Tuesday 6 March 2012

On horse buying and life lessons...

I figured the time had come to actually let the people who still owned Ms. V in on the news that I planned to buy her, so I scheduled yet another trip out to their farm.

I found that few things had happened since August, when first we met.

First - when I called up to break the news I learned an interesting factoid. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the daughter was actually a working student at WXYZ Farms.  What are the chances!

And, in discussion with Ms. V's owner, the secret to why Herr Schlamm made such semi-flaccid efforts to sell me a horse in October was revealed.  It was because in November, they corralled up all of the meaty and wild 2.5 year olds there and put them through an intensive 7 day "backing" program or something along these lines - voila, the horses were now "started" and their prices increased accordingly.  Why sell one only a month short of windfall time?

What works for a stable with the best moving Stallion on Antartica should also work well for a small family farm.  Right?  And so, the daughter followed along at home and did the same intensive 7 day backing program on Ms. V.

Time for an awkward moment here. 

I may be a bitch, but hearing the mom gush on the phone about the work her daughter had done to start this spindly little open kneed, spongy skeletoned 2 year old - well, I could hardly say "WTF - WHY? WHY on EARTH!"  Even though I was most definitely thinking it. 

(Yes, I realize I also must sound like a raging hypocrite, since I whined about El Muddo being unstarted at five.  But honestly, I think there is a middle ground in there somewhere...don't ask me to quantify exactly what it is.  I think Hillary Clinton knows. Or Monica Lewinski. What the hell is that woman's name anyways.  Someone.)

No worries Curmudgeon!  I know mature, hard bone when I feel it!  Ride on!
I took a deep breath, composed myself, and decided to make the most of it.

C'mon Curmudgeon.  At least you will get to see if she is a totally insane bucking freak dialed up to die-rider-die. Don't turn back now...

Yah, Whatever.  Even if she did get testy, riding her would be sort of akin to saddling up a large angry goat, not a real horse hell bent for death and destruction. 

Another interesting thing had happened in the last few months...It seems hard to believe now, since we have been hovering at parity with the U.S dollar for quite some time, but in 2003 the exchange rate CAD to USD ranged from ... get ready for it... $0.65 in January, to $0.76 in December.

(Remember how we looked longingly at the Victoria's Secret Catalogue back then, sure we would never, ever be able to afford the exchange on a Miracle Bra with matching Thong panties?)

I was thinking of moving up a level this year , but damn!  I can't sit the trot with this miracle going on!

So, in August when I initially headed out to see Ms. V, the rate was $0.71, which would make her advertised price on the American equine.com "all prices in USD" website roughtly $6300.  By the time I headed back there in late Nov, the rate had gone to $0.76 - or $5921.

This left me in sort of an awkward situation.  Price had never been discussed - YET.  So in my eyes, I was going to buy a horse that was advertised for $5900 (as the ad on equine.com had not changed).  In THEIR eyes, I was going to see a horse advertised for $6300 (as in.. the day they wrote the ad) - PLUS - the value of the exceptional training that she had now received from a sixteen year old under the tutelage of Herr Schlamm in the fabulous world of WXYZ .  Surely that puts her at $7000, give or take.

Curmudgeon - you can't seriously think the price would go DOWN just due to the exchange rate, you cheap bitch!

Yah, well, maybe I am.  But tell me - had it gone the other way - would they have offered to let me to pay LESS?


Well, I must say - when I showed up that Saturday, I was ready to be underwhelmed at least - more likely annoyed.  But in fact, the kid had done a perfect job of starting the large goat.  They dolled her up in a little white pad and polos, and she executed some shaky version of a walk trot canter hack class for me.  Really, I have seen worse at Trillium shows.  Go figure. 

So, when the time came to bargain - the mom looked at me with pleading eyes and explained how she had told her daughter that if she did a good job... if she made an effort.. it would pay off.  It is a good life lesson to learn, no?

Sigh.  Again. Whatever. I split the difference.  We agreed on $6500. 

I had myself a horse..provided she passed the vet check of course.  Luckily, one of the better clinics for pre-purchases was right in the local area, so I was able to arrange something that week - Thursday morning it would be.

Driving to work on Monday, I was happy and excited about my new horse, but pretty bummed out that I would not be able to actually attend the vet check, since, as you may recall, I had no holidays left.  Oh well. 

As it turns out, I wasted critical bummed out energy for nothing.  There was no need - because when I arrived at the office, I was greeted by my boss with tears in her eyes and HR at her side.

(This is never good, unless maybe HR has just told your boss a side splittingly funny joke.  Generally speaking, HR people are a bunch of wizened dressage-judge like bitches that just don't have it in them, so this is a very unlikely scenario).

I was laid off immediately.  Cutbacks.  We know, we know, you work hard, you do your best... Sorry.

A good life lesson to learn. 

Really, it all turned out for the best.  Vet check, here I come!  Now I had absolutely nothing else to do on Earth on Thursday other than surf Workopolis, or show up and witness some of my last non-pogey dollars go up in smoke. X-ray after X-ray. Hot Damn, you know where I was going!  Good times.

That.. and also, the look on my ex-boss' face when I said "oh for FUCK'S sake, why didn't you say something before I bought a HORSE!" was priceless.  I would do it all again, just for that.


  1. ha ha! I bet that look WAS priceless.

  2. LOL!! Just found your blog, I've been crying my way through your posts because I've been laughing so hard! I would have liked to see the look on her face too!



  3. I am fairly new here as well, and just want to say, this whole blog is priceless!!!! I am a nothing little country backyard bumpkin, and man this stuff has been cracking me up! (Though I must say, I am also hoping to pick up/steal some tips for my just-turned-3yr old late-bloomer)

  4. Good grief! I bet the scene in the office was priceless. Apparently, you were not too traumatized, however--since you still bought Ms. V.

    I dealt with a horse dealer who got in off the track TB's and had some really talented young riders do the "seven or less day" training on them. It was really amazing what they could do in a short time. Every horse I saw walked, trotted and cantered quietly and was able to nicely jump a small fence. Granted, it wasn't exactly "training," but....

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  5. Ohhh, man, have been there. You just know when they let the HR woman into the room, and she's clutching a box of tissues, that your ass is history. Do they teach the tissue thing at HR school?

    1. Yes I think so.

      Kleenex clutch 101, followed by Understanding smile with slight head tilt and nod 201. You must also be able to phrase every sentence as "so let me be sure I understand, what I hear you saying is that..."

  6. Wow. Impeccable timing regarding the lay off, eh?

  7. That is truly a pathetic story... and hilarious, too. :-) I learned all I know about laying off people by watching Mr. Clooney do his thing in "Up In The Air." What a HORRID job! I've never been a supervisor and don't work in HR, so haven't had to do it. Yep, the Kleenex are essential, along withe the smile whilst giving folks the 'ole shafteroo. Glad you obviously found another job since Ms. V still made it on board!

  8. "I would consider, from the very start, that the day would come when I would get sick of riding and decide to sell my horse."
    That hit me right in the heart. Saddest words you could have written. But are you really sick of riding or just all the baloney you have to wade through to make it to FEI as an amy? I think the latter, I hope the latter, I wish you the love of horses forever in your life.

  9. So glad I got out of HR...I handed in my box of tissues when I left.

    Can't wait to hear how the vet check went!

    1. Lucky for you, T, you don't have to wait. Just go to http://dressagecurmudgeon.blogspot.com and read the most recent blog.

      (Stephanie, I don't think the video applies here, right?)