In this latest round of horse shopping, much of my criteria has stayed the same. With some exceptions though, and having learned some lessons the last go-around, here’s what my latest ISO ad would look like….
The horse must be sound, sane, and pass a PPE. Having 4 legs and a brain does not equate.
Secondly, the horse must be gelding. If it doesn’t have the right bits and pieces, trust me, I’ll notice. I have found my tribe in a local boarding barn, and the set up will only allow for an additional gelding. Your horse may be the most non-mareish mare ever to walk the planet, but if it has a hoohah, it’s not for me. And strap-ons don’t count.
Look folks, I’m not growing anytime soon. I fit comfortably on a variety of horses, and those horses are between 15.2 and 17.1 hands tall. I’d prefer my toes not to drag the ground in the saddle, nor a ladder to climb aboard. Don’t try to sell me your “big-barrelled” pony, or your “super safe” 18.2h goliath. Please and thank you.
Did I mention no mares?
4-11 years old. To me, this means old enough to have exposure to life, or at least a little of it, and young enough that the expectations for my goals (3rd level dressage and training level eventing) are still realistic. Yes, yes, a horse older than that can still do these things. But, see above note about expectations passing a PPE.
I will not give up on my eventing ambitions, therefore, the horse must jump. By jump I mean some semblance of bascule, lift through the elbows and sense of self preservation. The scared sack of potatoes you coerced into lobbing itself over a stick one day? No thanks.
A good canter. Meaning 3 beats instead of 4. Or 2 (yikes!)
Nice gaits, with an uphill way of going and a moment of suspension in the trot- even if you have to squint to see it right now.
Some jumping experience. Even if it’s 2’3″, that’s something. Listen, folks, it’s been 2 years since I’ve been able to compete- and I am more than ready to dominate that local Maiden track if allowed.
A forgiving jumper. Because I’m an amateur, and I sure as hell have amateur moments. I’m rusty with a serious need for some jumping WD-40. If I have to be spot-on every time to a fence in order to stay in the tack on the landing side, we’re probably not a good match. I’ll get my sea legs back eventually, but I would prefer not to die in the process.
That puppy dog mentality. I like smart- and will handle a fair amount of cheek on the ground. Personality is a plus to me, and I just love the idea of a partner that’s as fun on the ground as he is in the saddle. Sounds like a raunchy dating metaphor, no?
What am I missing?