I was looking for a new horse on the weekend of the Illinois Horse Fair. Went there with friends and were walking through the barns oohing and aahing over everything. I stopped in front of one stall, pointed to the horse, and told my friends, "THAT is exactly the kind of horse I'm looking for" --- just as the owner put the For Sale sign on the door. I walked in, horse wrapped her head around me, and the sale was made. :-) I did ride her later in the day, though!
I have this theory that horses come into your life when you need them (or they need you), and that it all "just happens" if you let it. Because of that, I will not force a sale into happening (as a buyer or seller). Every time I've *made* something happen I've regretted it in the end. And every time the pieces have fallen into place I've ended up with a one-in-a-million horse. So my current five (5 in a million? )....
10 years ago: My small pony was listed on a broker friend's website. I called about him and she said that the owner had just pulled the listing because he was "about to founder." I don't know what I was thinking, but told her I was fine with managing an obese pony and got him for next to nothing. He wasn't foundering, just obese and bad white line disease. Got him on a diet, on magnesium, and his feet handled by my farrier. Ended up with the greatest pony on the planet who started packing around my daughter at age 3 and becomes more valuable by the day as I watch him babysit her despite the fact that he's never had a tiny kid ride him before. This is her (just turned 5) trotting him through some poles the other day doing her best Rich Fellers: http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/...66279108_o.jpg
9 years ago: My heart mare was owned by a kid at the barn where I grew up riding. I would hack her when the kid was out of town. They were a terrible match (young bitchy, bossy mare with scared/timid young kid) and in a bad situation barnwise (the BO hated the mare and vice versa). I guess I said the words, "if you ever want to give away this mare....!" (ha ha, they paid big $$$ for her) enough. Lo and behold, I got a call one day saying, "The BO wants us to send her to auction asap, would you be interested in having her?" I hesitated and explained that I had no money, and the mom said she just wanted to recoup the expense from the last horseshow. Done! She has the biggest heart of any horse I've ever sat on and I adore her beyond reason!
7 years ago: My current big jumper was on the track and not doing well (never came in better than 5th in his 10 races). One of my bodyworkers said, "I went and worked on this horse at Emerald Downs and I think you need to go buy him." I showed up after the last race of the year totally prepared to turn down the [presumably] small, plain brown TB, but looked in the stall and saw a big, dark bay gelding with *that* look (the look of eagles, or whatever you want to call it). I ended up loading a rude and very lame (presumably an abscess, which turned out to be true) horse into the trailer wondering what the heck I was doing. Never really believed back then that he would turn into my GP partner! I had brought a friend to be my voice of reason, and she took one look at him and said, "oh, you've gotta buy him." Lol! So much for having a rational person with me!
4 years ago: My young gelding was my start down the Holsteiner road. I told a local breeder that I was looking for a 3yo and she said, "oh! I've got the perfect one for you!" Did not expect the 11 month old chrome-y chestnut that I showed up to see. We walked out into the pasture and I was looking at all of the broodmares trying to guess which was the young prospect. But nope, it was the copper penny chestnut BABY with 3 white socks. Turns out she was right about the colt being just what I wanted (and for the record she was just scattered, not dishonest about the age).
Last year: And finally, my baby mare. I knew I wanted another Holsteiner and put a query into warmbloods-for-sale for the breed; must be registered, 1-3 years old, and a few other parameters and came up with two horses in North America that I liked enough to consider. Both on the east coast (a mere 3000 miles away). Turned out that one of them was bred and owned by a breeder here on COTH whose posts I have always respected. Then it turned out that he and I work in the same industry (our day jobs...not the horse-related stuff). Then it turned out that he was located half an hour from my company HQ that I just happened to be visiting in a few week's time to wrap up my job (which I had just quit). I took that as a sign from the horsey gods that I had to go look at the mare. Couldn't have liked her more and brought her home to the west coast shortly thereafter. Just started her under saddle and *swoon* I LOVE this mare! She's so sweet and so well behaved!
Yikes, I've written a novel! The cliffnotes: 1) Cross Country Horse Sales, 2) Word of mouth, 3) Word of mouth (OTT), 4) Word of mouth (breeder) 5) Warmbloods-for-sale.com and fate
Last edited by PNWjumper; Feb. 25, 2013 at 02:16 PM.
Reason: oops, noticed a spelling error!
