Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Perfect Horse

Is there a perfect horse?
I'm scanning the online ads again. TC may or may not be coming home with me, so in the meantime I'm beefing up my search. As I read the ads, I have a set of questions in my head. A lot of owners, me included put a lot of thought and information into their ads. Their horses will do almost anything...but....insert bad quality here. 
After going through it with Desi for nearly a year, a year I will hardly forget- I've come to the conclusion that buying a horse in this years market is unlike any other horse market....ever.
Here's why...
Growing up we (the collective we) all had horses. We paid little for them and rode the snot out of them, then bought another. We asked if they were broke- that meant ' has he had a saddle and bridle on him?'. That is it. That is all.
Then we all learned to listen to horses, to whisper to them and to play games with them. We came to expect that every horse was worth a million dollars and was perfect. And if it wasn't- well we could go to any number of clinics to make them perfect- to fix our flaws as owners and riders. It's always the owners fault.
Now the market is flat as a pancake- unless you have a high dollar horse- $10,000.00 and up-and then there is just a slight swell in the market. Horses, through no fault of their own are being sold. And people who feel sorry for the horses, or always wanted to have one and now they are cheap, or die hard idiots like me that just can't breath unless they have a horse in the paddock waiting on them, are looking for mounts. And they want the perfect horses they have been promised.
uh oh!
Perfect practice makes perfect.      But what if you haven't practiced?     What if your horse isn't perfect?
What IF your horse is nearly perfect?
What if he's horrible! What then?
In one ad today , and I paraphrase "...this is the greatest horse, but he only has 15% vision in his eyes because of.....but he don't let that upset him, he just carries on bravely!"

eegads....He's cute but blind ain't perfect.

Or this one " He's got one foot shorter than 'tother, but with correction shoes he should go sound,"
Again. Not. Perfect.

My TC has a mouth issue. Not perfect.
I rode him and as I was trying to get him to lope he bucked pretty good -  not perfect.  As I was checking his legs in back, he kicked me- not perfect!
BUT I am not as picky as most everyone else. My question is still " Has he had on a saddle and bridle, has he been ridden much?" For TC I am also asking if his mouth issue is going to be a real problem or just an annoyance.
My particular line in the sand is feet and legs. If they aren't good- I don't go any further. If his conformation isn't balanced, I don't go any further. If he has a really bad attitude, I don't go any further. TC is balanced, he's quiet legged, his personality is great- he just needs to be gelded soon! I can cure a kicker if that is his issue.
So- what is your line in the sand? Where will you draw the line? What can you live with?
What is the perfect horse?
As I am next planning to find Slick a good home, I would like your input. High headed -ness, quick legs, a winning personality, trail miles, show points, beautiful coat, does tricks, easy to handle, not afraid of dogs... give me a list of your most important traits to find in a horse, and the most important ones to stay away from.

Keith and his perfect horse
Regan and her perfect pony

Four perfect horses with five riders

The perfect size horse

Not so perfect- has a fit doing his ears

Perfect mare- would do anything you asked of her

Not perfect- but I loved him anyway

working on being perfect- but for whom?

TC- He looks perfect here

And he looks perfect here

see his little crooked smile? Not perfect, but cute!

Krissy's perfect horse

I'll make up a list and post it here.


Lisa said...

When I was looking for a new horse (with the aim to event)I typed up a list of qualities that were important to me. I then ranked them in order of importance and then for each horse I looked at I have them a score out of 10 for that quality.

My qualities (in order) were:

Soundness, health, temperament (incl. personality and quietness), comparability with me, talent, height, conformation, good bare feet, jumping ability, prettiness (I know), education, breeding.

Then I picked the horse with the highest score overall, keeping in mind the scores on my top 5. The lowest she scored was 7 for education.

So that was my over cautious way of finding the perfect horse!

Mikey said...

Hmmm, I'm about to put a horse up for sale too. Today in fact. I'm just overwhelmed with too much to do, back pain and all that. The horse deserves to go do something. Doesn't get ridden enough here.
I think my line in the sand would be a real bucker, or anything that flips over. At my age, and the way my body feels, I don't want to ride anything like that. I'm slowing WAY down.

Maia said...

Disposition, conformation, and intelligence is what I look for. I've ended up with two excellent horses, three if you count Jolie.

A little flash doesn't hurt either.

Maia said...

Are what I look for. Really I can speak and write English correctly, I promise I can.

C-ingspots said...

I agree that there are no perfect horses, no perfect people either for that matter. Not that I look for all that many horses mind you, but...a sensible mind is my number one, personality is pretty high on my list, and if the horse clicks with me. I want a horse with a lot of heart or try too, education isn't all that important because I can change that...but the heart has to be there to begin with. After that, I guess would be soundness and overall health, good bone and feet, no buck is always good and a horse that isn't inclined to be too spooky. I know all horses can and will spook from time to time, but a horse with some courage is important to me...maybe that goes back to having heart. Looks are not that important to me, neither are papers or the lack thereof, or breeding. I see horses as individuals. Can't wait to see your list.

Shirley said...

Conformation to suit what I want him to do, and disposition are the two biggest. After that, I look at overall eye appeal.
When I say disposition, I want a horse that has a willing attitude, is curious and intelligent, and doesn't buck or kick. Sure both of those traits can be trained out of them, but I prefer horses who aren't inclined that way to start with. I guess that's why I prefer to raise my own horses, only trouble is, they always seem to end up being sold before I get to do much more than start them. I hope I get to ride Rio before someone else just has to have him!

sunihali said...

OMG! Now that was a surprise! XOX