Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So, I've made a few offers on two mares but both were rejected. One, on the bay roan mare came as no surprise (I figured it was worth a shot as you never know how desperate people are to sell) but the other was $1500 (and stated that they were "motivated sellers") but I guess they have had a lot of interest in her because they didnt counter my $1100 offer (I figured we'd meet in the middle at $1250)... if you are wondering why I wouldnt just "eat" the couple hundred if I liked her that much?The answer is I dont like her that much. She is one of those that works on paper but that I didnt get a strong "vibe" off of. And speaking of "vibes"....
What is it with those sneaky gut feelings? People seem to think it is smart to "listen to your gut" but sometimes I wonder if it is a combination of our own wants/desires, how articulate of a sales person the owner is, the quality of the photo, and a thousand other variables that lead to that "feeling" rather than a valid premonition. I dont know why it is I look at some ads that look perfectly respectable and feel a little twinge in my gut that says "move on" or why a horse that looks like anything but "the one" pulls me right in.
I am also having trouble sticking to my sound, sane and broke matters more than pretty. For example there is a nice, decently bred, reg. QH mare that seems to fit the bill in every way going... she is big boned, solid footed, well broke for anyone to ride, sweet and has no vices. Her body is nice and square, she has a cute head and one truly god awful neck. It is one of those necks that ties in all wrong, has terribly proportions, a thick throat latch and no shape... but it strong looking and has just just enough length to still be flexible enough for my purposes. This neck can get me where I want to go... I just dont know if I will be able to stand looking at it all the time. When I show up at the barn am I going to think... "There is my horse....awe, isnt she a cute little thing... but good lord look at that neck!" I am beginning to worry that I'll never find a horse (in my budget) that meets my impossibly high standards.
I am also having trouble resisting the green broke "prospect" over the older steady eddie. I just figure that if I am going to be doing a lot of riding over the winter why not get something that needs the miles? The BIG proviso there is that they would have to be naturally quiet, confident and sweet natured horses with a good start on them.
I really hope that next time I write a post it will be to tell you guys that I found THE one!
Until then... *bangs head repeatedly against wall*
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Well... that scene has little to nothing to do with the following post except that I just love the way Steve Martin says "humv-ur-geur"....
ALMOST as much as I love the way my little cousin used to call them "hang-ger-bers" (and as a direct result our whole family now likes to now call them hang-ger-bers!)
What do you get when you combine the above ingredients? (Nilla cookies, shredded coconut, food coloring, icing, and mint patties)
Well... let's see....
If you were to dye the coconut green.....
And if you were to mix a lot of red food coloring into some vanilla icing....
And if you were to mix a lot of yellow food coloring into even more vanilla icing...
And then you were to take a nilla cookie and smear a little of that red icing on there.....
Followed by a mint pattie....
Followed by some yellow icing...
And then you were to sprinkle a little of that green coconut on there...
And then top it off with another nilla cookie....
You might get.....
SWEET MINI HUMV-UR-GEURS!!! (hamburgers and/or hang-ger-burs)
Heaven help me, I think I'm in love....
Friday, August 27, 2010
As for "dealing"... *big sigh*
The thing is that with the sheer volume of horses on the market right now, given the time of year and the price bracket i am looking in, I really feel that I'd be remiss in not doing my best to get the best horse I can for the best price. In order to do this I have assembled a list of horses that, on paper, work for me. They all meet the qualities on my "must have" list... which are...
Monday, August 23, 2010
He has a few more years to enjoy the good life....
Saturday, August 21, 2010
She will hump up and occasionally buck when you first get on her but is better if lunged first. After she warms up she settles down and will work well for you. I asked the usual questions like does her saddle fit and has she seen a chiropractor. The owner said that they did have a chiropractor see her once and it seemed to help a little but wasnt a permanent fix... but I also know chiropractic work is rarely ever a one shot deal and they often need regular maintenance. She said she felt the saddle fit well enough.
