Over two years ago, I lost my very best friend, my Arab gelding Sir Bud, to a cancerous tumor on the left side of his brain. Those of you who love animals, especially horses, know how devastating such a loss can be. It has taken me this long to begin seriously looking for another horse.
To start my search, I first checked the area where I live via newspapers, vets, horse people and anyone else I could think of, but with no luck. Either the horses for sale were advertised as something they were not or the prices asked were astronomical – like $10,000 and up. I wanted another Arab, but not a show Arab – I wanted a companion Arab, a trail riding buddy.
Next step - I went to the computer and began an on-line search. Let me tell you, what is presented in an on-line ad, more often than not, is far from the truth. For example, “14-year-old gelding, bomb proof …”. Right. Translated that meant age somewhere between 14 and 18, usually 18+, and hasn’t been ridden in five or more years. Bomb proof is supposed to mean calm, steady and dependable. But what I saw were horses who could not be caught, horses who would not stand still, owners who would not ride the horse in front of me (something a horse buyer must see before getting on an unknown horse), and horses whose feet had not seen a farrier in years. Apparently, the net was not the place to look.
On the off chance I would find my trail riding buddy, I decided to search for a suitable barn/stable (I say barn – sorry, old habit) and to find one whose owners shared my philosophy about caring for horses: daily cleaning of stalls; stalls with at least one window for light; stalls large enough for a horse to have “moving space”; either water buckets attached to the wall or automatic waterers daily cleaned and filled with fresh water; barn, arena and outside areas devoid of accumulated dust and debris; food, supplements and medications properly labeled and located in an area away from the general population of the barn; friendly, competent, knowledgeable staff who have the care and interest in horses to daily observe any unusual behaviors that might indicate illness or injury; the stable’s horses appear to be in good condition; plenty of pasture space so only two to four horses are pastured together, preferably mares together and geldings together; an indoor arena with good footing and devoid of piles of manure; and, access to outdoor riding areas.
Now, in my fantasy world, this kind of barn is available. Unfortunately, in the real world, it seldom is. However, if I could find one that had MOST of what I wanted, I would be happy.
Next post: The Search Continues.