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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whittling It Down

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.


Net said...

I don't know if you've already done so and I missed it, but care to share why not an OTTB? I can very easily understand not one coming directly from the track, but I'm curious your reasoning. Past work history and the possibility it will affect soundness? Bad habits you don't want to deal with? Too common in eventing land (since you obviously like the "unusual" picks)?

I'm not trying to run you into a ditch, because I'm pretty sure you won't say "they're all crazy, I hate them!" but have a reasonable answer, even if that's simply "It's just not what I prefer."

I ask as someone who didn't want one, and will likely not have another, but ended up with one for my horse of a lifetime.

jenj said...

Window shopping is lots of fun, and you get to know what's out there. Heck, I'm not even in the market, and I still look! I'm sure the right one will show up at the right time...

SprinklerBandit said...

Figures your first comment was an OTTB post and you didn't even mention them. Just lie and say there aren't race tracks in Texas and you can't afford to ship. ;-)

I -love- Moondance. So wish you could get her. Best of luck in your search.

Net said...

However, it was blindingly obvious that the description given fit a huge number of OTTBs. Price, ability, soundness, type.
SB's snideness aside, it was a pretty dang relevant question for the topic of the blog. I don't care if it's not a question which gets answered; I'm merely curious. But it IS relevant to the post in question.

Amy B said...

Those Mustangs in the videos are drool-worthy!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

I got it!
Breed her to Klein.
Yes, I know they are both mares
Wouldn't that be a xc beast of a horse!

Checkmark115 said...

Those are so BE-A-UuuuTIFUL Mustangs. I've never seen anything Mustang wise that was anything more than freaking retarded. Excuse my non-politically correct language for those who are offended. But seriously, those mustangs were like virgins at my HS, hardly ever found. Maybe you'll stumble upon one!!

As for the OTTB comment, I agree it was relevant. But we all know Andrea prtty much hates OTTB talk. I rfrain from it (except this one time, even though I AM an OTTB person) since i know her views, and know that she dislikes all the OTTB bull that appears here in her blog. We all have preferences, and even though some OTTBs are amazing gait wise and sound, willing, not-retarded, etc....a helluva lot ARE NOT those things.

Window shopping is pretty much my favorite thing to do, as a college student you know, I waste most my time online. I LOVE, but you've probably heard of it before.

And breeding Gogo? i think it'd be really difficult to get a bad one out of her. The bad ones I normally see are from backyard rednecks who have a stallion and a mare and put two and two together...literally. And what do you get? A foal featured on Fugly. While Klein and Gogo would make a serious legit baby...sadface for being both mares.

I can attest from experience that WIndfall is a solid stallion and one of my most favorite horses to deal with of all time. He makes some hawt babies, and despite his know...those two would probably also make one hawt baby. If you have 2K laying around.

Wow...essay, sorry!

Andrea said...

Lol Net, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because you've probably never heard me prattle on about why I don't like OTTBs. My opinions on it are biased and rile everybody up when I start going on about it, so I'll just leave it at this: I'm not into them. Started too young, worked too hard too fast too early... too much of a chance of a broken mind or a broken body. Or a chance at a broken body not too far down the road. American TBs are not bred for soundness or longevity anymore. Not to mention they can be really, REALLY REALLY REALLY hot. There are some nice ones out there, I'm pretty sure, but I'm just not a hot horse kind of person.

I think I was nice that time, no? ;)

Andrea said...

Kristen, LOL.... that is the PERFECT idea!

Dressager said...

You could always keep an eye on the rescue groups too. There are DEFINITELY some diamonds in the rough there!

Dressager said...

Oh, and thanks for the mention at the top of your blog ;)

Andrea said...

LOL Bre that's been there for like 2 months!

Net said...

Perfectly reasonable reasons! I love my OTTB... and never thought I'd get one... and find it unlikely I'll get another. There are pluses and minuses, and the VERY early training and very HARD early training are a huge negative. The fact my vet was shocked my horse had ever raced based upon his legs is enough to say - yeah, most ex racers will have a tendency toward problems.

Either I haven't been following the blog long enough or the rants have been in comments I haven't read, since I read your blog on google reader - I was definitely not trying to stir anything up. :)

Jo Belasco said...

Mustangs, an amazing breed. Plain and simple. You don't need to stumble upon a good one. There are many, many fantastic ones to choose from. I have a yearling who jumped a 3.5 foot fence from a standstill. Hence, the reason you need 6 foot high panels if you adopt a Mustang over a year old. I have many of them, I've gentled them and trained them. Amazing spirits, amazing ability.

Anonymous said...

You're basically looking for the same thing I am! On pretty much the same budget. Except I think I've found mine, but I have made some compromises along the way...but you didn't hear that she's an OTTB. ;) Maybe I'm stupid for the compromises I might be making, I don't know? Horse shopping on a budget is way too hard...
As to backyard horses-mine is one! But I think I got really lucky. Nice compact, solid conformation with good bone, althletic as heck, can jump the moon, okay gaits, unusual color. Little guy with maybe some temperament compromise though. heh.
Anyways, good luck with the horse shopping! You may be glad you started early...

Net said...

Oh, and to chime in on mustangs - I worked with an AWESOME one! He was a pony (I'm only 5'1", he was a good size for me) and he was a kids' horse. I was riding him in between their rides for schooling, but he never really had any spoiled moments he needed working out of. I think he had evented through training with his previous rider, and was being a good pony club packer for the kids who had him - at 7 years old, I think. Despite being a pony, he could MOVE, too!

Michaela said...

The natural selection thing does seem to play a huge role in soundness, understandably. I mean look at all the TBs who are notorious for having crap feet. Occasionally you'll find one with rock crunchers, but the majority bred for racing fall apart because they are selected for speed, not durability.
I frequently look at all the pretty mustangs on the BLM's internet adoption list. I fell in love with this pretty little sabino mare: Someone snatched her up for $125. She not only looks built for a lifetime of soundness, but she is a funky color on top of that. Like you, I'm a sucker for the cool colors :-)
Captive mustangs are mostly easy keepers too that don't even require that much food.

achieve1dream said...

Window shopping is fun. When you get down to the nitty gritty it gets a little stressful, but so worth it in the end. I'm excited that we will get to follow along with the process with you over the next year. :D

If I could find a 16hh Mustang gelding/stallion I would snatch him up in a heartbeat!!! They are such gorgeous horses and definitely built to last. That would be really awesome if you ended up with one. :) Good luck with your search!