If I did buy this horse I would do so under the premise that I could not fix her. I would try to fix her but I wouldnt bet on it. I am actually not the most worried about her obvious issue (cold back) but am instead more worried about what it could indicate about her soundness and whether a cold back horse that will buck will be more likely to buck when pushed once warmed up.
Anyone have any experience with cold back horses? Do you think a horse can simply be "cold backed" when they are clearly broke? Or is it an issue of pain? Can they be trusted once warmed up to not always resort to bucking when in a pinch (the physical or proverbial kind)?
Friday, August 20, 2010
(the brown dress is a little like the salmon colored one in this photo... only with a "V" neckline and to knee length... and a gathering rouched type thing between the ribcage under the breast)
The second dress is that of a lady. It's beautiful blue color compliments my eyes and skin tone and the skirt is calf length, flowy and falls off my hip in a flattering loose a-line. This one is sleeveless which I am not thrilled over due to my I-don't-have-a-horse-to-keep-them-shapely arms. The neckline is high and very modest but actually seems to enhance an ample bosom. My Mom said that I look like I'm "all boobs" to which I replied, "And that's a bad thing because?!" The ONLY benefit to being overweight is that I actually have a fairly decent rack and I dont intend on hiding that fact. *evil grin*
(The blue dress reminded me of Julia Roberts as Viv when she goes to the polo match in Pretty Women... it is the same neckline, with a heavy belt and loose skirt but is a blue kinda muted leopard print-ish but not really:).
Somewhere in between the two is a little black dress that is both sexy, classy and not quite so over-the-top as the brown one. It has a very deep neckline (the sales attended suggested I could wear a camisole of some kind underneath if I was uncomfortable with the cleavage (thanks but no thanks, I'm 28 for chrickees sake!!) and it is curve hugging but in not nearly as bold of a way. I like the dress but unlike the blue one (which makes me feel like wearing a pill box hat and white gloves) or the brown one (which makes me feel like wearing some dangerously high heels and shaking my stuff) the black one just makes me feel... well... nothing.
After writing this out I've decided that none of the above will do. I want to feel sexy but comfortable and I want to feel lady like but still youthful and fun and I definetly want a dress to make me feel something!
I guess it is back to shopping I go! This time I'll bring a camera!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Anyways... why the "Me + Math = Imbecile" title? I am studying... well actually at this moment I am, more specifically, procrastinating but I should be studying. Tomorrow I should be going in to take a test... and I haven't taken a test of any kind in, *thinks hard* a decade? Actually more! Yikes! I feel even more intimidated now, and a little old to boot!
I am going to go in to take a University Upgrade Assessment. This will test my English and math comprehension so that the university can place me in appropriate upgrading classes that will prepare me to take university or collage credit courses. I have no (read "No" in ginormous capital letters) idea what I want to do! I only know that I need to take the first step... even if my direction and destination is as of yet unknown.
But first, the test. I am not at all concerned about the English test. It is not that I think I will do really well it is that I am looking forward to taking the classes that will review what I learned (or didn't learn) in high school. But math... oh fuck no. Seriously. I just reviewed a little bit of asthmatic and my brain already hurts. Didn't I learn this shit in Grade 4? Shouldn't dividing, multiplying, and doing god-knows-what with fractions and all that other junk be stored somewhere in that long dormant aspect of my mind! It seems not! To make matter worse it would also seem that all the anxiety, frustration and insecurities that I once associated with all things math have remained firmly attached to what little stored information is left! With each feeble memory I pull loose from that dark and dusty recess comes out the echo of those old emotional scars.... the battle wounds of years spent waging war against the ever eager pull of a dominant right sided mind.
I am doomed.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Yesterday I bought Abby's foal. The day before yesterday I owned Abby's foal.
A curious plan, isnt it?
I signed another year's lease on Abby at the same time as I signed a purchase agreement on her unborn foal.
