Thursday, April 19, 2012

Speaking of Crazy?

So, I've been horse-hunting for at least nine months, if not longer.  Seriously, you can make an entire PERSON from two tiny cells in that amount of time--why can't I find a horse?

I've been thinking, though.  Of the THIRTEEN horses I've looked at, there were only a very few that I wouldn't have bought.  The very first one, I didn't buy only because there wasn't really a way to try her on the trail.  The crow-hopping one I might've still bought (they were tiny little half-hearted hops), but it could've been a behavioral issue that would have escalated with a newbie like me, or worse--an issue of physical pain that a heavy rider like me would have only exacerbated.  The one with his head sky-high that I felt like I couldn't control was probably the biggest turn-off.  A couple were older than I should probably be looking at, but were otherwise fine horses.

But most of them?  I would have bought if the owners had been more cooperative OR they had passed their vet check.  I rule out the REALLY unlikely contenders before I even get there, but I guess I'm just not that picky once I meet a horse.  For as many horses as I rode in the local program with monthly membership, I guess I still don't have a very good sense about what I'm looking for, or not looking for, or I've just been lucky to look at semi-decent horses.

Some of my horsie advisers tell me I need to hold out for "the one," and how when I meet him or her, I'll "just know."  I don't know, but I doubt it.  Part of it is that I'm more analytical than emotional, when it comes to things like this, and part of it is between that membership program and my horse search, I've learned really well how to love on a horse but not fall IN love with it, you know?  I can meet a horse, give it scratches and rubs and tell it how awesome it is, and really really like it, but I just don't get butterflies.  Sorry, horse.  I hope I WILL come to love my own horse, but I'm pretty sure those feelings won't develop until the horse is well and truly mine.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  So, thinking about how I like nearly every horse I try, and there's currently a horse I really like on, electronic media (but I haven't met him in person), I'm wondering if it would be crazy to vet him sight-unseen.  I wouldn't buy him sight-unseen, don't worry--I'm not THAT crazy.  But I'm thinking about at least forking out the money for a vet check based solely on a sales video and conversations with the seller.

Here's his video, you tell me. 

He's a little younger than I originally planned on considering, but seems completely sane.  He was started later than some, which is a good thing, and has experience on trails, which is also a good thing.  The seller says he was meant for her husband, who probably isn't quite as heavy as me, but he IS used to packing a decent amount of weight, at least.  They rode him on a ten-mile ride and he trotted the whole way, and was ready for more.  Again, that's more than I myself can do, but it sounds like he's got a lot in him, for when I am ready to try a real endurance (well, Limited Distance) ride.

The reason I'm considering the sight-unseen proposition at all is that he's a six-hour drive away.  That's a lot of gas money, and a lot of time investment for a horse I will most likely like enough to do a vet check.  So I'm considering either scheduling a vet check for a time when I could go, and trying him out relatively simultaneously, or even scheduling the vet check for a weekday, and then if he passes, going there the following weekend to meet him and try him in person, and possibly buy him on the spot.  Is that crazy?  I don't know what they cost up there, but vet checks here cost $250-300.  That's a pretty big chunk of change to just throw away, but would I really be throwing it away?  I don't really want to have to make TWO trips that far...  Of course, I would also have to fork out money to get him back here if I do buy him, whether that's a round-trip with a friend with a trailer, or buying my share of a one-way trailer ride at someone else's convenience.

Anyway, dear readers, all three of you...WWYD?  Is it just desperation talking, or is this a somewhat sensible plan?


  1. On horse hunting: my experience, for what it's worth...I have just "known" a few times when it was the right horse for me.

    On the other hand, some of my deepest attachments came about by buying a horse I liked, and having the relationship develop.

    Sellers who are looking for the right home for their horse are often willing to let you buy on trial. You buy the horse, take him home, and if it doesn't work out for any reason in the next 14-30 days, you bring him back and get a refund. Good horse people want their horses to be in secure, attached, homes.

    Personally, I'd be wary of a vet check at which I was not present. You wouldn't be there to ask the vet questions as he/she went through the check list, and the vet would not be able to help you determine if the horse was right for you. Also, *you*, not the seller, should decide which vet will look over the horse for you.

    There are far more honest people than dishonest, but they do exist, and you don't want to be on the receiving end of that kind of transaction. If the horse is worth considering, the extra money and time in gas etc is money well spent, IMO.

    (I think my reply falls into the category of "ask two horse people their opinion, and get three opinions back".)

  2. Thanks, Jane. I'm glad to hear that you've made a connection with a horse after purchase instead of before. I think part of my lack of emotional connection with my prospects is because I did that riding program (rode a bunch of horses, didn't own any of them) for so long, and now have had so many purchases fall through, that I just don't let myself get attached.

    So far, none of the sellers have wanted to do a trial, if I've mentioned it. It's a HUGE risk for them, so I can understand it. The latest one wanted right of first refusal, so that would be kind of the same thing--if it didn't work out, whether it was after three days, three months, or 300 days, I would have returned him for the purchase price.

    In this case, the seller and I are a six-hour drive apart (in a car, longer with a horse in tow!), so while I'm sure she'd love him back if it doesn't work out, I don't think she'd be interested in a trial "just in case," either.

    I'm now looking at visiting the horse this weekend and trying to also do the vet check then. If I do a vet check while I'm not present, it would still be a vet of my choosing (out of the phone book, since I don't have any recommendations), and not the seller's vet. I would talk with the vet ahead of time to give them an idea of what I'm looking for, and ask them to call me immediately afterward to discuss their findings. In the PPEs I've had so far, the vet is pretty tight-lipped during the exam anyway, and only consults with me (the client/buyer) afterward, out of earshot of the seller, and any ifndings are MY "property" and I have to release the vet to discuss them with the seller.

    Anyway, THANK YOU for your lengthy input--I really appreciate it!

  3. I was going to respond to the initial post and say that I don't think it's a bad idea to go ahead and do the vet check sight unseen. Since that's been the most common deal breaker in the past, you might as well get it out of the way before you spend your time and gas money to drive to see him. Getting to see an 8 minute video of him gives a better sense of what he's like than just a photo or two. But that would be awesome if you could go this weekend and do the vet check at the same time. Where's he at?

  4. Not too far from Dad & Bro's house, if you're the Jen I think you are. :-) I've gotten two more videos since then, still like what I see, but yep, planning to drive up there. Hoping to kill two birds with the vet check, but may do it after if necessary. Then the fun of figuring out how to get the horse HERE will begin, if all goes well.

    I don't want to post too much about it until after the visit, when I can post facts in past tense, instead of hopes in future tense. :-)