Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Premonition Rumination

We're still not talking about Courage, so let's talk about not-Courage. 

One of my goals for this year is to ride other horses. Initially that goal was because Courage and I weren't getting along and I needed perspective. Now Courage and I are getting on just fine.

But.

While I'm not giving up on Courage, it's time to start thinking about what the future looks like.

I once had a friend tell me that the best way to do that was to pick a custom breeding and buy the baby in utero and then let it grow up while riding my current horse.

She's right.

BUT.

You have to know what the hell you want out of horses for that to be a super good plan.

And I don't.

I'm doing dressage right now because my horse can't jump. I like dressage well enough, but I'm not married to it as a sport, so I don't really need a "dressage horse". I'd like to do a recognized event above beginner novice at some point in my life, but realistically, I don't have the guts to go past training, which means I don't need a purpose-bred event horse. I like show jumping and I'd probably be fine with hunters, but I don't have the $$$$$$ for the A circuit and our local scene isn't enough to make a super hot, scopey horse make a lot of sense. Plus I like other things like trail riding and toodling and goofing off and playing dress up and randomly going to open shows.

And then there are practical considerations.
d'awww
The adorable painty mare I rode was an absolute love and she would toodle and trail ride and dress up with the best of them, but her sporthorse-competitiveness tops out a bit below where I'd want to be. Possibly she'd be more competitive in the western world, but I know nothing about that and don't have a burning urge to find out.
fanceh!
The friesian cross mare I rode was wicked cool, but I know a lot about what went into making her that way and I don't think I'm the person who could have done it. She is absolutely an amazing horse and I respect that, but I know myself as a horseman too well to think I could replicate her.
goofy the baby
The warmblood gelding was a super nice guy, and again, I'm flattered that I was able to snag a ride on him. But. Again. The brain match for me was not good. I don't always mesh well with warmblood types and that is not a knock on them, just a realistic thing about me.
western pony!
And I mean. I love Courage. And I have ridden a lot of thoroughbreds. And yeah, I get along well with them. But. I am ready to do something different. I would like a horse that gets tired eventually. I am too old and amateur-like at this point to really think starting over with a track horse sounds like a fun idea and you couldn't give me a thoroughbred that didn't learn a work ethic on the track. No thank you.

I noticed when I was hanging out with Roxie's mom that I said I hated a lot of things.

Like Arabians. Except I don't actually hate arabians--I just am not interested in mindlessly reactive, hot, tiny horses. Obviously, there are nice arabians. I even know a perfect one. But. The perfect ones are not for sale. And they're still tiny.

I also have a reputation for hating draft horses. Which is only sort of true. What I mean is that I don't do well with mindlessly non-reactive giant ogres that don't give a shit about me. Which is not all draft horses. But they do have that reputation for a reason.

And then we can look at horses that I have ridden this year and absolutely adored:
HAMPERSAND
ROXIECORN
There's one thing these horses have in common: their amazing owners have put YEARS OF WORK into making them the cool horses they are today.

Oh and the other thing is that the raw material they started with suited their personalities really well.

And the third thing is that they didn't pay through the nose for them.

And the fourth thing is that they're actually both draft crosses, albeit of very different stripes.
ON NOM NOM
Oh and then Roxie's mom said something about Cleveland Bays and that made my little horse nerd brain go DING DING DING because I have known some of those and they are cool horses and she knows a breeder.

So that little wheel is turning in the back of my brain too.

I don't know how serious I am about looking. A lot of it depends on that one thing we're not talking about.
it's pretty tho
Talk to me, adult ammies. How did you end up with the horses you have?

116 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if I count as an adult ammy yet but I did a bad thing and bought a lesson horse I didn't like riding all that much but was super sweet on the ground. Which really didn't work out for me so don't do that.

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  2. I've always wanted to buy an in-utero baby, but it's actually more money than it's worth it to me. Not only do you pay for the baby, but imagine how much training you need to sink into it with a professional trainer to cement a good baseline to work with. I broke my last horse to ride after buying him as a 1 1/2 year old and knowing him since he was a baby, but it took a lot of work with a reputable trainer to get him coming along well. The amount of lessons and training was heavy on the pocketbook but very much worth it. He was a 3/4th thoroughbred, 1/4 percheron mix and the absolute perfect horse for me. I still consider him the best horse I've ever owned and I think a big part of it was raising him and breaking him, even if it was the more expensive option compared to buying an older horse already broke to ride.

