I have been shopping.
During my long summer of painful indecision, I stocked up the cash I would have spent on rides, with vague thoughts of purchasing a horse. Though I hadn’t yet chosen the path of selling some Barbs and buying some Arabians, the handwriting was on the wall. I just didn’t want to read it yet.
It’s not that Barbs can’t do endurance, of course. I’ve logged almost 1,000 AERC miles on them and never had one pulled. They can finish just fine. They typically have good minds and strong bodies, though some individuals are superior to others, just as with any other breed. But let’s face it: if you to do really well in endurance, your chances are best if you have an Arabian between you and the ground.
So I kept an eye out. Casually at first, then more aggressively. I began sending queries on ads for likely candidates. I asked experienced endurance friends who know a lot of people and have good eyes for horses to keep their ears to the ground.
Here was my shopping list:
- Arab or mostly-Arab cross
- Raised with plenty of varied terrain on which to roam, with proper health and hoof care
- 4-7 years old, well started under saddle (because goodness knows I have enough training to do already) Maybe even a slow 50 or two under his girth, for conditioning.
- Big, clean bone and straight legs
- Excellent feet, preferably black (not so much for the hooves themselves, but to reduce the risk of developing scratches)
- Efficient stride that is smooth and easy to ride
- Naturally fast walk (this one was a big deal for me, having dealt with Consolation’s amble)
- Firmly installed brain that can think through problems and has a high flight threshhold
- Good ground manners and laid-back personality
- Plenty of “go” on the trail. Must be game and enjoy his work.
- Low resting heart rate
- No history of lameness, colic, etc.
Easy, right? The catch was that I had to find it all in a single horse.
…which leads me to the announcement. I found him.
I haven’t taken a good photo yet, but here’s his ad, video and all:
Welcome home, partner.