It dawned on at 6 pm with another hour of travel to go that maybe this was a stupid idea. I was alone with only the most vague sense of where I was going, it was super late and would only be later by the time all this was done and I was on my way home and I should be studying. As I got through the last of the Charlotte area rush hour traffic and saw that I was finally drawing near the end, I texted Dusty the address just in case it was some serial killer ploy to get half sane horse women to his home and I never came back. You never know.
What was I doing travelling for nearly 3 hours up I85 after work on a Wednesday? Going to meet a horse, of course.
I had seen the ad for E three weeks, maybe even four weeks, prior on one of the many horse sales sites like dream horse or equine now etc… I really liked the sound of the ad and the pictures that accompanied it, but the seller never answered my email or text. I gave up and kept looking. Monday morning I came across two interesting things:
- A was back up for sale under a new name, same pictures and same price. Interesting. I was tempted to comment asking if the RF navicular issue was resolved, but took the high road hoping he would potentially land in a safe spot eventually.
- I also saw an ad for a really great looking gelding that sounded vaguely familiar. Looking through the pictures I recognized his face. It was E! I tagged Trainer and contacted the seller. She quickly replied to me that day and we set up a time for Tuesday evening to go meet him. Then she messaged me that evening pushing me back to Wednesday and I was frustrated. She had someone else wanting to look at him Tuesday afternoon and I was not happy, but I really liked the look of him. Honestly, I sorta wrote him off at that point figuring whoever was looking at him Tuesday afternoon would purchase him.
Wednesday at lunch I messaged her to verify he was still available and he was! Which is what led to me fighting traffic all the way up to a small town in NC late into the evening.
So who is this horse?
E is a 7 year old 15.2H registered Appaloosa gelding hailing from Canada. The current owner has had him since August making him the most well known of all the horses I had seen to date. He was some grand champion of the hunter world up there until he was sold to SC. I’m not sure why he was sold but I know he was purchased due to his calm demeanor and willing attitude by the current owner. Since last summer he has been teaching kids and wimpy adults like me the basics of w/t/c and going over small jumps. He has also been extensively trail ridden, taken over logs and ditches and worked on cows. He was a pretty good all around type of guy.
Going in I was a little hesitant just because I’m not typically a fan of the Appy. Not that I have much personal experience its just that the flimsy hair and the look they have in the eye like they always are throwing shade at you has been a bit off putting to me.
I arrived 30 minutes late thanks to all the traffic and MVAs I passed and the owner was very generous about it. It was 7pm, but she wasn’t in a rush and let me look him over and say hello. In fact, she was the best seller to date. She immediately asked me what I was wanting in a horse, what I was going to be doing with him and what the living situation would be. She informed me that he can crib if left in a stall for multiple days but keeping hay in front of him stops it. He didn’t crib on the fence line out in pasture and didn’t suck wind. She filled me in on his background and that he was a bit picky about bit choices and was currently going in a D ring Myler.
The first thing I noticed was that he was fat. Like jiggling in places he shouldn’t be fat. Other than that he looked really well put together, had a lovely head and a soft, fluffy nose I couldn’t get enough of. Gem has a tiny little Arab nose and for some reason I was addicted to petting his soft, fuzzy muzzle. He didn’t mind at all and came in for some pretty epic head cuddles.
She had her working student get on him to show him w/t/c and over jumps. She warned me that he did prefer the left lead in canter and that her student is bad going right and I noticed that he was a bit sticky going right but did pick it up and picked it up willingly after the jumps.
What I really liked though was how steady he was. He did what she asked and didn’t seem to need nagging, crops and spurs but also wasn’t ripping her arms out. Kinda of do the thing but with the least energy expenditure as possible type. The ring was filled with gorgeous jumps: painted butterflies, black silhouettes of cowboys and cowgirls, and pine trees. Things I wouldn’t be brave enough to get Gem over with all the pretty colors and solid planks.
When it was my turn, I did my typical get on, walk and halt. I always make sure I have brakes. Some things are negotiable, but brakes are not. He had a really nice halt, but even better he walked back off without me having to get after him. This pretty much was true for my entire test ride. He was responsive to everything without being over reactive or tense. Once I asked for something, he did it until I asked for something else. Which was awesome until I started talking and forgot to really steer and then he basically tried to leave the arena because, well I didn’t tell him not to and it was in our path. Oops. Sorry big fella!
His canter was amazing. The canter transition is my nemesis. I get so tense due to all my time with Gem and her flying off on me, that I ask to canter but hold back and it falls apart. With E, all I did was sit tall and barely brush my heel against him and we were cantering. Slowly. And in control.
Magic pixie dust was in the air.
After that I decided to jump him. Now, with every other horse I have tried I only felt comfortable asking over a single tiny cross rail and pretty much immediately pulled them up afterward. I’m a wimp. With E I immediately pointed him at the butterfly combo and he was very unimpressed with it, barely taking the time to trot it. So I came back around and put my leg on and really pushed him. He still was a bit awkward and no where near as fluid as with the young rider, but he went over. After that I came around and took the black plank. All on my own without my Trainer there to force me.
Bravery…I found it.
After that I was done. I really liked him. I liked his stocky build. I liked his calm yet inquisitive nature. I felt he would be a good fit for me and Wyatt could even ride him if he wanted to some day.
I have a video that the student grabbed for me but it is 7 minutes long and taking forever to upload.
So….I paid my deposit!!!
The PPE isn’t until the 11th and I’m holding off anything super exciting in my mind until then. I didn’t see any outward issues, Trainer did notice anything in the videos and he has a pretty easy past history so fingers crossed this one passes. If not, I may get into mountain biking instead.