The Road to Buying a Cutting Horse: Prospects #1 & #2
On Tuesday, Brigitte and I, headed out to look at various horses across Alberta. I chose to bring Brigitte along because, not only is she my best friend, but she's an Equine Massage Therapist. True to form, she had printed out forms, and took notes/videos/questions the entire time regarding their physicality's, training, details etc. While i'm rambling on about show records, Brigitte knows to look for and ask the right questions that will be important in the future. Like how the horses physicality will hold up to showing, if how the horse moves is due to their conformation, etc. Life Saver. If anyone is going horse shopping in the future - bring along Brigitte, she's for hire. See my previous post!
From my previous post, the horses we tried out were:
- A 5 y/o gelding, professionally started as a 3 year old, ridden as a 4/5 year old by a successful Non-pro, limited showing. Came in third in her class in the winter series.
- A 6 y/o mare, professionally started and shown as a 3 year old, bought as a 4 year old by a Non-pro getting into cutting, shown since then, consistent horse who takes care of her rider. When everything clicks, she marks 72-73's.
- One lady who has a 3 y/o mare who is in professional trainer, a 4 y/o that was shown at the Supreme, but didn't make the finals and hasn't shown since, a 5 y/o that is a bit of a project horse and an 11 y/o babysitter type cutter who can apparently teach you how to cut.
The last group of horses were very nice, as were their owners and trainer, but none of them really clicked with me. However, the first two horses, definitely did and they have been moved from the "Horses to Try" list, to the "Prospect" list!
Horse #1: 5 y/o gelding:
I really liked this gelding. He had a nice pedigree (out of a High Brow Cat son that had limited get and a Peptoboonsmal daughter), was trained by a trainer as a two and a three year old, but was still a stud and had a decently bad attitude. He got himself kicked out of the program, and back to his owners, who is a successful Non-pro, who put a year and a half of serious work into him. Then she showed him at a winter series, where he came in third overall in his class.
I watched her ride and flag him first, she is a very beautiful, calm rider. The second I got on him, I could feel her riding. He was very feely and sensitive. This isn't a horse you can bang around on. Which I liked. She said no one else had ridden him in years, and you could tell he wasn't sure who I was, but he listened to me as I trotted him around. I flagged him (we only got a brief video - the one I've attached to the post), and again, he really tried for me, even though I knew my cues weren't exactly what he was used to. She admitted he still needs times, and work, but the price is right, and he was very enjoyable and nice to be around. Another plus - never had, had injections, or even shoes on, and he had decent feet!
The only true downside is the time he needs - time, translates to working with a trainer, and I don't have the funds to really do that right now. He also works a little high headed for my liking, and due to this doesn't really sweep or use his forehand as efficiently as he could.
Brief video of some of the Flag work I had on this gelding
I have contacted this horses owner back, I really like him, but would hopefully like to see some video of him showing, as well as watch him on a cow in person. So, I am hopefully going to watch him work cows next week.
Horse #2: 6 y/o mare:
This mare is just plain CUTE, she is by San Jo Lena, and I really, really liked her. She was a total rockstar, and I felt like I could just sit on her back, and she would take care of me - and maybe get me a cheque in the process. I got to work her on the flag and on cows, and she tried her heart out. The cows were pretty dull, and leaning on us, and instead of give up, she just kept trying. Such a cool little mare. A couple times I felt myself really "click" with her, while riding her, and felt very safe on her back. Unfortunately, she was not 100% sound. She had been trimmed before the show she was in the previous weekend, and her owner said she was foot sore. She was quite sore, which is obviously a major downside. I am not buying a lame horse. Her owners are going to put shoes on her, (she usually has shoes on when showing), and they are going to call me when/if she seems better. If she does get better, I will go see her again.
This mare has been shown a lot more consistently, her 3 year old year, and then steadily in her 5 and 6 year old year. Thus far, she has been on Legend shots yearly, but probably is due to have her hocks injected (at least). She definitely would need a little bit more maintenance than the gelding above, however, is a much stronger show prospect. However, how much realistically will I be showing? Probably not a lot. However, learning on a horse I know for sure can do well in the show pen, would be very nice. Another downside - I would have to do a pretty serious vet check, even if she doesn't seem better after having shoes on, I have the inkling I would want to do x-rays on her. She was already over my budget, but I think they would meet me where I need them too, however, a major vet check makes her even more pricier than I can afford.
This is me riding her on cows, just a short snippet of the probably ten minute work I had on her
So, with these two prospects, it definitely comes down to waiting and seeing. In many ways, they are very different horses. This search, and in particular, these two horses have also taught me I need to really be clear in what I want, and what i'm okay with. Am I okay with a horse than isn't 100%? One that needs regular maintenance? One that may need to be at a trainers to be able to show? One I may not be able to show? and If I do show - I may be very unsuccessful? Things to ponder & more horses to look at while we are at it!