Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wally Gets a Friend!


I bought a horse today. I know. It happened kind of fast. And I blame it all on my sister, Jill. See, she emailed me a bunch of online horse ads (like from Dreamhorse, Horsetopia,, etc.) complete with her acerbic comments on each horse's conformation, price and training level or lack thereof. One of her favorites was a 3-year-old buckskin and white tobiano paint gelding. At first I ignored Jill's email, because I'd investigated that same horse previously and his online photo was... not impressive.

Well, now there was a different photo posted with his ad and he looked quite cute. So I called. Turns out the horse was still owned by the people who'd bred him. His dam was still on site. He'd originally been kept as the husband's personal horse (he's a recently retired firefighter) but he really decided that horseback riding was not his cup o' tea and the gelding had not been getting much use lately. With hay prices skyrocketing, it was hard to justify keeping the horse, especially when they had other foals on the ground that needed to be raised and trained.

So once again: ROAD TRIP!

This time, though, Ron only had to drive me about 90 minutes to the high desert. It was a pretty drive. There was a light dusting of snow still on the ground from last night's storm, and it was brisk and breezy. But the Joshua trees (these unusual, dramatic-looking cactus) looked stunning against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains.

I'll spare you a detailed recounting. But in a nutshell, as soon as I saw the young paint in the roundpen, how he moved, how he stood patiently to be groomed and tacked up, I knew I wanted him. I asked to ride him in a simple loose-ring snaffle and a pair of split reins, so I could figure out just how much he knew and how much he didn't yet know. He was very green, but understood the basics of moving away from leg pressure and maintaining a pace. I really liked that he willingly went forward, even though he was a bit on the lazy side (I consider laziness a bonus in a 3-year-0ld). Plus he was very smooth to ride. After a 20-minute ride in the round pen I took him on a trail ride across the desert. I rode with the seller's niece, who was aboard a feisty older mare. The gelding, on the other hand, cruised along on a loose rein. He didn't seem to mind whether we stayed on the marked trail (a gravelly dirt road that seemed to go to nowhere) or wandered through the creosote bushes and sage brush. When we returned to the barn I asked to see him load into the horse trailer.

He hopped in like a champ.

Since I had rushed out there to beat another buyer who was coming for a second look, I decided I had to make a decision. But it was an easy one. The sellers seemed to think I was the better home, too, which made me feel good.

"You make him look so good when you ride him," the seller's husband said. "You bring out the best in him."

So I gave them a deposit and I'm picking him up tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Like you, I just bought a Paint gelding, and we're still in the "honeymoon" stage. He's my fourth Paint, and I'm sold on the breed. He's a trail horse, too, a ranch gelding from Wyoming who seems to be super mellow.

I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes. Every day's an adventure when you have a new horse!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! He sounds exactly like my 3 year old paint gelding, good luck with him:)!!

Nancy said...

Congrats! When can we see photos???

Jessica said...

YAY! Congratulations! I'm actually sitting here really really excited for you! I can't wait to see pictures of him!!

After all the bad news from the Red Hills competition, your blog has really lifted my spirits.

I hope you have an absolute blast with him!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Cindy! I'm so happy that you have a horse that seems perfect for you! What's Wally think? And, I agree with Nancy, pics would be wonderful! I'm looking forward to lots of fun stories about him and Wally, too. What's his name?


Anonymous said...

Oh Yes!! Congratulations!! Whats the name>

Anonymous said...

Ahh! Congratulations! Can't wait to hear your adventures with this one.

Anonymous said...

That sounds so great! Congratulations! but there is one thing missing... Pictures!

Anonymous said...

congratulations! :-)

derj said...

yaaaaay! congrats!!!!

Cindy Hale said...

Thanks for all the good wishes! I did post a photo today. I'm sure there will be more pics and more adventures soon! I also am a big fan of paints. I've owned several, actually. I think my first one was an overo mare named Masquerade ("Alice") that I showed hunters in the open shows and at a few paint shows. Plus she was awesome on the trails in a western saddle. In general, paints seem to have many of the same attributes as a good ol' American Quarter horse... but with fancy coloring.