A party was had, and enjoyed by all, at La Bodeguita Cuban restaurant, last evening. Six riders, one (birthday girl) trainer and The Artistic One. TAO's an honorary member of our little gang. It's a pretty special group of women, to include an old guy who doesn't ride, or even speak the same language. He pulls his weight when cooking or driving tasks come up and can converse with three of the group, who speak French, or through our translations. He makes it quite obvious that he loves to mingle this way and feels right at home. In fact, the other day, when I told him I was planning on riding a horse at another barn, he asked right away "You're not giving up on your girlfriends, are you?"
The horse pictured here is one I tried out yesterday. I'm the pre-selection vanguard, now it seems, weeding out horses that are completely unsuitable to complement and enlarge our school horse herd. Size, price, aptitude, character, training and soundness are like ingredients in a secret recipe. One flavor too weak or too strong can upset the balance, but some compromises make sense.
This horse had no official name. A 16h1" thoroughbred who had not been near a race-track, he's five years old and a little skinny. The owner is moving abroad and needs to sell quickly.
The photo we saw in the ad. showed No-Name doing a creditable job of jumping. His owner said he rode around the countryside a lot and had also played a few games of polo. NoName has good ground manners and is polite with people. Those are important ingredients in a school horse environment.
The footing was terrible, where I rode him. The sand arena was bumpy, overgrown with weeds and pitted with gopher holes. Sure-footedness was checked off the list.
The arena was next to a field that was being prepared for planting. A bulldozer and a big grading machine trundled around a few feet from us and NoName ignored them as well as the three corgis who tried to herd us the whole time. Desensitization, check.
The gelding was quite a bit greener than we had imagined but had no major negatives to unlearn. He was willing and cooperative and accepted contact. Canter leads need work but nothing disastrous. The two things I liked the most were the fact that he carried himself well and he gave an impression of sanity. I quickly felt he was trustworthy. I don't often put trust in an unknown horse.
NoName has a lot of positives and the negatives are in our favor for justifying a realistic price. I'd be seriously tempted to make an offer myself if I didn't have as many unresolved issues in other areas. The old time and money connundrum.
I'm waiting to hear what happens next. I'd love this horse to come to us. I know I'd enjoy riding him. The trainer's concern is that he's not instantly ready for more general use. I think, if she'd make the trip to ride him herself, she'd see that he'd be very easy to get in shape and let's be realistic. You can only get so much for a steal of a deal.
He's an hour away. He'll cost her half of her day off, one way or the other. I think that's a big sticking point. I think he's worth it, but it's not my final call. I'll let you know what happens next.