This is a photo of the horse I tried out today. I dragged my sister along and made her serve as Official Horse Inspector (she notices everything) and as impromptu photographer. As you can see, he's sort of Wally-esque in his markings and conformation, although he's nearly black while Wally is coppery red.
This is the best horse I've tried so far: he was very comfortable to ride, moved nicely off my leg and was light in the bridle and neck-reined. Even better? He loves to be petted and fussed with. "He needs someone wh0 wants to be his mom," the seller said.
The only reason I didn't plunk down a deposit on this horse is because my husband has volunteered to drive me 200 miles to a ranch on Tuesday to look at several horses there. He even offered to tow the horse trailer along! So you know what that means: He's already resigned himself to the fact that I'm buying a horse on Tuesday... unless I've been entirely misled by the seller. However, if I don't find a horse that I fall in love with, there's always the black and white fellow I rode today. I consider him "Option B."
I'm enjoying reading the comments about my horse hunting expeditions. It was suggested that there should be a horse expo sort of set-up where serious buyers could try-out horses, and sellers could hand out their contact information. It wouldn't be an auction, but a chance to network. Another good idea? To make buying a horse like speed dating. That would work for me. Truly, I can tell by asking 5 questions if someone's horse is worth looking at:
1.How much basic training has your horse had? (I must always ask this as I'm still perplexed by how many trail horses are ridden western in curb bits when they have never been taught to neck rein or move away from leg pressure).
2. Is your horse serviceably sound? (What I really mean is, "Do your horse's front feet match, or does it look as if its front legs belong to two different horses?")
3. How would you describe your horse's disposition? (In other words, "Where does your horse rate on the Wally Scale of Obnoxious Ground Manners?").
4. You say your horse goes out on trail. In general, what sort of trails do you ride on? (This is a loaded question, as this line of questioning includes the deal breaker: "Does your horse willingly cross water?").
5. Would you say that your horse is comfortable to ride? (With my physical problems in my neck and right arm, I can't ride a horse that's like sitting atop a bouncing bucket of rocks).
If the seller responds favorably to my questions, then I ask for a video. Unlike one of my readers, I haven't yet gotten a video of runaway horses, but I have gotten a video of a lame horse.
As for the horses I'm seeing on Tuesday? I haven't previewed any videos, but I have seen some very appealing snapshots. I realize the long drive is a gamble, but with 4 potential horses to look at in one place, it's worth the trip... I hope.
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