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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So what is next?

What do you do when it really hits you that your perfect dream event horse is not going to event again, jump again, or possibly even do any type of under saddle work at all again?

Well, if I want to ride and compete again - and I do - then it is time that I seriously consider a second horse.

This is NOT to say that this would be happening anytime in the relatively near future. I don't have the money for it at the moment and probably won't for a long while. Right now I am trying to establish a business and not starve to death in the process, so my energies - and my money - are going towards those two things pretty much exclusively. Depending on how my financial situation works out, I think a good and vague timeframe for this would be within a year.

This horse-buying situation is going to be different this time around compared to how I got my last three. Quincy was a freebie. Metro was purchased by my parents. Gogo was purchased with blood money from Metro's mortality insurance payout. (Well, ok, so maybe it's not that horrible but it still felt weird at the time. Metro died, we collected our mortality on him, and therefore had money to reinvest into another horse. Essentially, blood money.) This time, I am operating under my own financial steam only.

Which means there is no possible way on planet earth that I am going to be able to afford the kind of horse that I really want. It's just fact.

This in mind, I have to go about tailoring my search process carefully. I am not going to be able to spend an enormous chunk on a horse. I am not going to be able to buy a horse that is far enough away from me that I will need to fly to go see it, and will need to have it shipped from a distance. I will have to settle for something local, within reason, and not too expensive.

I also have not ruled out breeding Gogo at some point. And we are not getting into that discussion today! But it brought up a point that worried me - I more than likely will have no idea who my potential future horse's parents were, and if it's a cheap horse, it might be offspring from broken down old nags who somehow managed to produce something nice. If Gogo with her potential leg issue is not worthy of being a breeding animal despite all her other qualities, then how do I know I will be buying a horse with a history of family soundness or not if I don't know the dam or sire? The nicest horse I am ever going to be able to afford is one that will come directly out of her in the first place, but I can't guarantee baby's soundness. Neither can I guarantee anything's soundness at all, but I at least wish I knew where the horse had come from - i.e. did mommy or daddy have any sort of major soundness issues. This worries me.... a lot. Sound is as sound does, obviously - some of the most crooked-legged horses I've ever seen were the soundest, and some of the nicest horses on the planet earth just fell apart under their own steam for seemingly no obvious reason. I guess in life there are no guarantees.

When Metro had soundness issues, it was obvious why - he had glaringly bad comformational faults and weighed 1400lbs. With Gogo, it's a bit of a different story. Why did her crooked front legs hold up to everything I could throw at them, but her relatively correct hind legs didn't? Who knows. If I breed her, I don't know if baby will be sound. I don't know if this neverending injury isn't healing because of some sort of genetic component, or if it is just the crappiest luck ever.

Anyway, I digress. New horse, eventually.

In order to pick up something of a vaguely decent quality for a low price, I am going to have to a) first set a price, and then b) either buy the best I can in a very young horse, find a total diamond in the rough, or put up with some sort of issue in a nice horse that causes it to have a lower price. All of these things come with risk, but so does every horse buying adventure. I think I will know the right one when I find it.

I also have the option of rescuing something. I think this falls under the diamond in the rough category. If any of you so much as mentions the phrase OTTB I will be forced to make you drink liquefied brussel sprouts!

Secretly, very secretly, I kind of want to adopt a mustang. A cavalry remount one, you know... one that isn't a pony. But it's a bit of a silly pipe dream at the moment. Now THAT would be an awesome and fun project. Again though, that's a bit of a crap shoot.... how on earth would you ever know what you are going to end up with?

Technically, I guess it's ALL a bit of a silly pipe dream at the moment. A new horse won't be arriving in my life for a good long while, honestly. We'll just have to see what happens, and in the meantime, it's time to start brooding on what exactly I really and truly am hoping to find.

In other seriously unrelated news, have some awesome stop motion joy!


Dressager said...

Look at Padre! The little straight-of-the-range mustang that DEFINITELY could haha!

As for breeding... all I know enough to say is that a lot of people tell me that cross-breeding can work well. Breeding a WB to a racing QH with good legs, so you get athleticism, brains/sanity, and soundness. I'm sure it's not a surefire solution, but it IS an idea, yah?

Oh, Gogo :(

Andrea said...

I'm not sure a racing QH would do any wonders for improving Gogo's weaknesses lol! We might end up with a short, squat, ewe-necked butt-high cuckoobird who now has the addition of lightning speed as well as disturbing athleticism when you don't want it! ;)

Amy B said...

