You may have noticed yesterday that in terms of budget, I classify myself as “champagne on a beer budget”. I won’t go into financial details, but Foster’s inconveniently going to pieces 3 days after I purchased a car (a non-towing car, I might add, with the hopes of buying a truck in a few months) left my bank account in a place where, let’s just say, buying a fancypants new prospect wasn’t going to be happening any time soon. So I’ve been scrimping and saving, and I’ve finally got enough pennies to go shopping. But still, the horses that fit my criteria seem to fit into two categories- that is, spring chicken or Made but needs maintenance.
Let’s go over my (eventual) goals, first and foremost:
- Be competitive at 3rd level
- Ride at training level eventing with no jumping faults (time faults will be forgiven)
Given the need for a horse that can sit, with good movement, and can be forgiven for not being the best galloper, that tends to point to warmbloods or warmblood crosses. So let’s look at my options a little more closely.
The Spring Chicken
These typically end of being 3 yr olds at or near the top of my budget, but within budget nonetheless. They may or may not be started at this age. The horses I’m interested in have great conformation and most of them have moves like Jagger.
Ideally they have good brains, and a good look at how they handle life (as in new experiences, as well as routine life around the barn) can be an indication as to how easy they will be to train. A peek into bloodlines can indicate some idea as to their potential ability, but the key word here is potential. They have not been tested, have not had to answer many of the questions I would ask, but have the flip-side advantage of not having wear and tear on precious legs. There is a risk in not knowing how they will react, but there is also the bonus of being able to make the horse you want from the ground up.
Made with Maintenance
These guys tend to be a little easier to find, but also tend to be a bit more than I’m financially comfortable with. They’re also at or slightly above my age range, being 8-12 years old, even up to 15. They have show miles, good records, great attitudes, and are proven athletes. But they come with caveat, and that is either a questionable soundness history, or a questionable soundness future.
The pro to these guys is as my friend puts it, they are “sitting on go”. I can immediately get in the saddle, start showing and competing, and maybe knock my goals out of the park in the next 18 months. The risk with them is of course with what happens afterwards. What is the Plan B if and when those maintenance issues flare up and interfere with the work asked of them? Of course there is no guarantee with any horse’s (or rider, for that matter) soundness, but the knowledge of previous issues is both a blessing and a curse.
I have my own (many) opinions on what I want, and obviously there are outliers that fit neither of these types, but I ask you- What would you choose?