Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How to Get a Zoëbird of Your Very Own

(Spoiler Alert: You can't. I have the only one.)
SMOOSH

For realsies though if you read about ZB all the time and you're like "well damn I want a [horse] who is fun every day and who meshes with my personality real well. How do I get what SB has?"

Then this is your guide. (Again. Remember. Original ZB is off the table so it's sloppy seconds for you.) (PS I just pictured ZB on a table and it was really funny. SMOOSH CRASH.)
by courage has opinions

1) Be realistic about your abilities + budget + goals. 

I cannot stress this enough. If you want to run advanced eventing, do you have the mental and physical fitness, expendable income, and flexible schedule to allow it? And if the answer to those questions is "yeah maybe not", then what do you want? In the next 1-5 years. Realistically.

See, I kept picking up whatever just fell into my lap, which in my price range tended to be the the OTTB or OTTB cross. Which like. That can go well. But it can also go poorly. Right now, I'm chasing some non-horse goals that are important to me. I want to pursue dressage but I also want to straight up have fun and I need a horse that doesn't have to be ridden every day.

Rather than looking for that diamond-in-the-rough calm, straightforward OTTB, it was time to set parameters that matched my goals.

2) RUTHLESSLY EXCLUDE.

This is such a simple principle but DAMN it changes the way you look at things. See, I had a very specific list of what I wanted.

Then I didn't look at anything that was excluded by the list. Period end of story.
 i mean can you even with that face

Obviously, the list has to be realistic. I'm boarding with a trainer who is FANTASTIC with young horses, so I was willing to take on something pretty green and therefore spend my money on better quality for my price range.

Instead of looking at everything with a pulse, I screened out the horses that were not what I want so that what I ended up with was exactly what I wanted.

It's so simple.

3) Source through people who understand what you want. 

There are so many different types of horses and jobs for them and people tend to pick one focus and craft their skills and horses around that. That's why you buy event horses from eventers. That is a good thing. Let it work for you. I talked to people who were doing what I wanted to do and asked them to work their sources.
ride roxiecorn bareback through the fields?
sign. me. up.

Roxie's mom ultimately found ZB for me, but Leah ran down a promising candidate and the other front runner was sourced by a local lady who consistently produces calm, correct, fun horses. I definitely made some fun connections along the way.

Again, it's just so much easier to find what you're looking for when you're talking to people who speak the same language. "Kid safe" means different things to a rough stock operator and an ammy dressage lady.

You can't have ZB. You can use the process I used and find your own version.

Life's too short for horses you don't love.

37 comments:

  1. Step 1: if I think it looks fun, RUN
    Step 2: keep running
    Step 3: don’t die from all that running

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  2. Life's too short for horses you don't love. Forever and ever amen. Horses are just too damn expensive if you're doing it and not having FUN. I'm so glad your process led you to ZB and how much enjoyment you're getting out of her -- even if I am a little bitter you didn't get aboard the Iberian train 😋

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  3. I really like this post! Being honest with yourself and those you're working with is absolute KEY to finding the right horse, I think.

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  4. I'm nervous and yet so excited to begin this process in a couple more years, lol. I am so happy you found ZB and I can't wait to find 1 (or maybe 2, hubby needs a pony, too, right?) just like her!

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    1. Hahaha it's like dating. It sounds like fun til you actually do it. ;-) Can't complain about the end result tho.

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  5. I love the point about a horse that doesn't need to be ridden every day. That's all of my horses and that will be the only kind of horse I ever have. I have a life that is multi-faceted outside of horses and I love that I don't have to worry about riding my horses every day to meet the horse goals I have.

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    1. It's a big world and there's lots to do. I wish I was half as well rounded as you are. :-)

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  6. i'm so glad you found a horse that's so perfect for you! i feel the same way about my ottb.

    knowing what we want and what we're going to add to the equation to help define what we will need our horse to supply on their end is so crucial. for instance, i knew i didn't want a young horse. seems like conventional wisdom is that most young horses (ottb or otherwise) often pose the most challenges for the typical ammy. this obvi isn't always the case, as with ZB, esp knowing that you have a trainer who is great with young horses on your side of the equation. conventional wisdom also states tho, that a solid, straightforward ottb isn't exactly a diamond in the rough, based on the sheer volume of them to be found literally in every lesson program and at every show, with riders of all levels lol.

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    1. :-) Glad you found what you were looking for.

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  7. Where's the rule about stealing your BFF's random pasture ornament and using him for dressage? There needs to be a rule for that.

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    1. I tried that and Leah was all bitchy and not going to share. "Get you own!" or somesuch. Ha.

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  8. Amen!!! There's nothing better than having horse you love with your whole heart!

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  9. This should be required reading for everyone who is horse shopping.

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  10. your last point is really important. I found Indy through a good friend, and I think you can't underestimate the power of putting the word out to people you know and trust!

    your ruthless exclusion is totally necessary, and there were horses that met the list to go SEE but once i saw them in person, under saddle, or trotted them for 5 seconds, ended up on ruthless exclude. You don't owe anyone to buy their horse, ride it for longer than you want, or even get on at all.

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    1. I think giving ourselves permission to exclude things is so critical. Just because a horse has four legs and a pulse doesn't make it right for us.

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  11. I love this so much and agree with you completely. Don’t buy the “but what if”

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    1. Even if the long term goal is upper level, it makes more sense to have a horse you can ride now and build skills on to me. YMMV, obv.

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  12. So true. Valuable ears to bend are nice to have. Trainers should be a valuable asset for that, was well as horsey friends. My trainer is well versed in ruthlessly exclude, which makes presenting anything to her feel futile, but it helps in the long run. So glad you found Zoe, everyone deserves a horse they enjoy.

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    1. That's a valuable resource. It depends what kind of program you're in for sure though. :-)

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  13. Um, and don't forget, don't just buy a horse cause it's yellow. But like if it's yellow AND checks all the other boxes, then it's ok.
    So glad you found ZB!

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    1. I'm on the fence about yellow horses. I definitely swore off mares and especially black mares, but here I am.

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  14. Is it bad I'm already thinking about my next one? FOCUS ROOTH

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    1. To each their own. ;-) I only like one at a time.

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  15. Having been a reader since the Izzy days, I am so so happy for you that you found the perfect match. Sometimes it just takes time and understanding what will truly work for you! :-)

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    1. Wow, kudos. I'm honored you stuck around.

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  16. YES TO ALL THIS. Being unapologetic about who you are and what you want in life is real adult skill. I love reading how happy you are now with Zoe in your life!

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    1. It's amazing what the right horse can do at the right time.

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  17. Lolz. My rockstar little ponyman came from an ad in the newspaper and a drive across town and even still I almost didn't buy him. 19 years later...

    My OTTB mare was a sight unseen, friend of a friend kind of deal to save her from the end- KB sale. She was 6. And 13 years later is still kicking it.

    These are all good tips, but sometims when you see the horse- you just *Know*. And sometimes you have to think outside the box from what has become your "Normal". People have compared it to dating and it really is. Both are a crapshoot finding your long time partner. Neither one are a place for "settling" on less than what you want. Why should we?

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