I promised some big news in last week’s riding recap, so here it is: after a few months of leasing and some thought about the direction my life is headed in, I’m in the market for a horse of my own!
Over the past couple of months, I’ve come to realize that the amount of money I’m spending on a lease and lessons is actually comparable to the cost of board at my stable. And while I intend to continue with my lessons (at least once a week!) and I know that there are other added costs to horse ownership (supplements, trims, vet bills, tack, etc.), I also know that it will be worth the increase in independence.
Things that I Need in a Horse
- Healthy. No soundness issues, no arthritis, etc.
- Athletic. OTTB, APHA, Appendix Quarter Horse, warmblood cross, etc.
- Friendly. I want a pocket pony! Good-natured, always interested in people, and does its best for you.
- Jumps. Confident over cross rails, at least. I want something that’s about where I am (or better).
- No spooks. I can handle a horse that bucks, but unpredictable spooking is something that scares me.
- Longevity. The horse doesn’t have to be super young, but I need to be able to jump for a few years.
- Budget. We can’t break the bank.
Things that I Want in a Horse
- Good age. 7 to 12 years old being the optimum range, though a few years more wouldn’t be terrible.
- Handsome. Bay, chestnut, dark brown, black… typical Thoroughbred colors with clean markings (if any).
- Gelding. Because as much as I’ve grown to love Belle, I usually gravitate towards geldings.
Tall. We’re talking in the 16hh+ range, a horse that looks at 2’6″ and sees a cavaletti.(Trainer says 15.2hh max 😛 )
- Trail experience. A horse that won’t kill you when you’re five miles away from the trailer is always a plus.
- Registered. Alright, I’m going to be honest: this one’s a point of pride.
Of course, one of the first options that came to mind when I realized a horse of my own was within the realm of possibility was purchasing The Pony.
And yet, as much as I love The Pony, she meets only one of my wants (she’s 8 years old, right between my optimum age range) and, more importantly, there’s a definite limit to the amount of growth I can make as a rider while I’m with her—not because of her height (though 13.3hh is pretty small for the hunter/jumper ring), but because the ideal horse for the disciplines I want to pursue is a hot, energetic horse, and The Pony’s pretty much the opposite of that.
But, ultimately, I want to get to the point where I feel confident riding high caliber, responsive horses. After a long talk with The Trainer, I realized that owning Belle might teach me a lot about jumping, but purchasing a horse that’s a midway point between Belle and my dream horse will improve the very foundations of my riding. In other words: I’m due for an upgrade, which is both sad and exciting.
I plan to have a horse of my own within the next few months. Ideally, the Trainer and I are on the look out for something taller (but not huge) that combines Belle’s steady, nonplussed personality with some of the responsive aspects of a sport horse. In the mean time, I’ll still be spending my weekly riding time with The Pony—I’m not looking forward to the day that I have to say goodbye to this sassy little mare!