Horse shopping is not fun.
Many of you seem to agree with me, based on the comments I get from readers. I suppose hunting for another horse would be enjoyable if all the potential horses could be gathered up in one spot so I could peruse them in one day. You know, so that I could hop on the roan gelding first, then climb on the bay filly next, then watch the barely broke pinto have a spin in the round pen. But it's not like that. Instead I make endless phone calls chatting with nameless strangers about their horses. And while I live in a very horsey community, for some reason just about every horse I'm remotely interested in-- based on ads in print or online-- happen to live at least 75 miles away. I can't wait to get my phone bill.
Since I'm not into making road trips that I'm fairly confident will end up being wild goose chases (wild horse chases?), I always ask for additional photos and perhaps a video. I want to see the horse actually doing something, like moving so I can see if it's lame. Or being ridden so that I know that it's broke. I guess it's like online dating. Everyone looks fetching and debonaire in formal attire and all spiffied up, but what's their everyday appearance? Do they play sports or are they couch potatoes? Do they have any outside interests so they get out and about, or are they reclusive homebodies?
A video can reveal so much about people and horses: their mannerisms, the way they relate to their environment, how they interact with people. For example, biting the person next to you is not a welcome trait in horses or people.
So for these long-distance horses, I'm going to continue to ask for a video. Even a YouTube snippet is fine. And I realize that many times my query will be met with a lengthy pause, followed by a sigh, as if cranking up the video camera is similar to undergoing a root canal. But in today's economy, when horse prices are flat and my gasoline is priceless, asking for a video doesn't seem like a ridiculous request.
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