Horse Hunting

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Horse Hunting

Post by Kym » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:28 am

Ooohh goody, a Yarns Section!

Horse Hunting

Well, I sure learned a lot this week. I have been horse crazy my whole life (although I haven’t ridden for many years) but I must be going through some sort of mid-life crisis at the moment because I decided, ‘what the heck, I wanna get me a horse to ride’.

Yes, I already have three in the paddock. One is very old, one has a bad back and one is a miniature pony so I would just squash her like a pancake if I sat on her. The only answer is - buy another horse.

I know the general perception is that as we get older, we get wiser, but I have my doubts about that. I know that I am certainly more paranoid than I used to be and definitely have a more overwhelming sense of self preservation these days. I questioned whether there was much wisdom in getting back in the saddle at my age since I don’t bounce well any more and I don’t like pain. Unfortunately, once I get an idea in my head, I’m like a bull at a gate, but I wasn’t going to gallop out and to buy the first horse I came across either.

I spent hours searching through horses-for-sale internet sites and reading local newspaper ads. I spent hours phoning to ask the owners hard questions like, ‘will your horse scare an old girl like me?’ and thankfully, many of them were decent enough to admit their horse was not the horse for me.

I drove many kilometres to remote places down pot-holed, corrugated dirt back roads to look at the horses that had passed the phone interrogation, and this is where the learning process really began. Are you ready for a light-bulb moment? Ads are not always accurate or honest!!!

When an ad says ‘not for beginners’ what they really mean is ‘not for any rider at all actually’ and ‘experienced rider only’ means ‘would be advantageous to have stunt-person qualifications’ while ‘elevated movement’ is just a glamorous way of saying ‘terrific rodeo bronc’. ‘Genuine reason for sale’ means ‘owner currently in traction but should walk again soon’. Apparently “Bucky” was named after a personality trait, not because he had protruding teeth.

Not all horses were too fast moving for me though. One described as ‘more whoa than go’ was true. I kicked until my legs were about to fall off and only managed to get him into a very resentful walk and his wicked ears and flared nostrils served as a warning not to ask for any more action that that. My legs were still aching two days later.
‘Experienced jumper’ means he can Houdini out of any paddock, barbed or electric. The list goes on - ‘easy to worm’ (when hog-tied and sedated), ‘bombproof’ (just don’t press the wrong button), ‘good at everything’ (bites, bolts, bucks and boots), ‘easy to catch’ (if you’ve got all day or a tranquiliser gun), ‘easy to load’ (if you have a 3 tonne crane and an open topped float). I learned to read between the lines. It’s what the sellers DON’T say that buyers need to know!

The horse described as having a ‘fine build’, I could only describe as ‘bony and very hungry looking’, whereas Hubbie would say ‘skin full of soup bones’. The mare described as ‘good doer’, certainly was. The owner couldn’t even do ‘er girth up!

I learned that the cheapest horses are the big fellows straight off the track. $500 will get a lovely big thoroughbred, but they still think the whole world is one big race track. Not for me. I like horses with brakes and steering! If the owner wouldn’t even get on for the first ride, I just got back in the car and politely waved goodbye. I don’t want to be used as a crash-test dummy.

So I decided, for peace of mind (and no ambulance rides), I would be prepared to fork out the big bucks for a well educated horse. I found that $X,000 will buy a ‘school master’. I drooled over a stunning 17.3hh warmblood with beautiful conformation, impeccable manners and all the bells and whistles (if you know the correct leg aids that he has been trained to respond to). Oh yes, this lovely Hanoverian knows fancy-schmancy moves like half steps leading to Piaffe, Canter Pirouettes, 4 time tempis, etc. What’s that, you ask? I dunno either! Back when I was in pony club, we had ‘kick’ for go and ‘pull’ for stop, so my cowboy style of riding would probably say to him ‘buck in a triple twist backwards pike, then trample on my face’.