    My current horse and I do not mesh well at all. I bought him because he was cheap and fit the bill for eventing. Then he decided to hate jumping, we retired to dressage but he is far too sensitive and reactive and too much of an asshole for an ammy like me. Which is why I rely heavily on a trainer + lessons to keep me sane. Maybe not the best combo, but I'm content to stick it out for now.

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    1. Right. The baby route is definitely not the cheap one. I don't think there is a cheap one, haha.

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  3. Um, honestly... their breeder gave them to me because they were "special" and nobody else wanted them/could handle them at that time... but you wouldn't like them, lol, they're arabains ;-)

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    1. This is basically my story too, lol. Connor's breeder knew he'd be a tough sell with the catching issue and the quirky spooking, and she knew I liked him.

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    2. Haha it pays to have breeder friends I guess.

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  4. i actually have been mulling a post on the "why i chose this horse" topic for a while. maybe i'll actually get around to writing it eventually. for now tho, i'll tell you what you already know perfectly well: last summer i rode every single horse that was put in front of me, even when i kinda didn't really feel like it any more. a lot of tbs. some very fancy wbs. goddamn hellponies. golden-hearted schoolies. all of 'em. former race horses, former jumpers, former timber horses. whatever.

    unlike you, i was already pretty clear on 'breed' (i've always known my first horse would be a tb) - but otherwise my mind was kinda similar. i knew a lot about what i didn't want, but not enough about what i *did* want. so. i rode all the horses. did all the things. broke myself in a couple ways but put the pieces back together in a way that made more sense - and then when the right horse came, i could recognize it for what it was. wishing you the best of luck in looking forward!!!

    (for the record tho, the only cleveland bay i've known was a total fruit loop and had to be hand walked around her home arena every single time bc zomg such spooky corners!!)

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  5. Serendipitous fate.

    Griffin was a free "here, play with this and learn with it and if you don't like it give it back or sell it". Liked it. Kept it.

    Q was something to keep me busy that was fun to ride. She also chance at an endurance career because she had some Arabian in her. $600 and she became mine.

    And I met Stan when I was a teenager happy to ride anything I had the chance to. He and I spent countless hours together learning from one another. I always knew he'd end up with me.

    Stan and Grif are fun and easy to ride and put me at peace. Q is fun, but definitely is reactive though I know she has it in her to not be. The common denominator to Stan and Griffin being so chill is that they both had chill upbringings without huge high expectations. They were blank slates that always knew humans to be fair partners.

    You're totally right about amazing horses being made from hours and time and not tons of dollars outright. Personality definitely helps, too. But from my experience, personality is honed in those young years and how they are introduced to humans and potential jobs. My next horse is going to be one I raise from weaning to be what I want. I think I'll probably do that with all of my future horses. I see a huge value from spending those early years teaching and learning together.

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    1. I've never done the "baby baby" route before and I'm seriously considering it this time. I'm fine with remedial training in general, but it might be interesting to like. Not. You know?

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  6. I think a good ISH could possibly be a great match for you. They're fairly similar to the CB's, honestly, but a bit easier to find. They ride on the "sporty" side but aren't stupid and can be really versatile.

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    1. This is what I would suggest as well.

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    2. I have yet to meet an ISH that wasn't a total dick.

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    3. Agreed! The Connemara crosses are super, super cool horses with great brains and athleticism. Very sporty and less "upright" than CB's, which can be built more like a driving horse than a sport horse. Chance is half CB, and he really has to fight against his conformation in some ways.

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    4. I know a ton of ISH (there is a very popular sire here locally that has a lot of babies competing) and only one was a dick. Granted, his owner was also a dick. The rest of them are awesome ammy horses, super sporty but very willing. It's funny that you don't like ISH but like CB, because they are very very very very similar (just better athletes, IME).

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    5. Lol. I also find a lot of ISH to kinda be dicks. But, I also know them to mostly be super safe and sane and pretty athletic and fun, too.

      Also my horse is kind of a dick sometimes. So, I guess that isn't really a big deal to me. Lol.

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    6. Neither one is super common around here so I'd say I've met about an equal number of both but had better experiences with the CBs. ;-) Doesn't mean my experiences are representative of the horse world at large.

      And yes, my horse can also be kinda a dick and I was sort of hoping to get away from that. ;-)

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    7. Come look at ISH up here! There's a few breeders and your monies goes so much further...

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    8. My ISH was the best horse I've ever ridden or owned. Sweet, stoic, BA around the cross country course! Baby baby was an interesting journey, didn't end well for me obvi, but it's all a roll of the dice and expensive, it's horses! I don't shop breed, I shop for personality, training, soundness and suitably for what I want to do.