Marcy officially has Abby on a breeding lease until September of 2011. She officially owns the foal she is carrying and will own that foal should Abby (with blessings from above) deliver a healthy baby in April of 2011. That little bundle of joy will be born under contract for sale to me and I will have 30 days from the time that foal hits the ground to put a deposit on him that will hold him until weaning. At weaning I will owe the remainder of the purchase price.
The only part of this that really matters is that the purchase price is less than the figure I came up with when I crunched the numbers and discovered how much it would cost me to get that foal to weaning. I am saving money.
The other important part is that purchase price (god willing) will be slightly more than what it will cost Marcy to raise that foal. She will make money.
A win win situation.
The kicker is that should I decide for any reason that I can not take on the care of foal I simply will not put down the deposit and that purchase contract will become null and void. I can walk away.
Marcy also benefits should I choose not to close as she will then retain ownership and be able to sell that foal for fair market value (which is greater than what she is selling it to me for.)
I will not be registered as the breeder and I will not technically be raising that foal from birth (as I had dreamed) but that really is a small compromise in the bigger picture.
This plan may not seem that complicated laid out the way it is but the reasoning that lead to this decision had many facets, benefits and compromises that I shall leave here unexamined...all that matters for now is that this plan works brilliantly for the both of us... or is should... with blessings from above.
I have written another post laying out some of the reasoning behind my dream of owning and raising my own foal. It will appear as the post before this one. To link to that post click here: Why Buy Abby's Foal? Sorry for the length of the post... sometimes I find the writing process very cathartic:)
The question was asked, "Why this foal?" Because it should have the best bet of being what I want. What I want is Abby, without the ghosts... I've dealt with ghosts of owners past in all my horses and it just goes with the territory but that is specifically why I want to raise my horse from the ground up... I want to know that any mistakes that were made were mine alone not some asshat in a cowboy hat. I also want to know that I've done my best to produce the best horse I can for the job. If I only get one kick at the can to make this dream a reality I want to do it on a foal born to a mare I love and respect.
To be frank, and forgive me for sounding snobby but there seems to be a bit of a bias out there towards anyone breeding and producing QHs. It is much the same as dog breeders. Just because there is an overabundance of really poorly bred Golden Retriever puppies coming out of less than respectable breeders does that mean that the responsible breeders who are genuinely out to produce working, healthy dogs for responsible owners should quit breeding? I had an argument with a lady who felt just that way. She ran an equine rescue of sorts and felt obliged to give me shit of breeding my mare when there was already so many unwanted horses in the world. We didnt see eye to eye on the issue because she failed to recognize any horse as having a greater quality or value then any other. They are all God's creatures after all. If only the world worked like that. Rarely do horses who have been selectively bred for a certain sport and for within a specific market find themselves in a rescue. Take that starvation case out in Monroe Washington last year. How quickly do think it would have been to find homes for a lot of 30 starving "ranch" horses? Usually months. Usually those horses would end up at a feed lot or quickly deplete the resources of a local rescue. But the majority of those horses had homes within days. Why? Because they were valuable. Despite their condition, the papers attached to those horse gave them a home. My further argument to that anti-breeder was that responsible breeders fine tune their breeding program to meet market trends (including cutting back in a recession) unlike BYB (backyard breeders) and the big ranches still mass producing antiquated stock. I asked her, in those fifteen years what percentage would she guess were registered stock out of earning and performing sires and dams. I asked her how many times she had in an foal out of an own daughter of Gallo Del Cielo in her rescue. We agreed to disagree.
