First off, I am laughing at that old picture above. You know why I have a death grip on the lead line? Because she literally would NOT stand still… She would just try and drag you around. Oh May. <3
As a result of… a lot of drama in September, I now know more than one person who is unexpectedly horse shopping. What does it mean for the average person to be unexpectedly horse shopping? It means a low budget, practically no time, and the understanding that this is going to be a purchase and then train type of situation.
I would love to have been one of those people that can follow the adage of “Buy something that is already doing what you want to do,” but for many of us, that is RARELY an option. Instead, it falls into more of “buy something that seems like it might want to do the same thing you want to do and train it.”
Do you know if a horse is going to be a good XC horse by trotting it around an arena? Nope. Do I have any idea how much of being a good XC horse is nature vs. nurture? No clue.
So apparently, I have a different view when horse shopping than most people. When I purchased May, it was with the intention of “having a fun project”. Did I think I would own her almost five years later? No. Not really.
When you buy an inexpensive, green, off-type horse, you are taking a pretty big gamble on whether or not that horse will turn into what you really want. Also, that horse might be the right horse until you get to Novice, but when you want to move beyond that, you find you just aren’t sitting on enough talent/ability/bravery etc to make that next step.
As a result, I tend to approach all horses I have ever tried (because I have never had more than a low four figure budget), as a project. May was a project that needed to learn how to steer, but we didn’t really know if she would enjoy eventing. Four and a half years later, I think it is pretty fair to say she is staying.
I wish I had bought my first horse with this mentality. I really do think it would have saved me a lot of grief. He was supposed to be my #Hearthorse that I kept forever. In reality, I ended up just making us both miserable by trying to make the wrong thing work.
So what about you? Do you look at the purchase of a green horse as a potential project that you may or may not keep? Or are you always looking for your next dream horse?