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    9. I've had a TON of experience with ISH (my family bred them, and I competed them) and I personally don't find them to be very ammy-friendly. They are insanely athletic, smart creatures, and it's tricky to find one (IMO) that doesn't end up using this combination against a non-pro rider at some point. That's my .02.

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  7. Idk that I can say I really chose my horse. She was given to me basically and to be honest I am not sure I would have chosen her. I'm very hopeful things will iron out and we can be partners but I can't say I would do it again. I'd most likely look for older and calmer if I were shopping.

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    1. Yeah I've definitely done the older and calmer route and loved it.

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  8. Why don't you look into a leasing a horse? It sounds like you want all around type horse that can go out and do completely different things every day. Leasing would be an easy way to try out the horse with little commitment and you can try all the things with him. It was the best advice an instructor gave my parents when they were considering getting me a horse as a 13 year old- "She hasn't decided what she wants to do, lease something that can do what she wants, then something else if she changes her mind." I did that for a long time on a horse that could run barrels, go eventing, trail ride, ride bareback and bridle-less. Then I decided I wanted to stick to english at least and bought Mikey, who then did hunters/jumpers/eventing/dressage and trail rode. I got into dressage after a solid fear of jumping took hold, and now we have Penn.

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    1. This!! I have Remus because he was sitting in a field not being used. I ended up free leasing (Am still free leasing him 5 years later or more...) and i pay all his expenses and he is basically mine. But is not (His owner doesnt want to sell him even tho I bug her about it). It works. Sometimes I dream of a better jumper or a bigger horse but then he is free and he is Remus (Or Weemus as Amanda calls him) and he is mine (almost). I agree find a lease. I am not sure where you are if you can find one but it is worth looking.

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    2. I have mixed feelings about leasing--there are definitely good things in terms of being able to give back a horse that isn't working out, but to emotionally invest in a horse that isn't mine is not something that appeals to me. But hey, if I ran across the right situation? It could happen.

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    3. i agree, the stars lined up for me but I umm kissed a lot of frogs before finding my prince (3 leases before Remus sucked (one lame, one crazy, one lame AND CRAZY) LOL

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    4. It definitely hurt to end the lease of my QH mare- I invested 4 years into her. But I outgrew her, and for me, I was able to give her a hug and walk away. She had a lovely owner though and picked up a new kid fairly quickly.

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  9. For me, it's not about breed. It's about the horse. Now currently, I'm a terrible advice giver since I have four semi-useless animals hanging around. (OK, one is really nice and very useful, but I can hardly ride that one.) I've managed to have two heart horses. One was an appendix quarter horse that I paid not much for and he took me to indoors and devon multiple times in the hunters. The other is Rio. He's a Holsteiner. And he's perfect. Rio came pre-made. He was 7 when I got him from Europe and had been very well educated. Bud, the hunter, was not. We grew together, had some rough patches like any young horse. He wound up being amazing and easy to ride. You could take him absolutely anywhere and do anything with him. He won his fair share of jumper classes even. But what they have in common is their mind. They both aimed to please and wanted to do right. They were/are brave and good listeners. Smart, but not too smart. And most importantly, they were full of kindness.
    So I guess not helpful if you're looking to custom breed something. But something to think about if you decide to shop for something ready to ride.

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    1. Yeah I wish there was a way I could just search "great brain, sound with reasonable maintenance", right? And the odds of me custom breeding is zero. ;-) I don't have the patience and I don't need to breed a horse that's wrong for me.

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  10. As I was reading this I thought, you must come ride Gentry too. For serious! I have a guest room and who doesn't love a drive to Bozeman? As you know he's a Clydesdale/TB cross. I bought him while on vacation (he was nearby), and only went to look at him as a husband horse, which he was advertised as. He was so green (30 days u/s), not remotely husband horse material, but had such a good mind and tried so hard. We just clicked, despite his lack of training. It was like finding the right wedding dress, I knew we would get on well. Sure, he is not as fancy as Rose was, but he's kind, safe, will do anything, and I think he even has it in him to make it to 2nd level successfully. So...look for green graft crosses. That's my suggestion. FYI, though green, he was also 5. That may contribute to his sensibilities a bit.

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    1. Haha never offer unless you're serious. I tend to show up.

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  11. I think finding a personality that clicks with you is the most important thing. You've got to like the horse first and foremost.

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    1. This is the thing that I am the worst at.

