What made you interested in your current horse that led you to buying them in the first place?
Fun question! With a semi-interesting answer for me.
The summer after I graduated from college, I moved down to Maine to live with family for the summer to do something different. I had a job as a cashier at a convenience store on the beach for the summer season, which did not pay nearly enough to continue riding lessons.
So I asked around and found a nearby horse rescue and began volunteering my time: Ever After Mustang Rescue.
I started mucking stalls and doing general cleaning, and moved on to handling horses. We rode some of the older non-mustang, completely-broke horses when we had time, but mostly it was ground work boot camp: how many of these horses can we teach to stay calm while brushed, lead like good citizens, pick up their feet, and in general be civilized domestic ponies? The mustangs there ranged from just in from the wild to some who had been living domestically for years but still had zero training to show for it.
Midway through the summer, a rich woman visited and decided she was going to adopt about a half dozen mustangs and bring them to her land so she could look at them out the window and, I don’t know, get a sense of ‘Murica and freedom or something. She had staff come and look at horses and choose the ones she wanted.
One of those was a red roan gelding that everyone called “Big Red” because at 15 hands with good bone, he was one of the largest horses on the property. (Mustangs run small!) He was very flashy and had a cute face, which fit the lady’s criteria for what she wanted to look at every day.
So I was assigned Red, who could not be handled in any way shape or form: could not be touched, could not be groomed, was moved from place to place (like several other horses) by the expediency of closing off some doors & gates, opening others, and herding him.
Many, many hours and weeks later, I had a nice little horse with pretty decent manners. I started him under saddle, and right about that time the rich lady changed her mind. Red was going to stay at the rescue. I did about five rides with him in a sidepull and old saddle, including one in the open, and at the end of the summer kissed his nose and headed off to the job I had lined up for September back in Vermont.
Except, I had fallen in love with him. And the horse I’d been leasing for years went finally, irreversibly, unsound. And I started number-crunching and pondering Ramen noodles.
So I made the call, and after a $150 donation to the rescue, Red – now named Tristan – came to me on January 2, in the dead of winter, and became mine.
In large part, I lucked out. I did not have nearly as much experience in evaluating a horse to have gotten the horse I did on skill. I knew that he was essentially good-natured, very smart, decently athletic, and very handsome. I knew how we worked together, and that his basic ground manners were good. I had the confidence from my summer at the rescue to continue to develop his ground work.
I would go about choosing a horse very, VERY differently these days, but I do not regret the way Tristan came to me.