Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Buying horses

How did you get your horse?

I find the whole process of horse "shopping" intriguing. I never went horse shopping, and don't know when I will. That will probably be at least another 10 years or so.

A friend of mine just bought a horse. She went shopping around, and tried out several horses all over the PNW. The horse she ended up with is trained through 3rd level and is a 7 year old Trakaener. His price tag? $28,000. That price tag just floors me! I paid less than 500 for Ms. Denali, but of course there's a reason.

What did you do when picking out your horse? Did you have something specific in mind? Did you know what you wanted exactly and waited until you found it?

My "dreamhorse" was a light colored gelding, between 8 and 15 and 16.2 hands at least. I didn't care about the breed, but I wanted one trained at least through 2nd level with the ability to do more. I wanted a BEEN THERE, DONE THAT horse. Something I could compete with (just small local shows) and also trail ride. (I love that D's lessor is standing behind her, oh Megan! Where are you? I can almost see the top of your head!)

That is what I ended up with! Lol, I don't think that there is anything on my "list" that I got! Do I regret my decision? No. Sometimes I wish I knew more so I could teach her more myself.

I've explained a few times the feeling I got when I saw Denali for the first time. It is exactly the same feeling I got when I met my husband. I just KNEW that she was the one. She was the 32 horse I counted as I walked around the auction pens. I felt horrible for all of them, but knew I didn't need a horse. Then I saw her, I don't know how to explain it, but I swear she spoke to me. She gave me this look of desperation, "PLEASE, Please don't leave me here!" I promised her I wouldn't, my friends thought I was nuts, and in about an hour I was loading her into the trailer.

She is everything I didn't know that I wanted. She picked me, which I've heard friends say about their horses, but didn't quite understand what they meant until I met "Storm" (her name at the auction.)

Best money I ever spent!! (and if you add up all the vet bills and training, I can almost SAY that I own a $28,000 show horse.) I wouldn't trade her for the world!! I need to remember this when she pisses me off!!


Mrs Mom said...

Well, for Sonny I didn't go shopping. He came in as a rehab case, and just kinda..... stayed. He grew on us ;)

For other horses, I have usually gone to the sale, and looked to see what needed help. Kinda like you with your beautiful girl, I let them pick me. Worked out for everyone that way.

Gryph said...

According to your Life and Times of Denali sidebar, she WAS once a $38,000 horse! ;)


Denali said...

Oh True Gryph! :) Luckily I didn't ever pay that for her! Although I'm sure if my friend's Traekaner was a broken down dressage horse I could have gotten him for 1/4 the price too. Good point :)

FlyinSoLow said...

Oh I can so relate.

I sold my horse, one which I loved very much because I was going to college, had just gotten engaged, and we were looking for a house. Besides all of that however; I felt like I was stuck in a rut where I was currently at and that I just wasn’t accomplishing anything anymore. I was not at a good place; horses were my life. The only jobs I ever had were farm help, giving lessons to beginner kids, and riding horses yet I was so ready to just let them go.

A few months after I sold the horse I wound up at a barn helping someone with a horse’s ground manners. The farm is known for trading horses (getting cheap New Holland ones or ones bound for slaughter) and also for breeding fugly babies. They also breed for ‘color’ and spots (paints/paint crosses and app/app crosses) It’s nice that they take horses off the truck going to Canada and try to rehome them but what people don’t realize is whatever doesn’t sell goes right back onto the shipper’s truck, or if they like the horse they might keep it for a little and breed her to one of their fugly stallions.

Anyway, while working there I was playing with some of the babies and sort of fell for a little brown colt. I DID NOT want another horse, and even if I did I would NEVER buy a weanling! So much can go wrong, you don’t know what you’re getting, and you have to wait forever to ride them…
Long story short the plain seal bay colt wouldn’t sell, wouldn’t sell, wouldn’t sell. I found out he was put on the back burner because he is a solid app. His dam is a very spotty app mare and the sire is buckskin, so he was already thrown aside because he was a brown solid app with no characteristics AND I was told straight from the breeders mouth that “He is a colt, we might have kept him if he were a filly.”

He was finally place for sale all over the internet for $250 and after month or so of no-takers there was talk of ‘just getting him out of here’ so I talked with the owner and they gave him to me in exchange for cleaning stalls on weekends! I continued to stay and clean stalls for free board but the place is not that great… In fact we move to the new barn Friday!