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  12. My pony was assigned to me at school because I was the shortest rider in the class, and I went and fell in love with that little shit. I paid a $25 adoption fee for him when he had to be "retired" as a school horse because he kept rearing and spinning and bucking. He is a real cool little event and hunt horse now, but you know the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making him that way! But at the end of the day, I just really like the pony. I enjoy being with him, we get along extremely well, our personalities mesh, and we just click. Sure it would be nice to have something with less baggage, but I wouldn't trade Dino for anything. Finding a horse that you just like being around, with a temperament that is game for the sport you want to do is first and foremost, IMO.

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    1. It takes pretty exclusive company for me to be the shortest, haha.

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  13. I'm glad that you have had fun riding some other horses this year.

    Determining your goals and horse shopping definitely go closely hand in hand. I actually have a post in my drafts folder right now (will publish Friday or Monday) about "The Talk", that in-depth analytical view about you as a rider and your horse and your goals etc. I had "The Talk" with my trainer recently and it was enlightening. One thing she brought up was that if you want to progress as a rider, you should plan to have a horse for no more than 5 years. I'm still not entirely sure what I think about that idea, but if one was to think that way it would certainly affect what type of horse to buy.

    Have fun with future horse dreaming!

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  14. My current horse was for sure based on price. You just can't (on a mass scale) beat an OTTB for price/athleticism ratio.

    Is he my dream horse? No. But he's pretty good and getting better at being what I want.

    I want a young horse next time too--both for price of something untrained and to train it exactly the way I want. But I'd honestly want something that was 1-3 years old versus in-utero because I want to meet them before I buy them. Also, the monies because my budget is small.

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  15. I have no advice, because I stumble on the right horses and usually go through a ton of duds before I find a good one.

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    1. I am the queen of stumbling, so that's something.

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  16. Obviously you need a Haffie. ;)

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  17. There's a Canadian breeder close to me and I know several people that have the more sportier type and they are really nice horses! Personally, I love Appendix QH's, I think they're the perfect combo of athleticism and stability. You can literally do anything with them. Both of my first horses were Appendix QH and I couldn't have asked for better horses.

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    1. An appendix is probably a more achievable goal. ;-)

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  18. After re-homing one TB due to personality conflicts ( he wanted me dead and I wanted to be alive) and losing my other TB to old age, I too wanted to mix it up which is when I bought a 2 year old un-trained Haflinger. I figured he would be easy to train and resell if I did not like him. I was always getting offers on him, but liked him WAY too much to ever consider reselling. I happen to really like haflingers (I got a second one!) but they are short (but not tiny). I also really loved getting a baby and training it myself. I am now on my second baby -- and this one has been more frustrating. I am wondering if I am just a haflinger girl for life now. This Lusitano youngster is just so... dumb. :)

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    1. Hahaha I have minimal exposure to haffies but have liked the ones I met. Such sass!! I periodically threaten to buy one and braid flowers in it's flowing locks. Alas to be a pony sized person!

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    2. I read all the bloggers and love what Iread about Haffies, but the ones at our barn are kinda dicks. TO be fair they are ridden by rope jigglers.

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    3. Rope jigglers? I think I know what that means haha! They can be really hard headed if they are not treated in a way that they believe is reasonable. Which I respect, but can earn them bad reputations.

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  19. I shopped purposefully for something that would be athletic enough for competitive goals and sane enough that I would't die, but with enough spark that he wouldn't be considered "kid safe". That left me mostly with horses that had "failed" current careers or had big training holes. So I picked one I liked a lot. He still has training holes, but I wouldn't call him a failure anymore.

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    1. Plus your definition of "not dying" is broader than most. ;-)

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    2. Good thing he didn't actually toss you out the window that one day. ;)

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  20. I feel like I am in a very similar boat to you, in that I would love to find something that I could do a little bit of everything with. That seems to be surprisingly hard to do, especially as I have no breed/age/sex/color bias. My only drawback is my height - I really look too big on anything below 16h, which cuts out a big part of the lower level $ market.

    I guess the only think I would do differently, is that I really wish I had waited a while longer before running right out and buying after I retired Boca. There is definitely something to be said for riding all the things and waiting for the right one to come along.

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  21. The best horse I've ever owned was the one I raised myself from a weanling pretty much single-handedly. He was given to me by my grandfather. I was 13, and owned Lucero until he died at age 20. Ah, to be a fearless teen again...