__________________________________ Forever exiled in the NW.
Competition horse I am riding but don't own: While my warmblood mare (who's currently in foal) was laid up with an injury, I was horseless. I went three months without any regular riding and knew I needed to find something to ride. I tried a lease on a local horse and we were NOT a good match. I kept at it for six weeks getting more and more frustrated every ride. Meanwhile my coach had her retired UL horse standing in the field. He'd been coming down the levels for her sister to get her first prelim experience but he had a fairly serious injury. They thought it was career ending and he was "retired." They'd started rehabbing him a little in hopes that he could be a trail horse for her boyfriend and he just seemed to get better and better so she said I could give him a try. His upper level days may be done but WOW - I'm so blessed to be able to ride and compete him now. He is a schoolmaster who knows his job and takes care of me.
As for new young prospect, I was feeling pretty glum looking at my heart horse (the lame broodmare) and at the time, I doubted she'd be returning to work. I was also looking at the 16 year old schoolmaster that I'm blessed to have right now to show. I realized that he (a horse who has already had prior soundness issues) would have to keep going till he was 21 if my next horse was the unborn offspring of my mare.... I decided I should find a nicely restarted level headed gelding. Didn't need to be fancy - just something I could eventually hop around novice on, and I'd sell it (upgrade) when my foal was eventually ready to start work. After a long day in Ocala where I sat on two perfectly suitable geldings and saw a few more that also could have fit the bill, I stopped at one last farm on the way home based on a tip that the lady had a "nice horse."
A hurricane was just about to hit, it was windy, and the lady pulled this chestnut mare out of a field of her best friends right before dinner time. The horse was on a break from race training and was going back to the track if she didn't sell. There was a lot of leaping around and calling to her buddies from the end of the lead rope. My coach was whispering to me, "do not ride this horse." We were about to pack it back up but decided to at least watch the owner ride the horse. She tacked her up, jumped up on her in shorts and proceeded to trot her around the barn yard.... our jaws just dropped. She was a NICE mover.
Logical me said "thanks but no," got in my car to drive home but I couldn't stop obsessing over her. 10 minutes out of the farm, I was on the phone with my coach who was saying, "gee, I wish I had a client for her. That's a really nice horse." I said she was not a sensible choice expecting my coach to agree and be the "voice of reason" pointing me back towards the steady gelding I'd ridden earlier in the day, but she said "screw sensible."
I brought her home three days later and have not regretted it for a minute!
The High Queen: I got her from the "Looking for a Home" section of goodhorse.org. She was a freebie OTTB that had bowed a tendon and needed a new job. Went to the track, saw her, loved her(even though she tried to put hoof prints on my car.) and a couple of weeks later picked her up. Despite our issues I love her.
The Spotted Beast: DH wanted a trail horse so he could ride with me. But he wanted something specific. He wanted a black and white blanket appaloosa. Do you know how hard it is to find one of those that isn't outrageously out of my very limited price range? Nearly impossible. But I tracked down a couple. One was on the Eastern Shore of VA so we drove out. He was pushy, didn't lead, load, pick up his feet, and Gods help you if you take his halter off, because it was hell on earth to get the new one back on. But DH wanted him on first sight. I sighed and tried to talk him out of it. Then I unfortunately saw the wayword beast move. Damn it. He was a fabulous mover, and he's already proven to me he can jump anything when he chooses to. Super smart, brave. But he has that stubborn Appy attitude. If he didn't have the patience of a gnat I'd love to event him.
Anyway that's my two.
"But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
My old man I got from a dealer. He was very under weight and looked a mess. I instantly fell in love and bought him. As he got fit and put weight on he became a very hard ride but we managed to figure each other out. He has had a TON of health and lameness issues and is now retired at 19.
Come to find out that the groom that worked at the barn had him before me ( her step father was the dealer). Anyay she had this awesome horse she had pulled off the slaughter truck. She never really did anything with him and he quickly became my boys BFF. They had a blast together in the fields.
Long story short I heard through other people that she was bringing him back to the auction. Since he was in the kill trailer the last time and is now older 9 at this point he has lived in her field for 3 years) and hasn't really done anything since then I figured he really didn't have a chance in HE** of getting a home. After my shock that she would do this I bought him from her for way too much money.
He is a great horse who is quickly learning his job and has the best brain in the world.
It has been a year and a half and I never regretted buying him. Only that I paid way too much for an out of shape, super green OTTB with a low old bow.