You can always read more about it on his blog lol there was a lot I left out just for space’s sake.

Denali said...

Wow! Great story!! I can't wait to read your blog!

SprinklerBandit said...

I totally thought the picture of Denali was the $28,000 show horse.

So hey... what's not to love?

Denali said...

I'll tell her that :) She'll love it! Personally, I think that D is much prettier than the expensive boy, but who am I to judge!

goodtimetoreview said...

I’ve never paid for a horse. My first horse was a beautiful AQHA WP palomino gelding that belonged to a family whose barn I managed. I fell in love with the horse and was my favorite to ride so for my birthday one year they gave me signed transfer papers for him. My horse tragically passed away December of 08. He was only 11 and there is an ongoing investigation about the boarding stable he was at. It’s a big mess and the people are heartless crooked criminals in my mind.
After my horse died I casually started looking at horses on craigslist. Just kind of seeing what was out there. I knew I’d never be able to afford a horse like mine but I just wanted to look. I found an ad looking for evening feeders at a barn. So I thought the extra money could be saved and put towards my dream horse. Well the desire to ride kicked in hard and the money I earned there went towards weekly dressage lessons there. My instructor/barn owner told me about her friend who is a vet out west and takes OTTBs and de-tracks them on his ranch for a year and then he gives them to new homes for free as long as he knows the people and knows the horse isn’t going to end up at an auction a week later or that they would be taken back to the track and raced. My instructor has years of working with OTTBs and promised to help me with whatever horse I brought home. We went out there and at the time he had about 40 OTTBs of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. There was only one chestnut gelding and he stood out like a sore thumb. But I had my mind set on getting a big young grey mare. That “little” chestnut gelding with the cutest dished face and silly white blaze followed me around and blocked my view of the other horses. I went to look at the horse my friend had picked out (she works at the barn with me). And when I turned back around I saw the sad little chestnut gelding in the corner head hanging down looking so pathetic. I grabbed a halter and brought him up to the trailer. I couldn’t live without him!
Apparently he’d been there for two years. The guy who gave him to me wasn’t sure why no one wanted him. He’s one of the sweetest, friendliest horses he’s ever had out there. When he got to the ranch he was in tough shape though. He arrived with a suspensory ligament injury. He’s also got pinfiring marks up both front legs and on his left hock. I can’t even imagine the pain this horse has gone through. And for him to have such a sweet personality through all of that.
In April I will have had him a year. He loves to make me happy and he always gives 110%. He’s calm, he follows me like a puppy, never gets excited, has never exploded. Once when cantering I started losing my balance (and stirrup) he came right back down to the walk almost like he knew I was getting freaked out about hitting the ground. He’s pretty fearless when I’m aboard and if he does spook its sort of a big shudder followed by a loud exhale. I can go 3 weeks without riding and he’s right where we left off unlike the other TBs in our barn, 3 days off and they are firecrackers! I love seeing his racing videos online and was even able to track down some of his win pictures from when he raced out west. (He now lives in Minnesota). I often find it hard to believe he was once a racehorse with 25 starts, 4 wins, 5 place and 5 shows. He was free but I don’t think there is any amount of money that I would accept for him. He’s perfect. (sorry this got so long winded…I just love talking about my “lil racehorse”)
Oh and one more cute story…The night I brought him home he would call out to me if I got too far from him. And the girls at the barn giggle at him all the time because where ever I go he has his eyes glued to me. Ok that was two cute stories…lol

Denali said...

I am a HUGE sucker for OTTB's!! The story of how you got yours is just priceless!! How sweet!! I love his picture too on your profile picture. I'm assuming that's him?! How big is he? Adorable stories!! Keep them coming! What happened to your first gelding?

Denali said...

Actually, what's his registered name? Depending on when he raced I can look up his videos!

goodtimetoreview said...

