Monday 9 January 2012

Are you feeling lucky, little lady... winnah, winnah, winnah every time!

Ok, alright... maybe "small breeder" was not the right way to go.

But just because I can't afford to even drive up the laneway at Charlot Farms doesn't mean there aren't other larger scale breeders out there, with many horses for me to peruse.  That are less trendy, less hot and therefore, also less pricey.

Yep, looks like it is time to make a trip on out to WXYZ Farm.

But I had learned a thing or two from my first few shopping jaunts.  You know the saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me must be the horse industry.

This time, I followed a carefully crafted 3 step procedure. I made sure to do my homework, read carefully, talk at length on the phone, and ask questions, lots of them.  And because of this, I came home only 98% annoyed and confused, instead of the full monty 100%.

See - that's called progress.  Take that, you nay-sayers.

Step 1 - Study online videos and write ups.  Prepare questions

WXYZ Farms has a fabulous website, with good videos.  Hmm, I am feeling a winner here!  Allow me time to study the site...


Yes, yes, lots of horses, lots of verbage.  Holey shit, lots of verbage.  Blah blah blah.  Each horse has a genealogy dating back to eohippus listed right out there on the site, for Pete's sake (Schlem Schimmel's great great great grandfather showed exceptional suspension and expressive gaits as he emerged from the primordial ooze, earning him a first premium rating at his inspection with an impressive score of 150).

I am always a bit suspicious when the search for a notable ancestor requires stepping back to the 1800's... Yah, lots of good horses go back to Furioso's grand sire, seriously I am not knocking that..and really, I do hate to nit-pick... but if the stallion I am considering was born in 1985, shouldn't he have at least one notable progeny on the list, instead of just his parental great grand units?

And just curious - how did you determine that your horse is the "best moving stallion on the continent today"?  I guess the continent is not specified, perhaps the writeup was done while he made a stopover in Antartica.  I assume you are not just pulling this stuff out of your ass.  Are you?  (Hmm, maybe I should skip this question.  Seems kind of hostile.  I will think of a way to finesse it).

Step 2 - Call breeder.  Discuss your needs. Ask prepared questions

Alrighty, after readying myself as best as I could online, I gave Mr. WXYZ a ring.  Let's talk horses.

Well, what are you looking for.

Let's see, one of the most important things to me, I am looking for a smaller sized horse - I am admittedly a shortass, and not getting any younger.  I don't like to climb things.  I also don't like it when my legs feel like they might snap at the hips like Barbie when forced to mount up on one of the "Best of the West" horses... I am picturing something not too big bodied or that would mature much over 16.1 - 16.2.  Do you have anything in this range?
Barbie may look mighty fine in a bikini, but she can't spread her legs like you can,  Jane.

Of course.

- Lighter, more modern type horse.  Nothing too coarse or heavy

Of course.

- Sensitive and relatively hot.  More TB than true WB in temperament

Of course

- within my budget - do you have many horses priced under $15,000

Of course

- I have been studying your site.  I think I am interested in looking at Nussig, Fakalien, and Erbrechen.  Do you agree that they might fit the description I have given you so far of what I am looking for?

Of course!

- Could you suggest any others that might fit the bill?

Of course!

Alrighty then.  Sounds like it is worth the trip.  See you Saturday.

Step 3 - Arrive and be disappointed

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.  A picture plus Photoshop, even rudimentary circa 2003 Photoshop, is worth much, much more.  Because if I had known how frightening WXYZ Farms looked before I arrived, and before some creative photographic cut crop 'n' pasting, I probably would not have made the trip.  Aye Carumba.  It was like a horse ghetto, set to mud.

But seriously Curmudgeon, it is fall.  Get over yourself.  So what if things are...uh...falling apart, and are no longer green and pleasant looking...or maintained.  .  And c'mon, really - if the horses are nearly as good as the site says they are, who cares if there are scary, saggy boobed pit bulls circling you with their Hell Hound puppies slowly licking their lips and growling.  A few bites and a tetanus shot are a small price to pay for the next Salinero.  Don't be so stuck up.  Stay calm. I think they smell fear. Time for yoga breathing - Breathe in... breathe out.  Relax.

(Whoa, don't do that again, or at least not so deeply, the ammonia is kind of strong).