    I bought Lily for $1 when she was offered to me by my BM. She had been a free project horse my BM had gotten for me to train with the goal of re-selling and splitting the profit between us. I had already been working with her for 3 months when she was offered to me and I liked her brain. She already had a history of abuse at age 4 and it took years to turn her into the solid all-arounder she is today. She has been up for sale twice during that time because she could be so very frustrating, but it's been in the cards for her to stay with me and in return, despite her disadvantages, she has willingly opened the doors for me to explore a world I never thought I'd be able to experience: endurance. She is an unraced and unregistered TB. I owned an OTTB once and will NEVER own another OTTB even if I was PAID to own it. Sorry. My current unraced one is injury-prone enough without adding a track history where the horse was ridden hard and fast way too young. I learned to jump on OTTBs; if you wanted to jump in PR, you rode Thoroughbreds. I restarted them off the track, took them over their first fences, re-set buttons on the ones in the barn lesson program and learned on them myself. Every single story ended with heartache from a broken horse. Every one. NOPE.

    Gracie was offered to me in a similar fashion to Lily, after I had been working with her for a while. I wanted a second horse and I wanted a gaited horse and she just fell in my lap at the right time. She is the most I have ever paid for a horse but I bought her because she reminded me so much of Lucero and I also knew her trainer and his style: I liked it. She is everything I had hoped she would be.

    I agree with the above recommendation: what about leading for a while?

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    1. There's good and bad in the OTTB world and I can argue both sides. At this point, I'm just not interested in trying again with one.

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    2. Never mind, just saw your response above re: leasing. :)

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  22. I had some fairly specific goals in mind for my second horse (jumpers or eventing) and basically no money at the time so I figured a tb was likely the most likely to be athletic for what I could afford. Plus I've always loved the option for TIP classes and awards for those of us who can't afford a $$$ warmblood.

    I ended up buying Hero mostly because of how sweet and calm he is, and while he's not the world's most naturally gifted jumper I appreciate that I can just take him out on trails or hop on bareback after not riding for a week without giving it a second thought.

    I couldn't have afforded anything with actual training or a show record, and I am thankful to have had the fresh off the track retraining experience with him, but there is no way I'll ever have the time or patience to do it again!!

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    1. I hear you there. I was in a great spot to take on Courage in terms of time and ability, but my life has changed in a way that I wouldn't be comfortable doing it again.

      And sure, I can pay a trainer but I prefer to do most of the work myself so I need something that I'm comfortable handling solo.

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  23. Because I show in the upper level jumpers, my competition horses are all warmbloods that were purposefully bred to be show jumpers. However, if I was looking for an all rounder that wasn't super expensive, I would look at a nice appendix or maybe a draft cross (like a 3/4 TB 1/4 Clydesdale). I have always had great experiences with appendix horses. We have one now that we use for polo, but she honestly will do ANYTHING. The good ones can be super versatile and athletic

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    1. Thanks!! I adore them! I thank my trainer all the time for finding them for me !

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  24. Bought a super well bred young jumper with an injured suspensory off his breeder because they were going to put him down without giving him a real chance at rehab. He had experience eventing through novice and being hauled to A shows.

    I spent the first six months having to talk myself out of putting him down because he was legitimately crazy (which I knew before buying), no fun to be around, and extremely stressed out constantly. In no way do I blame his old owners for wanting to put him down.

    Then he finally let down from his show horse life and relaxed and now he loves to toodle out on trails by himself. The suspensory is healed, but I have yet to jump him because I am afraid to injure him again so we do flat work and a lot of toodling on the trails in the cow pasture. Homeboy loves cows. He's also potentially too much horse for me but we're still figuring each other out and there's not a mean or nasty bone in his body. He's stupid but he's very honest about it.

    Someday we'll jump again but I think he laughs at me when I tell him he will be a show horse again someday. He likes walking and trotting on the buckle in the cow pasture.

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    1. Also I absolutely do not recommend the "buy a lame horse" route for anyone. I work at a major equine referral hospital with a great employee discount but even then there was a very good chance I would own a retired 8yo right now instead of a sound horse. It was a calculated risk on my part.

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    2. Haha yes your job gives you certain advantages that I don't have for sure.

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  25. I was showing Paints, tried finished Paints to move up on, bought one. Quite boring. (I should also clarify "I bought" = "my parents bought" because she was my junior horse.
    I LOVE Quarter Horse brains. I don't think they can be beat. And while first thought may be a short stocky little cow horse - there are some really, really nice sporty ones out there who can keep all the gerbils inside their head. Plus, in a lot of ways - you don't have to choose what you want to do - I know girls who took their World Champion QHs in everything from goat tying to equitation to over fences classes. I think with your goals, a nice athletic QH or Appendix could be a great fit.

