In starting my final list preparations for this horse decision I had some clear ideas about what I wanted and what I didn't want.
I don't have ribbons in my future nor do I want them. My horse does not need to be perfect. He or she only needs to be the right horse for me and me the right person in turn. I want a friend and a long term companion. I am of the age where this horse and I could very possibly grow old together depending on its age now. I want to love it, teach it, learn from it, be with it, laugh over it, care for it, shower it with affection, give it comfort and security. I want a trail buddy and a barn pal, someone who nickers when he or she hears my footsteps enter the barn (Patch used to do that as did my Dark Prince - the show horse I used to lease). I want to live with this horse. And far into the future, I plan to bury it. So, when the barn owner where I board graciously offered (because it was taking me so long to find a horse) to sell me a "fixer upper" little mare I could train and sell "just to have something to get me through" I, of course, declined. I'm just not at that point in my life anymore.
Trail and field riding are at the top of my list. Fun and cowboy games are up there as well. Things like making capes out of tarps, stomping on swim noodles, building "bridges" and steps to go up and over. These things encourage trust and give horses things to conquer and master. I think they make them feel good about themselves. Now, at this moment I am arena sour to the ultimate degree. I have spent the last several years in an arena, helping train a horse, working on my own riding, and it taught me a lot. But, I am tired of riding around in circles! With that said, I know I am not done with the arena for good because it can be a good way to get a short ride in and horse and rider benefit from the environment that it creates - one where your concentration is inside the ring and you are working on specific things.
I liken parts of riding to different types of personal training. I would never want to run exclusively. Or only lift weights. I'd eventually go mad out of repetition. It is the same with riding. You need to mix things up a bit to keep it fun.
Lastly, I need a horse who is kind. Nothing too hot and nothing really stubborn. I am in this purely for pleasure and enjoyment. I want the horse to enjoy it too. I am not expecting life with my horse to be without hiccups but I do not need or want constant battles of will.
That all said, the big Paint was out. We knew this when we left that very day. He was very mellow in a sense of being non-spooky but his cooperation meter was on low. He was also a bit herd-bound, not wanting at all to leave the other horses to even go a couple hundred feet through the field. I do not want to mount my horse wondering what the battle of the day will be.
The smaller Paint may have been a possibility but I just could not get a moment to myself with him amongst the chaos of that barn. And I was worried about how to back him off of the more intense cues he had been trained with. We did it with Max and although it took some time, it can be done. I just don't think I feel like doing it again. I think it was at this point that I realized I don't think I want another Paint. This is fine. People have preferences on horses all the time and I guess mine has changed.
The mare was kind but she was...a mare. LOL. I think I would have to know a mare for a long time before I could say - OK, she isn't one of those mares.... The owner was odd. He had not had her very long but it seemed he should have had more of an opinion even so. He was very hard to talk to - like pulling information from a mildly uncooperative person. Believe it or not this does matter. An owner can give a vibe that extends to the horse, or by not having/providing information the owner can make the visit seem only partial. I left the house feeling like there was no way I would truly know that mare by meeting her with that owner.
There were several other horses that I met that were not right for me and I not for them. Basically in the end it came down to two horses that I felt drawn to.
The first was Keifer, the Tennessee Walking horse that made me feel like a princess on his back. He had a wounded heart and when we went into his stall and Meredith started to tell his story my girlfriend and I looked at each other and in unison whispered the name of our Dark Prince. We were both taken with him. He was reserved at first but came out of his shell the more time we spent with him. Meredith was attached to him too and said he was one horse she would go beyond the grace period she allows to customers and say that if anything were to ever happen to hinder the ability of the future owner to keep him, she expected a call. He was special, she said. Something about him had called to her and so there he was and would stay until she found the right person. Keifer was 13 or 14, so older than I had originally planned. He was also very well trained in his former life and as Meredith put it - if you point him at something and put your leg on him, he is going. Meaning, watch your legs cause he is very responsive LOL.
The second was Jacob, the grey Quarter Horse. He was also kind and patient, had a good attitude in the field with the other horses and while riding was willing to leave his buddy, go over mud, slush and snow in the little field we walked through. He was also seven. A nice age that gives a horse some maturity but still room to explore new things so long as he or she is fairly well rounded, which Jake seemed to be.
These two were both lovely horses. I will admit that my little girl heart was immediately fiercely drawn to Keifer. My girlfriend said it best - I am a nurturer by nature with animals and he seemed to be drawn to that in me as well. Jake had caught my eye on-line. Something in his expression said "friend" to me and when I met him in person that expression was still present. He seemed good natured.
