So I've been shopping the interwebs for my next magical unicorn. And truthfully, it's beginning to look like what I'm wanting is actually a mythical creature. I have what I really thought was a decent budget. I did ok selling Badger and I have some money saved up so I was confident that I could find what I'm looking for fairly easily.
Granted, I want something special. I want a horse that could maybe pass as a hunter. (Doesn't have to be a fancy hunter, but something that if I had to step down, could hang out in that ring and be considered competitive, even if toward the middle/ bottom of the pack.) Something I could definitely take to the 3' adult medal finals. And maybe something I could try to get back into the AA jumper ring with. So it's a bit of a tall glass of water. I don't want a hot jumper, because I do want to be competitive in the medals. But I don't want specifically an equitation horse, because I'd like to get back to jumping 3'6". The adult medals are mostly 3', and I think there is one that's 3'3". So most of what we'd do in the near future would probably be jumpers (or hunters). I guess what I'm saying is, I want another Rio.
|Some Equitation Class|
And I HAVE the budget for what we paid for Rio. Unfortunately, that was 15 years ago. (HOLY CRAP, I've had him for FIFTEEN years?! We're both really old.) Apparently, horses cost more now. Plus I imported him, and I'm trying to shop here in the US this time. And this my friends, is why people shop overseas. Horses seem to cost more here.
Anyway, I already mentioned what I'd like to be able to do with this mythical beast, but here are the other things I'm looking for:
-Gelding (non negotiable)
-15.3 to 16.3, but could go bigger if the horse is perfect. Don't really want smaller. 3'6" looks enormous from anything smaller than 15.3.
-be sound, and give decent indications on a ppe that it should stay sound for a few years at least.
-Some show experience
-not especially spooky
-can take a joke (remember, it's me riding)
-I know horses buck and do stupid things. But I want one that will tell me when it needs to do that, and will get it out on a lunge line if need be. I'm too old to be a lawn dart.
-not too big of an ego (this is why Badger and I didn't get along, he thought I was the worst. He might not be wrong, but I prefer my unicorn not have such opinions.)
-it should be fairly attractive, most shows I just come home with a nice photo
-It needs to like being handled and groomed. My horses live with me, and we spend a lot of time not riding together. I want to enjoy the horse, and would hope he would enjoy me too.
|Must appreciate weird horse moms.|
You may have noticed I didn't mention an age. Preferably I'd like something between 8 and 10. The problem though, is that anything in that age range that fits the bill seems to cost six figures. While I have a rather padded budget (IN MY OPINION) I do not have six figures to spend on a horse. And to be completely honest, I wouldn't even if I did. That's nuts.
So that in a rather large nutshell is why I'm confused about horse shopping. I don't know what to give up to fit the unicorn into my budget. As you might imagine, I don't want to compromise on soundness. I can be flexible with age, but I also want a horse to ride and show for awhile, so I really don't want something well into his teens. Definitely no mares.
I've actually found several horses that seem to fit the bill, but they are all between 5 and 6. Which I myself am not opposed to, but this leads to my trainer confusion.
|Got this one when he was 5 and I was 11.|
My trainer, when we found Badger, had a lot of faith in me. She didn't think a young horse would be a problem. And I don't think Badger's age nor inexperience were really the issue, it was more just how everything played out, coupled with a personality miss match. You really can't know going in, especially with a very young horse, whether you'll have a personality clash, until you do. I don't hold anyone accountable for that. That's just how it is sometimes. No one gets along with every horse. And that's okay. But when I sent her a video for a horse I really liked, that was in my budget, she said he was too young. He's six, and did a handful of relatively big shows last year. Not too much for his age or anything like that, but enough to get an idea of how he'll handle those situations. The seller says he's an old soul, takes a joke, not spooky, etc.
I was really taken aback when trainer said six was too young. I mean, I DID say no more babies. But six to me is not really a baby, especially when it's already been showing. Both with a pro AND with an amateur. So I feel like my trainer has lost some faith in me, and that's lead me to some questions about where to go from here. I just really want someone who believes in my abilities and can help bring out the best rider in me. If she thinks I need something dead broke and half dead, I'm not sure we're on the same page. Not that I mind dead broke and half dead, I just can't afford that. And not to be cocky, but I KNOW I'm a decent rider. Rusty? Yes definitely. Sometimes have confidence issues? DEFINITELY. But if I get to ride regularly and have someone on the ground working with me at least somewhat regularly, there's a good rider in this body. And I have no issue with training rides (from my trainer, not boarding barn trainer... just to be clear.) But I do want a horse that lives with me, so that is something to consider with a green horse. Maybe that's all she was getting at. I dunno.
So to summarize, Truthful Tuesday today, it seems I need to be a little more realistic with myself about what kind of horse to be looking for, and what my abilities really are. I think this is the horsey version of a midlife crisis.
Anyone else ever been here? Any advice? Words of wisdom? Just be patient, and the right one will show up when it's supposed to (I do tend to believe that)?