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    1. Definitely something to keep my eyes open for.

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  26. I had sold a mare that didn't work for me and had a very small budget when I bought Sting. Sting is a curly thoroughbred cross and when I tried him, he was very out of shape and it was cold. He also was convinced that there was no way he could canter with me riding. He did have a nice walk and trot though. I tried him twice and the second time, he tried very hard to canter for me. In his defense, the area that I had to ride in was about the size of a 20 meter circle. Then the seller pulled out a tarp, snapped it in the air, and laid it down. All Sting did was slightly pick up his head and then walk over the tarp. That settled it for me and I took him home. I liked his mind and his motivation to try for me and it has worked out well for me.

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    1. Definitely. I'd be impressed by that.

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  27. I think a lot of it is "right place, right time, right amount of money" with horse shopping. When (if??) I look for another horse, I won't have any restrictions other than that is has a decent thinking brain, and is sound and hardy. Can't be a delicate flower because it's probably going to have to live outside. I sure do love the draft crosses tho - especially when you get down to about 1/4 draft. So they aren't too big and heavy, but do still have good qualities from the draft. He/she has to be able to trail ride, jump, show, do whatever I feel like doing that day. I don't really want or need a horse who is a "specialist" and can't do anything else.

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    1. Well you'll definitely be in the market again once I stow Hampy in the Kia. Best keep your options open. 😜

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  28. I said No Bays. Trainer said No Mares. So of course I ended up with a bay Appendix mare. She was a good deal, just had to train the head-down WP out of her. She had these eyes that won me over in a heartbeat. She trained into exactly what my trainer said she would, which was perfect for where I was at that time. SHe is definitely more TB then QH even though that's not how her breeding looks.

    Now I'm a mom of two, and my game has changed. But riding all my friends horses has solidified some things I know I want/ need now. Like more whoa, but not as much as my friend's pony, because I'm just not that into S&M while riding. Also shorter, because I just don't get my ankle up to my freaking waist for a 16hh horse anymore.

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    1. Life changes and we have to keep up. :-)

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  29. I went through a lot of horses before I got Nilla. I never really looked for a specific breed though I did learn what I didn't want. I don't want to deal with TBs anymore. I rode a lot of them in the past and they are just too sensitive. That's just me though. I'm not putting them down for everyone. I do like draft crosses quite a lot. I'm gonna throw out an additional option: Mustang. Our have been fantastic. There's a FB group online for people who have adopted their from the same prison and another woman is eventing her Mustang. If you adopt from the prison programs, you don't need to meet all the crazy blm requirements and they're already trained. Come down to CA and you can ride ours to add to your experience.

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  30. As someone who has been down this road...for me, buying a foal worked out well. I'm sure for many others it hasn't worked. I was just thinking about writing a blog post about this so I think I will share what I have liked about buying a baby.

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    1. Definitely! I'd love to see your thoughts.

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  31. You are always welcome to come visit me! Not sure you would actually want to climb on Stinker tho 😂

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  32. I still think you should come spend a week with me riding dramatic Spanish mares, and then buy a custom Ruby baby ;) that way I could keep her but you could get her fanciness and her brain.

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    1. You may regret encouraging me.

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    2. I would never regret you spending some time in "hell" and a potential Ruby baby ending up with a great mom who would photograph said baby incessantly 😋

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  33. As an endurance rider, the preconceptions people have about Arabians crack me up. Moniet, the horse I did my first hundred on, was a purebred Arabian... never spooked at anything and was 16hh. With that said, Arabians are wicked smart and most people have no business owning one. (Not a statement about you. Just a generalization.) I ride more Arabians and TB's than pretty much everything else, and the bad reps they seem to come with crack me up.I have my own breed biases though, and I'm sure the people who love those breeds would argue that I'm wrong haha

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    1. I freely admit that most of my exposure to arabs has been the low end type trained by kids on the 4H circuit. Thus my reaction is arguably against 4H kids as trainers more than the horses themselves. ;-) that said, my friends who seriously show arabs do not care for the horses from this area. I'm sure there are many lovely Arabians, but I haven't come in contact with them and I don't tend to see them excelling at things I want to do, so they're not really on my radar. I realize my limited experience is not a good platform to take potshots at a very old and much beloved breed, but it's all I've got to form an opinion on.

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    2. I have found that most people who dislike Arabians have been exposed to the halterbred variety (which I don't care for either). Same with people who dislike warmbloods... they've probably never sat on a high quality one.

