At this very moment, no one knows Dream Horse, Equine Now, Equine.com, and a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to buying/selling horses as intimately as I do. Ever since I announced that I’m in the market for a horse of my own, I’ve been relentlessly monitoring the internet for anything with four legs, a kind eye, and the slightest semblance of some jumping talent. At this point I’ve browsed hundreds of ads, considered dozens of horses, and emailed no less than seven sellers.
So here’s the low down on what happened Friday: The Trainer and I went out to see a potential purchase! This potential purchase’s name was Kadbury, a 2003 15.3hh dark bay Thoroughbred gelding with a family horse personality, the beginnings of a good foundation in dressage, and an unexplored aptitude for jumping.
We got to Kadbury’s barn at 3:00 (right at the apex of the summer heat) and, after a quick groom/tack up session, we took him out for a brief lunge in the outdoor arena so that The Trainer and I could watch him move and ask his owner questions. The Trainer schooled me through what she was looking for while he was being lunged, the ultimate conclusion being that he didn’t lift through his knee quite as much as she liked at the trot, but that he had a cute canter. It only took a few minutes for us all to start sweating, so we quickly retreated out of the scorching sun into the indoor arena.
The Trainer donned her helmet and hopped up on him first to put him through his paces. She quickly picked up on Kadbury’s strengths and weaknesses—he was sensitive to the aids, but also stiff and braced (very “up”, she said). She pushed him down into the bridle, found a few more weak spots in the canter (the owner’s current training focus), and just generally checked him out. (She’s amazing, I’m so so so glad she could make time last minute to come with me.) She deemed him safe enough for a test ride and then hopped down and passed me the reins.
My first impression once I was on Kadbury was that he felt as wide as he looked. Not only that, but even at the walk he had a lot more horsepower than I was used to… I’m convinced his working trot covered more ground than a stride of The Pony’s canter! I liked his energy, and his quick reactions to my leg were a big change from The Pony’s stubborn attitude. We had a couple of accidental trot to canter transitions (whoops!), but I never felt unsafe or nervous while I was on him.
There was a small incident at the canter where he locked up around the bit and I couldn’t think fast enough to bump him off of it (hind sight’s always 20/20, right?) so I ran him into a wall (not literally, but still, sorry Kadbury!). For the most part, he reminded me of The Pony during her giraffe stage—but otherwise I liked him, even if he was so wide that he made me look like a postage stamp!
Ultimately The Trainer and I decided that Kadbury’s bones were good, but he wasn’t quite what we’re looking for. He was handsome, very polite on the ground (if a little wiggly), and respectful on the lunge line—an overall gentleman with an okay trot and a pretty good looking canter—but we want something with a little more show mileage on it if we’re looking at a horse in the teenage range.
I’ve got a few more Thoroughbred leads that I’m following (a 10 year old in Bothell, a 5 year old in Sammamish, and an 8 year old in Woodinville), and I think all three of them have a lot of potential (though I have to admit that I’m ogling the 5 year old the most 😛 ). I’m sad Kadbury didn’t work out, but I’m excited to have the chance to continue my search for the perfect horse!