The selling price of both horses was almost the same so that was not an issue that even needed factored in.
I did walk through my two top choices with my girlfriend because I had questions for her regarding the fact that Keifer was so well trained and the future of arena work when I become UN-sick of it. I also had legitimate concerns (as opposed to my just being a worrier) as a first time horse owner. Adding a whole new repertoire of movements to everything else I will be learning might be more than I can successfully handle. Also, in terms of our nurturing instincts and wanting to "save" Keifer I commented that in reality, he has already been saved. Our conversation with Meredith made it pretty clear that he had a place in her heart and barn and that it was her mission to do well by him.
I reviewed my ride with Jacob and explained the differences in instruction, what I felt good about, what I wondered about. My girlfriend has a great feel for horses (and people) and the ability to get a sense of where a horse is through a detailed description of behavior and feelings. She agreed he seemed like a horse that was waiting to be provided with direction, but not a horse that constantly wanted to give his own opinion. We felt that I would have to remind myself that through leadership, friendship and love will grow. When I say "leadership" I don't mean bossing around, I mean assuring him what I'm asking of him is not only OK but also the appropriate thing. Horses are a little like kids in that way - they may not act like it if you aren't giving it to them consistently but they crave structure and discipline. You don't have to be a mean old harpy to provide those things either. You just have to be clear, kind and consistent. It seemed as if he was in a great place to learn and I am in a good place to grow.
I slept on it, because that is something I always try to do, and the following day still felt that Jacob would be the horse that fit me best and that I would also fit him and be able to give him what he needs at this point in his life and beyond.
I must have met upwards of 20 horses during my search. I did not ride them all but I definitely got my share of saddle time whilst meandering through my list of questions to humans present and accountable.
Upon returning home from my final appointment I was a bit melancholy and emotional. I had decisions to make and needed to ask some difficult questions of myself. I would love to tell everyone that choosing a horse is easy because you will just know, and granted sometimes that may be true. With Apache, he chose me eventually, not immediately. At first I was just another lesson to him I'm sure. The fact that I was completely enamored with his big blue eyes, ghostly coloring and his awesome name meant little to him in those first months of our life together. It was only through time and tenderness that he decided I was his person.
I tend to be a very logical person only because deep down I am a very emotional person. I have learned the hard way that my emotions cannot always be trusted and it is logic that swirls in my deepest realms. For me, a "gut" feeling is normally accompanied by the voice of Mr. Spock and then followed by a thousand little questions as I navigate from "I have this feeling" to the reason I have this feeling is logical and this is why...
I'm explaining all of this I guess because this whole search exhausted the hell out of me physically and emotionally and on one hand it sounds silly. I mean, I made some phone calls and spent a few days traveling and riding horses. LOL. But, there is SO much more to it than that. There is buyer's fear first off as you wonder where you are going really, what kind of people you will encounter, whether the horses you are looking at have been drugged (yes, this happens), whether the people you are meeting are not giving you the whole story or outright lying, whether you hear dueling banjos in the background as you make your way down a hollow LOL...
Plus I have already touched on the stress of a first time horse buyer (me) and feeling a bit like a fish out of water without my GF to turn to for additional questions, backup, opinion. Again, I know lots of people as first time buyers who do their research, put on their big girl pants and just go get a horse. People would be surprised to know, however, what a worrier I am. How many things I fear. I'm afraid all the time. I'm afraid of failing, afraid of failing someone (or something) else, afraid of doing the wrong thing, afraid of ruining an animal's life, afraid of missing something (like the horse I pick only has three legs or something - yes I had that dream one night during this search and woke up in a panic), afraid of being taken advantage of, afraid of....do you get my drift?
I hide it very well but there are times when I wonder how in the hell I cope. LOL. So what I'm saying is this wasn't only a BIG DEAL adventure to me it was more than a wee bit stressful.
There was quiet weeping. Very odd for a happy decision I know but thinking about all the horses I had known before, about the last decade of my life with them, about loss and how it transforms us. Then there was a mild panic attack. It happened in the laundry room while folding clothes. My throat got tight, I felt trapped, my skin was crawling and then there I was pacing back and forth with excess energy and unsettledness. What am I doing? What if I fuck up? What if the horse hates me? What if I forget to close the stall door and it walks out of the barn, up the road and onto the highway and.... Oh yeah, I can REALLY get some hefty worst case scenario type stuff when I'm worked up!
