Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Teach Me Tuesday: Why This One?

Whether you horse shopped with a knowledgeable trainer or a pony just fell into your lap, you have a horse. But why do you have that SPECIFIC horse? Do you ever wonder that?
photo by Alyssa
I do. 

I'm the last one to judge someone for selling a horse that isn't a fit for them, but I also acknowledge that what a "fit" is varies from person to person. Let's face it: if I wanted to be a competitive eventer or jumper, Courage would not be a fit for me. If I want to reach the top levels of dressage, he's a total mismatch. If I want a horse I can trail ride bareback in a halter, he is definitely not that. 

So on paper, Courage maybe isn't the best fit. 

But there's more to life than paper, competitions, and lazy trail rides. Courage is a horse that landed in my lap at the perfect time. He's the horse I've been to hell and back with. He's the horse who makes me heart go pitter pat when he looks over the stall door at me. 
plus pink
Yeah, he's not easy and there are days I could just shoot him, but I thrive on a challenge and he thrives on challenging me. His vices don't scare me and his good moments make me happy. I enjoy chasing my dressage goals on him, but if I never make it to the upper echelons of the sport, I'm not concerned. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I enjoy this horse right now. 

So why do you have your horse? 


  1. I bought my guy on the recommendation from a trainer I had ridden with for two years. I wasn't sure about the whole saddlebred thing and I didn't see him in person until 3 months after I brought him. But he is perfect for me. He can be a pain in the ass and very frustrating but the progress we have made makes me so happy. Like Courage, Stinker is not what you call an amateur friendly horse and we look like a terrible match on paper (unstarted horse rider only done dressage for 2 years after a 7 year break from horses). But it works and despite all of our setbacks (EPM I'm looking at you) I wouldn't trade him. We may not ever make it to jumping or to upper level dressage but we will have fun doing whatever we do.

  2. I hear you on the, "If I actually wanted to get anywhere in this sport I should have gotten a different horse". But... the heart wants what it wants. Dino was assigned to me as my college "Senior Training Project" horse. He was awful. I totally fell in love, and the feeling appeared mutual. People used to walk up to me and tell me that they could see how much Dino loved me. I said I wanted him when he retired from the program, and 2 years later he bucked off too many students so he came home with me. He is still, to this day, a little shit, but he's my best friend, and especially after all of his metabolic issues came to light, homeboy isn't going ANYWHERE. I had plans for him to become my 3' jumper, but now that we've started eventing I think Dino's much happier. We may not ever get past BN, but it's still challenging me every day and he loves it, so we'll keep it up!

  3. You actually know a lot about why this one - I needed an ammy friendly horse with a personality I could love, the horse to restore my confidence. I wasn't actually sure about him at first - his sale photo wasn't great, and he hadn't done anything in a while, but I thought I'd try.

    When I got on the first time, it wasn't love at first ride, but it was "I think we can speak the same language" at first ride. It took until the first jump lesson for me to be absolutely certain that yep, he was the one, and his owner totally wasn't getting back from the trial she graciously allowed!

    He was totally not what I was looking for, I thought - too young at 8, not experienced, etc, but ... sometimes we're surprised.

    He's the love of my life. :) I count myself lucky every day to have a horse that is so compatible with my needs and hopes - he'll take me as far as I want to go in eventing, and he'll be happy to chill too. He's not always a challenge, but I don't always need a challenge. Sometimes yes, but not always. ;)

  4. That's simple for me!
    1. The first one NEEDED ME.
    2. The second one I chose for his easy-going personality, and big QH booty.
    3. The third one I had zero choice with. My hubby bought him on a whim and miracles of miracles he's turned out to be amazing.

  5. Because he's adorable. Is there really any other reason?

  6. Ha, this is well timed. Her eyes had me. Holly was the first horse my trainer and I went to look at after a lot of flakes. She was the young, challenge-but-not-crazy challenge I wanted to go 3' on. Honestly, she's been a super learner and tries her heart out with not a lot of drama for a mare. But what I needed after one kid has changed after two. I love her for so many things, but I really want a shorter, chill horse to plug around on, remember why bareback sucks and put the kids on, and also do low hunters. If I had more cash, I'd never let Holly go and have two. She is everything my trainer said she would be, my wants just changed.

