Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rule #1: Don't get high on your own supply

The tricky part about working in a busy sales barn is that you're constantly having gorgeous horse flesh literally trotted in front of you at all times. Temptation is high, and since you're working off your expenses the lure of adding another one to your roster is more than a little seductive. I was able to resist much of the temptation because a.) I had my own fancy project (Nolan) and b.) many of the horses that came through were chosen for their appeal to the upper levels (more horse than I needed for my own). That said, there's no better way to find out what you DO want, then meeting enough horses that you DON'T want... not unlike dating.

And truth be told, I've never really had that light bulb moment with any horse. You know, that feeling that people describe, where they got on the horse and they just knew*. Certainly there were horses I really liked riding, and ones I definitely did not like riding. But that's the job and you don't always get to do what you want, or what's most comfortable. I often rode horses for sales videos simply because my trainer is 5'11", so having me (5'6") painted a clearer picture for potential clients about the actual size of a horse. Everyone and their mother thinks they need a giant horse, and you'd be shocked at the amount of people that would see a still photo or video with the trainer up and say, "I'm tall and need a big horse that will take up leg". Spoiler: you're 5'9", this horse is 16.3hh, it's going to be okay, just come see the damn horse.

Tall drink of water

But I digress... So in early spring of this year, we had a stunning, big bay gelding come in. Leggy, range-y type, well-balanced, and quiet. He arrived with another big bay mare, from the same farm and we began marketing them. Right away, we discovered that while the gelding had all the right parts for an upper level rider, he was also VERY ammy friendly. Step on quiet, with three easy gaits. The mare was a bit hot, and quite a bit more difficult (and very fancy and athletic under saddle). We had numerous clients at the time looking for something quiet. A busy mom with maybe 2-3 days a week that wanted something she could just get on and go and not worry that it needs riding every day. A retired gentleman in his 60's that used to foxhunt a million years ago and wants to get back into riding. Horse would be boarded at and used in a college competitive riding program. And so they came, saw the gelding go and rode him.

And he was a saint for both of them despite a lot of mistakes on their part. Foot perfect, and even let them jump him although he had no idea what he was doing. The old man kicked him in the hip getting on AND lost a stirrup cantering. Both clients decided they wanted to see the hottest, fanciest horses in the barn even though everyone knew they did not need such a horse. In the end, no sale from either client, who probably still doesn't know what they want.

So we moved forward with the big, bay gelding and he just got nicer and nicer. Eventually, I rode him for a video (see: statement about horse height) and it was the easiest video we've ever made. WTC in both directions and hopped him over a little jump. I think we made the video in almost one take.

Do you have anything fancier?
I pulled up and my trainer says, "that's literally the happiest I've ever seen you on a horse."

Uh oh.

That feeling that people talk about was happening to me. I had finally met a horse I really connected with, and better yet, he liked me back.  So it was no surprise when I suggested I sell Nolan as he was going nicely and ready to go out an do something and buy this guy for myself.

Perhaps it was naive of me to believe I could work in a sales barn and not fall in love with something, right?!
hello gorgeous
What's funny, is that I looked up the sales video with me up: it cracks me up. He looks willing and kind, big and nice moving, and yet we never found the right person for him while he was for sale. Of course, immediately after selling him and having clients come try many of the other horses we had available they all described their perfect horse, and it was a bit too late. Watching the video made me really appreciate his good nature, but also helped me to appreciate how much more presence he has now. He presents a much fancier horse now that he's using his back and his personality that was pretty reserved before had really blossomed. I can't wait to see what he's going to look like in a year!

And for those of you with time to kill, this was the first video we made of him moving at liberty. At the end of the video, edited out is a clip of me turning toward Emily saying, "aren't you glad I don't co-own this one?" It's no surprise that we had so many people interested, but still shocking that no one bought him!


  1. I could never work in any sort of sales barn because I would absolutely turn into a hoarder (or more of a hoarder than I already am?). But obviously it worked out perfectly for you and Scout!

    1. My hoarding tendancies are pretty tame compared to most people I know!

  2. He really is so cute under saddle and I'm glad y'all were able to find each other. Now that I know you work at a sales barn, I may have to ask you to start sharing the pretty ones that you see :) Just so we can dream, of course

    1. Wait til you see him now! He's growing up! Oh there are so many pretty ones. Visit www.ottbmarketplace.com

  3. Haha yeah sometimes it's just meant to be. Glad you two found each other.

  4. People can be so weird when horse shopping. It seems like a lot of them fall into the trap of "This is what I feel like everyone else has so I want it too" instead "This is what I actually need right now." Sucks to be them, winning for you!

  5. No one bought him because he was meant for you! 😉