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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~


6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Late-Night Musings

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?

30 comments:

Lacey said...

I agree that OTTB's come with their own set of crazy issues... With that said, you might want to check out the horses on CANTER. They sort of hand pick the more sane/sound ones and sometimes put some solid riding on them before rehoming them.
I love my crazy OTTB. And I don't know, if their legs can put up with racing, they can put up with a lot...

Muriel said...

LURVE the Appy. She looks that she has lots of 'ttude! Go check her out, and let us know what happens ^-^ The free lease is the best solution. As you wrote " you get what you pay for". I do not believe in the Equestrian legend that you can find a wonderful talented horse sold a dozen of dollars, then after much love and CARE, the horse becomes a star. It is fairy tales!

Summer said...

I think its a great idea! Than at least, like you said, you will have something to ride and bond with while sweet GoGo is on the mend! Riley was incredibly jealous when I first got my OTTB gelding but once he saw he didnt get any less attention he got over it. He wasnt happy about it but more tolerant of his younger brother ;) Good luck with whatever you decide to do! :)

Val said...

I think the App would fit your style. My horse was purchased as a project horse and I have loved every minute of working with him. I have learned so much and feel a tremendous bond with my guy, BUT I had no intentions of competing outside of small, local shows when it tickles my fancy. If you want competitive miles, then free lease sounds like a great option!

manymisadventures said...

I think a free lease sounds like an excellent idea. And that App looks quite nice! It sounds like it would be a good, low-key thing for you to do for a few years.

My only concern is that you would get really attached and then want to keep the horse! I know that's an issue for some people and not for others, so just something to keep in mind.

ridinfar said...

I think you'll regret getting something right now. I have a feeling once you start your new venture some pretty sweet things are going to fall in your lap. You are a beautiful rider and there are MANY people out there with crazy talented horses, loads of money and no ability to ride themselves. Keep your options open until *the* perfect situation comes along!!

Dom said...

Free lease seems like a great idea because you'd be looking at a horse whose owner NEEDS the help, but doesn't REALLY want to part with the horse, which says something positive about the horse. I'm not an app fan, but I'll admit that one is cute. I'd still shop around as carefully as if you were looking to purchase. Looking forward to seeing what you end up with.

Breanna said...

If you want to ship a horse out from California I've got one for you. ;)

It's a great idea, especially with a mare like the one you found, because if it works out you can buy her later!

Alighieri said...

I think you should wait to get into the new situation with the BNT in Southern Pines to commit to another horse, even a free lease. Your new trainer may have some ideas that even you haven't thought of yet, or she might have a horse that you can basically free lease for a few years.

The other side of the coin is that you may end up committing to a horse now that your BNT doesn't like. While this doesn't seem like something that should bother you, the fact is that it's quite wearing to always be at odds with your trainer over the quality of your horse. I was at this point a few years ago with my trainer, who didn't care for my horse. I fought him tooth and nail on it, and eventually, he changed his mind about the horse. However, so far as I know, my horse is the only one that made it through. Everyone else who came to the barn eventually sold their horse and bought a new one of his liking. They are all very nice animals, and some of the sold horses WERE unsuitable for eventing. If I could do it over again, I would very likely wait to buy a horse until he helped me, simply because it was very very wearing on me to always have to fight my trainer on whether or not to sell him.

So long story short, it would be worth it to have your trainer like your new free lease, just so you don't have to fight him/her on it every step of the way.

mcfawn said...

Have you read the Dixie Rumble CANTER Blog? The writer/trainer works with the horses before they are adopted out, and so she knows their mind/abilities/soundness. She is also an awesome CC rider/young horse trainer so she is excellent at assessing what goes through her barn. Google Dixie Rumble CANTER and just keep an eye on her blog. Lots of solid-minded, pretested OTTBs flow through there.

That being said, freelease is a good option & the mare looks nice. Or, you could get hooked up with a local CANTER/other Racehorse adoption problem and volunteer to retrain horses to make them adoptable--that would also be a freelease situation, and could be rewarding.