  7. Haha. Good question. After some recent shenanigans, I wonder!

    I picked Pig initially because he was talented enough to do what I wanted, trained enough that I wouldn't have to put the basics of the sport on him (wasn't capable then), fairly safe, but also a little wild. I don't like dead broke horses. But now... He's not really the right fit. But, we've been together for so long that I want to see where we can take things. It's not hurting me to learn to ride him through his tantrums and need for subtlety. To the contrary, he's making me a better rider for the next horse... who will probably have much the same temperament but hopefully be less suicidal and more sound. ;)

  8. I think that every horse can teach us something! In the past, I've had horses that taught me patience, determination, bravery, and that have made me so grateful for horses I have today. Now I have two AO jumpers, Leila and Charlie. Leila was my first high quality jumper. She got me jumping over real jumps at big shows. I did my ever first season of WEF on her. She's 13 now and I'm trying to keep her sound and happy so that I can keep showing her for many more years. Leila have taught me that it's ok to make mistakes. Although she will complain if the number of mistakes gets too high, she never holds a grudge. Charlie, my second jumper, has made my big dreams seem achievable. He has serious SCOPE. He's really changed my perspective of what a big jump is. Nothing looks big on him. I'm not afraid to think that we could be doing GPs in a couple years. He's truly taught me not be embarrassed or scared to say that our goal is the Grand Prix ring. My favorite part about riding is that each horse has a unique purpose in our riding careers and I look forward to all the many lessons I will learn in the future!

  9. Rico had the right personality and the right amount of talent to be a) a generally friendly junior rider's horse (although I could have done without his rearing problem) and b) able to go to Grand Prix. We would have been somewhat competitive if we had gotten there on time, but he was 18 when he did his first GP and I'm grateful it happened!

    TC was the only not OTTB/not QH I could afford with my tiny budget (owners let me do payments) who I thought was moderately talented and had the brain for the job. Whether we make it to GP will depend on a lot of things, but there's definitely a possibility there and that's what I needed.

  10. I lost my first two in a short amount of time, my gelding after 21 years and the mare after 10. I leased but didn't buy for quite a few years after their passing. I bought the new one after returning the gelding I was leasing when it became obvious that he wasn't going to work for me. He seemed like he was pretty laid back but now I'm not so sure if it was him or the ulcers that was making him quiet. Treating the ulcers currently along with a few other things.I keep telling myself it's only been a few months and I can't expect him to be like my others but it's hard... Matilda

  11. I knew when I saw the title of your blog post that I was going to enjoy this topic :) I love reading everyone's stories.

    I was finally in a financial position to own my own horse. I wasn't in a program or with a trainer at the time. I was surfing facebook when I saw a video on a friend's timeline of a spiritual guru talking about manifesting what you want to the universe -- writing down a specific list of details of the actual thing you wanted. Feeling that it couldn't hurt, I wrote out my list for the horse I wanted. I wish I had kept it. I know it had sane, sound, 16h, chestnut, gelding, chrome on it. Within a week I saw Boca's ad online. Oh, and I had a budget of $1500.

    Boca was the 2nd horse I tried. Sometimes I wish I had looked around a little more. At the time, I thought for $1500, if it didn't work out, I would just sell him on. I didn't count on bonding with him.

    I think overall he is a good fit for me. I just wish his conformation was better. It would make both our jobs easier. Guess I forgot to put that one on the list...

  12. I think you got to the heart of it though, there are goals and then there is the deeper question of if we feel safe, challenged and happy around our equine partners. I think that is why we hold on to the "not so perfect for our ambitions" ones :)

    I currently have THREE horses and have no idea how I got them or why.... ;)

  13. Don was free. So there was that. Actually he wasn't going to be mine until after I graduated from college. You know, except that he died before we made it there.

    The horse I ride still for his owners is a percheron cross, not my ideal choice but once they're ready to sell we have a verbal agreement I will buy her. Because I love her in spite of herself. We fight like teenage girls. She breaks things (halters, lead ropes, gates, stall doors, round pen panels) for fun. She will never reach an upper level of anything. But sometimes, just occasionally, she wows me, and I think as time goes on I can get more of that from her. Plus I watched her grow up and I started her under saddle. I want to make sure she stays with a responsible owner. The last "responsible adult" I sold a horse to dumped him at a rescue six months later.

  14. I have mine because she was the only non chestnut mule I could find in my area. We were getting ready to fly to other parts of the country to look at mules when I found her. I had pretty low standards.

  15. Eli told me to buy him, basically. And I had the luxury of riding him for years before the purchase. The idea of me NOT owning him sent me into panics. I'm just glad he was a complete dick to everyone else who rode him until I realized I had no choice but to own him.

    1. I'm pretty sure this is a legitimate horse strategy.

  16. Because if something is skinny and needs some kind of attention or love I'm a giant, giant sucker ;)

  17. I find the best way to pick a horse goes like this:

    Switch to a brand new barn and only know your trainer for literally 10 days before she picks out "a great horse for you" at her daughter's barn. Then, drive to Maryland to try said horse in the freezing cold and 40mph winds. "Great horse for you" ends up being a 4-year old OTTB gelding who had the whole winter (and previous 2 days) off but is a total gentleman, and has a floppy lower lip which automatically makes him adorable. Decide he's pretty cool, and ship him from Maryland to NJ the next day. Vet him, and decide you'd like to hang out with him forever.