If you get lucky, there IS an off-chance you could meet new, cheap horse's parents... I lucked out with Dee, because even though she was a track-reject, she was living on her breeding farm, so I got to see mommy, sister, sister's baby, etc. It would probably be really difficult to find a non-tb for cheap that is still at its breeding farm, but you never know!
At any rate, for whatever you get next, I feel like its about time that the stars aligned and you got a lovely, sound horse who stays that way for you :) You certainly deserve it!

eventer79 said...


But in all seriousness, you are right on one thing -- you canNOT guarantee soundness on anything. And also, it really is not a big deal to not know a horse's parents -- because as we all know, genetics is a crapshoot and any attribute that a parent has is never certain to pass on to children. There are HEAPS of us out there who haven't the foggiest clue where our horses came from. You judge each horse as an individual and, as you astutely observed, it's just a calculated risk from there.

The most important thing a horse can have for an amateur is a good brain. I always look at that first, then conformation a close second. There are a lot of great horses out there that get passed over because they are not a trendy breed or "10" movers or somesuch silly thing that 97% of people don't and will never need.

There are more great horses out there than you think for low prices. Work your networks, talk to everyone, you'll be surprised what pops up.

Anna Harbaugh said...

What's so wrong with a thoroughbred?

Daun said...

Andrea, you know a sound TB that has stayed sound, Hobby, 21 years old and a staff horse, competing in eventing. Best mover? No. Sound and working? Yes.

She was $3000 as a competing 4 year old. Brego was $1700 and is qualified for the AECs for Novice and a staff horse for my hunt.

Your post makes me really sad.

Alighieri said...

"But I don't want an OTTB - they're rejected for a reason, meaning they either a) are crazu b) are lame or c) have the ability to become one of both of those things in the near future. Call me biased, but I've never really known a stury, sound OTTB who actually stays sound, and I've only known a handful that weren't irrationally hot or nutty in one way or another. I also don't particularly like the way thoroughbreds off the track tend to move and jump."

This comment makes me sad. It's fine if you don't want an OTTB, I totally get it...Some people just aren't TB people.

But don't paint all OTTB with the same brush. Sometimes they are sold off the track not because they are lame or crazy, but because they are SLOW. Mine was OTTB, sold to a hunter barn. He never made it to the track because he was too slow.

I own the exact OTTB you describe. His trot is lovely, his canter is lovely, his jump is lovely. His legs are sound, sound, sound, I never worry about tendon/ligament injuries. He has a little bit of soreness issues with his heels, but that is a product of external factors like the weather in Texas, his stabling situation, and thrush. (For the record, I went through the horses in the barn the other day and discovered quite a few who have very similar issues with their feet, including some three star and up horses...) My TB is also SANE, SANE, SANE. Does he spook? Yes. But he spooks by standing and staring at whatever scares him, and if I give him a couple seconds, will walk towards it when asked.

And yeah, many horses off the track don't move well. Yet. They don't have the topline to carry themselves, and so can't move. That doesn't mean they can't develop a MUCH nicer trot and canter. Look at Courageous Comet.

In any case, please don't put OTTB in the same box. By all means, feel free to avoid them! But such blanket statements about them makes those of us who love them kind of riled up. Your blog is very popular, and when you say stuff like that, well, the OTTB lovers want to set the record straight and throw out that the type of OTTB you describe DOES exist. Just in case anyone is watching and debating getting an OTTB.

On the topic of buying a baby, check out Tzigane has sired some very nice sporthorses that are potential upper level eventers, and he's right up in Argyle, so not too far. You might be able to purchase a weanling or something.

Good luck!

jenj said...

When I was looking for my next horse, I rode about five OTTBs. They were nice horses, but I just didn't click with any of them. Nor did I click with two WBs I rode, or a Shire X mare... but I did work it out with an OTT Quarter Horse. That's Saga. He's not exactly the prettiest horse ever, and he's about as long as a school bus, but he's athletic, amiable, and sound (well, now that we have the hoof thing figured out).

My point is that, as you said, you'll know the right horse when you find it. Maybe it'll be a breed stock Paint, maybe it'll be a warmblood X. Maybe it'll be an unstarted TB yearling, maybe it's a mustang off the range. Just be careful not to limit yourself!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

You will find something when you are ready...there are TONS of talented horses out there that people can not afford anymore or other million of various reasons.
Laz is sad you don't love him-you breed racist ;)

Val said...

I am sure you are feeling sensitive and maybe a little helpless, but give all those horses you have never met a chance.

A great brain does not equate to a dull, boring horse. A great brain is the most wonderful thing a horse can possess.

