In which Patty needs a horse that's not too tall, not too green, not too nuts...

It's been a long road to travel, looking for Patty's new horse.

Shoulder too steep, length of stride too short
We started back in August, reading Craigslist and Dreamhorse and trying to sort out the horses that were worth driving to see from the horses that are not suitable.

The Village People helped with horse selection, of course.  We spent endless hours combing through conformation photos, text descriptions, and a wide variety of videos.

HINT:  a video should show the horse moving.  Not just the horse's head.  The WHOLE horse.

You would be amazed how many people don't "get" that.

When we found something that seemed likely, a couple of the Usual Suspects would go look at a horse.
Lameness issues.

If we liked what we saw, we'd shoot our OWN pictures and videos and send them to Dory.

If she says a horse is "cute", we gotta go find another horse. 
If Dory liked what she saw, she'd go look.  

If she liked the horse IRL, then we'd send pics and video stuff to the vet.

Jerry has been Patty's vet for more than 25 years.  We trust his judgement.

If the vet liked the pictures and videos, he'd come out and evaluate.

Jerry was an endurance vet for a long time--he is the person who suggested that Dory and Patty might enjoy the sport.  That was a few years ago.

We weren't just looking at the physical, although that was the "first line of defense."  Patty needs a horse that's not only capable of doing the job (endurance), she also needs a horse that is short (so she can get on when she's tired and a horse that is well-sprung to support her poor knees. 
High flight-index
The knee-thing was interesting to me.  My knees are fine, so it doesn't occur to me to want a well-sprung horse.  
Too narrow
I've discovered that a narrow-built horse is much easier on my hips, which are my personal weak-point. Riding a well-sprung horse makes my hips and back ache for days, but riding a narrow horse makes Patty's knees sore.  Who knew?

Too "pony."
Patty isn't looking for a "top-ten" prospect, but she wants to start with a horse who is built sturdy enough for the game.  She's never gotten to shop for an endurance horse before; all her prior mounts have been assembled from parts they had standing around in the pastures at home.
Base-narrow in front (and lame because of it)

I'm not so good at the physical evaluation (although I've learned a lot from the shopping process).  I do look at feet, and crossed several horses off the list when I saw wonky angles or crumbly horn tissue.  A bad trim is correctable, but an endurance horse needs a good basic foot to do the work.

Bad feet
In several instances, we didn't see conformation flaws 
Built downhill/croup high

until we got home and looked at the photos.  
Knock-knees and duck feet

Sometimes, a horse might be physically suitable, but maybe not a good emotional match. 

No emotional connection here.  This is a really nice mare,
and she's still available at SAFE, will make a great dressage
or trail horse for somebody.  But not for Patty.
After contacting more than 80 owners about horses, and actually laying our eyes on 26 animals in two states, we finally have A WINNER:
Say "hi" to River, everyone.

She's Short.  She's Sane.  She's Sweet. And she's (well-) Sprung!

River came from a local rescue after getting hauled out of a bad situation a few years ago.  She is probably about seven years old, and probably mostly but not entirely Arabian.  She can be registered as a Pinto.  Her weight is now good, and her ground-work is good.  She has not yet been started under saddle...that should happen this week!
Smart, personable, food-oriented

And she makes us smile.  

River Wannacookie!


  1. Cool post! I LOVE horse shopping and have done so much of it through various states for myself and friends over the years. In fact may be going to Utah for some next month ;)

    Congrats Patty, what a cute mare!

  2. And the last line says it all! Cos a horse that makes you smile is one that you'll pay the unexpected vet bill for, go out in the rain/cold/heat/apocalypse to see to, look forward to riding, get snotted/goobered-on by and will still be smiling at the end of the day! Enjoy her - she looks like a good 'un! :)

  3. Congratulations to Patty and River for finding each other! Apparently I should have kept looking until at least number 26. ;-)

    1. Shawna, I would've taken one of the horses much earlier in the search, but Patty knows her Village and trusts the members to keep her out of trouble. Notice that the trainer (who knows Patty *and* knows endurance) got consulted BEFORE the vet...although the trainer and the vet rarely disagree, it's important to get input from both.

      It was a true learning experience for a lot of us (and makes me glad that my Dragon basically just "showed up"--I didn't have to shop for her at all!)

  4. River is cute! I kind of liked seeing how others went horse shopping as Rose just kind of appeared in my life and she works for me. Someday it would be cool to officially horse shop rather than just drool over photos and I think I too would bring a horsey friend along to help me shop. Interesting reading about well sprung vs slender, never thought about that. I hope Patty and River have a long career of miles together.

  5. Wow, and I thought I saw a lot of horses while shopping at 16 actual visits! Glad you found a suitable horse, now the fun can begin!!


Post a Comment

To err is human. To be anonymous is not.

Popular posts from this blog

In which we take (metaphoric) coals to Newcastle by boat and barge

In which it's that time again: we're headed for Sawmill Flats to build trails