It took all of this processing for me to actually get to the point where I could think about individual horses. And upon dealing with myself, that is what I started to do.
I met a load of horses and donkeys on this day! Really nice farm and beautiful country. They specialize in trail horses, do lessons and have a small breeding program. We were able to talk about my wants/needs and then actually walk amongst the horses in the field, meet them and get a feel for how they acted with each other.
I had originally contacted this farm about Jacob (pictured), having seen him on-line. In the field I thought he was somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, smart enough to stay well away from the Alpha mare, nudging in to eat without making a ruckus, waiting patiently to drink and with only a couple chewy marks on his neck. Horses bite each other for various reasons, even if they have plenty of food and water and space. Sometimes it is during play, others it is sort of a "hey, move over would ya" nip, sometimes more serious... Jacob looked healthy and sound and we brought him into the arena to clean feet, tack up and ride.
His feet were solid and his legs seemed strong. He had no shoes. Score. I may have shoes put on my horse depending on the roughness of the trails at my new barn but I'd like to wait and see first if they are really needed.
We rode first inside the arena and then went outdoors, took to the country lane beside the farm and then up into a field across from the barn. I won't say it was my best ride. LOL. No fault of the horse and nothing to do with how he acted. Just a reminder to me that I am a novice rider and have a great deal to learn about actually owning a horse and being on my own with him or her. All horses "ride" differently. It takes a bit of time to get used to what each of them feels, prefers, etc. The communication usually isn't immediately crystal clear, especially to we novice horse people. These last few days of visits were particularly stressful as well because my girlfriend couldn't go due to her work schedule. I depend on her opinion and expertise quite a bit, but know that I am going to have to start trusting myself at some point.
Now, the thing that a novice can generally tell about a horse is what its overall attitude is about. The big Paint from day one for instance - knew immediately this was a horse you would have that little battle of wills going on with consistently. The TWH - absolutely apparent that horse knew what he was doing, what to do and that he wouldn't hesitate to work because that was what he did. Very well trained horse. The little Paint, gonna have to work on other ways to encourage him besides overuse of artificial aides. So, you get my drift. Novice horse riders like me can get a general feeling about a horse.
I really enjoyed this visit and related to this barn's approach to horses. Jacob has never eaten grain. He eats grass and hay. Dan, the farm owner, said "grain messes up their brains and their bellies" and I laughed out loud having never heard it put that way before. I don't like grain because I have been around horses that colic often and lots of times grain can be a contributing factor in that. Grain is just not a natural horse food.
Jake also doesn't wear a blanket. Blankets are a major argumentative issue with horse people. I'm not against blanketing but I think issues can occur, especially in our area where temperatures can change drastically between morning and mid-day. This ARTICLE has lots of good information on blanketing.
So, Mr. Jacob is a pretty natural horse in a pretty natural horse environment!
Day number two was an evening appointment and was in an indoor arena! Yah! However, it was two hours away and not until dark so I knew I'd be doing something I hate to do - drive at night on roads I'm not familiar with.
This horse was a relatively young Paint (10) and had been used mostly for Western pleasure by his owner (a teenaged girl). She wants to run barrels and he "doesn't seem to have the heart for it" so she bought a new horse and is trying to sell him. Side note - young girls who ride, especially jumpers and barrel racers, are fearless. They tend to fly over things and around things at breakneck speeds while giggling. For instance, while demonstrating his canter for me, she was having a conversation with a friend, grabbing at her cell phone that she had forgotten she left in her back pocket, talking to me and smooching and kicking her horse all at once.
The little bugger was a nice horse. And at 15hh a great size. Pretty laid back too. My main issues with this visit were that I was not at all sure I wanted another Paint and also not sure I wanted to have to work on bringing a horse back around to more natural cues (which I'll explain in a moment). As with many large barns (and I do not get this) there were three horses loose and unattended in the arena with us as well as a couple of younger girls riding. He took it all in stride. The barn itself was huge, close to forty boarders and lesson horses.
He was actually SO laid back it took some nudging to get him to trot. As a rider I do not use spurs (which a lot of Western riders seem to) and I have seen horses like him often owned by kids. Kids like more GO than WHOA and they tend to (over generalization) overdo cues, aides, etc. So, if you regularly use spurs, the horse gets to a point where if you don't have spurs in his ribs he doesn't feel the need to be very cooperative. After all, your heel isn't gonna "nudge" him along like a piece of sharp metal poking him. My first lease and best horse ever, Apache, was a horse who had been "over-aided" for most of his life. This little horse had a nice trot and I wish I would have been able to use the whole arena and work him a bit more without all the distractions.
