So, the weekend was a mad scramble of vets and visa cards and trying to explain to my bank that yes I was in Seattle (buying beer at a football game), but please approve the veterinary charge in Germany...
I could hear the absurdity of that statement even as I was saying it, and the raised eyebrow from The Boy was a subtle "if it sounds crazy to them, and it sounds crazy to you, maybe just maybe it is... crazy."
But bless him, instead he feigns interest and at every text or buzz on my phone he politely asked "have you heard anything back yet?"
Frankly, I'm a tad impressed things have worked as quickly as they have. In fact, I might have preferred a slightly slower response rate from everyone so I could eat up some of this wait time for the next 30 days...
But, instead we've gotten the green light to keep pursuing this guy.
There is still a big question mark - which is what explains his use (or lack thereof) of his hind end over jumps. I will confess I didn't notice it the first four hundred times I watched his videos - but when you look for it, you can tell that he really doesn't flex his hind end nearly as much as his front end over the fences. We took spinal xrays, (because they are so easy to get) in order to rule out things like kissing spine or fused vertebrae.. but there are plenty of other things that could cause it - Some alarming, and some not at all.
It's possible he's just green and his hind end isn't very strong, or perhaps its sore from his first few weeks working over fences... It's possible he's not impressed by the height and doesn't have to pick up his hind legs. It's also possible something hurts or will hurt and it's easier to just leave them hanging out behind.
Anyone else notice this? or have any experience with a horse that did or does this? I don't think he looks sore or stiff behind on the flat.. but I'm sure it's more subtle there...
I will say, that having a few questions to explore makes me grateful for the extra time before we go, so we can explore, ask questions, get more videos or even vet work (if necessary) before we arrive.
I can't emphasize how strange this process is. There are moments when I'm texting with my trainer, or vet, or whoever that I stand back and think about the chain of communication between me and some, lovely horse somewhere in Germany. (whaaaaaa???)
If there's one thing I've learned over the years with horses it's that one should trust the experts that you've surrounded yourself with. You're with them for a reason, and they (likely) know way more and have done everything more times that I can ever hope.
But the other thing I've learned over the year with horse, is that I have to always, (always, always) trust my gut.
Ideally, these things line up, but sometimes, either because of ignorance (on my part) or opinion - they don't.
I've had a few instances with this (because I've never shopped for a horse abroad) where what I think the right next step is... isn't necessarily part of the normal etiquette or protocol.
Since we decided to go to Germany, I've been vibrating at a relatively high stress level. I think it's more akin to "omgomgomgomg I'm so excited to go to a horse show," than it is to "omgomgomg I've got a huge test coming up and might vomit."
So it's a good, stress. but it's stress all the same and I've been trying to minimize it as much as possible.
The first bought of stress came from seeing videos of the most beautiful horse I've ever seen (maybe I had some beer goggles on, but still). The next wave of stress came from freaking out that someone else would buy him before we get to try him in a month. Then I got stressed over wanting to get some vetting done so that if something came up, I could forget about (beautiful, beautiful) Brad and move on. Then I got all stressed out over trying to coordinate vet services with a 9 hour time change and (significant) language barrier.
Essentially, I'm not sure it's normal protocol to initiate PPE procedures without having seen the horse in person/sat on it's back yet... but that's where I had to go with my gut. My gut said I needed to start getting information on this guy, and give myself as much time to get follow-up information if need be.
Frankly, now I'm glad we did since there are a few question marks that warrant some follow-up and maybe will affect our ultimate decision.
Finally, since I've officially spent some money evaluating this guy, I wanted to share a sneak peak. He's lovely. He's 4, he's been under saddle for a couple of months (significantly greener than we were initially looking for), and he just really caught my eye. I'm really hoping that after all the evaluations, he's still a strong candidate (subject to us loving him in person). So cross all your fingers and toes!!!
Waiting for some updates from my vet, but I will keep ya'll posted!
I fully confess that when I'm not blogging myself, I sort of stop following all my favorite blogs as well. I'm not sure if that's because reading other posts make me feel guilty about not creating my own, or in this instance, if reading other posts reminds me that I haven't ridden my horse sine May.
I'd like to think that it isn't a surly response to not having glorious or hilarious tales to tell about my big, weird mare - since I've always found something to write about during extended riding absences in the past, but who knows.
Today though, as I was (quickly) scanning my favorite reads while the baby (sorta) napped, I realized I totally miss following everyone's journey. I need to be better about keeping up, because it does fill a weird anti-social/social hole in my day and my heart to know what my bloggy friends are doing.
I've never been a good commenter so it's not as though anyone would ever notice that I've stopped paying attention - but I've noticed! I can tell! I miss you guys.
Also I miss my mare. I need to figure out a better plan for her. Given that nothing's improving rapidly, she's looking to move to my friend's place (yes, the same friend who compassionately took in Pia and Gus as times) in a couple weeks for more extended time off...
