Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Not to Shabby Abby- Part Two

I consider myself a fairly lucky person yet I don't play the lotto and while I love going to Vegas, I hate to gamble. In the countless hours I have spent in casino's, I have yet to play a coin slot or bet a single dollar on hand of blackjack. I am a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" kind of gal. As such, most that know me found it inexplicable that I would take such a gamble as buying a horse sight unseen. Abby was under priced but by no means cheap.You should know that I am a horse shopaholic. I loath shopping for clothes, shoes, home ware or any other non-horsey items but can browse horse ads for hours looking for a "good buy". I don't contact a seller unless I am serious but regardless if I am in the market or not I constantly update what some call my cyber stable...a collection of my favorite horses for sale. I am an equi-shop-o-holic. Want me to find you a horse? I have considered going in business as a personal horse shopper.

Years of horse shopping has left me a jaded, cynical and suspicious of all sellers. They lie, cheat, and take funky pictures that can distort the conformation of any horse from beauty to beast or visa versa. I swear some are photoeditor geniuses. Sometimes getting information out of them is like pulling teeth. Others wont shut up. They all lie and they all claim to be honest. I have been screwed over by friends and strangers alike. I was simply sick and tired of dealing with sellers and their bullshit. I became hypersensitive, always trying to find the hidden message in the lingo horse people feed you. I became an expert in reading between the lines and fishing out the dirty details. No matter how many questions I asked or second opinions I solicited, I couldn't garner a sense of confidence in any horse I looked at. Along came Abby. Everything inside of me told me not to go and see her and to just buy her! So I I did. At least if she had turned out to be a nut bar I would have had no one to blame but myself. I was willing to accept that. I played and won.

I was lucky in more than one respect. I managed to squeeze my way into the barn of a trainer that was well respected in the area. I figured that the three month commitment they required was a smart investment as I would know within the first month if she was going to work for me and could take some lessons with them if she did. If she didn't turn out, I would be able to use the trainer to sell her. I immediately took a liking to the straight forward manner of the trainer, her neat, well run barn, and friendly staff.

When I came down to see her the first week I was full of anticipation to hear what they had to say about Abby. They gave me the good news first. She seemed to move soundly and was a pleasure to handle on the ground. She did not offer to buck, bolt or rear on her first ride and was overall a nice minded mare with a start on her. She was far from being broke and had very little body control. She had breaks and basic steering but little more. The bad news was that she had some serious issues when you picked up her face and asked her to bit up. She didn't act out with vices but she was very tight and worried about it. She seems scared to move out in her lope and would almost bunny hop, catching the ground with all fours at the same time and set off with a springy, tight jointed stride. You could hear the heavy beat of her hooves as she pounded her way around the arena. When the pressure level increased and she was actually asked to step it up a little, she would mentally shut down. Abby was fat and out of shape. Her movement was course, headset horrible and she showed very little athleticism.

The verdict. She was a nice mare that seemed sweet and gentle. She could use more training to get her better broke but she was certainly not going to make a reiner. It appeared that someone had "done a number" on this horses face and apon inspection they had found a grape size lump of scar tissue on either side of her mouth. It was little wonder that she had resistance in her face but at least she was not sour overall. I left with a lot to chew on. Something about all of this just didn't bode right for me. I believe that conformation, breeding, heart and willingness create a promising mix for athleticism and greatness. Abby had them all.

My instinct told me not to give up on her so soon. I was worried that I was locked in for three months with a trainer that viewed her a "reject". I didn't know that she had already passed her off to her assistant Kari to train in order to move on to more promising prospects. I didnt know how lucky that would prove to be for Abby and myself. Looking back now I find I wonder at all the little lucky strokes of fate we had along the way. How, from one moment to the next, things could have wound up so differently. If I had gone to see Abby before purchasing her. If the ferrier hadnt been there that day or if the hauler had been there on time. If my trainer hadnt passed Abby off so quickly. Lady Lucky is on my side...


  1. Its definately sounding like the two of you were meant to be.
    Eagerly awaiting more!!

  2. I agree with CDN - want to read part 3 now.

    I'm sorry she passed on your mare so fast. My trainer is famous for being a horse's last shot. Lot of folk in our show area say if Joe can't fix him no one can. He's turned many horses other trainers have passed on or given up on into winners.

    I am hoping that is going to be your story - that a trainer and of course you saw the diamond inside that mare...