I am keeping busy with clients and am pretty tired at the end of every day, which is good. As I was working on a new client mare, I thought to myself, "you know... if it weren't for Gogo, I'd never be doing this." I felt a surge of gratitude towards her in that moment, and will carry that with me through my career. I have her to thank for all of this... for getting started with barefoot horses, for taking this up as a career, for bringing me here to Texas to Future Hubs. Thank you, my sweet Mama. You don't know how much you changed me.
Wherever Gogo is now, I bet she's happy, fat, sound, and in charge. Future Hubs and I were joking that Gogo is now up in Horsey Heaven somwhere, barging in on Metro and Quincy peacefully sharing some pasture going, "There's a new Queen in town... that's Mama's food now, ya'll better move the F over!!" My poor boys must be cowering in a corner going, "what was Mom thinking with THIS one?" Oh Gogo. Forever the Marest of them all.
I've been enjoying living vicariously through all my friends and the blogging community over the past year, watching everyone heading off to shows and trail riding and enjoying hacks and adventures and everything inbetween, and sitting out without complaint because I had my Gogo to take care of and having her around was worth not riding. Now, however, it is slowly dawning on me that soon I might be able to partake in all those things again. I might be able to gallop in a big field, and ride a perfect dressage test, and go for a swim, and power through a tough XC course. It's been so long since I did any of those things.... last time I jumped an XC jump was over two years ago. Can you believe that? I hardly can!
With that in mind, I made a vague list of what I want to be looking for in my next horse. I've tentatively started the search just to give myself something to do - it was immensely therapeutic when Metro died, and it is definitely just as much fun now as it ever was - and I think I have a basic outline of what I am looking for:
1) Between ages of 2-9... prospect or trained…. U/S or not, O/F or not, depending on age/price/experience... specifically for EVENTING
2) Excellent conformation, lightly built but with good bone
3) Breed not important – aptitude important! Something ideal: ½ WB ½ TB... but ANY breed will do if it meets all other criteria!
4) Mare... not gelding unless a special one comes along!
5) Something I can keep barefoot if at all possible!
6) Something that will also do dressage/trail/fun/driving/whatever… all-around fun!
7) Between 15.3-17.0... slight height differences OK if the right horse
8) NO lameness/serious blemish issues... NO maintenance... NO history of major medical problems
9) NO VICES
10) Bold, relatively forward, alpha-type attitude... not spooky or insecure
11) NOT lazy and NOT hot! Right in the middle!
12) 3 GOOD gaits – pure walk, a trot with reach, uphill canter... and a NICE jump
Unfortunately when I sit back and looked at it, basically the horse I want is Gogo. My criteria are essentially the same now as when I went out looking for her (versus when I went out looking for Metro). I want something nice, and I want something I can win on. Let's face it though, my butt ain't going to Rolex ever in my life, and that's fine by me! I want to go Prelim or potentially a little further IF I had the right horse someday. But at 26, eventing is a hobby I have as an adult ammy and that is the way it will stay. My professional life with horses has nothing to do with riding and training and that's how I like it! I never want to HAVE to get on when I don't feel like it. I want something talented that I can win on but I don't need to buy something that should be in the hands of a more talented rider than I. Even more than my desire to show and do well is my desire to own something that can do all the goofy things that I have always done with all my horses: swimming, trail riding, going through the drive-through window at the local fast food place, bareback jaunts, dabbling in other disciplines, you name it. All things to keep in mind.
It needs to move well and jump well and be sound. It needs to be built to last. It needs to have an awesome, comical, brash personality. It needs to NOT have any vices or annoying little tics that I hate so very much... from the blatantly irritating (cribbing, weaving, obsessive pawing, etc) to the get-under-my-own-personal-pet-peeved-out-skin annoying (chewing on crossties, raking teeth on the wall, pacing the fence, tongue chewing, etc). Most of the reason that I want a mare is because I find a lot of bolder-type geldings completely annoying... for god's sake horse, give me back the halter, stop letting yourself out of the pasture, and keep your mouth to YOURSELF! There are some habits I can fix, like nastiness at mealtime or poor ground manners, and then there are some that I cannot.
I also want to continue on this journey barefoot and/or using alternative footware (glue-ons, boots, etc). Not only is this in line with my beliefs and experiences, but it also promotes my business ;) And continues to get the word out!
Here's just a sneak preview of two of my interesting finds...
3 year old Trakehner gelding with about 25 rides on him, just backed in August. Rode to the trainers with a riding lawnmower in the back of the trailer - and they had to start it IN the trailer to unload it and he didn't care! Already has been to the beach, jumped over small fences in the arena AND logs/ditches/water, and can w/t/c... I don't think Gogo could even STEER at 25 rides! Video of him first time over fences here. The boy can MOVE... AND he can JUMP! Mostly I just love this face.... he has Metro's eye:
He's obviously a bit weedy looking in these pictures - he's just three and growing! - but I think he's going to fill out to be a GOOD looking horse.
2 year old Holsteiner/ISH mare. All I can say about that jump is DANG. See her moving and jumping here. Definitely not sure that I deserve or need that much talent! I had also hoped to find something under saddle, but I would never EVER be able to afford a horse like this if she was already started. She's described as "smart, athletic, and curious," with "great feet, conformation, and mind." That's what I like to hear!
There's more where that came from... stay tuned ;) Gogo has some HUGE hooves to fill.... I gotta find something that would make her proud after all!