I love my boys to death and they will always be with me.
Currently searching for my own horse, but the horse who is 'mine' (my mom's) We bought as a two year old from a local breeder. At the time I owned a brother to him (out of the same stallion) and we loved him so much we wanted another!
Eventers of the West
A Facebook group I created for Eventers in the West Region of the U.S. Remy - My OTTB Gelding! Love him to pieces!
Bought my girl from my trainer. She bred for one foal per year. I loved the broodmare/stallion combo of my mare. Must have done something right as I bought her as a yearling and still have her at age 19.
Mine was an OTTB freebie through a friend of my landlord's. The friend owned racehorses and had a 4 yo he'd had high hopes for who recently bowed a tendon. I had no part in picking him, I was just excited to have a horse. That was 16 years ago and my now 20 yo sweetie is enjoying retirement after an eventing career that took us far, far beyond what we ever imagined.
a neat aspect of the story is that the trainer who raced him now runsa rescue/rehab nonprofit along with a racing stable and they do great work restarting their horses, as well as having become active in several large-scale rescues of starving horses from struggling race breeders in TX/LA. If you are in that area looking for a horse, definitely check out Donna & Dallas Keen's Remember Me Rescue.
Pony No. 1: Classified section of newspaper "Pony gelding- $800" Got a gorgeous purebred Welsh gelding who we've now had for 15 years.
Horse No. 1: Meat pen at Sugarcreek. Gorgeous black TB that has become a pet now for 13 years. Not suitable for riding!
Pony No. 2: Traded for an off-track TB that was too hot for daughter -ad for "possible trade" was on Dreamhorse.
Horse No. 2: Craiglist special! "Eventer - $price" was the only thing in the ad. Two-year anniversary of buying the most wonderful schoolmaster TB in the world!
Zephyr - In the 12-18 month old filly pens at the Burns Mustang Adoption Center in Burns, OR.
Woodrow - classified ads in Little Nickel
Xena - Adopted mustang through outside agency
Apache - Free
Chip - Free
Apache and Chip are foundation appys and were given to husband by a FA breeder in Moses Lake who was getting out of the business and these were the last 2 left. Chip was a stallion who had brain surgery before moving in with us and he's coming around. Apache has been a joy since day 1. Chip might make a nice little eventer for some lucky child once we get him going.
Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert
My trainer gave a lesson to another student on her and asked if she was for sale. Other student is a pro and said "could be." I went to a horse trial to see her go, but they'd withdrawn her ... lots of drama on previous days for her first outing. They didn't want me to try her because she was so stressed and wouldn't make a good first impression, but I wanted to take her out to the x-c (and me a dressage rider) just to get on ... after all, I drove 3 hours.
I loved her immediately. Snatched up the offer of a week-long trial at my barn and sweated bullets until she passed the vet check.
When I started researching her history, I found that she'd been sold at least three times in the last year. Since there is nothing wrong with her, it had to be because she was sellable ... Born in Washington state, she went to an ammie from her breeder and then from the ammie to a professional sales barn. A pro in Illinois bought her and did a lot of nice videos (love youtube!) from February until she sold her to another pro in Florida in August. That's the pro who took her for a lesson with my trainer and who sold her to me in November.
Short story: purely by happenstance my trainer found her for me. Not what I thought I was looking for (except the mare part), but absolutely the right match for me. (insert stupid-in-love emoticons here)
Two were foaled by my ownself My 4yo Holsteiner I found as a 2yo on Craigslist. An elderly woman who had Arabian trail horses her whole life decided she wanted a warmblood stallion. She couldn't handle him, and so put him up for sale. At two, he'd never had his feet done, never had a bath, and never had a real grooming session . . . so he wasn't easy to deal with, lol. Lucky for me, the picture she put on Craigslist showed him at his worst. He looked *absolutely hideous*, but there was something about him. So I took my mom with me for a drive out into the middle of nowhere to see the boy. It was love at first sight, although my poor mother thought I was losing my mind. I distinctly recall her saying: "Oh.my.gosh. Tell me that's not the horse you're buying." But I did. And in the past 2 years the boy has bloomed into the handsomest horse I've ever had. And now I always tell people that I found true love on Craigslist
I wasn't really looking but...read an ad for a cute little bucker on the COTH giveaways. Drove 10 hours, brought her home and she and my daughter, though they've had some bumps, have become a true partnership.
A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.