Monday, November 16, 2015

on a scale of 1 to britney spears...

These days I'm getting out to the barn about once or twice a week. Definitely a change of pace from my typical lifestyle! And I'm trying to be strategic about when I go, since I'm so limited in what I can actually do. Last week I only made it out to watch a couple riders lesson with Dan.

First up was Bali with his lease rider G. The universe was trying very hard to make me miss this lesson (esp with some cat stuff at home ugh), but I was determined. And I may or may not have had nefarious reasons.

bali is by far my favorite blazed faced bay gelding :)
See, I've mentioned to Dan a couple times that I'm pretty nuts about Bali, but it's never been totally clear that he knew which horse I meant. So I wanted to bring it up with him while he was actively watching and teaching. And specifically, I wanted to know exactly how crazy (see title of this post, and yes that's how I phrased the question) it was to even consider a horse like this.

i just think he's the sweetest! 
Quite frankly, I was expecting to get shot down out of hand. And maybe I wanted to hear that. Trainer P had been fairly kind and diplomatic in her assessment, but her general impression was, "No." Really, her whole point was that horses like Bali are a dime a dozen, and that there are plenty more out there with fewer physical issues. I understand and don't necessarily disagree.... but idk. There's something about Bali that I really just click with.

he loves to jump!!!
So I was a bit surprised to hear Dan speak positively about the horse. Granted he hadn't really taken a close look at the mouth (or fetlocks ugh). But noted that he is a nice jumper, sound (music to my ears!), and a good average size (ie, not too long or too short in the back). Of course he was also careful to say that he wasn't encouraging me to just go out and buy him - the PPE still mattered.... Which is honestly probably where Bali would flunk anyway.

But still, it was heartening to hear all the same. My winter plans for Bali include chiro and acupuncture work, and potentially a lameness eval just for shits and giggles. But after the whole cat ho$pitalization situation the budget might not support all that. We will see.

and his lease rider G is doing very well with him
Interestingly enough, tho, Dan continued the conversation in a direction I didn't anticipate. He spoke more generally about not understanding why amateur riders always go for the green horses, instead of finding something already trained that can go up the levels as the rider becomes ready.

Apparently (so he says), there are scads of older prelim horses out there available for lease (or free lease) that aren't really salable bc they wouldn't pass a PPE, but are otherwise still fit for competition. He said that riding a trained horse - especially on the flat - can be educational for the rider in ways very different from a green horse. And in some ways, easier - as in, the rider doesn't install buttons, but gets straight to the business of learning to refine pushing the buttons.

It was a very interesting point of view, and one I hadn't really considered before. Well, bc frankly I haven't really considered much bc I'm not actually in a position to purchase a horse right now, so it's all just pipe dreams anyway. Fun to think about tho!

56 comments:

  1. That's interesting, about the older prelim horses. I've leased several horses on our area and never come across anything like that. But maybe since I'm not really an eventer I wasn't looking in the right places. Too late now :)

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    1. yea i'm really not sure if the reality quite matches up with his perceptions haha... but then again i've never really looked so idk.

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    2. On the bwest coast there are DEFINITELY NOT scads of "prelim +" horses that are available for a free lease/care lease/cheap lease kind of situation. I think the people/trainers who have them tend to keep them themselves, or or their friends/clients/etc.

      I chose a green horse because that's what was in my budget. My extremely small budget. I don't know that I could have picked up a horse with Murray's level of training, talent, and skill without some serious physical issues, or barring that, serious psychological issues. Plus, I already had him all tuned to just how I know how to ride!! :D

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    3. right - and i think that budgetary consideration might be what dan was missing out in his recommendations (esp given part of his business is selling prelim horses lol).

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  2. Yeah, I think the average person doesn't develop the contacts to find those older and experienced horses until they already have a green one. They aren't just posted on equine.com. ;)

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    1. amen to that...I got tillie and really started lessons and riding with way more instructors and only THEN had the contacts to be able to find one of these older seasoned horses. I wish I could afford two because I agree with D's sentiments...**sigh**

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    2. lol he made it seem like you just post an "in search of" on facebook and then drown in alll the many options that come your way. but yea, it's possible that he gets a different kind of response from the average adult ammy

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    3. Bahahaha. Yeah. Uh. Of course he thinks that way....

      ... maybe his advice should instead be "hook up with a BNT for lessons, and let it be known you are looking for an experienced schoolmaster." Because, let's be honest, that's the only way you're going to find those.