Welcome to horse shopping complete with snotsicles. LOL. I am not kidding I actually cleaned a nice horse's nose out for him today and then blew my own nose (not with the same tissue of course).
This was our "six horse day" and we started it before sunrise. I fed the truck some gas, got snacks for the road and we beat it up into Pennsylvania and ended up meeting one of the most down-to-earth, normal horse people we have ever come into contact with. Meredith of Double M Farms if you ever read this blog you are the real deal! At Meredith's place we met several horses. One that I had originally contacted her about and a few more that she has for sale but hasn't been able to video yet due to the weather. These were all gaited horses, a whole new ballgame for me.
Basically, really quick rundown is that a horse is not just a horse and many of them move differently. Having been "raised on" the standard Quarter Horse and Paint walk, trot, canter (or lope) I am completely unfamiliar with the feel of horses that have other types of standard movements. Such horses are often referred to as "gaited' horses, but really, all movements are gaits. For a detailed article about said differences check THIS out. It is a really cool read with video examples and even just watching them will give you a feel for how different the movements of horses can be.
So, back to our visit with these lovely horses on a very cold morning. She showed us the barn and the horses currently for sale and invited us to get any or all of them out, groom them, play with them, think about which one(s) we wanted to ride and just get to know them. During the introductions there was one in particular that caught my eye (heart). We got four out, groomed and loved them, played some horsey games. He was the first one we played with and when it came time to pick possible rides, we both immediately went back to him. There was something about his look. She told us she purchased him from a guy that expected a lot from him. She felt the horse really tried to please his person and wasn't always acknowledged for trying. The more time we spent with him the more his eyes came to life. He was particularly fond of me and my girlfriend felt that my nurturing personality (yes, it only extends to animals) was a plus to him.
When I mounted this freakin' horse I felt like a princess! LOL. There is something about a gaited horse. Their heads are higher, their necks extend elegantly as they walk and this horse neck reined so smoothly that barely a touch was needed for him to do an equally beautiful change of direction and take me down the aisle in the opposite direction. When my girlfriend (and riding instructor) mounted him she actually giggled with delight.
We stayed a good while with these awesome steeds, got several more out and groomed and visited with them. One was a very tall recently acquired three year old that the kids at the barn had named Sven after the reindeer in Frozen. Having not seen the movie I can't attest to the comparison, only that his step was so big I practically had to run to keep ahead of him. LOL. There was Sparky - a cute little guy with a fuzzy face and one blue eye. Sparky reminded me of a fun little guy just skipping through life, but I desire a little less skipping in my old age. There was Patch, an older horse that would make a lovely companion or complete beginner's mount, and also Aries, who was the horse we were originally interested in. And this is why it is important to MEET horses. Once we met, I did not get the vibe that he felt we were a good fit. He was a lovely horse but we just did not jive.
See, I actually spend more time looking into a horse's eyes than most people I think. I like to groom them and help tack them if I can when I do visits. I pick up their feet, stick my fingers in their ears, rub them all over... I like to know (or try to know) what a horse thinks of me as much as what I think of the horse. I just don't think you can do all this when you buy a horse based on a video alone. I guess many people do and things go well but I don't feel entirely comfortable with it.
After thanking Meredith and the ponies for their time, we headed back toward home as our next appointment was on the way. We arrived on site at a nice little home and barn with about five horses and a big field. The snow was about four inches deep and crusty. It had warm a little that day but the was a cold breeze and the weather could be described as "extremely crisp". The horse we were meeting, Toby, was a big 16hh Paint horse. The owner had him tacked up and we talked a bit about his history and why she was selling him. She explained that he was just a bit too tall.
He was also a bit too stubborn. I think that was part of the issue for her and as we talked more little bits of information kept coming out. The prior owner had let her kids ride him wherever he wanted to go. Key - wherever he wanted to go. So, while he is probably very spook proof and tolerant of being handled, he has a mind of his own where direction and task is concerned. This is not something I'm interested in AT ALL. I don't want to spend my time arguing with my horse and I truly felt (and my GF agreed) there would be a point where such disagreements might escalate (we weren't so sure they hadn't already with his current owner).
When we got back in the truck, our stomachs growled loudly in unison and we headed toward home in search of dinner, a hot shower and a warm bed.
