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VaticanVice 03-11-2013 01:28 AM

How long was your search?
I'm in the market for my "first" horse. :D

I'm an advanced beginner/intermediate rider--I have six years of eventing experience, but it's been five or so years since I rode consistently. The understanding is there, but I freely admit that I'm still relearning good habits. Back then, I leased a QH mare, and right now I'm semi-regularly riding a Gypsy Drum gelding. Recently, I got my finances in order, took a long look at my savings, and decided that I was in a good place to seriously enter the horse market.

And by "recently," I mean "six months ago."

I admit that I have a list of things I don't want to compromise on: I'm in a medieval equestrian reenactment troupe, and I would like something that looks the part of a Viking pony. I'm short, and I want something lower to the ground, but it needs to be tall enough for me to perform on (nothing below 14hh, and I prefer under 16hh, but if I find the perfect 18.1 hand Clyde I won't turn him down). Fjords and Icelandics (and lately, Haflingers) have been getting special consideration from me, along with any draft breed or even anything that "looks" drafty. And of course, I need something suited to my experience level, and forgiving enough for me to get back into practice.

My purchase budget is actually pretty high. In this market, it could buy me a fine QH or paint, but that's just not what I want right now. There's nothing wrong with those breeds, but simply because of what I do, and because of the horses it'll be on the field with, my horse needs to stand out in a crowd.

I tell myself I shouldn't be so picky, but I know I can only afford to keep one horse right now--shouldn't it be the right one?

What have your experiences been with searching for "the Horse?" That mystical capital-H animal that captures your heart and soul and is just perfect for what you want? How long should it take? Am I limiting myself too much?

TL;DR - Horse search feels like it's taking a loooooo-hong time. How long was yours?

WSArabians 03-11-2013 12:19 PM

Years.... And even then you could start all over as you change and grow.

Shenee 03-11-2013 12:32 PM

It took me around 6-12months maybe a tad longer for me too find the right one... I just wanted something too learn on as im a beginner and found the perfect boy even though he is only three he is absolutely perfect! I have a standy which is really what i wasnt expecting but it was really meant too be i've owned him 3wks now :)
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FlyGap 03-15-2013 10:28 AM

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Been looking for over 3 years for the "perfect" horse... I have two geldings that I "settled" on. One I've done a great service and had him well trained and I've put tons of time in him, when Mr. Right comes along he will have to go. Until then we get along well but I'm still looking and looking.

Good Luck!!!

PilatesGal 03-15-2013 10:33 AM

I had my eye out for a horse for about a year, but only seriously searched for about 2 months. I had my heart set on a big Canadian or draft cross (I LOVE anything "drafty" as well) but ended up losing my heart to a little 15hh QH. Not even remotely what I was looking for in terms of looks, but exactly what I wanted in terms of temperment. Everyone said to me "you'll know when you know" and booya - they were right! Took me a while to click in, though. We looked at him for my daughter and I spent a couple of hours trying to talk her in to choosing him. Oops ... I think I was projecting a little ;-)

DancingArabian 03-15-2013 11:00 AM

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I think the more specific you are can make it harder, even more if you're in an area that doesn't have too many of those.

Within 5 minutes of meeting my horse, I knew I would buy him one day. Then I did. I got lucky because while I was pretty specific, I was working at a niche horse farm that just happened to buy/sell/train the kind of horse I was after.
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Hang on Fi 03-15-2013 11:07 AM

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It took me two almost three years after I lost my mare and a loss over $6.5k between two horses to finally find Fiona... Who was half-way across the US mind you. Fortunately my hubby must've felt something, because when the initial deal fell through (Fi was sold when I contacted her owner) and she became available... He flew us both out two days later to go see her.

You'll know when "your" horse comes across your path. You just know it :)

beverleyy 03-16-2013 09:21 PM

When I got my pony at 13 I wasn't even looking. So that doesn't count, even though she's still with me nearly 10 years later. My TB took me a solid 2-3 years of searching and giving up and searching again many times before I finally found her add. I saw my mare's add on a local website. I had given up searching at that point, clicked on her add mostly out of boredom, no pictures were posted and not a lot of information given, and she was listed for a 2 day a week lease. Somehow I knew she was the one, so later that week I went to see her. I fell in love with her the minute I pulled in the driveway. I rode her (her 5th ride ever), and just knew it was right. A week later I wound up buying her:lol:

I agree, that while you can't bee TOO picky, you have every right to be picky in order to find that perfect horse. Just keep an open mind, which it seems as if you are doing already. I certainly wasn't looking for a barely started 17.3h moose, but that's what I ended up with, and I couldn't be happier. Horse shopping is annoying. It's not something I enjoy. For me, I can't just have a list of what I need in a horse and buy the first one that fits that criteria. I have to have an immediate bond with that horse. Within minutes of meeting I just "know" it's the right one. That being said, don't bend your criteria so much that you won't be happy with your end product. It'll happen when it happens. It's annoying, but well worth the wait.

FaithCat 03-17-2013 01:01 PM

I was lucky. It only took me about 2 months to find my Sailor :)

DraftyAiresMum 03-17-2013 01:59 PM

I kind of fell into my boy. I was at the barn I bought Aires at, checking it out with my best friend as she had just moved her mare there. She mentioned that they did leases there and that I should look into it (I had previously worked at a friend's barn and "free leased" a gelding from her that I loved, but she got rid of him suddenly...long story). So, we start talking to the BO and I'm telling him my horse experience and he says "Well, would you rather lease or buy?" I said I'd much rather buy, but I couldn't take the initial hit of buying a horse. His answer was "What if you could make payments?" Of course I could afford one, then. So then he asks if I prefer geldings or mares. I said geldings and he goes "I probably shouldn't do this, but come with me." He takes us out to this stall with a loud black and white pinto horse in it. He starts telling me about "Charlie Horse." He was two, still a stud colt (but he'd be gelded as part of the purchase contract), he was a paint cross (later found out he's Percheron/paint), and he hasn't been handled in six months. He wanted $1600 for him, which included his gelding, having his feet done by my farrier once and 30 days of training by the BO (he's an old school cowboy who's been breaking out horses for 30+ years). He gave me a copy of his baby picture and gave me 24 hours to make my decision. A lot of talking with my bed friend that night, and I signed the papers to purchase him at $100 a month (on top of my $250 a month board). I finally paid him off last September.
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