Why this foal? Simple. I'd love nothing more than to have that horse I raise to be a young, clean slate replica of Abby. And I'd love it if we could improve her just a little but crossing her on JJ and borrowing from him the things Abby is short on. Add JJ's blood in the mix and we'll hope that he'll give that foal quicker feet, some snap, speed and his gorgeous movement. Abby has the breeding that I love (you cant ride papers but I am passionate about AQHA genetics and having proven genetics just gets my rocks off.) but most of all she is everything I love in a horse. She has a mind of gold, she is all try, she is strong, sound, and really want to please. She is a rockstar. JJ was also shown until his late teens as a SOUND horse (not common for a reiner) and has proven that he has the body to do the job and do it VERY well... he is a highly accomplished reining horse ridden by some of the best names in the biz. I love his breeding... it is that classic, time tested and true magic cross of Hollywood Jac x on Topsail Whiz. This future foal should have every chance of being straight, sound, mentally solid and talented. She is a quality mare and he is a quality stud, their foal should be every bit as qualitative. It should be able to rope, rein, cut a cow and ride the high country. With JJ's movement their baby might even look sweet in an english saddle! I believe in nature and nurture (not nature vs. nurture) and that a foal learns a lot from his dam and in that way Abby is also ideal. I plan on having Abby and riding her, hauling her and having her around while that foal is growing up. It will have a great role model.
I want a foal born to be mentally and physically sound and I want to grow a foal to have a mentally sound mind and body.
The foal will not come home until November of 2011. Yes, I do have to consider the cost of keeping that foal for another year and half after he is weaned but my hope (my BIG hope) is that by next year I'll have my own place (by hook or by crook). It is still FAR FAR FAR cheaper to go out and buy a horse ready to ride but having my own place will make this dream not quite so expensive. If I don't have my own place by then... well, I might just consider not buying him at all. But I'll deal with that when the times comes. I have about a year from when that horse comes home until I can start playing with him. Once I am able to start using and enjoying him (not just riding... I'll pony him around and start getting him mentally broke) I'll stop counting his keep in to his ultimate "cost". Why?
I equate horses to having a boat. If I bought a boat for $10,000 and used it for a year then sold it for $9000 I would consider the cost of having that boat to be $9000. I would not add up all my moorage fees, my gas, tune ups, trailer etc. But if that boat sat idle because it's engine was out of repair and I needed to drop $2000 in to it in order to get it running I would consider the cost of that boat to be $10,000 plus the $2000 for the motor plus my moorage while it was sitting idle. If a horse is being used and enjoyed I dont look at the cost of his keep as part of his expense. I see it as the cost of my enjoyment. If that horse is sitting unused because it is unsound or too young to be used I count the cost because that is money out of my pocket that I am not getting any use of. The same goes with the lessons, training, shoes, etc....that is just the cost of pony time.
In the next post I wiill explain why I am so keen on Marcy having that foal in it's first six months and why I dont consider that time to be too great of a compromise in the "raise it myself" part of my ultimate dream.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
(pictures from Chilliwack Fair)
So I have a new horse plan.
It's a BIG plan...
What's the plan Stan? Well let me tell you.
It's sweet and simple. Well... at least it is to me.
My origonal plan was to find a facility to lease where I could care for Abby and her 2011 foal myself. The benifit to this plan was that I would be able to keep Abby, her foal and another riding horse in one facility for much less cost than it would have been to board them out. I also couldnt stomach the idea of boarding any horse, let alone a mare and foal, at a commercial facility. I had a few private farms lined up that I felt were fairly ideal. Right up until I realized two things: One, I really dont feel comfortable with having my horses out of sight (not just my sight but any human sight) for the vast majority of the day, over the vast majority of the year (almost all the farms I looked at do not have residents on site.) This is a huge problem. The second issue was that I broke down the cost of keeping a mare, foal, and riding horse... not just board but the whole cost. It was really scary. Terrifying actually.
The trauma of that accounting lead me to the conclusion that I needed to give up the idea of having three and keep it to Abby and foal. But that decision didn't sit well because it meant very little to no real riding for another year. I looked at it from all sides and threw up my hands in frustration.
And then an opportunity came up. I found a place that sounded too good to be true.
I know this really nice lady with a lone mare who is looking for some company and she offered me a place on her fair sized acreage (complete with a few box stalls). The facility was perfect. The price of board was awesome. It was a great place to raise a foal. A single mare. And a single foal. Still, no riding horse.