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    3. High quality warmbloods are both out of my price range and beyond my abilities. They are lovely though.

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    4. Yes, they are definitely out of my price range too! Then again, pretty much anything that's not being thrown away is out of my price range so...

      If you decide to buy in utero, I'll definitely be living vicariously through you.

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  34. I always wanted a baby and fell in love with a yearling. I raised him and while it ended tragically I don't regret the experience at all. Carmen I bought looking for a specific breed: Andalusian. i do love the Andaluisians for general riding and dressage. I know that some do low level jumping and one that I tried is now doing eventing. I also LOVE quarter horses for their brains and work ethics.

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    1. You and leah are pretty serious about about your Spanish ladies. :-)

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  35. My current show horse I got as a yearling off dreamhorse 13 years ago when I was doing mostly dresage and litttle local all breed shows. I got it in my mind I wanted an andalusian so eneded up with a andalusian paint cross. He has not been a easy horse but when I started jumping more and got into eventing two years ago he has excelled and also is awsome with our two fillies. My husbands horse was given to him by one of his clients (he is a farrer) when she failed out of being a hunter for being to bitchy. They spent god knows how much money importing her from Germany and she sure can move but she is not an easy horse to get along with. We have two very nice fillys out of her now also.

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    1. Farrier husband? You're living the dream.

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  36. I got super lucky. My trainer needed to sell an awesome old man horse. I had been riding him about 6 months. I wasn't looking for a horse, but it was a good match. Mo is probably the nicest/most schooled horse I will have be able to own.
    So I guess, don't look? Or network with friends/trainers/horse people like crazy.

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    1. I'm all about networking. Love Momo!

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    2. Option 2: Come down and ride Mo. Move to SD and we can both play with him.

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  37. I LOVE this post. Honestly as much as I love the concept of a purpose bred horse I've seen too many of them that just don't mesh with their owners or have the actual skill level that they were bred for. Plus there are just so many amazingly talented horses out there sitting in someone's field. I found Katai for basically free (traded tack for her) when I was looking for a project. I totally found her based on her color and her size but bought her for her brain (which is a double edge sword lol). I love your last point about the two horses that you enjoyed and how they both meshed with their owners. I think that's such an important thing that a lot of the adult amateurs in my neck of the woods miss since their trainers buy them their horses.

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    1. It depends on the person--for me, I have to like my horse and want to invest the time and effort in to them in order to progress. Some people are capable of being much more pragmatic about it and saying "I can learn X from this horse at this time". There's not a wrong answer--you just have to know which one works for you.

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  38. I feel like I've been all over the spectrum. I bought Houston to have fun/ do the hunters/low level jumpers. He was bred to be a jumper but isn't particularly interested. Knowing what I do now I know that he isn't exceptionally well bred and obviously there are no guarantees. Luckily he slays it for dressage and is overall a good dude now. Up for all of the adventures.

    Annie I bought bc I was a newly wed with no budget and wanted to do some jumpers and have fun. She was my first horse directly off the track and I would definitely do it again if I didn't have the money to purchase one that was going. I found my way back to eventing and she is legit the most fun jumper I've ever ridden with way more talent than I will ever need. I am not super eager to repeat the process of bringing one along and grateful that I have a few years before Luna is under saddle.

    Luna was bred to be an upper level jumper and I bought her for that purpose as well as to be a future broodmare given her breeding assuming she ends up as talented as I hope. The benefit of buying her as a weanling is that I would never be able to afford her once she's under saddle.

    There are pros and cons to all of the circumstances. Annie and Houston are a direct result of my years of efforts. Luna will be the same except she will have even more years invested. It's easy with your first baby horse to realize how much about more educated horses you took for granted... horses don't pop out with good manners unfortunately! :)

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  39. Basically, my BOs are terrible, terrible people and I love them. lol

    I started riding with one of them as a "oh god, I am broke for lessons, but if you're gonna offer to let me ride your horses for free..." thing. Kinda fell in love with a certain part-draft/part-App bay broodmare (and she decided I'm Her Person), but Not My Horses, did my best to not get attached. Things happened (as they do), and then I got offered a certain bay mare for a price I couldn't turn down. Pretty sure getting her under saddle is gonna be an adventure and a half, but as much as I have threatened to turn her into glue a few times now, she's my girl.

    ...And then I commented on the baby boy, who is Fancy when he's not in his current embarrassing Franken-draft-baby-growth stages, and was offered a deal on him and a deal on board for having two, and... well, um. He's the other side of part-draft from the girl (she's like 45%, he's up in the 60%s) and he's got an awesome mind and great movement.

