What in the horse world is more fraught with difficulty than buying a horse? Maybe only the question of when to say goodbye.
Buying a horse is an enormous undertaking. Much more enormous, in its own way, than buying a house, even if the price tag is much lower (it is for most of us). For though we get attached to our houses, we know that although they may be a repository for our emotions, they have none of their own. They don’t love and long and feel pain, they don’t have eyes and a beating heart and touch our souls the way horses do.
Taking as our premise that buying a horse is an enormous undertaking and thus worthy of serious forethought, let us start with the first truth: there is no such thing as a perfect horse.
Now that in itself is no reason we shouldn’t try to buy the perfect horse. On the contrary, we should. But not the perfect horse in the abstract. The perfect horse for us. And not us in the abstract, either. Us in our true circumstances, whatever they might be.
I’d like to help. So that when it comes time for you to buy a horse (or pony) or your next horse, you won’t overlook some aspect of acting in your own best interest. If it’s your job, as it is mine, to help others buy a horse (or pony) or their next horse, you can know that you’re serving your clients’ needs as well as you can.
Horse shopping is a big and complicated task, like constructing a cathedral during the Middle Ages, mediating between corporations and Unions, or constructing new borders for old countries. There’s a lot to know, a lot you’ll never know, and a myriad of compromises along the way, all of which are distinct and specific to the parties involved (including the horse).
I’m going to try to examine (and at least touch upon) all the aspects of finding the right horse. I know I can’t do it all at once, in a single blog post, so this post is the first in a series. I don’t know yet how long the series will be, and I can’t promise that it will be sequential, but I hope you’ll find it useful and interesting and on occasion, entertaining.
To my mind, the single most important thing to look for when buying a horse is suitability. Suitability takes many shapes and sizes as one looks for an equine partner. More on that in Part II.