    At least, that's how all the cool kids do it ;)

  18. When I first met my horse, she was very reluctant to connect emotionally. She'd been leased by a lovely lady for a time, fallen in love with all the one on one interactions, and when the lease was up and she was back home she wasn't willing to settle for connecting with people who offered her less than that. I started riding her because our skill levels (very beginner friendly for the most part but with just enough attitude to keep us growing together for years to come) and energy levels were compatible. It also didn't hurt that she was pretty much a jack of all trades (though leaning more toward the English side), so I didn't have to worry about narrowing down my desires to do whatever I felt like with a horse. Then, one day, after riding, I plopped down in a corner of her stall with a book so I could soak in more equine therapy. (My husband was deployed and I felt like I was unraveling.) I didn't ask anything of her but to let me be nearby, and suddenly she realized that maybe I was someone she could connect with.

    So I knew she and I were a really good match. But I didn't fully commit to her as my horse until I brought my kids (then 5, 3, and 18 months) to meet her. More than a good match for me, she needed to at least tolerate my kids' presence. She was so gentle and loving and careful with them that even my youngest toddler could safely lead her in the round pen. Sold! Haha. :-)

  19. There is no real rhyme or reason I got Suzie other than I had always liked her. She certainly was not what I would have picked out for myself, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  20. Mine is kind of weird and cheesy, so bear with me. Summer before my sophomore year of college (2009) the equestrian team had an email chain going where we would just kind of update those who went home for the summer on general barn/college town happenings. One girl sent out an email that was like "oh yeah, we got a new school horse, her name is Pearl and as the name implies she is big and grey, Trakehner mare, loves to jump." For some reason I was like wow, I can't wait to ride this horse when I come back in the fall.

    Fast forward to fall (2009), we are having a jump painting party, another girl is lessoning on said Pearl, I went to take pictures for my photography class and was like holy shit that is the most gorgeous horse I have ever seen (as she overjumped and crowhopped her way around a course https://scontent-dfw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/1935936_1129093824994_984093_n.jpg?oh=eaab5426ad9eecdeea98a5dfe9a77425&oe=5786C4AD https://scontent-dfw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/1935936_1129093544987_3518270_n.jpg?oh=83688b9ecece2b3ba434b3ac23828c86&oe=578CCF15 ) Ride her in my next lesson; trainer/BO is like "wow, I've never seen her so relaxed." Request her for all my lessons and fall more and more in love. Come spring, trainer asks if I will be in town that summer/did I want to lease her. COMPLETELY JOKING, I said I was going back home, but I'd bring her to Chicago with me ;) Trainer was like oh sure, we'd think about that. Talk to my mom (I believe the exact phrase she used was "are you out of your gourd") and somehow convince her. Brought her home and had the summer of my life (2010), then shipped her back and I went off to Japan for a semester. Pearl had been bred the previous spring and when I came back in spring (2011), the lesson barn had fortuitously sent (read: dumped) her to the backyard barn next door to foal out so she didn't have eight million lesson kids messing with her. She foals out, I am the only one doing any sort of care on her, crazy old man who owns that barn was like "welp, you sure love that horse, you gon' buy her?" I was like ha I wish.

    Week of my birthday, wake up to an email from BO's wife saying that Junior (yes, that was his actual name) mentioned I was interested in Pearl, she wasn't working out for the lesson program, did I want to buy her? Sneakily use my parents' "so what do you want for your birthday" phone call to get the wheels turning. Of course they think I am nuts again, but after stewing for a few months, we made the official arrangements over the summer and I signed my first check as soon as the foal was weaned in the fall (2011). The rest is history.

    Have I fallen in love with many horses before and thought they were "the one?" Sure, and if the pieces had fallen in place I'm sure they could have been. But THIS one was for real. Honestly if I had been officially Horse Shopping and had test ridden her the way she was when I first started riding her, she would've scared the shit out of me (she still kinda did the first year or so) and I would have passed. But for some weird reason it just all happened, and while she is by no means an easy horse, I've learned so much from her, riding/horsemanship/life wise, and wouldn't have it any other way.

  21. Yankee because I was a 14 year old smitten with thoroughbreds and he was the first black one to show up online at New Vocations. THEN I fell in love with his face and adorable quirks and lovely canter.

    Bacardi because of his trot.

    And then I realized he was a fuck face but now he's better and I luff hims.

  22. Mine completely fell into my lap (and yes I'm counting her as mine even tho it's a lease). Completely random. And completely life changing :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...