Christina here giving a rundown of my big news from the past few months! Things have been busy for both Katie and I which led to a little blog neglect and a bit of writer’s block. We’re trying to get back into the swing of things though!
It Was Finally Time
I’ve been working hard over the past 5 years to finally own my own horse. I wanted a horse that I could train which meant I had to learn how to train horses. Working with a variety of greener and greener horses taught me a lot when it comes to horse training. I also needed to improve my riding skill, figure out the financial side of horse ownership and learn more about horse care.
I decided that 2021 was going to be the big year. I had a horse budget ready to go so we decided we’d start seriously looking when the weather warmed up this spring. A stall unexpectedly opened up in February (I think?) so we fast-tracked horse shopping and started seriously looking for prospects. I wanted a Thoroughbred that was green and under 10 years old with a good brain. I prefer mares and dark horses (black/bay). I love pinto horses but wanted the big movement and temperament of a Thoroughbred and they really just don’t come in spots.
I’d never gone horse shopping before and I was nervous so we decided to find a nice calm horse that was around what I was looking for. This horse would be practice. I’d learn what to do, what to ask, and get used to feeling what a strange, young, TB felt like to ride.
We found what we thought was a good practice horse. He was nearby, restarted off the track, within budget, etc. Unfortunately, it was an incredibly windy day and as I said, he’s young and green so he was animated enough that Katie recommended I not get on. Practice horse fail.
Amelia ended up letting me ride Cool as practice. I used to ride him now and then before Amelia purchased him but it had been a while. He’s tall and a Thoroughbred so it was better than nothing! Cool is a dream to ride, Amelia is a lucky girl to have him 🙂
I was ready to buy this horse before we showed up. I absolutely loved everything about her and her owner obviously loved her too. She was well-bred, full of chrome (white markings), had a kind eye, was incredibly quiet, young, and around 16hh with only a few races under her belt. She was very upfront with her rideability and we both acknowledged she’s probably a little out of my skill range when it comes to her canter work. She came off the track and was turned out for the winter. She had been back in work for about a week. Katie and the trainer both suggested I go try her anyway so Katie, Maggi, and I headed to try her.
She looked great when the owner & trainer rode her. I hopped on and she just felt like a dream. I could tell she had a great brain, was really trying to figure out what I was asking. Things were going so well I decided (with approval from both trainers present) to try the canter. Welp, I found out just how green she is and how the cues I was taught don’t apply to green OTTBs. She got quick and tense but we eventually stopped. I really liked this horse but I had to swallow my pride and acknowledge that she was just not a good fit for me. She ended up getting a PPE done by someone else interested in purchasing her and the PPE discovered a career-ending heart problem. The owner decided to keep her since she really couldn’t be ridden more than a walk and had a questionable future.
This was a gelding that was marketed as a green, beginner friendly kick ride. He hadn’t had a whole lot done with him and was another horse that had been sitting. I liked him but not going to lie, I was really anxious after my scary adventure with prospect #1. I wasn’t sure if they were all going to be like that or not. Turns out, he was super chill and very safe. He was a great confidence booster and I left wondering if maybe I could make him into something amazing. I looked kind of silly on him because I’m so tall and he made us wonder if I needed a taller horse.
Katie pointed out that when I sit on the right horse, I’ll know it. Well, I certainly didn’t have that feeling but we added him to the prospects list anyway.
Prospect #3 was a very young mare that had never raced. The woman who owned her is a Grand Prix dressage rider and she was using this horse to teach her daughter how to ride. She was also located really close to prospect #2 so we saw them both the same day. I liked her, she had a wonderful canter that was super smooth. She was incredibly well behaved for as young and green as she was but…no spark. She had a hard mouth and seemed a little testy but they did said she was in heat. I also looked silly on her, she was 15.3 I think and I just towered over her. After prospect #2 and prospect #3 we decided to look at a different build of Thoroughbred – taller with a bigger barrel.
So far, these were the three horses that I actually got on. We had some busts where we showed up and left, horses that sold before we could get there, etc. I had a small army helping me sort through ads, get more information on horses, and try to schedule test rides. We were just having a hard time finding horses we were really excited to go see.
On a Thursday evening, a friend of mine found an ad for a pinto Thoroughbred. That’s right folks, the unicorn I didn’t think I could even dream of looking for or affording! Her name was Pintar, she had just turned 5 and was currently 16hh and growing. She looked to have the build we were looking for and was described as ammy friendly that an intermediate rider with a trainer could finish – perfect! She had raced a handful of times unsuccessfully then was trained for polo but grew too tall and was sold. She had about 30 days of hunter training when I saw her. AND she was within budget.
The downside? Of course there was a catch – she was located in Lexington, Kentucky. After a flurry of texts between Katie and I, we decided to make the trek to try her. There was one person in front of us but we got the text Saturday morning that she didn’t purchase her and we were second in line. So we grabbed some clothes, canceled our Easter plans, and drove to Kentucky.
I tried her on Sunday morning and Katie was right about just knowing. Sure, her coat was beautiful but I was blown away by the way she moved. She takes long, sweeping strides and is incredibly laid back. She was a dream to ride even if she was pretty green and had polo training which apparently means not all of my aids actually worked (like the breaks!). We managed to get her vetted while we were there and while her conformation isn’t perfect and her PPE wasn’t pristine but she passed the vet exam easily. She was a good fit for what I was looking for. After all, it’s not like we’re going to the Olympics 🙂
Katie called shippers while I drove us home and we managed to get her home to Maryland by that weekend. I could go on about her for hours but I’ll leave that to other posts. Katie and I are both completely obsessed with her. She’s doing well with her training so far, Katie and I have both been working with her so she gets plenty of attention. Oh! And I decided her barn name would be Floki after my favorite character from Vikings!