And then I did something stupid. I ran the costs again. (I should have been an accountant). This time I figured out what it would cost me to raise that foal until weaning in Sept/Oct 2011. I hummed. I hawed. I capitulated about the benefit of realizing my dream of raising my own foal vs. the prospect of not riding for another year. The idea of giving up that foal was impossible to stomach. But so was giving up on riding. I vacillated a little more.
And then I came up with a plan. THE PLAN of all PLANS.
I e-mailed Marcy (the lady who has had Abby on a breeding lease).
I laid out "The Plan".
She e-mailed me back with a, "Huh?"
I explained the reasoning behind The Plan.
She e-mailed me back with a, "Umm... huh? Why on earth would you want to do that!?!"
Yesterday we signed contracts and made The Plan a Reality.
I'm thrilled. Marcy's thrilled. It's a win win all the way around.
So how it works is this...
Op! I'm out of time. I'll tell you tomorrow.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
But before I begin you need to know the catch. The catch is that no matter how good I might be (humble too) at reading through the bullshit, the fact is that there is no way, short of strapping that slippery sucker of a horse seller to a pressure cuff, retina scanner and shooting him up with a hefty dose of truth serum (Now there is an idea!) there is no sure fire way to separate fact from fiction. To make matters worse some horses owners dont even know that they are lying. They can be oblivious to lameness and, bless their heart, deluded by love and ignorance in to thinking their fluffy is the second coming of Big Ben.
Such is life.
But one would think there is some information in a horse ad you cant count as being "fact" such as the basics:
Age. Sex. Breed. Height. Color.
One would also assume that all such facts would be included in even the most basic of horse ad.
Here are some of the "general" rules I apply in the interest of time.
Sex: GENERALLY you can bank on the legitimacy of this information... except... in the case of a gelding with some "studly" characteristics (big jowl, muscled neck) in which case it is always good to ask when they were gelded. You might be shocked to find that "kid safe gelding" was used as a breeding stud just months earlier. If you are very serious about a gelding it also helps to google their reg. name and see if any "Sired by" pops up. I've found such geldings MULTIPLE times.
Age: For a registered horse the listed age is most often correct. However, because horse age is most often listed as year of birth beware those who suck at math. They either deduce incorrectly when coming up with the birth year (a 12 year old was not born in 1997) or when coming up with the age from the year (a 1997 is not a nine year old.)
If a horse is listed as a "three year old" be sure to ask if it will be three-year-old all year long or just until it's mid-summer "birthday" (they bucked the universally accepted January 1st birthday.)
If the age is not included in the ad the horse is ancient. If the horse is Grade and doesn't show any signs of age it will be five. If its age is beginning to show then it will always be 12 and anything that can no longer pass as 12 is "unknown age but still acts like he is 12".
Breed: If the breed is missing from the ad it is either a Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Appy, Arab or a mix of heaven-knows-what or all of the above. Read Quarab as full Arab, Morab as even 'crazier than usual Arab' and Sporthorse as anything that doesnt pass as anything else. Unpapered "warmbloods" are Thoroughbreds or (if the owner is really reaching) Standardbred. And be warned that those skimpy tailed/thin maned grade QH's are often Appys that have shed the stigma of their papers.Height: Mots people give a "guesstimate" of their horses height and they usually error the side of whatever works best for the market. A simple rule can be applied here: read anything in the 14 hand range as "small"; anything between 15 and 16 hands as "medium" and anything 16 + as "large" and just completely disregarding any of the point fractions as totally immaterial.
Color: Dont even get me started. Half of the blue roans are gray. Duns are red duns or bays with even the faintest hint of counter-shading. Palominos are sorrels with flaxen mane and tails. Some folks try really hard to be smart and include details about how their sorrel mare has a recessive creme gene or could possibly be champagne or how their gelding is bay with dun factor. If getting the color wrong is the only error in their ad then count your blessings.