The Road to Buying a Cutting Horse: The One
Well, after narrowing it down to three prospects, I was definitely reeling trying to figure out exactly what I wanted in a horse. However, after riding one of the three, I sort of had an inkling that, that horse would be the one. I called my mom, (who, although un-horsey, is a good springboard), and after rambling pros and cons at her, she said "Well, sounds like you have your mind made up..." & I guess I did.
So, what exactly, was I looking for in a horse?
- Something I could go cut on
- Although that didn't exactly translate into showing, a horse I could show right away was a major plus, as opposed to one that needed more work/trainer time before dropping my hand.
- Something I enjoyed being around
- I want to (obviously) like the horse I buy, but not only that, the horse needs to be agreeable. I wanted to enjoy being around the horse - whether that be at a show, with the vet, with one of my friends riding it, etc.
- Something that will last me awhile
- I might not even end up walking into the herd this year, I need a horse that will last me atleast a couple years. I also DON'T want a horse that I have to medically hop along to get me there - that's not how I like to do things.
- Something I could also do "stuff" with
- I thought a lot about this one - what is "stuff"? Well, simply put, it's anything. I love trail riding, I also like goofing around at gymkhanas, I like learning more about western dressage etc. I also want a horse that I can ride, and do whatever on, I don't need a show pony in bubble wrap at this point in my life.
For me, only one horse translated into all the above categories...
Introducing Prospect 3, the 11 year old mare.
Otherwise known as, Lady.
Otherwise, Otherwise known as "Smart Mates Lady"
(Smart Mate x Hickory's Special Gal)
Lady is definitely pretty out of shape, and needs some serious loping before she can go back to the show pen. However, when she's in shape, she can go cut, and honour me in the herd. I'm still learning all about cutting, and I really do want a horse I feel safe and comfortable on to go learn. For me, of all three of the horses I was seriously considering, Lady was definitely the right choice when it came to having a horse I could learn on. She also has been out of the arena tons - moving cows, trail riding in the mountains, working in a feedlot - she has done it all, and some of it with inexperienced or younger riders. I liked that, it showed she was sane and easy to get along with. Plus, I love having a horse around I can throw friends, family or kiddos on, and trust they'll be okay. She is a little bit older than I wanted, at 11, she's the max age I was looking at - but she also hasn't had the legs shown off of her. Finally, I really truly like the family she's coming from, they obviously loved her and cared about her, and cared about where she would end up. For me, that goes a long way to showing how the horse has been treated, and cared for.
So, we vet checked Lady last week, and aside from some slight reactivity in her hocks - which is standard for a cutting horse her age - she was good to go. Cheques have been signed, and papers transferred. Lady is the newest addition to my herd. :)
I can't say this isn't a very scary step for me. It was so hard losing Bunny, and then, it was so hard having to retire Jingle - it hasn't been a great year horse wise. So, to now put a big investment into another horse? It was hard, and emotional, and some days, I'm still not 100% ready and there with her. But, I think, over time, it will get easier, and she truly is just a nice horse to be around - she makes me feel content, and happy. So I think, for right now, that's all I can ask for.