Mr. WXYZ was actually very charming, efficient, and courteous.  We headed to the arena to look at the 3 or 4 horses, chosen just for me based on my own special and carefully described requirements.

Uhhh... yes.  They were carefully hand selected out of the gagling herd of, say 30 horses, crushed into the back of the arena by some temporary gates.  And when I say "hand selected", I mean, the first hands that could somehow "shooo-shooo-shooo" one of the 30 horses out into the main arena and away from the other 29 similar beasts had "hand selected" it.  Just for little old me.


Boom-boom-boom... the first big'n'meaty monster headed around the ring, chased by the obligatory running working student with longe whip (a very important skill for working students, take note. Practice if you someday hope to become one).  A nice already 16+ hand high, large bodied 2 year old.  28 inches of bone.  Enough barrel to take up the leg of a 6'4" man.  Exactly as I hadn't asked for.

Uhhh... I am a bit confused here.  Now which one is this - Nussig?

No.  This is ... uhh...Riechen.  Yes, Riechen.

I don't remember discussing Riechen.  He looks kind of big.  Have you sticked him - how tall do you think he will finish?

What are you looking for again?  Yes - that is how big he will finish.

How much are you asking for this one?

What is your budget again?  Yes - that is how much we are asking for him.

I don't think he is quite what I am looking for.  Could we look at some of the ones we discussed?

Apparently - NO.  We instead looked at 3 more horses - that were absolutely nothing like what we had discussed, but were conveniently located in close proximity to the gate, and docile enough to be chased away from the herd.

These fine qualities were not outlined in the verbose descriptions of the horses on their website... well, I guess I shouldn't say that, seeing as I didn't actually review the pages for any of the horses that were chosen especially for me using the magical horse lottery technique.  Maybe they were ("this gentle giant will await you at the gate, eager to be showered with your love", "an in your pocket horse, he will go wherever you want him to go").

I foolishly wasted my time reading the pages associated with horses that actually seemed to be suitable. I am sure my delicate little picks were in there somewhere, like the one i-pod hidden in among the 25 cent stuffed animals in the claw game.

I used to think my boyfriend in high school was very romantic because he never showed up without a stuffed animal.  Then someone told me there was a claw game at the Sword n Shield Strip joint.  Ohhh... it all makes more sense now.

All of the horses shown were very nice examples of big, clunky, old style warmbloods - very calm, attractive, and all looked like they would be good eating should a world war sneak up on you.  They did all have what Mr. Motard scientifically refers to as "floating feet", which is good.  Bottom line - I am not saying they were not "quality" animals, if giant lumbering warmblood of the 80's was the primary quality you were looking for.

Alas, I was not.  

And so, I slowly backed away from the pit bulls, while thanking Mr. WXYZ for his time.  At least to his credit, I could tell by the look on his face that he knew he wasn't going to sell me a horse, and strangely, really didn't seem to give a shit, either.

To this day, I am not really sure why.



  1. DC we need to go for drinks some time. I was at that place too! You got the royal treatment. I did all my homework just like you, showed up for my 'viewing appointment' at an abandoned farmhouse for the red carpet roll-out/climb over the electric fence into a muddy field with 50 filthy youngsters. I like a petting zoo as much as anyone, but I had to climb up onto an old hay feeder just to pretend that getting a better view was going to help me decide: "Which one would I like to spend 5 figures on?" Just wasn't worth my 12-hour drive, you know? Business must be sooo good.

  2. Quarter Horse people are always picked on for going back ten generations to find a horse to brag about in their horse's pedigree, which is rightly deserved, but when the warmblood people do it they are taken seriously and oohed and ahhed over. Six generations ago your Hanoverian and Dutch Warmblood was pulling a cart in Europe, get over yourself! Even worse, their stud and dam came from the farm Curmudgeon just described, but ooh, look at that floaty movement as they get chased around the arena. I've a fifty year old re-rider, sign me up!

    This stuff is fun.

  3. I don't know how they can afford to keep that place running. I guess by never investing a single red cent into the property.. Even then.. The place is truly and enigma.

  4. Three words that I've stuck by for my horse shopping experience... "Is there video?"
    "Why not?"
    "Because we just have not made one."
    "How long has the horse been for sale?"
    (And you sell horses for a living?)
    I just leave the silence there to speak for itself.
    Horse buying = the pits!