Man. Gogo's been retired-until-further-notice for all of four days now, and I am already itching to get on something and ride. Without a competition horse, I am going into my new job feeling as though I might miss out on a lot of the opportunity I will have access to, and I'm not quite sure what to do about that. There will be horses for me to ride, of course, but I am not a catch rider, and never will be. I just don't enjoy it that much, except in certain circumstances (a big black Perch comes to mind!), mostly because the reason I enjoy showing so much is because I like to show off the particular bond a certain horse and I have together. I don't have interest in ever going pro - I've never felt any particular draw to teaching or training. My riding and competing interests remain pretty much completely limited to my horses alone. Don't get me wrong, I love riding, but mostly I love riding MY horse. Kind of in that way that parents think other kids are cute, but they really only LOVE playing with THEIR kids.
This, unfortunately, isn't an easy remedy. Gogo's not going to be rideable anything in the near future, and she's not going to event again until she gets a magical leg transplant sometime in the near future. I would love to breed her, and am still contemplating the possibility of a bouncing, rearing bundle of joy sometime in the future, but there is a lot to think about. Even if I DO make the choice to breed next spring, we're talking something like five years until I have something to really work with. (And I haven't decided yet if I will even breed her, ever.) I really do want something to work with now.
Only... I will never in a zillion years be able to spend any sort of big money on a talent similar to Gogo's. The only reason I was able to afford Gogo in the first place was because of the insurance money we collected on Metro's mortality. Yes, blood money. Yes, I thank him every day for that unintentional sacrificial gift. She didn't cost a million bajillion dollars, not by any means, but it's quite a lot more than I would be able to shell out just out of pocket at the moment.
What I COULD do is pick up a really cheap project for a turnaround sale, or just a really cheap project to keep for myself. Most of the time though, you really do pay for what you get. Sometimes you get lucky, but it's probable that the OTTB you just picked up for $250 has major mental or physical baggage. (Edited to add: I should mention that I'm not really a fan of hot, hot, hot, hot horses. I enjoy a forward thinking animal, but if it has a load more energy than Gogo has, it's too much!) As I already have one very lovely large pet in the field, I think I'd like to keep that number down to just uno. I obviously can spend more than just the dirt cheapest cheap that you possibly could, but my budget's not very high. If I'm looking for a nice quality beast at a cost that won't break the bank, then I need to either breed my own, or buy very young and wait. (Both potentially doable for sure, and preferable, if I am looking to buy.)
The problem is, that still doesn't solve my immediate problem. I would still be waiting a long time if I bought something already on the ground, and just like it would be a crapshoot if I bred her, it would be a total gamble to see what a young horse would really turn out to be good at.
Hmmmmmmmmm. Conundrum. Decisions. How do I get something nice to play with without breaking my bank, and without risking being saddled with another potential pasture ornament should things not work out?
Wait a minute. Duh, why didn't I think of this before? Why don't I free lease something?
It's a great solution! If I can find a good 1-2 year (hopefully) free lease option with a very clearly written contract, then both the owner and I can win in this situation. The owner wins because their beastie goes off for some free training, showing and care, and it also saves them on board/vet/farrier/whatever bills (assuming these are the things I take over myself). I win because I get something to ride now, don't have to be committed long term if the horse doesn't end up being suitable for what I want to do, and don't have to spend a bundle on a gamble of any sort. Gogo gets a few years to be her horsey self outside, and when the lease is up, I can reassess where I am at with her and decide if the other horse should be a purchase or not.
I honestly stumbled upon this solution while browsing through some online equine ads this afternoon inbetween rounds of packing. One particular ad stuck out, mostly because the horse is for sale OR offered up for a free lease situation EXACTLY like the one I just described above. The horse has various conformation issues going on, so I don't think she would ever make an UL prospect of any sort, but you can't deny, she is darn cute:
Full App, can you believe that? She's sportbred (but without the Wap) so she moves like a warmblood. And also, by some miracle, she has a tail.
When I mentioned to Gogo this evening that she might be getting a sister, I got the full-on snake eyes look from her. I promised her that she's NOT getting replaced in any way, and she looked slightly less miffed, but only after I bribed her with many cookies.
Any ideas or input?
The very special Ridgeway weekend
1 day ago