I have ridden TB's (including OTTB), warmbloods, halflingers, draft crosses, Fresian crosses, fjords, paints, and tons of "others". The most consistent show horse I have ridden was an Appendix Quarter Horse and the horse I own and love to bits now is a lean, light, energetic Quarter Horse.

Judge each horse as an individual, just like you did with Gogo!

Fyyahchild said...

I'm a TB fan and most have mine have been off the track. In my experience soundness is as hit or miss as anything else. The thing is though, its a personal choice and I wouldn't recommend them for everyone. Generally speaking they're fast, smart and hot. They have so much heart, they'll run til they die for you. Modern TBs don't seem to have the good bone and feet you are more likely to get with a WB.

Regardless of what I like, if I were going to show at the level you're at I'd be out there trying to figure out how to afford a WB because that's what wins. In our shoes, Andrea, when you don't have a lot of disposible income if you're going to dedicate that many resources to showing at that level it doesn't make sense not to do what it takes to be competitive. Follow your instincts. You've got enough intelligence and experience to figure out what works for you.

Young Equestrian said...

"a) are crazu b) are lame or c) have the ability to become one of both of those things in the near future."

That sounds an awful lot like a good number of the warmbloods I see on the market today. Obviously, you are free to buy whatever breed of horse you want, but herein lies the issue with labeling. Because a horse is described as an OTTB, you automatically determine that the horse has horrid movement, no ability to jump, and finds excuses to go absolutely bonkers (which, in my experience, is another trait in a good number of WBs that I have worked with).

"Sometimes you get lucky and get a nice one"

Then explain why there were so many OTTBs competing at Rolex this year. The fact is, if you have a horse with decent conformation (i.e. is not going to obviously become crippled while in work and generally looks like a horse) then you can train that horse to whatever level you want, within reason. With jumping there are obviously limitation to how high the horse can go, but dressage is a whole different story so long as you can get the horse to unlock its shoulders and the horse is willing. Also, you can train and condition better movement into horses: Not all horses with any sort of potential (yes, even those with the potential to win the big young horse championships) come out of the womb with perfect 10 movement.

Good luck in your horse search. I hope that whatever you end up with, whether it be a TB, WB, or grade somethingorother makes you very happy.

Andrea said...

Once again - as I predicted it would - the conversation has turned to why I should want an OTTB. I don't want an OTTB! More for you guys!

Young Equestrian said...

Not why you should want one... Why you shouldn't describe them all as cray-cray, crippled, talentless horses.

Alighieri said...

I am not trying to say you should get one. Please don't get one if you don't want one! Get what you want instead. But please try to avoid making blanket statements about the OTTB, because well, then you once again get THIS conversation!

Seriously though, look Tzigane babies. He's a Trakehner! (Not a TB!) Niiice babies.

katie said...

Wait... you'd rather adopt a mustang than buy an OTTB? Talk about totally unpredictable. Atleast OTTBs come with pedigrees and are already broke and used to normal horsie things like trailering, grooming, vetting, etc.

Andrea said...

I deleted my comment because it is the same one I always write, and the responses I get are the same ones in return.

Let's leave it at this: I am not nearly a good enough horsewoman to deal with an OTTB. (I'm not good enough to deal with a mustang either obviously. I just vaguely assume that if its parents survived long enough to make it, and if it survived long enough to reach adulthood and still be sound, then it probably has a better chance of standing up to the rigors of life than a horse broken at one year of age and trained to run fast. That is the major appeal.)

Laura M said...

Please pass a glass of liquefied brussels sprouts this way :) It is sad to hear your view of OTTB's, but you are entitled to your opinion. I felt the same way about other certain breeds while looking for my second horse to replace my now unrideable one. As you said though you will just know when it's the "one". Best of Luck to you and Gogo!

Emily said...

I'm in very much the same position as you. My older OTTB has been fighting soundness issues from an injury ever since I got him (in fact, that's HOW I got him). I finally decided earlier this year that he really didn't want to be ridden anymore, he was happier being a pasture puff, so I left him go do that :) I miss him, but he's soooo happy in his new home.

But, now I'm faced with the same deliema. I don't have a very large amount to spend on a horse. $3k if I'm lucky. So I'm hunting for in utero options. Granted I'll havta wait 3-4 years before I can really start to ride MY horse, but it's a much more feesable way to get my future dream horse :)

DressageIsToDance said...

There's no reason you couldn't get something like a QH with decent lines for a price you could afford. And you'd know about the parents. Amber was $1500, and she's got some nice lines, nearly perfect conformation save slightly straight hocks.

