Horrible videos, Horrible pictures, and ho-hum Canadian Sporthorses.
I clearly needed a bit more strategy to my search.
Although the platypus had not yet sold, I knew that I would be lucky to get $5000 out of the whole deal by the time it was all added up. I had a little bit of savings to spare, so realistically, my budget was $10,000 tops.
Leave a bit of negotiation room in there - I was looking at things listed under $15,000 that could potentially be negotiated down to $10,000. Or much less, even better.
Anything with two "imported parents"
(= So fuck off and stop asking me if I have been out to Charlot Farms yet)
It also eliminated the possiblity of paying comission to a dressage trainer to help me find the perfect horse. There just wasn't a dime to spare. Well, actually it was about the money and also about the fact that I hadn't yet located one that didn't make me want to drive a spike through my left temple. And add to that the fact that they would likely insist on me finding something imported or with two imported parents, which would take care of the spike through my right temple.
"Oh but Curmudgeon, by paying for expertise up front - you will save yourself money and heartache in the long run"
Yah, whatever. Bite me.
Now don't get me wrong. Remember that I was not a newbie to the equine world, I had been riding all of my life. If you don't actually know anything about buying horses, hiring someone knowledgable to help is definitely the way to go, I am not poo-poohing this idea in theory. But in a lot of ways, it is like reading "How to win at Blackjack" before heading to Vegas. You will give yourself an edge by knowing that giddily yelling "hit me" with two tens in your hand is probably not a great idea, unless entertaining your friends with your stupidity is your goal (and that can be fun too, I am not knocking it).
|No, seriously - this one is not an ad. Stop clicking it!
If choosing unstarted youngstock was simple, fabulous Grand Prix horses would be everywhere instead of only being owned by a handful of olympians (and thousands of classical dressage people who just don't believe in the evils of competitive dressage, and therefore keep these horses hidden in their backyards).
So, long story short - I decided to cheap out and not pay for the "advice of a dressage pro". Instead, I enlisted the help of some experienced hunter/eventer friends who, while they were not "dressage professionals" did know how to spot a sound horse with good conformation. They were also familiar enough with my riding ability to be able to tell me if the temperment of the horse in question was a good match, or if I were likely to die quickly.
And really - if you wind up with a horse that is realitively sound and not all that deadly, you are doing better than 85 - 90% of the people I read about on bulletin boards. So this is no cakewalk in and of itself.
But I didn't just have my team of hand chosen experts at my disposal. I also had the internet of course. No, no, don't panic. I didn't start posting "what do you think of this horse" critiques on bulletin boards.
(Don't you love these? I decided to take a walk down memory lane and see if I could locate one to read and refresh my memory. Yep, didn't take long - there is one on Chronofhorse right now - 7 pages with "update - post 106!" Complete with the "yes! that horse is perfect!" "NO that horse is shit" and plenty of rationalization on all sides. Fun! Not!)
This time, I tried something different. I started watching videos - primarily Anky and Bonfire, winning assorted things. And from this, I formed a picture of what I wanted my next horse to look like. I was looking for something MODERN - leggy, lean and spidery. With lots of knee action. (I tried not to get too depressed by the fact that Anky is leggy, lean and spidery too, not sawed off and hammered down like yours truly, and perhaps this contributed to the overall elegant picture. To make myself feel better, I watched Isabelle now and then. She has an ass more like mine).
Yah, seriously. Who wants a Rio Grande x TB clunker for $25,000 anyways. Pfft. Rationalization, you are my best friend.