Friday, November 23, 2012

Getting there, slowly but surely

So, yes--another sporadic blog post. The battery on my MacBook has died, and I'm in denial that my precious Mac could ever have a problem/grumpy that I need to buy a new battery. They're not even super expensive; I just don't want to do it. So instead I end up always accidentally pulling the magnetic cord out when I move, and apparently the hassle of that and having to boot up every single time I want to use the computer is enough of a deterrent to skip blogging.

Can we say "first world problem"?

Anyway. Been riding the Shadow-man and there are glimmers of well--not quite brilliance, but progress on both of our parts.
"You would not believe what she put me through today."
I've been working on keeping the bit alive in his mouth/feeling what his tongue is doing as well as having a better awareness of where his shoulders are and what his back feet are doing. All of this combined just gives me endless things to fiddle with. More leg. Seatbone alignment. Step to the outside. Play with the bit. More leg. Bring the center of balance back.

Thankfully my instructor put a stop to it. Of course, more leg than hand is still the cardinal virtue, but she had me grab on to the Velcro straps on the front of the saddle pad to "set" my outside hand on the circle. The results were a 180-degree conversion--from constantly adapting based on what my horse was doing to quiet and in control, with my horse round, back up, and accepting the boundary I had set. Of course Shadow is not fit enough to hold this for too long, but we did get one WONDERFUL canter depart out of it. Light, off the forehand, and on the aids. I could move my inside hand forward and nothing at all happened. It was true "inside leg to outside hand" while we were on a trot circle and that set us up for that canter depart. I have read blogs where people experienced this kind of breakthrough of setting a boundary, but I honestly thought it was just that their horses were better schooled. Shadow--quiet and sensible as he may be--really doesn't know much besides plodding around heavy on the forehand, so it felt great. I haven't been with this new instructor for long, but I think she's a keeper.

In other news, I've been daydreaming like crazy about when I can buy my first horse. OK, I'm deluding myself if I pretend that hasn't ALWAYS been the case, but now that my end-of-year bonus is coming up with my first real job, it actually seems attainable. That means endless window shopping, staring at my bank accounts, and debating with Byron whether I should take a cheap greenie rescue as a project or just buy a been-there-done-that kind of horse. Don't worry--both he and my trainer have voted against the greenie prospect, at least for my first horse. Which, of course, is logical, and what I'll end up doing. But there's still the part of me that wants to bring along a horse from backing to blue ribbons...despite never having done that before.

At least as of right now, this is what I'm thinking:
  • Gelding
  •  Willing-to-please temperament
  • Doesn't have to be completely "made" because I'm thinking that's way too expensive for me, but I'd like solid WTC and sound enough for some jumping. I don't really have the desire to do much over 2'.
  • Between the ages 6-12 (arbitrary, yes, but basically I want something not too old and not too young)
  • Around 15-16 hands: Easy height for me to mount from the ground, but also tall enough for Byron at 6'1".)
  • Preferably gray but that's flexible. As long as he's handsome.
It will be interesting to look back on this once I do have my own horse to see if I listened to my own advice at all.

I could swing board right now, but I'd rather wait for my salary to get bumped up a little bit to make it more comfortable...which seems likely as my company really likes to promote from within. I'm hoping to save up $5000, which I think should be doable in the next year. $2000 max. for the horse, then the rest can go to tack, prepurchase exam, and any other random costs that come up. If I don't use it all (which I am not counting on), I figure I can use the account as a sort of horsey emergency fund.

Horse owners out there (especially in the MD/DC/VA area)--does this sound reasonable? How did you prepare to buy your first horse, if there was any preparation?


    Do you have any breed preferences?
    Re: money, I have no idea how much you guys need on the US of A.....

  2. Oh and in terms of the buying an unbroken horse, speaking as someone who got a foal as their first horse, I wouldn't do it unless you have a second, rideable horse as well (maybe even a lease, or lessons several times a week all the way through). You need to keep working on your riding skills while waiting for baby to grow up. That's what I reckon anyway :)

  3. Nope, I used to think I exclusively wanted a Thoroughbred since all my favorite horses have been Thoroughbreds, but after riding a lot of different horses, I don't think breed matters to me as much anymore. I would probably look at TBs first just to narrow things down, but as long as it can do the things I want, I'd be open to other breeds.

  4. Sometimes I think the horse just falls in your lap... I mean, it is kinda like God delivers what you need at the time.
    I certainly wouldn't go for green. I would certainly make sure the horse was vetted and his hooves and joints were checked out. I might even consider getting an equine chiropractor to give his/her opinion. Soundness is key - as they say, "No hoof, no horse." Is there an option of leasing a horse? That way you could 'own' him, but if your skill level went beyond his, you could turn him back. It would also give you a better sense of what it takes to own a horse. Buying a horse is one thing... paying for his upkeep is another story!
    Good luck!

  5. Makes sense, Dreaming. I did consider the leasing route but I think what I really want is to own. I have done free leases before--which I know doesn't approach the financial responsibility of paid lease, but I think I'd rather put the money that would go toward a monthly lease toward saving up for my own horse. Why rent if you can own, you know? Of course a horse is a depreciating investment (or as some like to call it, a money pit) but I like the idea of not being beholden to what someone else wants for their horse.

  6. Connor just sort of happened, and much earlier than my husband and I had planned financially, but it was an offer I couldn't refuse. I think the green horse thing can work for a lower level adult ammy like myself, and it's worked really well for both my riding and his training, but if it weren't for my trainer, I would be sunk. If your trainer isn't on board, definitely go with something with a little mileage or else it gets frustrating quickly. Exciting!!!

  7. Like other people say, I think the right horse sort of 'happens' despite what you're looking for. Heck, Kieran was like that for me. :)

    Anyway, I think what you're looking for is definitely do-able.