Yep that’s him! Looks wild huh? I think I measured him at 16hh. His name is Pine Bend he was foaled in 2000. I call him Piney…or Pinecone, or lately SnowCone…
The boarding stable I had my old gelding at was sketchy. I just had him to move him someplace temporary after he got kicked out of a friend’s barn for beating up her pregnant mares. I had another place lined up but they couldn’t take him until January. The sketchy owner called me on December 19th and said “I have some bad news…your horse is dead” he went on to tell me that it was the 5th horse he had die on his property in the past few years and that the next one that dies he would pay for the necropsy on it. He then went on to try and sell me one of his horses. He called me numerous times to sell me horses afterwards. I also hear from another boarder at that barn that he “said” he tried calling me for 3 weeks to let me know my horse was sick but I never answered my phone. That is CRAP! And if he was sick why didn’t they call the vet and BILL me for it. The girl that told me was the same girl who told me about a horse that was laying dead in the aisle for 2 days. That the owner was “going to get around to moving soon”. Anyways I blame myself for being too busy to go out there to see him more, I blame myself for leaving him there, I blame myself for everything. I never found out what it was that killed him because I didn’t get the necropsy on him. It probably would have helped the case against them but at the time I was too broken up to have it done.

Becky said...

I came into horse ownership similarly. I wasn't really in the market for a horse at the time, but in my mind I had envisioned this fancy colored (ideally paint) quarter horse, older gelding- like 10-15, that was DEAD DEAD DEAD broke. I started volunteering at a mustang rescue and fell in love with an older saddle trained gelding at the rescue, but it just didn't "click" when I met him in person.

Two little fillies came into the rescue who had been adopted, turned out to pasture, and were now being turned back into the BLM. They were both pretty skinny, wormy, and clearly had not been worked with. One was already spoken for (she was a bit friendlier and easy to handle) but the other one had about 3 days before she was being driven up to Mississippi to be turned back in. For some reason that shaggy brown filly (I had always hated bays... I just thought that plain brown horses were so BORING) tugged at my heart strings. She couldn't be haltered, she was terrified of everything, and her eyes were so dull... I couldn't imagine her having to endure any more in her short life. So I made the impulsive decision to adopt my first ever horse... NOTHING at had imagined for my first horse.

And here we are almost a year later & I'm already riding Cheyenne... it's hard to believe she went from being terrified of humans to following around and nuzzling everyone that walks by. :) I've trained her entirely on my own, which is proof any idiot can train a horse! (haha) Everyone told me what you are obviously familiar with from the blog title "green and green make black and blue." But I've found with a great deal of patience, love, and understanding you can bypass a LOT of that black and blue ;).

LOVE the blog, sorry for such a rant there! I'm just such a proud mommy ;)

Denali said...

goodtimetoreview, I'm so sorry about you loss. That's always horrible. I hope that no one boards there!!

Becky, no need to appologize!! I love reading about how people got their horses! Yours sounds like a truly amazing story! Wow!

KatieI said...

Our first horse Vinnie just kind of fell in our laps. Finding Savy, however, was a challenge. One horse I went to see dumped me on the ground in 2.5 secondsw after getting on him. Needless to say, we didn't get him.

I thought I wanted a draft cross and I knew I wanted something big. I kept saying that I wanted a bit of a project horse...boy did I stick my foot in my mouth.

When I first saw the ad for Savy, I remembered the Saddlebred that I used to ride in 4-H when I was younger, and he was big, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to check him out. I remember being so nervous because Savy seemed so spooky when we went to visit. Because of that, I decided to leave to think about it. But I remember driving away and feeling like I had left my heart at that farm. That's when I knew I had to have him.

And it's been a year of adventures!

I love reading about you and Denali...I totally understand how you fell for her. And I get the frustrations. It's like they are your child and despite the tantrums, you can't help but love them.

Rachel said...

My first horse story is a good one...
I started taking lessons at age 6. I (of course) begged for a horse from that moment on. When I was 9, my Dad (without consultation with my mom) promised that if I got all As in school, I could get a horse. Late spring of that year, I had gotten all As, but we hadn't worked on getting a horse.
My mom and dad took me to my lesson barn and said that one of the boarders (known for her two beautiful grey TB mares) was letting me ride her horse that day! When I got there, Bonnie (one of the said beautiful grey TB mares) was saddled up and in the arena. Everyone was at the barn, it was so crowded. Then they all crowded around the arena and mom handed me a card that read:
"My Bonnie lies over the ocean, My Bonnie lies over the sea, My Bonnie is over at Barbara's, and soon will belong to me."
(Barbara owned the farm where I took lessons).
I jumped up on my dad after being stunned for a minute. It was the best day of my life! I owned Bonnie for 7 years and sold her when I went to college. She still lives with the family to whom I sold her. She will be 31 years old in May. She was and always will be the love of my life.

