When to buy your "Dream horse"
Hello all and a Merry Christmas to everyone!
I'm in a bit of a pickle. First let me start by saying that I've loved horses since I could walk/talk, and have owned 5 total in the past that I no longer have for various reasons. (all are still alive and happy, however). I have been riding for 14 years and have been in love with Thoroughbreds since as long as I can remember. The breed is so intelligent and majestic. I feel they have such a combination of athleticism as well as poetry. I love jumping and enjoying showing, but at the same time I very much enjoy trail riding and just enjoying time with my horse. I'm currently riding at a barn where I ride several breeds and help train a few.
Now here is my problem. All in all it is a wonderful problem to have, but none the less does not help me make a decision. As a Christmas gift, I have been given enough money to purchase my dream horse. My dream horse has always been a 16+ hh Thoroughbred that had that "wow" factor and was either already trained in jumping or had incredible potential. I wanted to take this horse to shows and ride on the trail and just have everything I wanted in temperment and personality. I am one of those people that believes in love at first sight and believe that when I find him, I'll know that moment. It has happened before for me, but the timing just wasn't right to buy the horse I fell for. (Mostly financial).
However, lately the lack of owning my own special someone has really gotten to me. I'm dying to have my own best friend (cuz everyone knows a horse is a girl's best friend). I have been working with a 14.2 hh blood bay Arab who is, quite frankly, amazing. She is soooo sweet, isn't at ALL "Arab-ish" let alone mare-ish. She has amazing movements and is close to everything I want minus one thing: she isn't an exceptional jumper and she isn't a TB. Her owner has agreed that I could purchase her for what is actually a steal of a price. But being a working girl, I could never afford two horses on the salary I make.
So my question is: when do you find your dream horse? I have gone back and forth between getting her and not. I've worked with her for over a year. She was rotting away in pasture and I helped bring her to where she is today. She by far has that wow factor, even the judges noticed that and we took first and seconds in all our classes in the October show we went to. (we didn't do any jumping classes, only flat work). It was her second show ever, and she acted like she'd done it a billion times. I adore her. I thought another woman was going to buy her recently, and freaked out because I didn't want to lose her. But at the same time, can I honestly say she is my dream beyond all dream horse that I've always pictured in my head? No. She isn't my talented jumper, she isn't 16 hh and she, more importantly, isn't the TB breed that I know and love. (She is also a little bit older than I'd like).
While I'm not in a hurry to buy, I have been trying to find that TB of mine for months, mostly just wondering if he was out there. I have yet to find the one, or anything that catches my eye is way out of budget. While I won't be on this salary forever and someday can own two horses, it won't be anytime soon. So what would you do? I almost feel like I'm "settling" for less than I want. But it could be years before I find The One.
Please, any advice would be very, VERY helpful as I don't want to make the wrong choice either way. I'd hate to buy her and then find the one, or not buy her, and wait around for 5 years before finding my TB.
(I've attached a pic of the Arab that I took last April)
Hmm that's a tuffy. You could get the Arab then trade or sell her towards the dream horse.
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You know. You limit yourself a lot when you...well, put limits on your dreams. I can't go out with him because he drives a ford an I am an all Chevy girl. I can't save that Labrador from the shelter because he isn't a foxhound. I can't do this because of that. I love my breed with all my heart, but if THAT horse came into my life I would look past breed.
If you are dying for a friend, get your Arab and keep saving for for dream athlete. Have fun and enjoy being in the life and build your money back up for that competition horse.
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You might find that that Arab IS your dream horse and you just don't know it yet. :wink:
That's what happened to me.
I wasn't really prepared, at all, to own a horse but an older friend of mine had found "my horse" and offered to pay her expenses until I could myself (not a great initial choice but we're past that now).
Anyway, I had adored Arabs when I was a little girl (what little girl doesn't?) but had moved on to wanting either an appendix or an Appy for my first horse.
I wanted my horse to be young enough to have lots of years left but old enough to be really broke (I was thinking 15ish, tops), super broke, safe, you know the deal.
I met "my" mare and something about her "did it" for me. She was a gray Arab mare, 23 years old, barely green broke, had been retired for 12 years after a serious accident with a rider...basically everything a new horse owner should NOT get for a first horse.
