Thursday, October 11, 2007

And the question of the day is...

Since I'm endlessly fascinated with the topic of how we breed horses who have the greatest chance of being kept for a lifetime by a loving owner, I'd like to hear from those of you who have "lifers." For the purposes of this post, let's say this is a horse who is 20 or older, who you have owned for over ten years, that you absolutely will not, under any circumstances, ever get rid of. This is a horse for whom you would work a second job, sell off valuables and trade in your car for a cheaper model rather than get rid of, if times were tough. I'm interested in the factors that led to that kind of loyalty from you, particularly if you - like me - have been in the horse business and bought and sold many, many horses.

1. How old were you when you got the horse, and how old was the horse?
2. What attracted you to the horse in the first place?
3. Why was the horse sold to you, and what did you pay if you are comfortable sharing?
4. What breed or combination thereof is the horse?
5. What discipline, if any, did you pursue with the horse?
6. What gender is the horse?

This is all just for my own curiosity - I'm wondering if there are any consistent patterns. I'll answer the questions myself since I have 2 sitting on retirement board that will never leave my ownership unless they outlive me. They are pictured recently - the gray is 27 and the bay is 28.

1. I was 17 when we got the gray mare, 20 when we got the bay. The gray was 5, the bay was 9.

2. The gray was beyond beautiful and I thought it was a challenge to sort her out. She and I always had the "special connection" that horsepeople talk about. The bay, I hated and thought was an unredeemable idiot and my boyfriend bought her anyway. Then she and I clicked as we went along and she wound up being one of my all time favorites. She was one of the first horses who truly taught me that idiot horses are usually just the product of idiot riders!

3. Gray: Had just broken someone's collarbone. Bay: Too much horse for 70+ year old owner, and screwed up deal to be sold to pro polo player for lots of money by slicing her fetlock open on crappy wire fence. Gray $1000, bay $1800.

4. Thoroughbreds. The gray is part Argentine which is not strictly's called an Argentine TB but it's part criollo (stock horse). Kind of like an Appendix.

5. Both played polo, were used for lessons, and jumped. The gray ran barrels and poles a bit as well. Neither one ever became safe to trail ride and no doubt would launch my butt today if I tried it. :-)
6. Mares.
All right, what about the rest of you? Who is/are your lifer/s and tell me all about why!