Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exciting, peeves, and ideal

Exciting: I get to ride the old red man tonight!   This ought to be fun.  I haven't gone on a pure trail ride in ... ages.  Love it!

So.  I have been looking at a LOT of horse ads lately.  And I've developed some serious pet peeves regarding ads.  I know you're dying to hear what they are, too:

Advertising your horse as BEAUTIFUL or LOVELY or AMAZING.   Look, people, all horses are beautiful.  They're horses.  Some are more beautiful than others, but a kind eye and a willing expression go a long way.  Saying that your horse is beautiful is completely un-useful to someone shopping for a sport horse!! I don't care if your beast is green with purple spots and only has one leg if it's rocking around Training courses and is safe!   I will look at it and try it and if I feel safe and we click, I will buy it.  So instead of talking about how lovely and amazing and beautiful and what a looker your horse is, start with what your horse can DO.

Advertising that your horse can jump when you've only done cross-rails and ground poles in a halter.  Granted, this is enough for some disciplines.  However, it's not accurate to call that horse a jumper.  

By the same token, "eventing" means the Olympic discipline of three-day eventing.  Specifically.  It doesn't mean "some events at 4-H or rodeos."   It means dressage, sometimes endurance, cross-country, and showjumping.  All in the same weekend.   Sure, all a horse needs to have potential to be a competent eventer is soundness and bravery, but that doesn't MAKE a horse an eventer.  There's training involved.

By the same token again (this token is getting a lot of use), "good gaits" does not mean what you think it means.  It doesn't mean the horse walks, trots, and canters.  That's great, but ... is the gait pure?  Is the horse obviously lame?!  Is the canter clearly three-beat?  Does the walk overtrack?  Is there suspension in the trot?   Are the gaits free, forward, and easy to watch and to ride?    

It's a little disingenuous to post a video and plaster "This rider has never ridden this horse before!" all over it when the rider is skilled and experienced.  MT or TD can get on a horse they've never seen before in their lives and make the horse look amazing.   

And so on.   I like an ad to have a good picture of the horse doing whatever it is it's advertised to do, a description of the horse's experience, a bit about its temperament, and all the pertinent details -- height, age, breed, color, etc.  If a horse has a particular vice like cribbing, I'd like to know up front.  I can deal with cribbing and weaving and whatnot, but it's good to know going in.

If I were going to describe my ideal, fantasy-world horse, it would be a 15.2 red or black leopard spotted Knabstrupper gelding, maybe 14 years old, with a kind, calm temperament that could take a joke and be patient, confidence-builder, has evented up to Prelim, is ready to drop down to BN-N-T, is sound but might need some basic maintenance like hock injections or Adequan, can rock the dressage while not giving away the ride, isn't spooky on XC, is careful in showjumping, and enjoys his job as an eventer!    All that and is in my price range, too.  ;)

Note that I said this would be in a fantasy world.  ;)   In the real world, I'll take anything between 14.2 and 15.3, any breed that isn't an Arabian or Saddlebred, any color, mare or gelding, any age between about 10 and 18 but not firm if the right horse came along outside that range, experienced in eventing and ready to give a confidence-building ride, and isn't spooky. 

The level of soundness isn't negotiable, though.  I'm willing to do maintenance, even a little rehab like KR did with Brego, and I don't have a problem with some arthritis.  But navicular or other impending lameness is a deal-breaker.    If I get on and I feel like I'm on a lit but not exploded ACME rocket, a la Wile E. Coyote, that's a deal-breaker too.  

Basically, something sound, experienced, with the right blend of chill and forward, and with that inexplicable CLICK factor.  In my price range.   :)


  1. Ok, well now you get my standard precursor to letting anyone sit on Cuna:

    Don't get attached.


  2. If I may add to your peeves list...
    Bomb proof: it doesn't exist. They are horses, which means they will spook at something, somewhere, sometime.
    Call me anal but terrible grammar and spelling: sure illiterate people can know a lot about horses. I just don't want to read what they have to say to know if I could like their horse.
    Prospect: just because your horse looks pretty running across the pasture does not mean it can be a barrel or rodeo horse. Just because it jumped out of your pasture doesn't mean it can jump.
    Kids horse: leading your grand kids around the yard on your horse does not a kids horse make.
    Okay I will stop, especially since most of these have nothing to do with your search! Sorry to rant. I'm in one of those moods. Feel free to delete this if its taking up unnecessary space!

    1. Oh heavens no -- post as much as you want! :) I'm glad to hear from you! I agree on the grammar and spelling, too. And all of your points, for that matter! No horse is bombproof, for sure. And "prospect" makes me click RIGHT out of an ad. No prospects, thanks!

  3. Oh so true on the bad horse ads! I especially hate ALL CAPS as they slow reading down by 10%.

    I must respectfully object to the Saddlebred (and Arab) exclusion. I think they have so much potential that gets overshadowed by bad saddleseat training.

    Can't wait to hear about your Cuna ride and the upcoming horse shopping extravaganza!

    1. Fair enough -- I have met a couple of Arabs I've liked. I haven't met a Saddlebred I've liked, but I don't think it's impossible. I do feel like they don't have the temperament I want in a horse, though, and I feel like it'd be hard work to get them to go in a dressage frame that'd be rewarded in the arena. If I met an Arab or a Saddlebred that suited me completely and was successful in eventing, I would probably buy it. :) The likelihood is small, though.

      Yes, Cuna ride update coming!!