STB Eventer said...

Leasing is a great idea, but my advice would be to wait until you are settled at the new job. You never know what might be available for you to ride long term. :)

Golden the Pony Girl said...

I think a free lease is a great idea. If you are looking for a horse of a different color I have a golden pony who would love to hang out with you and Gogo for a year or too. I am so frustrated trying to get any riding time in with graduate school. I leave for Africa in May so then I REALLY can not ride him. I will be looking for a free lease and I hope I am lucky enough to find someone like you!

Erica said...

The only problem with CANTER horses is they're not flippers. CANTER maintains right of first refusal so if you get one, you've got em for good or they go back to the organization. I used to work for them in MI, and while we did occasionally get some really nice, sane, horses, the majority of them did have major conformation, mental, or physical issues, or any combination thereof. The really nice ones, the trainers usually hang onto, so if you're looking the OTTB way, look at their trainer listings. Not to knock them, but in terms of getting a competition horse, there's other avenues.

In other news, that appy's adorable. Maybe when you get down to NC there will be other such opportunities as well. Good luck!!!!

rusty said...

I'm one of those that would play the wait and see game. I work at two barns, and both have no shortage of talented horses who need a rider. Most aren't going anywhere any time soon either, so it's not a matter of getting them to a higher level and having them sold and starting over. I'd give it a bit and get a feel for the place and who you work well with and I'd be willing to bet the perfect arrangement will fall into your lap. And don't think you might not be able to afford a 'good' horse...they really are out there. I found mine when she was three. Owner was out of town working, short on money, horse needed to go etc. I was lucky enough to have the budget for pretty much whatever I wanted and had been looking for months at some pretty nice horses. As soon as I saw her and worked with her a bit I knew she was 'the one'. And all for a whopping $1500 LOL.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

Jen said...

Free-leasing sounds like a good option. I do agree with other readers though that you wait until you're settled in at your new job before embarking on this adventure, just to see what happens there first.

Good luck!

Dressager said...

I agree with the others that settling into the new job might be the best option. Though that Appy looks like a spot-on horse nonetheless, no pun intended.

Nicole Redman said...

I think the free lease idea is a good one (you might be able to find a better horse than you otherwise would through your very popular blog) but I agree with Alighieri: wait to settle into your job and see what the trainer can help you find and/or assess. One of our biggest frustrations has been new clients who come in with unsuitable horses. B and V are left saying, every day, "what IDIOT bought THAT horse for THAT rider?!" You have a much greater ability to assess horses than most people, but you may be surprised at how helpful your trainer's expertise can be.

Nicku said...

APPY APPY APPY! I am beyond excited about the potential there! My thoughts...FREE LEASES RULE. If you can find a good horse that you enjoy riding a free lease seems like it would be a really nice break for you. You can absolutely bond with a leased horse. I've had some amazing times on leased beasties. It would allow you to just RIDE and ENJOY without the big what ifs that are always present when you own. As for a baby. I got Pong when he was one. It's been a long but worthwhile wait, babies are so fun! Even if you're not riding them, you can still do something fun and interesting every single day until you CAN ride them. And when you take them from 1 years old and 14 hands to 16.1 and jumping around on XC, it's a whole new and amazing thrill.

Nicku said...

PS- I have to echo the other readers as well...I think waiting until you settled in at the new job is a very prudent thing to consider. You never know what might pan out if your available for the world to place the right thing in your path. However, if you decide you cant pass up Appy, I wont judge ;)

DressageIsToDance said...

I'm with everyone who has said 'wait and see'. I have found out so much in the past year how much it means to do so...you never, ever know what the future holds, and waiting to see how things play out and not jumping at plans too quickly has put me in (for the moment) a state of utter happiness with everything going my way right now. ;)

I also agree with whomever said it may be best to get the opinion of your new trainer so that you get paired with a horse they like, albeit I think I'm breaking that rule currently myself. All in all, you have to like it too though.

Miles On Miles said...

OK, I haven't read all the comments yet, but honestly you'd be doing yourself a disservice to discount all OTTBs and rescue horses.