The glimmer of a bright spot is that there is a strong candidate in Germany. We will look at others while we are there, but I am SMITTEN with this one and currently crossing all my fingers and toes that he passes a vet check and doesn't get sold out from under us.... Trust me when I say he is spectacular, and that if you enjoyed watching Prairie go around obscenely boring courses, then you might tolerate him as well.
I've given SprinklerBandit a sneak preview but sworn her to secrecy so we don't jinx things.
All the scheming and planning for the Germany trip has been a GREAT distraction from what is (or more importantly is not) happening with the big mare.
The trip itself isn't actually until early November, so in the meantime I must sit on my hands and watch gorgeous videos of prospects then hope no one else snaps them up in the meantime (for the record this makes me very anxious).
Prair has continued to happily rest in her stall. How she's keeping her wits about her, I have no idea - but honestly she acts like she hasn't been cooped up at all and this is totally normal.
Tomorrow (Monday) the mare has another checkup. I'm expecting that it won't be much different from our last several evaluations, and it will be sort of a final baseline before I move her to a good friends home for continued rest and rehab (thereby making room for what will hopefully be a new mount).
On the off chance that miraculous healing has been taking place - Prair will stay where she is and we will start the long (slow) process of bringing her back and seeing what we are working with.
The steady string of gorgeous prospects has made it easier to take the emotional pressure off Prair and her recovery time... but I am still crossing fingers and toes that we have, even minimally, good news to report.
In the meantime, it's important to keep boots polished, because... well, I don't really know why.
next step is teaching her how to spiff these up on her own...
The Boy is (mostly) on board, and I feel really good about Prair so I've been let off the leash a bit with respect to seriously perusing a potential new Hunter.
In general, I think I do a pretty decent job of posting the highs and lows of my horsey adventure on this blog (extended absences not withstanding), and I try to be honest and straight forward with my opinions without being a total ass on the internet and disrespectful or intrusive to those around me.
Which is why I have found it a tad strange that I've struggled with regard to posting "potential" horses on the blog.
I think some of my reluctance is that this current shopping process is unlike how I've ever shopped for horses before.
In the past, I've either known the horse personally, or done a fairly straightforward and direct search on my favorite sites (both ad lists and barns I like), then just gone to see the ones that jump out at me.
This time however, I am relying more on my Trainer's contacts and working with riders, brokers and other trainers that she has spent the last few decades networking with. The result is that she is able to forward a lot of horses that aren't necessarily "listed" for sale, or the pricing, or situation is somewhat sensitive and because of that - I'm not sure I have the "right" to post pics/videos/etc publically.
Also, on a more personal level - it sort of feels like when you just start dating a new guy and you send your friends cute pics and all the fun details and are all obsessed like, "OOOOOOH, Brad, look how tall and cute he is! and he's so polite! look how great with kids he is! and he's got this great job.. he's perfect"
But then you go on a couple dates and all your texts morph into something closer to, "UGH BRAD, what a jerk, can you believe he slapped a server's ass in front of me!? I don't care how pretty you are, BYE BRAD."
I can give myself whiplash over how quickly my mind changes, and it's not the most flattering trait to necessarily highlight in a public format.
The other thing that's tricky about posting some of the "potential ponies" is that while in theory the search should be directed by a budget and some well defined goals... both the goals and the budget have been varying widely depending on the horse. (I'll stop the dating metaphor here, though I'm sure my friends and family could probably make some apropos comments...).
As such, I don't have a good apples-to-apples list to show you. I've got some hideously expensive imports. A few less hideously expensive prospects still in Europe, and then some really lovely, but in-a-totally-different-price-category options that are considerably more local.
It doesn't really seem fair to post two videos of horses when horse A is literally 10% the cost of horse B, but that is an accurate portrayal of the range of options we're considering. (oops).
If all of this sounds a tad disjointed and dizzying - then good. I am accurately paralleling my mental state :)
Anyway, when I distill all that jumbly-brain-thought down a bit, I decided that I also don't want to miss out on everyone's thoughts and opinions, or deprive you of some of the serious eye candy that I've gotten a chance to look over, so I'll share the horses that I think are appropriate and won't step on toes by posting...
(also, I should mention a word of thanks to my poor friends who are on my "shortlist" and have been inundated with all the "BRAD IS HOT" and "BYE BRAD" mood swings of every potential horse. They are patient, patient people and I appreciate that they tolerate my slight insanity)
So, with that I proudly present one of the early contenders, who is no longer being pursued.
Ultimately, I think this horse is gorgeous, and lovely, and very athletic, but probably not meant to shine in the hunter ring. Great jump, but I think he looks more like a jumper - and realistically has the talent to succeed at a higher level in that ring.
The Pretty Gray Horse:
5yo, bought at auction in 2014 in Belgium and imported to North America, currently competing in the Jumpers. 17h, and lovely.
And here is his auction video (so about a year old) from 2014:
So after a few weeks of waiting on details and building this one up as potentially being "the one," I literally sent out a text saying:
"Gray's out- Bay's In."
But I'll have to wait a moment longer to see if I get to the point where I can share a bit about that lovely gentleman... still waiting on some video...