Here I go again. I’m horse shopping. Now, before you think I’m becoming one of those crazy horsewomen who compulsively collect horses, let me assure you that I am not. Well, I am admittedly a little loopy, but I have no intention of owning a string of horses. I’m passively hunting for a second horse for a couple of reasons. First, Wally—my forever true love—has arthritic hocks. I knew he had this problem, including a bone spur in one hock, when I bought him. Despite oral supplements and injections he still ends up sore unless I restrict his trail riding to the flatlands and give him several days a week off. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hills in my area and I enjoy riding five or six days a week. Plus, with a second horse I can invite friends over to ride with me. I have several gal pals who are either entirely horseless at this point in time or they own horses that are crazed agoraphobics once they step outside the show arena. It’d be nice to have a reliable “cruiser” horse they could hop aboard.
Truly, I’m in no hurry to find one. It’s not like I’m flipping through the pages of the newsprint ads, yanking fliers off the feed store wall or bookmarking online ads. Such activities are not my idea of “fun.” I’d much prefer that my fairy horse godmother simply waved her magic wand and poof! A lovely horse was standing alongside Wally in my backyard.
Maybe I’m dreading the great horse hunt because I refuse to compromise. You see, I have a set list of criteria and unless the prospective horse meets these demands, I’m not interested. Here are my must-have qualities:
- Must neck rein (because of the limitations in my right arm, the horse has to be beyond a snaffle; no two-armed, direct rein steering for me!)
- Have comfortable gaits (due to my chronic pain issues, smooth gaits are important)
- Be schooled in arena basics (I enjoy riding in an arena several days a week; it gives me an opportunity to work on my horsemanship and provides structure to my horse’s schooling)
- Proven reliability on the trails (I want a horse that is happy doing what I’m going to do with it)
- No stable vices or obnoxious ground manners (my days of re-schooling someone else’s piggy horse are over)
- Must be cute (at least give me a friendly face or a pretty color)
- No mismatched front feet, vague lamenesses or gross conformation flaws (Wally already embodies enough issues to keep my vet financially solvent)
As you can probably imagine, I’ve already had some fascinating encounters with sellers. Sometimes I end up disappointed, other times I’m frustrated and then again, once in a while I am literally amazed at the things they’ll reveal on the phone or in person. Maybe, eventually, Wally will end up with a stable mate.
Back to Life with Horses