Have you ever noticed that the moment you say “never”, life throws you into a situation to change your mind? The Universe sure is a funny thing.
I’ve never understood the idea of having a back up horse. A horse that isn’t your main mount, but is rideable for the times when you want to and your main mount isn’t able. I mean, I had Gem – a horse who is always sound and has the ability to work more than I ever have the time to work her. Any time I wanted to ride, it was as simple as tacking her up and going. Well, maybe not quite that simple as some days it took me 40 minutes to catch her and the rides were anything but “easy” but physically she was always there when I could ride. What would I have ever done with a back up horse besides pay to board it? I barely found the time to keep Gem in consistent work.
But then Doofus entered my life and has been out of commission more than in and when I looked down and saw that missing shoe I lost it. Poor Hubby got the brunt of it with his ill timed call and by the end of my spewing rage at the Universe in general, Doofus in specific, he told me to go and buy a second riding horse, remove the shoes from Doofus, let his hooves grow out as originally planned while out in the pasture being mindfully ignored until next summer, and be done with this nonsense.
And I finally get it. I understand the need for a back up horse. Thanks Life for the lesson.
It is tempting. I went so far as to specifically lay out in my mind what I would want: 15 yo, been there done that, no spook/rear/bolt/kick/bite, has experience at BN xc or in the jumper ring to 2’6″, goes out on trails alone or in a group. SOUND. Barefoot. Basically what I was looking for when I decided on H’Appy only double the age because the back up horse wouldn’t need to be my main mount for the next 10-15 years as I hoped H’Appy would be (I still think if he lives to 10 I will be lucky).
I looked through sales pages again. Found a mare I really, really liked and went so far as to contact the seller and set up a test ride (she sold later that same day) and tracked down a horse Trainer recommended as a BN packer type (he requires a lot of maintenance though and that doesn’t qualify for a back up horse in my mind).
And then Sunday I shoved his barefoot hoof into the boot and went for a ride. Was it perfect? No, Doofus is still Doofus and while not exactly the horse I thought I was buying I know he is in there and can feel in my gut that he is worth sticking with. I’m excited to see where we will be in a year if he stays sound, injury free and with shoes on.
I’m not ruling out getting a back up horse though. When the Hubby gives a green light to buy a horse I’d be stupid to completely ignore it. It is so very tempting with an injury prone PITA gelding that can’t keep his crap together long enough to get 3 rides in a week. Back up horse would be there, ready and able to to go when H’Appy found himself yet again laid up with some self induced trauma or another and I could get back to my own riding goals and progress.
The thing that holds me back is what on earth I would do when H’Appy decides to turn into a real horse, stop injuring himself and get with the program and now I have two horses that need ridden and one butt to do so. I don’t have a show barn with kids lining up for any free ride they can sneak in and I have enough trouble squeezing three rides in a week myself.
Like I said, I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not actively seeking it either. My eyes are open and I am ready to jump on something if it looks absolutely perfect, but I won’t be making an ISO ad or spending hours on the internet scrolling through sales ads. Most horses are out of my price range (back up horse also needs to be cheap), too young, or not experienced enough for what I want. We will see. I may look into a free lease option, but damn if I’m not too type A to handle having a horse I can’t call all the shots on.
Do any of you have a back up horse waiting in the wings for when your main mount goes rogue on you?Does it ease the stress of not being able to ride or add more when you see the horse and know you don’t have time because main mount is able bodied again?