Horse-shopping isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires stamina and a sense of adventure, not to mention a hint of “throw caution to the wind” and the ability to remain detached until the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered.
In the May issue, I shared with you that my sons’ horse, Old Paint, had died. He lived a full, long life and held a big space in our hearts. But with time, we were ready to start looking for a new ride. We had criteria—not a super-senior, but nothing too young, either; experience across a few disciplines, giving the horse a diverse background; quiet and even-keeled; and a pretty face wouldn’t hurt!
Here’s a short version of our horse-shopping experience.
Finding ‘The One’
Things at H&R HQ were pretty busy this spring. The workload meant I wasn’t going to be able to spend hours a day poring over for-sale ads online. I’d check a few Facebook groups here and there and look at listings friends sent, but I wasn’t putting in a valiant effort. I’ll admit that some of the unknowns of horse-shopping kept me out of the game, too. Is this seller honest? Is this horse too good to be true? This horse wasn’t for just anyone—this horse was for my kids; the stakes were high.
Enter my mom. She looked. She persisted. She made phone calls, sent text messages—she was relentless in her pursuit to get her grandsons back in the saddle. I’m not sure I could’ve persevered the way she did. Countless times, “the one” would be sold by the time she got in touch with the seller. She even got so far as calling to put down a hold payment so they’d keep the horse around until we could go try him the next day. That one sold just before she sent the money. Mom kept getting told “no,” but she wouldn’t take that as the answer.
Weeks into our horse-shopping adventure, Mom found a 9-year-old mare with experience in everything from reining to working equitation to driving. She was noted to be quiet and sweet. And she was pretty. Mom didn’t hesitate. She messaged the seller immediately, even though it was past a mannerly hour to do so. She wasn’t going to let this one pass her by.
The Phone Call
The next morning, Mom texted me the for-sale post and told me about the conversation she’d had with the seller; this time, Mom was the first one to inquire. She asked if I wanted to take a two-hour drive to go look at the horse. My first response was, “I just can’t right now…I wish I could…but I’m so busy.” Instantly regretting that response, I called her right back and told her I’d be ready at 9. Heck, I could edit articles in the car and work just as I would’ve at my desk.
The mare turned out to be wholly as advertised, and we knew she had to be ours. So, Minnie is now part of the H&R stable and a wonderful addition to our family. She’s lovable and sweet, and she has all the tricks the boys need to learn to take their riding to the next level. I’m sure she’ll appear in plenty of photo shoots, and I’ll keep you updated on her adventures with the boys.
In This Issue
Apart from horse buying, have you ever ridden an unfamiliar horse, maybe on a trail ride while on vacation? Did you wish you could magically connect with that unknown mount for a better experience? “Quick Connection,” page 44, offers five lessons to help you get the most from an unfamiliar horse in a variety of situations.
Then, learn how to become the favorite of your vet and farrier with tips to make their jobs easier in “Vet-Friendly Barn,” page 52. Contributing veterinarian Barb Crabbe, DVM, offers 10 features to keep in mind that’ll make the jobs of those working on your horse easier and more effective.
Finally, if you’re planning some end-of-summer travel, we take you to the National Snaffle Bit Association World Championships (page 18), and traveling trail riders Kent and Charlene Krone share their trip to explore the redwoods in California (page 58).
Let us know what you think and keep us posted on your horse life at the email address below.