Ravings From the Throes of Pony Fever

Hi all, please forgive this post. I’ve been reasonably rational and calm up to this point, but too many jenga blocks have slipped out of too many wrong places in my horsey life. It’s time to succumb to the delirium and agony of the Pony Fever. More on that in a moment.

On the horse front, I have taken up riding my old buddy Cooper the quarter pony. So far, I have only walked and lightly trotted him, as he is incredibly and ridiculously out of shape and somewhat obese. After only a brisk walk around the perimeter of the pasture, he was huffing and puffing. He is the type of horse that needs to loudly clear his airways and act like he is dying during the first trot in your warm up. I will continue to monitor his breathing as he gets more conditioned, in case he actually has a respiratory problem that I need to report to his owner. He’s a downhill guy with a really low set neck, so the poor dear has a lot of trouble getting anywhere without almost falling on his face. He tries, bless his heart.

pony 3

pony 4

For those of you that represent the point of origin of The Horse Bug in your family ancestry, do you remember the part of your childhood that was horseless? All you wanted in this ever loving world was a pony. A nice Thelwell pony that could trot you through apple orchards, nibble grass in the meadow while you sat on a tree stump reading, and win you a blue ribbon at the horse show. Hell, the pony didn’t even have to be that nice. You’d have taken Patches the widow maker if he had four hooves and a tail. Even if you spent 60% of the ride eating dirt there would still be a real life horse involved, which is heaps better than taping cardboard horse heads onto various jungle gym equipment and willing it to gallop off its chains. You know who you are.

Like so many little girls, I waited and waited and obsessed and waited. My parents couldn’t afford a horse and we lived in the city, so we all suffered the double whammy of horselessness. Looking back, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t get a pony. I had to hit the ground a few times to wear off some of the stupid until I was college age and I could afford to support a horse by myself. Not to sound whatever, but I remember the deep pangs from that horse shaped hole when I was a little kid. I remember sitting on my swing (cardboard horse head and yarn tail taped on) and just crying because it wasn’t real. It was just this pervasive restlessness of needing something in your life and having to wait for the right time and place for it to happen. Thankfully, I had some access to horses through camp and a nearby ranch, which held the fever at bay until I achieved the final solution of horse ownership.

And now it’s back. Chills, sweating, fatigue, Pony Fever induced hallucinations. Honestly, I thought I would be fine when I sold Shiloh. I miss him terribly, but I also miss the thrill of walking through the pasture and seeing the silhouette of My Horse in the tree line. There’s just something entirely different and magical about ownership as opposed to catch riding (I mean, aside from the surprise vet bills and poopy stalls, which I don’t miss at this point). I’m blood shot and hunched over with fifty horse selling website tabs open, flicking through the breed and price filters. Occasionally I see something gorgeous and click for more details, only to find that the horse falls short in several important qualifications.

I have to keep reminding myself to CALM THE HECK DOWN. I’m looking for a special lifetime partner. I can’t afford to be careless or rash with this process, so I’m trying to slow down and get it right

 

I am trolling the depths of horse sites for the perfect horse, reminding myself repeatedly that there are millions of horses in the world, and any number of them would fit my qualifications and make me very happy. Sadly, there is nothing great within 200 miles of me that I have found yet. In a perfect world, I’d want to actually ride the horse and check it out for myself rather than relying on pictures and videos, but I am considering horses many states away. Obviously, this would only work with the provision of many more pictures and videos of several people on the horse, a solid vet check, and a seal of approval from a trusted friend. And even then, it’s a bit sketchy.

The fun part of this story is that I know a trainer in the horse hauling industry that owes me a favor. So basically, I have the go ahead to ship a horse from practically anywhere in the United States here for free. This is wonderful, as it allows me to focus on the price of the horse and the vet check and not get hung up on shipping details. I know it’s not the best way, but I trust this trainer and she has worked with me extensively. She knows exactly what I’m looking for and isn’t shy about shooting down the ones that aren’t suited for me.

