Sunday, September 21, 2008

Selling, trading, and the horse market

As a million horse bloggers will tell you, the market for horses is not so great these days. So now that I've decided to sell Canyon, I have to face the fact that it's not a good time for this.

Something about a recession, stock market crash, worst financial meltdown since (or possibly including) the Great Depression.


Anyway, I'm prepared for it to take a while, but I had been talking to a woman about a possible trade. I suspect she's got a customer already looking for a Pintabian and Canyon is certainly a flashy looking one. She's talking to me about a trade for a flea bitten gray/silver arabian that is very mellow. We've been going back and forth, but once I'd decided this was the direction I was going to go, I called her and we arranged for a trail ride with her horse, Canyon and an extra one. The idea was for Sierra to ride the horse in question, I'd ride her extra horse.

I'm getting pretty philosophical about horses lately, having seen them come and go at our stables. My nature is to keep an animal for it's entire life and it's been strange to see so many horses moved around like cars. I certainly hope this will be our last change, because we all get attached.

(this photo is NOT the horse we're looking at, but it looks like this horse in terms of color. Why do people love horse butts? I know, its a conformation thing, but I hate these tail end pictures...)

We tried out several different horses before we jumped in and bought Canyon. One was a dominatrix mare (okay, maybe not, but she was pretty tough going), one suddenly started pulling back and rearing whenever he was tied up, one was safe to ride but liked to bite children, and then Canyon came with more vertical lift than I was looking for. So it's almost been enough to make me think kids shouldn't even be on these things. Then some people were over with their mare that a 6 year old was cantering on bareback and I realized - girl, you've got the wrong horse.

Now seeing my daughter Sierra on that gray horse, her confidence back, high on the idea of riding again, the fear gone, I realized right then that I will do anything, even give up our flashy boy, to see her rebuild her confidence on horseback again. She does love horses. She just needs a chance on one that's not so tough to deal with.

I can get infatuated with any horse. I fuss over them, learn everything I can, take diligent care of them, get them fancy shoes and oatmeal baths when they are itchy.

But to have my eldest daughter back in the saddle - that's the kind of horse we need.

The only challenge - is this an even trade? This horse is leaner than I'm used to seeing, but is trained so well he shifts gaits on leg pressure alone. He's got great brakes and a good, gentle motor. He collects, rides nicely. My horse is flashier IMHO, an "easy keeper" that only needs 2.5 pounds of grain a day to stay nice and fat. My horse was $3k. I have no idea what this horse is worth, but it is an arabian, is flashy in a different way. Pretty lean and sounds like it's not because he's not being fed a significant amount of grain. I see a much higher food bill in my future.

But, man, this horse is CALM.

When both the horse I was on and Canyon (ridden by the other woman) spooked at a lizard in the grass, he just looked interested and alert. Maybe in the old days he would have been eaten by the lion with such a laizze faire nature. But these days, he's worth his weight in gold. Or Silver, since that's his name.

So we shall see, we still have talking to do about the whole thing...

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