All in all a fabulous horse day!
A break in the weather has brought with it the opportunity to visit some horses. Eight horses. In three days, located in three different states and criss-crossing around 400 or so miles in various directions, no doubt down unknown hollows trying to find some connection to a specific horse with no idea in mind as to which one it will be.
Exciting? Yeah! Unnerving? A little.
One day we will be meeting a few Tennessee Walkers. One nice looking black gelding that we have watched on video plus some others that we have yet to see. Wouldn't it be funny if I ended up with a horse that I could introduce as my "Walker" and then giggle inside and think of TWD? Lame, Gillybean. Really lame.
Next we are stopping to meet a big ole' Paint horse. I had originally said "no more Paints" and not for any bad reason it is just that I leased a Paint for a really long time and possibly want to make friends with something else. But, Paints are everywhere and no two are really the same. This guy is pretty tall (16hh) and built like a Mac truck from what I can tell in his pictures. He also has loads of trail experience.
Then there is another smaller Paint with a good deal of trail behind him as well as some arena showing to his credit. He looks like a fun little guy and is a full hand shorter than the taller Paint. But, the thing that tugged at my heart was that he has this goofy, crooked blaze that kind of veers to one side of his face. LOL. He is just cute as a button.
Next is a Quarter Horse mare (gasp, a mare!) advertised as one who is not "mare-ish" at all. Also with several years of trail experience. She is not at all what I would have thought I would go look at. She's a chestnut color with white feet and it looked in the picture like a white star on her forehead. She's just a "plain" horse but something about the look of her kept bringing me back to the ad. She looks like a horse that enjoys her work to me and you cannot beat that.
Then we have a grey Quarter Horse, trail competent and people friendly. I have a soft spot for greys. Something about the coloring and the way some of them are dappled just appeals to me. I guess it is because they are different, at least around here. Everyone wants a Paint horse or a bay QH but no one ever says "I want a grey horse" and that is probably why they always catch my eye.
Tonight, for the first time in weeks, I have not spent my internet time looking for horses and people to call about horses. Believe me, in getting these appointments there have been just as many (probably more) that didn't pan out. Horse already sold or you talk to the people and learn that the "bombproof" horse kicked his stall over one time or people just don't return your calls or they do return your calls but the scheduling doesn't work. I won't experience real relief (and joy) till I make a decision but it is nice to have a break from getting bloodshot, horse shopping eyes.
I need to go to bed soon. I may not sleep well but I have to get up near 5:00, get ready and meet my girlfriend/instructor who is going with me on this first adventure. I have a carton of powdered donuts for her (lol) and caffeinated beverages for us both. We are stopping at a tack shop in between visits tomorrow and won't be home till well after dark. Then, repeat by myself for two additional days.
Unless, that is, I meet my true horse love somewhere along the way...
So I called my barn today to just, you know, say hey this is the girl with the empty stall, full locker and no horse and I'm still looking because I actually secured the stall three weeks ago and didn't want them to think I'd skipped town.
As it turns out the weather has everyone down. The girl with the horse that is vacating my stall (due to a new job and move on her part so it is a positive relocation) has yet to be able to get her horse moved. On the first day he was to go we got the Polar Vortex. On the second day she picked we got another storm that brought 10 inches of snow. The third day she was to try was today and last night into the morning we got two more inches and the temp has been in the single digits. So, it is just as well because horses need to be safe.
The barn owner also told me that yesterday the horses went out in the morning and by 1PM she decided to bring them back in due to the wind and temps and having had their romp time they were more than ready for their stalls. Water buckets are frozen, de-icers aren't even working that well and the daughter of a lady I was supposed to meet with about a horse tomorrow fell on ice at her own barn last night and broke her elbow.
So, right now, I guess I should be sort of happy that horse duties are vacant from my life during this less than perfect season. It got me thinking about how this is indeed the first winter in a decade or more that I have not had at least a few days per week of mucking frozen shit piles, chipping ice out of buckets, pulling on Carhartts caked with frozen mud and dirt and carrying out the duties of horse care looking like Ralphie's little brother on the way to school.
Winter is NOT a fun season to have a horse. All those picturesque, perfect depictions of people riding horses in the winter? Happens maybe once or twice per season. Every other day is misery. LOL. Not for the horses, hell they don't care so long as they are healthy, can seek shelter and it isn't Polar Vortex cold. Horses are two things in the winter. Mud Collectors and Shit Machines. LOL.
