Starting the process of looking for a second horse is a daunting task for me. This is quadrupled in difficulty by the fact that I am absolutely NOT ready to purchase/lease/be given/etc a horse at this point. I'm still having trouble paying for what I have in the first place. Obtaining a second horse is a prospect that is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the distance. Like, within the next year - hopefully. It all depends on how the business does, how my finances are, and most importantly, how Gogo is doing. If she makes a majikal turnaround, then great! Who needs another horse when I have her to ride! But she also may very well have completely tanked and been either permanently retired or put into a hole by this time next year, so I have to keep that in mind too. It's really depressing to think about, but I have to keep an open mind as to whatever is best for her. For now, it's day by day, and she's getting around just fine for the moment. We'll just have to see.
But I digress. I think that my first step is to analyze and consider the following question: What do I REALLY want in a second horse? What are my absolute requirements, things I MUST have? What can I live with, what can't I live without?
Basically, it boils down to this: I want a Prelim+ prospect who has three solidly nice gaits and a strong gallop, a fantastic jump, a brave and intelligent mind, and an absolutely immaculate vet check. Basically, this is exactly the same set of requirements I had for when I set out to find Gogo. I'm looking for something to fill the role that she had as my event horse, because she was (and is) perfect for me in every way.
This is why I have spent so much time debating on whether or not I want to breed her. I desperately wish I had her carbon copy as my next event horse. Breeding is a risk and you never know what you're going to get - that thing might come out crooked, ugly and lame - but I have obviously spent a lot of time painfully going back and forth about it. My mind is still not made up. Regardless of if I ever do make that decision, that baby won't be ready to ride for many years, and I have to be honest with myself: I don't want to wait that long before I am galloping on XC again!
So how to find a Prelim+ prospect who has three solidly nice gaits and a strong gallop, a fantastic jump, a brave and intelligent mind, and an absolutely immaculate vet check.... on a tight budget? Well, I'm going to have to make some compromises more than likely. It might be something with some mental baggage. It might be something with a training issue. It might be something not yet under saddle. It might be a weird breed, it might be a bit small. It might be marketed as something else completely, but it just has the raw potential to become what I want it to be. I don't know yet.
There is no reason I won't be able to find something nice out there for a decent price though. The market is terrible these days, and nothing is selling. Especially in Texas this year (too bad I'm not buying now!), breeders are liquidating their NICE stock because their horses have nothing to eat - all the grass and hay is just gone with this drought. Here is proof that there are nice horses for low prices that are close to me! (A bit on the small side, but she is nice looking, SUPER close, and a pretty mover. It can be found!)
Any breed and any gender may apply for the position... so long as they have potential!
Why I mentioned a mustang earlier: I figure in terms of finding a diamond in the rough, it's hard to go wrong here. You can pick up a damn nice horse with $125 if you have a good eye for one. I also figure that if two horses can survive out in Great Basin long enough to procreate, and if that baby can live long enough to make it to adulthood and not get killed and/or crippled in the meanwhile and during its roundup process, then I probably have a pretty good chance that nature (through breeding and through environment) probably gave it a decent and hardy set of legs and a good brain. The mutt factor also can't hurt - carefully bred warmbloods seem to have legs made of glass, but the most grade of backyard mutts never seem to break down do they? There is something to be said about it.... look at all the tough, hardy mixed breed dogs out there versus carefully bred dog breeds with endless medical problems. There very well could be something to it!
But you have to have a good eye for not only build and soundness when checking out a bunch of wild horses in a pen, but for temperament too. A lot of mustangs are said to be easy and quick to train despite their wildness - not all of them, but many. They survived out in the wild after all... they have to have a few brain cells to make it. I personally am pretty good at picking out a good strong soul in a group of horses.... hell, I've had Gogo for years, I know a confident personality when I see one! You also have to not find a shrimp if you can help it - some mustangs can get into the 16hh+ size but most are ponies. I think my legs are a BIT long for that!
Plus, what kind of a RIDICULOUSLY FUN project would that be?? Not to mention the bond you'd have with that horse. I really like the idea, if logistics ever worked out. You obviously won't have any idea if the horse is capable of doing until you get to working with it, but if you pick one with good conformation and a good brain, you stand a pretty darn good chance.
You can find some NICE horses amongst the herd if you look for them. Take this guy Reno for example - his first time ever free jumping. If I didn't know he was a mustang, I'd say he was a well-bred warmblood.
And who can forget about Padre, the mustang who won the 4 Year and Older In-Hand Stallion class at Dressage at Devon last year, beating out a bunch of NICELY bred warmblood stallions?
It's an idea I certainly want to keep in my head. Of course, there could very well be some diamonds in the rough around here too, so I can't close my eyes to anything!
And....... this isn't going to happen until next year anyway. But it can't hurt to start dreaming now.
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago