A few days ago one of my friends told me, “In today’s horse market, with this bad economy, you’ll be able to look at horses all day, every day.” She wasn’t kidding. There are a ton of horses for sale and I think I saw a good portion of them last weekend.
Unfortunately, what I learned was that what qualifies a horse to be a safe, sane mount for stunt men and super star actors does not necessarily qualify it to be the perfect mount for Cindy Hale. Though every horse I tried there was broke, quiet and well-mannered on the ground, each of them had one trait that precluded them from being right for me. One had horribly rough gaits (the most experienced stunt man probably rode that horse). Another one was a sweetheart out on the trails but his lope/canter/gallop felt unbalanced and only barely under control. Another proved to be too small for my gangly legs and a fancy mare needed more time under saddle to be properly finished. I came close to purchasing a big, flashy black and white Paint gelding that had been ridden both English and western. He was a bit rusty, having been used for several years by a novice rider who just plodded down the trails at a walk. But after about 20 minutes riding him in the arena, I actually got him to execute a couple of flying lead changes at the canter! I was in love…. Until my sister and her eagle eyes pointed out the rampant spread of fly allergies. I thought it was only on the Paint’s lower legs, but Jill reached under his chest and discovered a wide swath of bumps and sores.
I know fly allergies aren’t the end of the world to most people, but I am a neurotic horsewoman. I’d be spending hundreds of dollars and countless sleepless nights every fly season, fretting over my horse’s misery. I went back to the car and speed dialed my vet. Since it was a Sunday I got a hold of her and she assured me that we could do things to treat fly allergies, providing the horse was worth the hassle and expense. I decided that he wasn’t. Once I took into account the fact that I’d have to re-school him for at least a month before he’d get back into the swing of things under saddle, the acute fly allergies became a deal breaker.
So Jill and I drove the two hours home. I was a little bit disappointed, but I knew that I had a lovely, predictable, somewhat obnoxious but always safe horse standing in my backyard. Until I find a perfect complement to good ol’ Wally, I’ll just keep being a one-horse owner.
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