LOTS of TB adoption groups know their horses really, really well, and have done lots of under saddle work with them already. Most of them (the good ones, anyway) will take back horses they've adopted out that the owners can't keep (often for financial reasons)...it's a great way to get a horse with tons of training after the track. I see them on New Vocations website alllll the time.

And yes, TBs can be calm and lazy...ask Miles:) If he didn't have some slight arthritis from racing so long he would be a great event horse, I think.

Anyway, it costs nothing to fill out adoption applications with various groups (I am a HUGE CANTER and New Vocations fan) and let them know exactly what you're looking for, and what you want to stay away from. You would be an ideal owner and I bet most groups would have something to fit your bill:)

Good luck, no matter what you decide! Hope you find your next partner soon:)

Ryan said...

Andrea...

You don't know me but I have been following you and GoGo for a long time now...and I see you are both moving here to Southern Pines! I manage an event barn in Southern Pines and would LOVE to meet you at some point (and GoGo of course!) Shoot me an email at heyjealousy44@aol.com if you get a chance, and best of luck with the move!!!

Albigears said...

Another vote to not totally discount OTTBs... mine sure turned out well! I went to the track at the end of the season and met up with the wife of a trainer who found new homes for the horses that didn't make it. Mine never even made it to a race. Too slow/lazy. He was a thousand bucks, and won the dressage at his first event.

Having said that, he was brought home and put in a huge pasture/group living situation where he literally ran and ran and ran everyday for months. If he had been kept in a stall with a small run he might just be considered 'crazy' now.

khirsh said...

Do not discredit the little diamonds in the rough that are OTTBs! Many are as quiet, if not downright boring, as drafts! I say if you're going to consider that population of horses you need to take them on a case-by-case basis. But it could be well worth it. My trainer has a 21 year old OTTB that went Intermediate in his mid/late teens. She chose to buy him just seeing him jog. ^_^

khirsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Wow.. I've been looking for a bit over a month now. I'm in a very similar financial situation, and can completely understand.

Maybe I should blog about the funniest search result yet.

I thought I found a "free/care lease option".. Figured how great it'd be that a lady's jumper might learn dressage, while I'd have a year or two to ride a nice sane creature.

Turns out, said creature was only "free lease" if he stayed at the barn she's boarding at. Um, over 3 hrs away... Just not feasible.

So if you find a South Texas free lease, lemmee know. :)

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Go Team OTTB! ;)
But, I also think that OTTB's require a lot of down time and retraining and you may want to literally hop right back into major schooling, etc that a OTTB may not be ready for. Not sure of your time frame of your goals, etc. I know you would do wonders for an OTTB but I do think a lease situation would be perfect.
Perhaps you'll stumble on a leased OTTB?! LOL!

frizzlesworld said...

I still say go to Norsire. She has tons of horses and I am pretty sure she has payment plans. I do think the appy is cute, but wouldn't it be hard to let go after all of that work?

Gingham said...

Well, yes, cheap projects, rarely prove profitable. ALTHOUGH, one of our managers actually bought Poggio off the track and used the beast as a trail horse for a while before deciding he had bad feet and selling him for $400.

I have informed him that he's not allowed to sell any more OTTB's from his trail herd without at least calling me. (sigh).

eventer79 said...

Hey Andrea, sorry I am behind on my blogs and totally missed the Gogo retirement! I'm so sorry to hear she hurt herself again!

I have to say, I have met many OTTBs in the past two years or so that have very much changed my mind about them. The whole "you get what you pay for" absolutely does NOT apply. So many fantastic horses with good, GOOD minds out there, who are quiet, sensible, athletic, loving -- I have been sorely tempted and I like Quarter Horses, for goodness sake! A good friend picked one up who, within four months of purchase, laid down a 19 in the dressage arena, is as laid back and quiet as a cowhorse, and has the easiest jump I've seen in a long time. I want his clone!

I vote give 'em a chance, use the power of the word of mouth grapevine, and you might be very very surprised at what you find.