Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Parts 2 and 3: The Search and The Reaping

This is where the fun begins! 

Googling through all those different websites, combing through the ads looking for those diamonds in the rough, the potential partners, the good legs, the cute noses, the flagged tails, and more, all the while trying to decide if this one, or maybe THIS one, will do.

I tend to check several different websites, opening new tabs for any ad that may even seem to have what I'm looking for.  Since my list is more vague on search engine specifics like breed, age, height, etc., I would simply put in general stuff, most importantly the budget, then go from there.

With this type of searching, you see a whole TON of different types of horses, but because of where I live, it's mostly a lot of ranch bred quarter horses with a few friesians and tb's mixed in.  Sometimes you'll hit on a warmblood, or you'll find an ad for a sport horse breeding farm, but those would generally be getting into the upper ends of the budget (but always fun to look at and drool over).

Once I have a ton of tabs open, I'll go through and really look at them, see if they fit the criteria of part 1.  If they don't, tab is closed!  If they do, it stays open for more rounds of reaping.  Once these tabs are refined down to a manageable amount, that's when I start contacting sellers for more information.  Usually about half of them will come back stating either horse is sold, horse is no longer for sale, or horse is out on trial until next month.  The ones on trial will be put on the back burner if they're really quite special, but if not, tab is closed.  Depending on what the owner tells me, we move on to part 4....

The Test Ride

*cue ominous music*

Monday, 26 March 2012

Here we go! Horse shopping part 1: The Prep

Sorry for my absence, I've been off on course for a few weeks, and busy with home things as well.  I've been looking into buying a new horse, but of course trying to find the 'perfect' horse that suits my needs yet fits in the budget is comparable to the search for the holy grail!

I've broken down my process into a few steps:

1) The Prep
2) The Search
3) The Reaping
4) The Test Ride

Because of where I live, it's extremely difficult to go and try horses, so they must pass these steps before I can actually go out and try them.  This post is all about the prep!

The Prep:

What I did this time around was go create a list of words that would describe EXACTLY what I was looking for, no matter how strange, specific, or out there.  During this phase I really needed to be honest with myself as to what I want and what I can handle myself since up here it is very difficult to get instruction in english riding, let alone specific to eventing.  Once the list was made, the words were set into priorities from Needs, Wants, and Would Likes. 

Then the fun began with search...

Stay tuned!

Saturday, 17 March 2012


I am now officially horse-less. 

I didn't think it was going to be as tough as it was, putting Celtic on the trailer and watching her go, but as she always did, when we were closing the door she was looking back at us with her adorable face, ears perked.  I knew she always did this no matter what, but it still pulled at the heart strings to see her packed up and gone. 

I know it's for the best, but didn't make it easy.

Am heading down to the big city this week for some courses and am setting up a couple test rides for a few horses I have heard of through friends.  I think it's kind of neat since I haven't actually seen the horses yet, only heard from several different sources about their way of going and personality.  I'm not looking for something with bucket loads of talent, but something that I can ride/work with and get along with now. 
Here's hoping the search goes well, and stays within budget!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Selling and Searching

Things are going alright now after the decision to sell Celtic.  I haven't done much to advertise her yet as one of the girls I work with may be interested in her.  She's ridden arabians and arabian crosses before, plus enjoys a bit of speed and spunk.  She's mainly a recreational rider who may run the barrels or poles a time or two at our local rodeo during the summer.  I think this match may work since she doesn't do much with contact or fuss over how her horse carries the bit, etc. which is where Celtic and I get into most of our battles.  She likes doing obstacles and hacking out, which is the exact same as Celtic.  They're planning on coming to try her on Sunday, so fingers crossed!  They are a good family, and if they have any questions, I see her every day at work :)

I'm excited about the possibility of something new, but really, who isn't?!  Luckily, this time around I have some equestrian friends in the area who are completely willing to come out with me to see possible ponies and to rip the rose-tinted glasses off if need be :)
There's also the chance of my very closest friend to fly up for a bit and come with!  This is just so exciting in and of itself because I haven't physically SEEN her since August.  Living provinces apart and lack of extra funds puts a kink in travelling, but she may be able to swing it come around easter time.  For her to be around while horse shopping?  BONUS!!!

Now, with the actual search, I'm looking at one horse in particular that I had passed on back in November.  I know EXACTLY why I passed on him, but in retrospect with what happened with Celtic, he wasn't a bad choice since he had some things that I could handle training (essentially just needed some sacking-out on the ground), unlike Celtic's issues.  I am going to go out and try him again, and since he's at a sport horse breeding farm, I'll likely try a few of his half-brothers.  I'm really trying to stay away from mares, but with my price range it seems that all that is for sale that fit into what I want are mares!

If anyone knows of a nice gelding for sale that can go up to Training level in western Canada, give me a shout :)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fear and Tough Decisions

I haven't been posting lately because I've been doing a lot of thinking about Celtic, and what I really want to do with my riding.  I'm not sure if the magnitude of our problems have been really aired on here, but I guess I'll get it out now just to get it out. 

Celtic and I have been having some major issues with contact, going forward, halting, relaxing, almost everything under saddle.  I pretty sure it's a mixture of her and I not really knowing each other, and me not being as sensitive a rider as she needs right now in her training.  Along with this, on this past Sunday I did a trailer school with her where I got crushed into the side of the trailer while she was pulling back on the trailer tie.  For some reason the panic snap didn't undo, so she swung into me, bashing me into the side of the trailer.  This happened twice in rapid succession.  I was alright, just squashed, and worked on getting her relaxed on the trailer and left her on three successful tie-and-closed in the trailer with no pulling or pawing, but once I got home the realizations hit me hard.  I had severe pain throughout my back where I hit the wall and divider, along with at the base of my neck.  I still get twinges today along the top of my shoulders, and the skin along my scalp is tight and when I move my eyebrows, it hurts (strange, I know). 

After Sunday, I dragged (not good...) myself to the barn to do a simple ride on her to see what's going on, I guess kind of like a final ride.  I rode some simple walk-trot work, and it was ok, but not what I wanted.  She wasn't consistent in my hand, and she threatened to buck at one point.  After that ride I realized that she isn't what I want right now, she doesn't fit my needs.  Yes, she's awesome going over fences, really locks on and goes, but I want to be able to school dressage movements sometimes, along with not having to worry about the trip home from the arena, dreading loading up at the beginning and end of each ride. 

I've come to the tough decision to sell Celtic.  I've offered her back to her previous owner if she wants her, and the previous trainer who worked with her over the summer months.  If neither of them are interested, she'll be put up for sale to the public.  She's a nice mare, just not for me.  I'm hoping we'll find someone that can ride her the way she needs now to realyl bring out her full potential because she is going to be quite a competitor once she's finished :)