POA does not mean Price On Application. It means Posh, Overpriced and Awfully expensive. I knew that, but I still made the mistake of ringing up to ask and almost choked on my own tongue. $85,000 for a 17 year old horse?!?!?! I could buy a top of the range Lexus for that with air conditioning and airbags!

And don’t be deceived by pretty photos with the ad. I was quite interested in the photo of a lovely big bay mare and rang to ask what she was like to ride. The man said, ‘oh we don’t ride her, she’s just a brood mare’, so I said, ‘but you’re riding her in the photo’, and he said ‘she was only 4 years old then’, and I said, ‘but the ad says she’s 18 years old’, and he said, ‘yeah’, and I said, ‘so the photo is 14 years old?’ and he said ‘yeah’, then he added, ‘and she’s blind in one eye, but we forgot to put that in the ad too’. True story!

So are you wondering - after all this searching for a 16+hh warmblood or thoroughbred in Queensland, what did I end up buying? Somehow, and I still can’t figure out how this actually happened, but somehow I accidentally bought a teeny weeny 8hh (yes, that’s 32” high) palomino paint miniature horse mare from NSW! I’d like to introduce “Storybook Vanity Fair” - isn’t she beautiful? No, I can’t ride her, but I get a thrill out of just looking at her cos she’s just soooo pretty and my grandson will love her too.

Now you are wondering - if I bought a midget horse that only a monkey could ride, what horse I am using for my Friday ride with my neighbour? Well, I dragged my old chestnut gelding (who had been happily thriving on neglect) out of retirement. I combed the dreadlocks out of his mane, brushed the ½” layer of cobblers pegs off him, shampooed, conditioned, trimmed, and voilaaaa - he was still an old horse, but he certainly smelled better.

Outlaw hasn’t been ridden for donkey’s years, but I scrambled up on my stepladder, leapt unceremoniously across into the saddle and he was an absolute gentleman! I was relieved to hear that his spine didn’t make Velcro-ripping noises and his rusty joints didn’t squeak. Actually, he really enjoyed the outing and was full of beans and steamed up the hill ahead of the other horses! He proved that he didn’t think he was as old as I thought he was, by trying to throw in a playful but arthritic pigroot on the way home (but the lady behind me said he only actually got his hooves about 2 inches off the ground). For an old boy, he sure was acting like he was still a young fellow. He obviously hasn’t reached his use-by date yet so perhaps I won’t pension him off quite so soon!

So, that was a really long-winded story to tell you that I bought a horse I didn’t need, I didn’t buy a horse I really wanted and rediscovered a horse I already had. I don’t need a fancy-schmancy ballerina/school master and a hole in my pocket, when I’ve got a faithful old Outlaw! But I sure learned a lot along the way and geez, it felt good to be back in the saddle! :D

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Maureen K Clifford
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Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast

Re: Horse Hunting

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:25 am

Good on you Kym - happy you have worked out a deal with Outlaw - if you don't ride him into the ground I reckon he will serve you well for many years and enjoy doing so....does all us oldies good to get out of the paddock now and then. Great yarn


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I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

David J Delaney

Re: Horse Hunting

Post by David J Delaney » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:34 pm

only you, Kym, could write something like this & might I add most enjoyable. :D


Re: Horse Hunting

Post by Heather » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:13 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed the ride thanks Kym.


Jasper Brush

Re: Horse Hunting

Post by Jasper Brush » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:15 pm

G'day, Kym.

Well, your one lady that knows your horses. :D

And your one lady that loves horses. :D

Enjoyed the lot. :D

You write well.


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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:02 pm
Location: Bargara, Queensland.

Re: Horse Hunting

Post by thestoryteller » Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:48 pm

An enjoyable read.

Some days your the pidgeon and other days the statue.

Bob Pacey
Posts: 7463
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:18 am
Location: Yeppoon

Re: Horse Hunting

Post by Bob Pacey » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:48 pm

no one and I mean NO ONE could have told this story like Kim.

The purpose in life is to have fun.
After you grasp that everything else seems insignificant !!!

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