Saturday, December 08, 2007

The right stuff

Looking for another horse means you get a lot of opinions from a lot of different people about what to look for, all the steps and precautions you should take to avoid getting a "lemon," and what you should know about the type of horse you're looking at. Among lots and lots of other things, of course.

We have looked at a lot of horses since we bought Lena, not always with the intent to buy them, but once you own one horse, it's pretty easy to find yourself at least scratching an extra nose or two on the way to your paddock, if not climbing in to fix a blanket or any of the myriad of things that can get wonky where horses are concerned.

We've looked at horses at Slide Mountain, horses at our barn, and horses at other barns. We've ridden other horses, too, and for my part, at least, I know I automatically start evaluating whether I'd want to spend time with them every day, whether I'd love to ride them as much as I love to ride Lena.

So far, the answer has been "Nope." It's not that the other horses aren't wonderful creatures, and they are very often far better behaved than my spotty horse, but we hadn't met a horse that had that spark, that hint of challenge and energy that makes every day with Lena just a little more interesting.

We think Calabar may have it, though we haven't ridden him yet to be sure.

I have a car analogy that may explain why we would want two such spirited beasties.

Before we bought my truck, we had a Volvo wagon. Originally, we swapped week by week, with one of us driving the Mustang and one of us driving the Volvo. The problem was, as comfy as the wagon was to drive, it was BORING. Yes, with all capital letters boring, and neither one of us wanted to drive it near the end.

As much as we both like riding, and both enjoy Lena's energy and feisty nature, it won't do to get a horse that is calmer, lazier, more tame. Not to mention horse #2 has to be able to keep up with her.

And, yes, ex-racehorses have issues and baggage and - in Calabar's case - old injuries. But he is sound and healthy now and no more of a risk than any other horse out there when all is said and done. Lena was hale and healthy when we bought her and two weeks later, she had the most terrifying bout with colic I ever hope to see. Of course, now Dr. Leslie insists she's one of the healthiest horses she knows. How much of that is the care, riding, and attention she gets on a daily basis? Probably a lot. Do we have that to give to another horse? I think so, and I think that will make the difference.

Steve said, "If it comes down to it I would simply go with my reaction to him and can everybody else’s opinion. I liked him. He seems to be a good horse that needs a good home. We may well be uniquely qualified to give him one."

We're going to go see him again tomorrow, so there will be pictures soon.

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