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    1. That'll teach you to say nice things about other people's horses, hahaha. Glad you're having fun!

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  40. I was given my QH gelding, and looking back, I would've never bought him. He has a forever home with me and I love him, but we aren't a good match.

    I ended up with my coming 2yr old draft cross when I started looking for a project. I wanted a young horse to start and I knew his breeder casually, he had never been touched before (which is a big YAY for me, because I love big projects and I love the idea of "taming" one and training it all my way) and was awkward, gangly, but I thought he'd end up nice in the summer all shed out and fatter. He was supposed to be a resale project but he's stolen my heart and I've stolen his. He's always with me. He has the best mind, great movement, great conformation. Now I'm bragging. ;)

    I want to get all of my future horses as babies. 2 being the oldest. I've loved it, watching them learn and make progress and bond with you. It's something very special. And, I HATED drafts...but draft crosses? Mine is the coolest thing ever.

    Getting a wild baby has sucked on a lot of days, having a baby is hard regardless, but man, it's so worth it when they start learning and get confidence in you.
    www.baysoverbaes.wordpress.com

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    1. Yeah I've never actually "shopped" for a horse--just certain ones crossed my path at certain times. It's not always ideal, but it takes a lot of the unknowns out of it.

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  41. You know my story with how I ended with Miles -- and it's obviously well-documented on the blog. But the things that really worked in my favor were (1) knowing what I wanted, what I had to spend and being okay with having to compromise, (2) having a trusted trainer help me find said animal and (3) trusting my support system when they said don't give up when things got tough.

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    1. No matter what, there are times that are going to be a challenge. Gotta have perspective to get through that. :-)

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  42. As you know, horse hunting has become a bit of a hobby for me recently. I think knowing the brain you want, and have a decent idea of your goals, is going to mean more than the breed in the end. For instance, I'm not a TB person, but damned if I didn't almost buy a super stellar OTTB in KY last summer. Even though I basically said in my search 'no OTTB's' - because as you said, finding the exceptions in a breed is tough if you know the general idea isn't to your taste.
    That said, I do love a good draft cross. Particularly if there's some TB in there. And the Dutch Harness Horses (not really draft but similar brain/movers) are becoming more popular and getting crossed with other breeds that make for talented, quiet, and FLASHY movers that could be ammy friendly. I have tons of opinions on horse hunting in general... if you get bored you know where to find me :)

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    1. You are horse hunter level pro.

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    2. A skill that's mostly only useful to horse professionals, and a hobby that is less fun for the average adult amateur. :/

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  43. You know how I got Theo (dumb luck), but consider this another vote for a draft cross. They're popular with adult ammies for a reason! And there are more and more breeders focusing on draft crosses specifically for riders that need a fun, mellow partner. I'd recommend looking for a breeder that focuses on rideable, loveable horses that happen to also be cute and good jumpers. I don't know about your part of the woods, but we have them on the east coast.

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    1. I have definitely seen some very nice ones and I'll always be a Theo fan.

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  44. Here is a vote for a CB, if you're looking. Check out the North American CB Society. They have info on breeders all over the country, the foals are surprisingly inexpensive. My Darius is a full blood CB. He is sweet, just about bomb-proof, and pretty tolerant of my ammie tendencies. But he is a bit of a dead head that is more likely to crash through a jump than go over it, and has opinions on how he thinks he should be ridden.
    I reallly like the CB/TB crosses that people are breeding for just a little less density and more athleticism. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks!! They seem like a super cool breed. :-) Good to hear from someone who actually has one.

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  45. Great horses aren't born, they're made. Which is why your friends horses are so super cool. It takes time, trust and a lot of work to get them to that level.

    Buying a baby, especially in eutero, there's just too many variables. Personality, what they want to do in life, vs what you want them to and finally, there's a few years worth of feed and care (when anything can happen) before training even starts.

    That all being said- it's a crap shoot. Being flexible about what you will accept and settle for, while still holding your ground on what you want and absolutely won't budge on. Breeds are stereotyped and there's always exceptions.

    It's a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack without a book of matches to speed up the process.

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  46. I can't say enough about appendixes (appendices?). Ryon is one and just about the most versatile guy out there and hands down the best trail horse that I've ever ridden. They have wonderfully patient personalities. I got him when he was 8, after he had been out to pasture for a few years, and he learned everything about the jumper world so quickly

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