      I mean, when I retire Pig down the levels I don't plan to post an ad. I plan to just tell a bunch of people, and see who they find. I think that's how most people do it. The internet is full of weirdos, who wants those on their prized schoolmaster?

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    4. lol seriously ... like, i know what he's talking about, esp after one of his working students ended up with a free lease on something that was supposed to be trained up (but actually wasn't, a story for a different day) - but i'm pretty sure that lease was contingent on the fact that the student actually trained with dan, otherwise it wouldn't have happened

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  3. It also depends on where you are located as far as the prelim horses go. I also think that if you are seriously considering Bali maybe also take a look at what else is around. And as someone who spent almost double my horse's purchase at the vet I would be concerned about Bali's inability to pass a PPE. But if you can have an honest conversation with the vet talk about Bali's likely longevity as an eventer, I think that would be worth it. I love Pongo but if I was looking for a horse I wouldn't buy him.

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    1. well as it turns out i'm NOT actually seriously considering anything bc i'm not actually in a position to own a horse right now (leasing isabel is fortunately very sufficient for my purposes!) so i'm free to mull over the possibilities of buying a lame horse haha... bc yea i don't really know what's up with bali. all the same tho, i'll probably put a little maintenance into him when the budget allows

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  4. I would LOVE to lease an older packer like that! So much learning. And then, ideally, be working with a young/green horse at the same time. Dan should find you one!

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    1. lol that's what i told him - to let me know next time one of these mythical cheap prelim horses come up for lease ;)

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    2. Exactly this. Sorta. My life goal? Get a youngster to work on while Pig and I can show upper levels. (Okay, at least 3rd.) That way I don't lose my skills while riding the baby horse shenanigans, and don't get absurdly bored with 20m circles.

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    3. haha in a way that's kinda what i'm doing by riding both bali and isabel. tho isabel obvi isn't trained up the levels, but at least she's a good trier and we can keep chipping away at it while bali figures out how to go around a turn without totally skidding out lol

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  5. Interesting about the older horses, like Susan I have very rarely heard of a schoolmaster available for a cheap/free lease. When they come up, their person is usually already "chosen" by the owner or trainer. Maybe it is a case of having to have someone "in the know" in order to have access to that kind of horse.

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    1. yea i think you might be right, esp about the leaser being picked out specifically by the owner.

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  6. Darn living in a state where old prelim horses don't really exist, what I fun opportunity that could be for you though!

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    1. wouldn't it be fun tho?!? i'd love to bop around some big jumps on a been-there-done-that horse ;) tho honestly i'm not sure those horses really exist here either haha (maybe just in dan's world?)

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  7. Thats nice to hear!!! D has always said PPE's shouldnt be a pass / fail though. You take the info you got out of it and assess the risk or the maintenance that will be required. Some of the most clean legged horses wont hold up for this sport ;)

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    1. yup that's definitely the truth. and frankly i actually have no idea about what bali might have going on - if he actually has anything going on beyond what meets the eye. mostly just food for thought ;)

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  8. Horses like Bali are a dime a dozen.... yes...but no too. Yes, there is ALWAYS another horse as my spouse tells me. But there is also sonething individual in each horse. Something about Bali's personality you like.

    The other option is good too. But do what feels right to you. I just don't care to hear anyone run down any animal. Sorry. Best of luck !

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    1. I totally agree, no matter how many horses are out there, finding a horse that we click with personality wise is a pretty great thing and the connection can outweigh any issues there might be. It's definitely a balancing act though, being realistic yet considering the emotional connection, but both are equally important I think more most ammie riders.

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    2. yup - esp when things get tough, whether training or health-wise or whatever, it's kinda important to actually really LIKE the horse haha. but yea, being realistic is also kinda a biggie too.... oh horses, why can't they all be totally 100% sound and then never get old?!?

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  9. Horses like Bali are a dime a dozen.... yes...but no too. Yes, there is ALWAYS another horse as my spouse tells me. But there is also sonething individual in each horse. Something about Bali's personality you like.

    The other option is good too. But do what feels right to you. I just don't care to hear anyone run down any animal. Sorry. Best of luck !