Most recent horse story? That of my boy Granite.
I was in the middle of Graduate School. I was borrowing a pony of a friend's (she actually gave me the pony, but I am tall and not pony material). I was awarded a scholarship and on the same day got an email from a friend of an ad hanoverian cross grey colt on craig's list. The email asked "thats an awfully nice colt for craig's list, isnt it?"
The colt happened to be 3 things:
1) from a line of hanoverians of which I have been enamored since I was a small child (I used to cut pictures of his grandfather out of magazines and post them on my wall as a kid).
2) grey (from the first story you can tell how I tend to love them most)
3) The exact price of the amount of the scholarship which I was awarded!

I went to see him 3 times. I debated buying a yearling as a broke graduate student. It was stupid. But I loved this horse, he loved me.

Thats all she wrote. I brought him home January 17, 2009. I am still broke. But out of school now, and he is the best choice I have ever made.


in2paints said...

Ok, not my first horse, but my most recent horse... she absolutely picked me!

I was shopping for a barrel horse. Got it in my head that's what I wanted to do. So I went out to a farm to look at 2 mares this guy had for sale. I requested that he leave them in the pasture because I like to see how they act first in a natural environment. Do they run away, are they curious, pushy?

There were some other horses in the field as well and one of them happened to be an older mare with a 2 month old filly at her side. As I got closer to the mares I came to look at, the filly left her mom and came right over to me... in a group of 5 people she chose to come visit me. I said, "is she for sale?" and he said, "honey, they're all for sale."

I put a deposit on her that day and brought her home as soon as she was weaned. I've had her ever since. And I am thrilled!


CJW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJW said...

I got my first horse Holly, as a little paint foal. I was 13 and though I'd had some lessons, and read everything horses I could, still kinda clueless. My dad knew how to care for a horse (farm boy) but nothing about riding horses. We were going to keep the horse at my grandpa's farm (which I could bike to) until we moved to our new property and built a barn and pastures.

Found a horse in the paper, ending up at a shady scamming smooth talking horse trader's. (We didn't know at the time of course.) He bred paints and had riding horses for sale.
I fell in love with a tiny adorable little tri-colored paint filly, but I knew we weren't getting a foal, plus I wanted something to ride.
To make a long story short I ended up with a drugged gelding that was 10 years older than we were told and had heaves.
So we took him back but could only trade. My dad did some smooth talking and tricking of his own and ending to him agreeing to trading a paint foal for the gelding. (In all honestly the foals were worth more than that horse!) He had weaned and sold most of the babies. Showed me some colts I didn't like. Then he said he had one foal left in the field that wasn't weaned yet.
It was the filly I had fallen in love with! So Holly immediately became mine.
That was 8 years ago! We still have a great bond and I love her like I'll never love another horse. She's my horse of a lifetime.

CJW said...

When Holly was three we started looking for a horse for my younger sister. She was a timid rider but fell in love with a crazy 4 year old paint that was pasture bred. We had to really work with Mocha to turn her around but she's a decent trail horse now.

The summer after we got her she had a filly, Glory. We never could sell her and now Glory is 5 and my future eventing horse!

Then last spring I wanted to get a pony for my even younger sisters. I went to an auction and ended up with a older grey welsh pony mare. She was skinny with a huge potbelly and long feet, but I felt drawn to her. Two kids rode her in bareback and she could barely take their weights but listened.
Got her for $50. After a few weeks of food and rehab the kids could ride her bareback a bit. She was great. I hopped on her and she did the barrel pattern automatically.
Well, her wormy "potbelly" never went down even with lots of deworming. And despite the fact that she gained lots of weight and was eating a bunch of food and free choice hay and lush pasture she started loosing weight again. Then she started bagging up! 2 months after we got her she had a little colt! We will probably sell him because we don't need another pony but he was a surprise!

Denali said...