Highlights on the search so far:

This Friesian Morgan pony: 6 yr old 13.3 hh gelding, calm disposition, flippin’ gorgeous, experience in beginner eventing and dressage

pony 1

 

13 yr old 13.3 hh Welsh/Arabian gelding, shown by children in hunters and dressage, proven champion in training level, nice jumper.

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And the ringer, just to throw all my other picks off, we have the 16.1 hh 14 yr old thoroughbred gelding. Lovely chestnut with a calm disposition, and apparently a superstar in eventing, scoring upper 20s in the dressage portion and experienced in beginner novice. (uhh, dressage girl here, not sure what any of that means, but google and wikipedia assure me that these things mean he is hot stuff). He’s actually about an hour away, so I might try to go look at him.

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I wish you all heaps of calmness and clarity in all your horsey pursuits. I sure need it!

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3 comments

  1. Horse Sage · August 28, 2016

    Ok, horsey girl. I laughed, I teared up at your description of the horsey blues. I GET IT. Been there, done that, many times. Here’s my cautionary tale: DO NOT BUY A HORSE WITHOUT RIDING IT FIRST. Seriously. I did it once and it was a terrible mistake. Have many friends who also did it once and it did not work. I just think there is a chemistry to the horse relationship that cannot be figured out by a horse matchmaker (aka trainer, friend, professional, anyone else). They can make an introduction and weed out a lot of the losers/widowmakers/perenially lame/too frustrating/just don’t do it candidates, but you will not know your match unless you actually meet him (or her). Which means time and money (driving, flying?) expended. And waiting…waiting…waiting…for that right horse to show up. With my latest horse, Starlight, I searched all over the USA (via internet) and almost flew across the country…only to discover her 45 minutes down the road. But it was a process of some months and many, many hours on the internet. I have the slumped posture to prove it. Get on horses. Try them even if they don’t sound quite right. But do not settle for something “maybe.” Wait for Mr./Ms. right, and do take a friend who you trust to keep you from making a mistake which could cost you not only money but maybe your health. Seriously. It’s a big decision and it’s only too easy to slip up on it. Wait…and look…and talk to people. Your horse will come.

    Like

    • needforsteed · September 4, 2016

      Haha, thanks for being such a loyal reader! I’m glad the desperation of my post hit home for someone other than me. Fortunately, I’ve had some moments of clarity since my last episode of Pony Mania and I’ve tapped the brakes on the process. You are absolutely right about not buying a horse without riding it first. I’ve ridden far too many horses without feeling that spark of chemistry to spur me to the level of attachment and commitment that a horse and rider partnership needs to survive the long haul.I suppose it’s one of those “know it when you feel it” sort of things. A short update: Like planning for a child, looking for a new horse is harrowing, exciting, and a little painful. I want to have all my ducks in a line and do everything right once that horse comes along. At the moment, I feel that the caliber of horse that I want is out of reach due to time constraints and financial pressure, so I’ve decided (with a mingled feeling of a heavy heart and a whoosh of relief) that I am going to postpone my horse search until the spring. By then, my horse fund will be closer to what I want and my work will slow down so I have more time to enjoy and get to know him/her. In the mean time, I am selling my big ticket horse items (my western and dressage saddles, both in states of slight disrepair), since it has always been my dream to have a real leather dressage saddle professionally fitted for it individual needs. Till then, I am doing my best to squelch my urges by riding my friends’ horses and throwing myself into a regular lesson and training schedule.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Horse Sage · September 4, 2016

        Well done. But keep your eye out for the winter bargain, just in case. Although remember that a bargain that doesn’t fit you or that you don’t need is no bargain – this applies to horses as well as clothes. Wish I could go horse shopping with you, so much more fun to shop for horses for OTHER people :-). Agonizing to do it for oneself.

        Like

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