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    1. yea i tend to agree with you. i've been able to find something lovable in pretty much every horse i've ever ridden... but it's been much easier to love bali than with some of the others. he's just such a sweetie!! if i had unlimited money i would just buy ALL THE HORSES haha. bali first :)

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  10. I totally agree with Dan about the value of older horses; I had a LOT of green horses when I was young because my parents didn't really know any better and kept buying them, and because they were what was in our price range. Moe was my first experience with a horse that had some real training. He didn't have a lot of it- he'd been in training for a while, had been to one horse trial (where he won his beginner novice division!), and was only 8. But he taught me a lot of more refined skills, as opposed to the survival skills I learned on other horses.

    Old, experienced horses are the best. :P

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    1. yea i can definitely see value in that approach. i've got something similar with isabel - she's mature and definitely broke, but she's green to the level we're riding at, and everything we do together we also learn together. it would be awesome to ride something more schooled on the flat so i could learn what it's really supposed to feel like, vs when isabel fakes me out

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  11. It's good to hear he was positive about Bali! An older, more experienced horse is always nice to have access to. It's always good to have the time to think about what you want before jumping into something and you've always seemed like a very level-headed person to me, so I'm sure you'll find the situation that is best for you.

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    1. thanks! i was happy to hear him be positive about this horse too haha, not everyone loves the horse like i do.... but yea, like you say, it's best to consider all the options and fortunately i'm not particularly impulsive. and, really, since i'm actually not in the market right now i'm essentially just pulsing all the different options to see what happens anyway

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  12. I love oldies. They have so much to teach.

    I agree that they are incredibly valuable to an adult ammy rider, but you're looking at a pretty immediate retirement situation most of the time if you buy. A lease would obviously change that up, but it does change the conversation. Most of us struggle to afford one, much less deal with the retirement issue.

    And FWIW, a horse that you connect with and you feel safe on who has a good brain probably isn't a dime a dozen. I have an OTTB who I highly doubt would pass a vet, but he makes me happy.

    All that to say. I like both sides of this argument.

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    1. yea i think you and i pretty much have the same mind on this topic. if only we could just all have all the horses? sigh....

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  13. As the Ammy that's been told that the magical affordable prelim or schooled horses exist they never seemed to be available. I think they are like unicorns...

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    1. lol somehow i suspect you might be right....

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  14. I found my unicorn! But sometimes you have to be prepared for a less than ideal situation. Dee is a solid Training/Prelim level horse. Her dressage is woefully struggle-bus laden but she will jump everything and anything, even when you're so nervous you just freeze. That being said, most people passed her over because she was 17, only 15.2 and the kicker? A Saddlebred.

    I didn't even bother doing a PPE on her. At her age, with her experience it was a risk I was willing to take (the purchase price was low, like cheaper than my used saddle)

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    1. that makes a lot of sense about the PPE - i doubt many horses with that kind of experience would pass. also awesome to hear that it *IS* possible to find a horse like Dee.

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  15. Great that he liked Bali so much! I've had some experience with clients leasing schoolmaster types (including one older 3* horse who we turned into a dressage horse when he couldn't run xc anymore). They're definitely amazing to learn/teach on. But one of the things that keeps people from leasing them sometimes (other than finding them, but there are tons in this area) is the cost to keep them. Older 3* horse needed regular injections (coffins/hocks) and expensive care to keep him going. Also, people don't usually want to hand off their fancy horse to someone who isn't going to ride with a trainer they approve of. So that adds to the cost and means that you may be limited with trainers.

    One of the reasons why I retired Rico and picked up TC was that TC costs me literally a third of what Rico did. And yah I could lease Rico out, but I find that I'm pretty picky about trainers and boarding situations, as well as how often he shows. He doesn't do well soundness-wise being in a box stall for a weekend. I think the person who could afford the necessary injections/supplements/care AND the training would probably want to show him more than I'd want. So he's happily retired!

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    1. i think you're probably right about all of that. i honestly *don't* doubt that there are lots of schoolmasters around here that would be available for lease - but like you say, it isn't just that simple. fortunately i don't think the trainer question would be an issue, bc if i were actually looking for lease horses i would be using my trainers to help find one, and presumably they would be looking within their existing networks. but yea, the maintenance part is very VERY real!

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  16. Cute gelding! I purchased my mare at 2.5y/o. She wasn't backed or trained in any way other than leading. She had an old injury from weaning, fractured sesamoid.
    I didn't bother with a full PPE, she moved sound and stayed sound after many long romps in the field. I did get xrays however to ensure the fracture would not affect her later.
    Thankfully, it healed famously with little indication of it's presence other than a slightly larger bone due to horse's way of healing. Over calcification so the area will not break again.

