Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A horse is a horse, of course...NOT!

Searching for your first horse(or second or third, I imagine) can be a very frustrating process. First of all you have to weed through all the myriad horse search engines and local Craigslist ads and newspaper ads to find prospects worth a phone call or email. This is very time consuming and frustrating when the ad does not even have basic information such as the horse's breed, age, height and skills. And of course you have to try and weed out the ads placed by dealers whose every horse is child-safe, beginner friendly and perfectly suited for everything from western pleasure to three-day eventing. Just this morning I found a listing for a Friesian mare described as suitable for endurance riding,western pleasure and jumping with an asking price of $2000. Now perhaps this Friesian is VERY unusual for her breed and might actually make an endurance, western pleasure and/or jumping horse. Or possibly some idiot who knows nothing about evaluating a horse's potential simply listed these as being the most marketable things to say. More likely, it's some sort of scam. An obvious one. Some of them aren't so obvious. You can't even trust what you see in videos. Who knows what they've done to that horse to make him behave in that video. Worn him down beforehand, drugged him,...? Just weeding through the ads is frustrating.

And of course, there are those people who aren't intentionally lying about the horse, they are simply ignorant or "barn blind" and think their horse really is "all that". Let me pass on an email I got in response to an ad I queried. The ad read that,"This horse probably already is trained up to the 2nd level." I thought maybe the current owner had bought a previously trained dressage horse that didn't work out for the trail riding and play days that her kids wanted to do and therefore was selling it. So I asked if she had been told that he was trained to second level or was that her opinion based on her knowledge of dressage. Her response was,"I bought him to basically ride/train for my pleasure and exercise. I ride him in a dressage saddle. We work on seat and leg commands at the walk, trot, and canter. I have not been formally trained in dressage, but I have seen some magazines and videos. That is why I think Max fits somewhere at the 2nd level." Uh... yeah...

So anyway, after weeding through the dealers and idiots, and after all the research and talking on the phone and looking at the pictures and watching the videos repeatedly to make sure the horse seems like one that you would want to buy, you decide to make the drive (usually several hours) to go and check the horse out in person. And he/she is so very NOT what you were looking for. Of course sometimes the horse really isn't that bad, but he/she just isn't right for for one reason or another. It feels so hopeless sometimes.

Anyway, I'll be posting summaries of some of the horses that I've looked at recently.

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