Wow CWS, you should write a blog of your horse stories! Do you have pictures of your auction pony? I think i read the story somewhere... maybe the fugly blog? I'd love to see the baby :)

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Wow, fun stories on here! :)
I too had been riding since I caught the "I want a pony" bug at 5, leasing, riding school horses, etc never owning one but ALWAYS wanting to. So, at 31 I decided after 10 yrs off from riding, that I would get back in to it during the summer just to 'get rid of the bug' finally. Ha!
I found a girl my age on craigslist looking for someone to lease and ride any of her 9 rescues...hello new b.f.f! So I did and we had a ball switching horses and riding late in the summer evenings.
One summer night after we finished a road ride, a trailer pressesion came in with 45 OTTB's and literally dumped the horses off. They were literally 'hot off the track' and to stay there until the pasture owner could either sell them or auction them off to god knows where.
We were devastated that so many beautiful horses were just dumped off. So, we dismounted and went to meet them all with carrots and apples and our cooing girliness.
There were huge big grays that have always caught my eye, so I grabbed one that was 17 hh and started riding. He felt like a giraffe, but had great potential but for some reason, after a few more rides on him that week..I didn't FEEL it.
Then I took a halter out again in the field and a little bay walked up to me and blink, blinked his arab eyes and I said, "I'll ride you!" and I never got off his back. Fast forward to a month later where I paid $1500 for Lazarus, my first horse, moved him to a better stable that had stalls instead of pasture board (I live in cold michigan and he was SO skinny when I got him) and am loving him up every damn moment I can!!! *sigh*

Denali said...

Oh wow! That's a great story!! I don't know what I would do if I had 45 OTTB's to worry about!! Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Well, I JUST started reading your blog yesterday and I'm SO ADDICTED. So I read down to this and just decided I might as well comment on this post!
I'm only 15, but so far I've owned 4 horses. I just got my most recent horse 10 days ago. My 1st horse broke his leg July 21, 2006, so I went looking for another horse. After just a few months of searching, I bought Taz. He was supposedly super experienced but ended up being VERY green. And I was 11. That was a lovely combination. After a few months of him scaring the crap out of me every day, we started leasing-and ended up buying-a little Blazer Pony named Dandy. Dandy helped me get my confidence up to the point of being able to ride Taz again. Which was why we got him :) Plus he's such a cool little pony-I love him :)
Then, last year in May, I took Taz to his first recognized event. He had a MAJOR freak out and we decided not to jump him for a while. After a few months, in September the vet diagnosed him with a major hind high suspensory injury. He would never be able to be ridden again.
So, I started looking for another horse, while trying to get Taz adopted. Actually, I had started looking for another horse in May, but got serious and actually went down to CA to look in August. I rode close to 20 horses-I actually lost count-before I found the one I ended up buying. Weirdly enough, last August a trainer I was trying horses with mentioned him, but as a "maybe he could work but he is green and really hot" kinda horse. So I immediately dismissed him. But then in April, that same trainer called me and asked if I was still looking for a horse. When I said yes, she said that the exact same horse would be absolutely perfect for me. Skeptically, I went back down to California May 1 with my mom to try him. He ended up being perfect for me :) and on June 2nd, my dream horse got to Montana!

NJSaddlebredRescue said...

I remember seeing Royal (my saddlebred stallion) for the first time. He was a retired show horse with a bum knee and a nasty temper. I remember him being led into the rescue barn. He turned to look at me with an expression that read, "why am I here?" I didn't know why he was either. He was highly successful in the ring and breeding shed, even though he was 19 at the time. I bought him for $200 and board him there. He is my best friend and companion. I always told myself I wouldn't buy a stallion, but my family used to manage stallions as a business (like a manager for an actor) and I had experience with them. Royal is 24 now and I own a 10 year old daughter of his named Royal Lady. I love them both to death!

N+S said...

Sorry, starting from '08 and reading forward. When i first met my horse, i HATED him. He took off (was going faster than i expected) on a trail ride, and had a nasty habit of bucking. I was forced to ride him for my lessons, and slowly began to fall in love with him. He had a quirky personality and was utterly adorable. I leased him for 18 months, and then the barn decided to sell him. When my mom explained (again) why we couldnt have a horse, i said "i know WHY we cant have a horse, i'm just sad". I guess that made my mom think about things, and she realised that nothing was really stopping her from buying the horse exept her mind set. She also realised that she would feel really bad if someone else bought him (which was inevitable, he wa for sale. She was pretty attached too, though) and now he's ours. He still bucks occasionally to remind me he would rather stand in the shadey corner than work in the sun, but at least instead of panicking, we can comfertably canter anf jump ar our pleasure on the trails :) my story isn't quite he picke me or i picked him, but fate threw us together, and i'm si glad fate did. <3 strider