Quarters are super versatile and sane. The only thing is rednecks tend to like them, and rednecks tend to do stupid shit with their babies. :/ Amber was bred at 2 years old, and I suspect started as a yearling. Either that or they rode the hell out of her after she had that foal, to put her hocks in the shape they are when she's only 7...

SprinklerBandit said...

I vote mustang! No way I could handle one or want one, but hey, it'd be way different then Gogo.

Andrea said...

I think my biggest problem is that I want Gogo's exact carbon copy clone as my next horse. With a new set of legs though.

Amy said...

My friends mustang she adopted only a month ago...gorgeous. He is still in his gentling. They are like $125. There are all shapes sizes and colors to choose from and the government pays for the first 90 days of gentling by a trainer you choose that is approved. Pretty sweet deal.

Or you can go to this sale in IL and I am sure you will be going home with one of those gorgeous horses. Then it will satisfy my urge to go and get one for myself.

Or I know of a great place you can get a great deal on and OTTB! hahaha.

DressageIsToDance said...

You are correct, that is the big problem here. And you're going to have to fight that big time if you don't want to have a closed mind when you do begin horse shopping.

You will be nothing but discouraged and unhappy if you try to compare the new horse to Gogo. Been there done that. When I had to move on from Gulliver, I went from a 16.2h Hanoverian to a 14h sport pony. For the longest time, I was overly critical of Jack because I was comparing him to Gulliver.

One day it hit me that he was a talented and wonderful pony, but he was who he was and Gulliver was a completely different horse, and nothing could change that and nothing could give me an exact copy of Gulliver. I started to succeed more with Jack and I was happier with Jack when I realized that and accepted the fact that I couldn't treat Jack like he was Gulliver, nor expect him to act and perform like Gulliver.

I think you are probably slowly on that path anyway. You need to strive to not look for Gogo qualities in the next horse, and make a point to look for the qualities that good to that unique horse, and what you wish to do with he or she.

Anonymous said...

I think you should seriously consider the Mustang route. I've got one that I want to event (if I can ever afford to) and we have several at Redcloud that are great jumpers. And the ones started through the Prison program are great horses (we have 2 - google "Wild Horse Inmate Program").

PS - I always said I wouldn't own a grey - and look now...

Andrea said...

Oh Stranger, exactly! I am so going to be doomed to get a grey AND a TB and it will probably be a gelding. Nooooooooooo!

Anonymous said...

It's easy to get a pedigree on many cheap horses and even meet the parents. My horse was cheap--not the cheapest, but pretty cheap (sub 3k) and he came with a full pedigree and inspection scores. His father is an imported stallion (welsh) who is actively showing and his mother a OTTB who retired sound.

He's a great all around prospect and solid physically. No doubt he could move up the ranks in eventing or dressage without much trouble.

One thing nice about TBs or part TBs is that much research has gone into TB pedigrees, for both sport and soundness. If you get on COTHs eventing forum, they can tell you what lines throw good jumpers and sporthorses, and what lines are known for soundness. MY old OTTB was by Irish Castle, a sire known for jumping and soundness. My horse was an awesome scopy jumper who was sound for anything at 19 when he passed away--his pedigree told the story. And my new horse has Round Table in his lineage, a grass runner known for his soundness. So, yes, we all know you don't want an OTTB. But since you are concerned about the parentage of a cheap horse, think about the fact that both racehorse people AND eventers have studied TB pedigrees for years and know what lines are solid for sport and which are not.

But, even if you don't go TB, there are lots of inexpensive well bred offish breeds, like my Welsh Cob cross, who could tear up a CC course.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and BTW: Not all TBs are off the track. Many, even on Canter's listings, are unraced or even unbroken. So if the the OT part turns you off, realize you can get a young TB that is unraced--many farms are doing herd dispersals and selling 2-4 yr olds who never saw a track.

And--off topic but--Hi Daun! Your old reader McFawn here! Miss your blog but glad to hear Hobby and Brego are still thriving!

Jen said...

Really late to the party here, but you should TOTALLY look at mustangs. My mare is a mustang that I adopted as a yearling from the BLM. She's now 7, and we're cleaning up in dressage (79%+ at training level) and beginning our adventures at Baby Novice in eventing. She is my heart horse, and being the first person she ever trusted has been an amazing experience. She's 14.3hh, so pretty small, but you can find bigger ones. My vets say she's the nicest looking mustang they've ever seen, and I adopted her for $125 ;).