    Here we are, 5 years later and my mare has never been lame or off in her life. ( knock on wood)

    Sometimes you just know when you have found 'that' horse and if you are not planning on selling, meh, there are many things on a PPE that will fail a horse but are unlikely to cause issues later.

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    1. yay for having a sound horse! and yea if you're not planning on selling ever i guess it doesn't hugely matter what the PPE shows. tho honestly i'll probably never go into a purchase with that mentality just bc i have a hard enough time committing as it is haha

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  17. I do love my experienced old guy. I have improved so much in the past 6 months with him. Plus he gives me confidence like, woah. I was lucky to buy him from my old trainer. Of course, there is something to be said of the pride and accomplishment in building that awesome horse yourself.

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    1. that's true - it's definitely super rewarding to develop a green horse... but i also love the idea of gaining confidence and improving with a horse that knows it's job already

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  18. As someone who has a dime a dozen horse with physical issues that I clicked with, I have 0 regrets.

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  19. He's right, there is a Prelim horse that is in my eventing friend's barn who is still going super strong at Prelim, but has a lot of jewelry (surprisingly low maintenance) they are definitely having trouble selling him because of the PPE but he's a super nice horse! I considered leasing him until I ende up just buying Ramone

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    1. interesting! i figure if i decide to go in that direction i'll end up leasing something just like that (provided the people agree to a lease). sounds like the perfect learning opportunity!

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  20. Dans perspective is definitely worth thinking about! I'd never even thought about something like that before. Definitely has merit.

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    1. right? that was kinda my impression as well. definitely good food for thought!

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  21. Where are these magical unicorn horses? Maybe the Dans of the world know of them, but the average amateur doesn't. It's not like I could go get one if I wanted to.

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    1. haha that's what i'm thinking too. i told dan to let me know next time he stumbled across one lol

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  22. Well, you know my story: I have a dime a dozen horse that loves to give herself physical issues and I have regretted my decision multiple times because it makes it nearly impossible to have fun with her. Granted, every time I regret my decision she does something to make up for it so I guess at least there's that.

    The horse that has the chronic physical issues that I paid good money for is the one that has wrapped herself tightly around my heart. She, though, I knew was *not* a dime a dozen from the first time I got on her. She was the horse I had been looking for for most of my life. Yes, she almost killed me, but I am thankful every day that I decided to stick with her.

    You are very sensible and I know you will find the perfect horse for you! :) My advice is: if you go with an OTTB absolutely do *not* skimp on that PPE. I know a fellow blogger here in MD that owns TWO OTTBs that she did *no* PPEs on because she trusted the rescue she was getting them from, and she has spent the last two years nursing one injury or issue or another in both horses. She has barely been able to ride either horse in the time she has had them. Both horses had pre-existing issues that the owner didn't know about because she didn't do PPEs.

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    1. thank you! yea i definitely know plenty of horses who been plagued by injuries and recurrent illnesses etc, and it's definitely no fun to be put through the wringer like that. obvi there's only so much you can learn about a horse with a PPE, and accidents DO happen... but still. i'm a big believer that knowledge is power, and it's in everyone's best interest to go into a new situation with their eyes open

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  23. Realistically, I'm 45, mostly broke, and kind of chickenshit. I don't need a horse that is capable of sailing over 3'9" with confidence. I myself am not capable of sailing over 3'9" with confidence. Even on a very solid horse, I am not going to be confident doing that without more practice and experience on smaller fences first.

    Right now, I'm good at 2'3" and I'm hoping to make 2'7" by the end of next summer. (You gotta start somewhere...) I need a horse that is cheap, sturdy, healthy, and willing to hop over 2'7" without offering a huge ration of Don'tWanna, with the scope and ability to manage 3'3" in a couple of years. (That's pretty much every single sound horse ever in the history of the world, btw.) if I get to where I am exceeding the scope of my current horse, I will start looking for a horse who can do more... but for now, what I have is fine.

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    1. see this is exactly my attitude too. it kinda drives me crazy when people are horse shopping and are essentially looking for an upper level prospect when the rider themselves might never even aspire to riding at that level. imo it's more important that we have horses that we can get along with and have fun with, and maybe simultaneously push the upper limits of our capabilities a bit too ;)

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  24. Yes. Just Yes. I love him too and think you need him in your life so I can continue to hear about him. :)

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    1. lol he is supremely lovable! fortunately he's not going ANYWHERE any time soon, with or without me actually owning him, so no real changes or decisions need to be made in that quarter. he's just such a doll tho :D

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