, reliability, NO issues. But then again, it was Craigslist, AND horse trading--the world's second oldest profession.
She did say she could not lease her. She breeds Welsh Cob ponies and her priorities were there. She needed to sell the horse. She encouraged me to come up with a price, whatever that might be, and she would consider it. There was also a Youtube video of the horse, being ridden by a trainer whom I know, and respect! Admittedly, it was 4 years old, but would at least show what the mare had done and could potentially do again. She'd just been put out with ponies. There had been no injuries, no illness, no nuttin'.
Having looked at, oh, about 10,000 pictures of horses on Fuglyblog and
Craigslist and Behind the Bit blog and Dressage Curmudgeon, you become a
little educated on what is being offered. It's sort of like reading
real estate ads. This picture spoke volumes, about the horse and the
owner. When she told me who the trainer was, in the picture, I was
I felt like a little girl watching that video. What are the odds that the trainer riding the horse is going to be someone who has been connected with my long-time trainer/friend; someone whom I have even ridden a clinic with, way back? What are the odds that I am going to even look at a chestnut mare who is being offered at almost half my annual salary? And what are the chances that I will really like a chestnut mare anyway?
I made an appointment to come out. There was no indoor arena available, but there was a round pen with footing. Best it was gonna get until late spring. And would you believe two warm days were coming...warm meaning, above 38. I called every horse friend I knew to go with me after work on a Friday. No one could go. I was on my own. I hated that and also recognized that perhaps that was the better scenario. I really needed to realize that this was my thing, and own the decisions.
I drove like a fiend in the sunshine after work. It was farther than I thought it would be and I literally pulled into the driveway as the sun was sinking behind the trees. There she was, in the round pen, looking about 12' tall, and a little like Miss America who had gone home, had a couple kids and sat around the house, if you know what I mean. But it was the same horse.
She trotted around for us, although she wasn't too keen on the whole round pen thing. Then we threw the saddle on FAST and the owner rode her first. No issues, but BIG trot. That big, lovely movement that I have envied in the dressage ring for well, my whole life. So I got on. She was sane and straightforward--well not really--it was a round pen after all. They make me dizzy, but I hear that's just middle age. So I trotted, both directions and then it was dark. I helped untack. I picked her feet up--and was impressed that she held her big ol' feet up for me, completely. And then we turned her back out with the ponies and I went home--a long way in the dark.
5 Years! Going Strong
5 years ago