Due to the single digits, broken elbow, another "snow event" on Saturday, horse meeting appointments have been postponed until next week. One day is looking promising. Another iffy. I keep thinking it has to quit snowing and blowing sometime. Right?
In the true spirit of doing everything backwards (I am left handed after all) I am piecing my horse life back together in a non-conventional manner. Maybe. I dunno - I firmly believe that if you are going to purchase a 1200 pound animal you should have somewhere to put him (or her). Surprisingly, many horse people will go out and start a horse buying search without a clue of where that horse will live. The general manner of thought seems to be something like squeeeee I'm buyin' a horse! and meeehhhhhhh, I'll look for a boarding barn tomorrow...
The horsey life goes like this: If you are not lucky enough to have a shelter, fence and some grazing area on your own property (I am not I live on a forested rock farm) you will have to board your horse at a boarding facility. In many places this isn't really an issue because facilities are plentiful. Where my mom lives in Florida they are practically on top of one another and all have tracks, trails, arenas... In other places, like here (unfortunately) stalls are a hard to come by commodity. The barn where I leased horses for years before deciding to go out on my own is private, another nice boarding facility closed a few years ago due to financial issues and now a housing development sits in its place. The fancy, snooty barn is 45 minutes away and out in the middle of (scuze the phrase) BF (bum f8ck) nowhere. Too many horses and not enough available stalls is the way it goes 'round here.
So, because I was worried about finding a space, I secured my stall before I bought a horse. The facility is the oldest one in the area. I believe it originally opened in the 1960s. It is an old fashioned farm complete with chickens that run around pecking the ground, pig pens and cows. The digs ain't fancy and board includes morning and evening feeding, turn-out and turn-in and they dig out your stall once a week. If you want it mucked daily, that is up to you to do. So, I see a whole lotta mucking in my future. LOL.
So why didn't I go to the fancy barn? Well, besides it being 45 minutes away it is also over twice as much monthly. I can afford the fancy barn yes, but when you make your two columns and checkmark your points, half the cost wins that category.
Discipline is also a factor. It does you little good to have a horse that you want to trail ride if there are no trails. I have run into this issue before in my life as a horse leaser. My new barn has over 200 acres of trails/fields to play in. It has no indoor arena (the fancy barn does as did my lease barn) and only a small outdoor ring and then a separate round pen. I will miss the indoor arena a little. It means you can ride any day, no matter the weather. But, I'm not really a cold weather arena girl so I'll get over it. The round pen I will dig. Believe it or not at my lease barn we didn't have one and working in a round pen is really cool for natural horsemanship games.
My new barn is also 6 minutes from my house. I clocked it today. A definite checkmark in the plus category. 45 minutes is a long way to drive and part of having a horse (at least to me) is spending time with him. That is the ONLY way you are going to establish a relationship. Grooming, talking, touching, simply walking around with your horse is just as important as riding regularly. Horses are like other animals in that they recognize who cares for them. What kind of connection are you going to have with your horse if you are only able to see him once or twice a week. Yes, at times this will happen to the best of us but for me, close proximity ensures that I can meet what I feel is my obligation of the heart to my horse. And the fact that I gotta muck his stall or he will have to stand in poop that night doesn't hurt either. ;)
My new barn is also predominately a Western barn. I get a walk-in locker. LOL. Yes, my locker space is important to me. And Western tack is bigger so Western lockers tend to be more roomy than your standard English locker.
And lastly there is the country factor. LOL. Many barns are full of lovely horses with fancy names and chicks with lockers full of ribbons. All that is fine except that (especially in barns that are predominately English, Hunter/Jumper and other panties in a damn twitch disciplines) it sometimes lends itself to that snotty attitude that the horse world can be known for. I have dealt with that in the past at more than one barn and I was over it then, I'm over it now and I just don't want those types of people in my life anymore.
So forward I go. The actual horse search will no doubt be long and frustrating at times. I am keeping in mind the information that I have presented to people when they ask me what I am looking for. I want a friend. A horse that I mostly trail ride and kick around with in a field. A horse that I can do a little flat work with on occasion, play some horsemanship games and hug. I want a companion. I want to teach him, learn from him, grow with him, care for him until I bury him. That is why it is so important to find the right horse. I don't want the perfect horse but I want the perfect horse for me. And I want to be the right person for him.
This is all a tall order I am beginning to realize. It should be easy as what I described to someone that I need in a horse is not complicated. Until I find him I guess I'll just pimp out my walk-in locker. ;)
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart