Be Prepared for Anything

It's been a while since I've last posted. Mostly, this is because I've been neck deep in the middle of the scariest, most exciting thing you can do if you are a horse lover, which is purchase one yourself.

Now, I've had excellent luck throughout my career as a rider, getting to work for some amazing people, and riding horses I could never dream to afford myself. But as a horse owner, I've felt that my luck has been less than amazing.

This time, I was determined to change the trend. I had a limited budget, so I knew that whatever I got wasn't going to be perfect, and I also knew that I needed to be realistic in terms of my goals for horse ownership. While I could get a pretty, talented baby for my price range, I also work a full time real-world job, and will always have limited money for horse showing. The thought of getting a "fancy prospect" to sell in a few years made the logical side of me feel better (I could "justify" that spend), the more pragmatic side of me knew it just wasn't going to be the right experience for me.

I found a little mare on Facebook of all places. Callie, as she was named, seemed very sweet and very fancy, but had a few strikes against her that brought her price down to my level, strikes that to me didn't matter as much as they might to others. I liked her enough to go down to Florida to try her. I sat on her twice to make absolutely sure that she was the "the one," and in the end, decided that she was lovely and just right for my needs.

Then it was time for the Due Diligence end of things. I got her a complete vet work-up, including X-Rays. I got all of her paperwork in order. I negotiated a price that included things like some equipment and board. I lined up a reputable shipper. Feeling confident in the purchase, I paid for her, announced everything on Social Media, set the ship date, and waited for my new sparkling pony to arrive. I even had her insured as soon as the Bill of Sale become valid.

I did absolutely everything by the book, with all i's dotted and t's crossed. I felt confident that my luck would change, because this time, I left nothing to chance.

And then - four days later - Callie got cast.

To say that I was devastated as I saw her limping in the video sent to me by her caretaker, her left hind leg red and swollen, would be only partly accurate. I was also embarrassed, feeling that I must have done something wrong to bring this on myself, and foolish to have assumed that it couldn't happen to me as a brand new horse owner. But as the situation settled in and the vet came out to assess the damage, I became more at ease with the reality.

Which is that I am a horse owner, and horses are very unpredictable, large, delicate animals. Just about anything can happen at any time - everything is up to chance. Horses don't know who has their name on the bottom line, or what your long term goals are for them. They just do what they do.

Now that a few more days have passed, it turns out that Callie's injuries are relatively minor. She will go back into light work in a few more days, and her ship date up North has only been delayed by a week or so. It could have been better, but it also could have been worse.

It's good to have re-learned this lesson early on in my ownership of her - that it can be better (a great training ride, some quiet time hand grazing on a summer afternoon), it can be worse (a particularly bad lesson, a stone bruise that puts you out of the saddle), but with horses it will always be something - so be prepared for anything.

Sweet Callie!!


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