If you listened to the podcast I co-host (Amateur Hour) last summer, you might have heard I was on the hunt for a new horse. It’s true, my trainer and I even had a flight booked to Atlanta to go look at a lovely young gelding by Westporte. You may have also noticed it wasn’t brought up again, and I’ve been pretty quiet about it on social media. That’s because COVID effected us financially when my husband (and his entire team) were let go due to COVID downsizing. Although my husband had a master’s degree in his field and over 10+ yrs of continuous work experience with various top companies in the tech field, it was no easy task finding a new position and the search took a lot longer then we were anticipating- a little over a year.
Current Rio pics in the best fly boots ever. Full stop.
This is not at all to say ‘woe is me’, I just want to share our journey. Many families had it much worse then us, so I don’t want it to seem like I’m comparing the set-back of pausing the search for a new horse to the hardships I know a lot of Americans suffered due to COVID related unemployment. I’ve actually been so nervous about how “1%” any post about looking for a new horse might sound that I haven’t even been wanting to post. So please if you’re reading this, give me the benefit of the doubt. I know how much of a privileged it is to be horse shopping right now.
I actually got to meet one of my readers on a trail ride with Rio the other day (she recognized him!!!), and she said something that gave me the confidence to post about this. She said, “thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your journey”. When I first started this blog, and barely anyone read it, I had no issues using it like an online journal. I didn’t ever stop to think, “how will this be perceived?” or “in what way will people criticize this?” I had virtually no audience, and I didn’t worry it. I really do feel the pressure now though, and it makes it harder for me to share, because I don’t want my typed words (usually written in a hurry and full of typos) to accidently convey the wrong message. Ok, well now that I have aired that insecurity of mine, let’s proceed!
My wonderful husband landed a very well deserved new job in early June. After a year full of stress and anxiety while worried about the future, we can finally breathe easy again. Once the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed on the new job, I excitedly notified my trainer that the search for a new horse was back on- officially! Little did I know how insane the market is… If you have poked around many sales ads lately, you might notice much higher price tags then you would have seen 2 years ago.
Maybe I just want what everyone wants, but it has been a wild ride searching for a horse! Speaking of what I want… I essentially want another Rio when I got him: a young, big, hunter prospect. Under saddle, but no show experience required. The one thing I cannot compromise on is size. I don’t look big on Rio, but that’s because he’s 18+ hands. I’m actually a very long-legged 6 ft tall person, and therefore 16 hands just won’t cut it. I make 16 hands look like a pony. 16 hands and big barreled won’t cut it. For reference, Olivia’s Juliet is a little over 16.2, and solidly built (54 in girth) and I personally think I wouldn’t want to go any smaller then her size wise:
Some old pics of me and Rio just as a size comparison:
Do I need 18 hands again? No. I am just more comfortable on a larger horse. We will see what I end up with! In regards to the actual search, I have been lucky enough to try two horses so far. Just because a horse isn’t perfect for me doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for someone else, and I do not want to say anything negative about the horses I’ve tried. I will be keeping any and all descriptions of them VERY vague, as I honestly feel that’s the right thing to do.
I have tried 2 so far, and I’ll give a quick recap:
I tried one and REALLY liked it. It was a little younger then my ideal, but incredibly sweet and drop dead gorgeous. Definitely had that hunter look, and had very comfortable gaits. I even popped it over a few small fences, and it was absolutely terrific. I initially had “this could be the one” vibes, but after a long hard think I decided I would REALLY like something a bit farther along. Will this horse turn out incredible? Most likely. Am I still somewhat regretting my decision to pass? Maybe. But, such is life, and I have mostly put it out of my mind.
The next option was also an absolute stunner. Like… the coat color everyone wants and I don’t think it could have been more attractive. Further along in it’s training then the 1st, I actually got to ride it twice over 2 days. I didn’t immediately have “the one” vibes for some reason, although the horse was objectively very nice and checked all my boxes. It definitely grew on me though, and I started envisioning us together. I won’t get into the details of why it didn’t work (maybe I can someday), but I am very disappointed to have had to pass on it. Very. Disappointed.
So that’s where I am! Only sitting on 2 horses in a 3 month time period might sound like we are moving at a snail’s pace… and it might also feel that way, but that just seems to be how the market is going right now. There just isn’t a lot available that meet the requirements for what I need. I’d love to be able to go to one place and try like 10, but I can’t imagine finding 10 that check my boxes and don’t cost more then a house.
I’ll leave you guys with this adorable video of Rio pretending like he’s going to ignore me. What a little jokester. Volume on for best viewing!