But I took her home and now, 4.5 years later, I cannot even describe to you in words how much she means to me. She's nearly 28 now and my best friend.
It took a few years to get her trained but now she's trained pretty much exactly how I want. There are a few things she can't/doesn't do, but in everything she tries her heart out for me.
This last spring, she went mostly blind and I thought that was going to end us. But it didn't! She's playing to stay and she's doing a great job. Then, in the fall, she partially tore a suspensory in her leg and again, I thought we were done. But NO! She's now sound again and we're going to try riding again next May.
I remember though that during the first year or so of "us", I was pretty sure one of us was going to be killed by the other. She was basically nuts and I had nowhere near the skill level needed to deal with her. Now she's so steady and reliable, I can't even imagine feeling that way.
Sure, she does have "Sass Master" days where she tries my patience something awful BUT then I look in her eyes and see the glint that says she's trying to get me to sass her back...those are things my heart holds dear.
ANYWAY, bottom line: like LadyDreamer said, don't limit your dreams. You never know what you might become with this mare.
I certainly had no idea of how much being an "us" on that much of a soul level would change me!
I have to agree with Wallaby - your dream horse may not be what you expect. Misty was my dream horse and every day without her kills me. I didn't know she was my dream horse at first - it took me a while to realise it!
You have to decide which is more important, your desire to have the 'perfect' horse of your dreams, or the real, live animal standing in front of you.
Love is all about compromise. My heart horse was bred for the performance show ring. We showed for a good 6 years until I stopped making him do something he absolutely loathed. Switched over to trail riding, and I got more joy out of him finding his true calling and what made him happy, than any stupid ribbons ever did.
The fact of the matter is, even IF you find this supposed 'perfect' horse there's no guarantee he'll stay sound or even WANT to arena jump. What if he gets broken, and has to be retired early? Are you going to discard him in the hopes of finding ANOTHER 'perfect' horse?
You have to decide which is more important to you; the actual animals or what you want to do.
Its really tricky because while you have this dream horse in your head... it doesn't mean that you'll find it.
Yeah ideally a lovely Thoroughbred who is athletic and great and competition but really quiet on trails would be good - but practically everyone's dream horse is like that. Talented but quiet, good natured and attractive. In reality though, these horses are so hard to find. And even when you think you've found one you don't really know until you bring it home and ride it for a month and see what happens.
I think you'll find this an especially noticeable problem with TBs as there are many around who are lovely looking but have hidden personality or training faults.
If you've got a horse that you really like, and it makes you happy, I'd go for that, because you don't know when you're going to find it again. But if you're always going to be settling for a horse you didn't want you won't be happy.
I used to love Thoroughbreds. They were my favourite breed and I thought they were best. When I finally got one it was great. For a while. He was very handsome, well trained and the disciplines I did and we seemed to get along well. All in all, even in retrospect, he is what I and others would call a good Thoroughbred. Although as time went by I had problems which were generally ones that many people seem to encounter with TBs. On a cross country course or in open fields he could be so strong and just want to run, he'd get worked up easily and it would be hard to keep his focus once he was like that. I'd spend half my time at competitions trying to bring him back to me, to get his mind on work. He wasn't bad tempered but you could kind of tell that he hadn't been bred for his lovely temperament (many TBs aren't) and he wasn't that people focussed. I just got sick of fighting his natural instincts.
After that, and experiences with other TBs, I realised that there were many better riding horses out there that were bred with temperament and ability in mind, at least vaguely purpose bred for what I want. And there are some very attractive ones out there as well.
So I don't know. I tend to feel that perhaps your "dream" is something you'll never find because no horse is perfect. Don't rush into anything, look around but be critical and analytical. Be sure you're not going after the majestic idea of something rather than the thing itself.
Some great advice here-my thoughts-a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
We tend to regret what we didn't do more than what we did do.
The jumping seems to be the sticking point. What do you new that you're looking for an "exceptional" jumper? Are you trying to do 6 foot courses or 3 foot courses? Are you sure it's just not a matter of training the Arab to jump?
Personally I'm kind of the opposite of you :) I love Arabs!
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