|Boca's Sale Ad. Florida, circa 2014|
But in some ways, I look back and think I might have done some things differently. It's been a long, slow road to get us to a point of serviceably sound and functional at a pretty low level. On the other hand, I have a wonderful, sweet horse that is a joy to have in the barn, that I can pretty much trust with my life, so there is that.
When I bought Boca, he was 9 years old. I though anything under 10 was a pretty decent age for a horse. Old enough to be sensible, young enough to have many more miles in him. However, at 11 years old, Boca is already developing arthritis, which will have to be managed carefully. If I were to buy again, I would probably shoot for a younger horse. There are no guarantees in horses, and when your budget is as limited as mine was, beggars can't be choosers. But knowing what I know now, I might try to find a younger prospect.
I have no history on what Boca did from ages 2-9. I bought him from a dealer, who had picked him up at auction in Florida 10 days earlier. I don't know how much or how hard he was worked - or not worked. I don't know if any of his history has any bearing on the physical issues that we ran into. It would be nice to have some idea of what he experienced. It may have given me some insight into managing his health, training or lifestyle.
|Awkward yet cute|
One thing I gave little thought to when I purchased Boca was conformation. Four legs and a Tail? Great! I'll take it. Unfortunately, Boca is kind of a trainwreck conformationally and it makes his job much harder than it needs to be. He has a HUGE shoulder on relatively short front legs. Each of his legs face a different direction (I think God might have been a little tipsy when he molded the clay on this one). His neck is too short, ties in low, and is upright. In short, an elegant picture he is not.
4) Already Doing the Job I Wanted Him to Do
In all honesty, I knew I was sacrificing something in order to get the bargain basement price on a horse. You don't get sound, sane and well trained for $1,500. What I didn't realize was the amount of time it would take to get a horse physically and mentally ready to do a fairly low level job. I'm not a pro - that much is clear - but I greatly underestimated how much it would take a relatively ammy rider with no trainer and an auction horse to get even to the bottom rungs of the ladder. We're 2+ years in and we're still not there yet. With the hindsight wisdom of the journey we have been on, it might have made more sense to save my pennies and buy a horse that was already doing the job I wanted to do, rather than try to make one. I'm not a horse trainer, nor would anyone mistake me for one.
It can be hard to see people flying past me, on the way to achieving their goals, at what seems like the speed of light.
Despite of all this, I love the horse I own. He trusts me and takes care of me, and that is hard to put a value on. Would I have done things differently? Maybe. Or maybe I would have made the same mistakes all over again, with a less forgiving horse. There are no guarantees in horses.