Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Truthful Tuesday: The one where I disclose the angst

I've started casually looking at sales ads again. I'm not ready for another horse. I can barely afford the three I have (looking at you Badger...) so obviously getting a fourth is out of the question. But Badger is for sale, so once he finds his right person, I can think about getting myself a horse to show. I really wish Badger and I were going to be the right match, but I am finally accepting that I need something less fancy, with a little more knowledge to get me back to where I used to be. And I don't have the bank account to wait for him to be that horse. It's a pretty huge bummer because he's so freaking nice you guys.
But I'm a big chicken and the baby days get me nervous. Time to admit I've become THAT adult amateur that needs a nice made horse. Or at least one with a little less exuberance. It's tough to accept. I've always been a hard worker in the saddle. I've had many a green horse in my day. But I think those days have passed.
So I've been looking at sales ads, just a little. And I realized that I'm really afraid to go horse shopping. Like I legit am having anxiety about it. The last THREE horses I've had were the wrong horses. Granted two of them I bought sight and unseen, so that's kind of to be expected. But still. THREE. That's a lot of money spent for no reward.
First we had Ducky. My adorable little stationary hony. Against all my better judgement I took that little brat in because he was just up the road from me and in a bad situation. And I mean... he was so cute!


Unfortunately, he thought having a job was stupid. Thankfully, he found a great home with my step-aunt in Wisconsin. And he's since gotten his own young adult to do fun things with.
Once the Duck had moved out, I was completely set on getting a thoroughbred to show in the TB classes that were becoming so popular. I found the prettiest little guy that I was determined to make into a fancy hunter. He was a decent mover and oh so pretty. You all remember Romey:
Unfortunately, he was also unsound and turned out (despite my VERY complete vetting which cost more than he did) had an old broken leg.
And then there is Badger, who is everything I thought he would be, but I am not what he'd hoped I would be.
I got Romey and Badger within a few months of each other. Romey moved in the day after Thanksgiving 2015 and Badger joined the family the following I think January (maybe February, but right in there). I was SO excited. I thought I was going to have two baby horses out there showing in the baby green classes. And now at the start of what should be the third season together? That never happened. Well. Badger has shown, but not with me. And so I'm feeling really angsty about shopping for a new horse.
I'm afraid I'll get another one that's unsound. Or one that I get along with great for the trial, but then not at all after that. And I don't even know what I want... Do I want a hunter or a jumper? I dunno?! Honestly, I just want something sound, that jumps great, that LIKES me. I don't really care which ring we show in.
Despite my angst, I'm starting to compile a list of what I'm hoping to find in my next horse. Lists tend to help me feel more organized and lessen my nerves. Anytime I feel overwhelmed, I sit down and make a nice orderly list. So why not for horse shopping, right?

Here's what I have so far:
-Gelding
-Honest
-Good jumper/scopey (enough for 3'6" or higher depending on hunter or jumper)
-OK mover (I don't need to win a hack, but I don't want something offensive to watch)
-Friendly (I love grooming and hanging out with my horses, and I want the horse to enjoy that too)
-Not spooky
-Not a bucker/rearer
-relatively nice to look it. I spend a lot of time taking photos of my horses eating grass. I like them to be nice to look at. Yes, it's vain. But also, if it's a hunter, it shouldn't be ugly. Sorry.

I don't care much about color or size. I don't want something tiny, it needs to have enough step for the lines, and I don't want to be looking up at a 3'6" fence. Similarly, I don't need something 18 hands either, as I'm only 5'2" (and a quarter!). But I'll take whatever size if it's the right match.
I don't care that much about breed either as long as it fits the other bills. I tend to steer away from certain breeds that I've not enjoyed in the past, but if it's an exception and checks all the boxes, then I'm game.

Even with my list, I'm still really anxious about starting the hunt when the time is right. Like I'm actually happy it's not time yet, because I'm not ready to face the task. On the other hand, I REALLY miss showing. I love competing (on the right horse). I love having those two minutes in the ring, just me and my horse trying our absolute hardest. I LOVE that. And it's something that has been missing from my life the last 2+ years.  I guess in an ideal world, I'd just find some magic pill to restore 9 year old Rio. Then all would be right again.


20 comments:

  1. I think the only thing worse than horse shopping is saddle shopping. So best of luck. I think SprinklerBandits has the best advice. Ruthlessly exclude. If it doesn’t match all points on your list, move on.

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    1. Agree! No more settling. And no more sight unseen/rescuing. At least for awhile.

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  2. ^^ this. Like a bf, don't put up with something you don't want. Someone else's prince charming isn't necessarily yours, and vice versa.

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    1. I'm definitely much better about this with boyfriends than with horses!

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  3. Yup, I got beat to my comment -- ruthlessly exclude. Find what makes.you happy in every way.

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  4. This is so tough. I sort of know how you feel- I definitely thought Candy would be a horse I could spend a few years showing and having with fun, and she's turned out to be...not that.

    Good luck in the hunt!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I got the sense from your Candy posts that you could definitely relate.

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  5. No real advice here, but I feel Ducky... I think having a job is stupid too.

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    1. Haha! I mean, he's not wrong... But we all have to earn a living!

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  6. Horse shopping should be fun. And yet it never is. I don't get it. Also, Levi meets all of your bullet points. Just get a Mustang.

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    1. When you move to New England I'm inviting myself for a visit just so I can meet Levi. He checks all the boxes AND he's yellow. Which isn't a box, but it's definitely bonus points. Though he may lose a few points for those special shoes. I already have one wearing custom kicks.

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  7. I hope you find the right one and I am not ashamed to say I can't wait to read all about the search!! I think saddle shopping sucks but havent had to horse shop for years so may have repressed that :) Good luck when it's time!

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    1. It will be an adventure I'm sure! I haven't actually shopped since I got Jampy eight years ago, the others just kind of found me.

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  8. Fingers crossed life finds you in the irons on a new pony this year! I had to exercise a lot of patience over the years waiting to get to the point of getting a new horse so I understand how frustrating it can be to get limited by life circumstances when it comes to ponies. The good part is that now I don't take it for granted. I'm so thankful that I have the chestnut boys out my back door and a cute bay guy at the boarding barn waiting for me. I'm so happy to just ride - not worrying about how my horse is feeling, is he sound, is he uncomfortable in his back, will he trip and almost fall down. I don't take those things for granted because I know they can be fleeting. And when I'm jumping a course and we get the strides and hit the distances and only have one sloppy lead change I'm so ridiculously happy! I think that's part of why I haven't set officially goals this year. I did so much last year and now I just want to enjoy my horse and doing all the things I couldn't do or were difficult to enjoy doing for so long. Anyways that became a novel since evidently I have all the feels on this topic. Oops!

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    1. I think our stories have a lot of parallels! And honestly your finding your #notachestnut gives me a lot of hope that the right pony is out there for me too :)

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  9. The right one is out there! Horse shopping is definitely stressful, but I’m so lucky to have had a great team in my corner to help me ruthlessly exclude, but to also keep me excited.

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    1. Definitely helps to have a good team. I think since I was so lucky twice in my past with heart horses, it seems impossible I'll get to find another. But hopefully I can find something that's good enough.

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