by Christine Boucher
The search for a horse began in April. I had no idea how long it would take and how many highs and lows I would experience in the process. What an adventure! I fell in love with all the horses I test rode, I even made an offer on the very first one I tried…. sadly I could not agree with the seller on the price. I found the process stressful, very time-consuming and exhausting but also very exciting.
At the time, I wanted it to be over quickly, I was stressed out and anxious. Now, having had more time in the saddle, I wish I had tried more horses. Not because I regret buying my guy (au contraire), but because I am now a more confident rider and I understand so much more…I have more knowledge.
All the horses I tried were nice, well-trained and looked great. I found my guy, Beaujolais, at the Northern Equestrian Centre in Osgoode, Ontario. I saw him online a year or so ago. At the time, I used to tell my husband how perfect he would be for me and that he was exactly what I was looking for (never thinking I could buy him). Time went by and when I started seriously looking I learned that he was leased and sadly no longer for sale. Then, I found out he was for sale and had already been bought by someone. My search continued…. As luck would have it, MY LUCK, the sale fell through. I went to try him, rode him, loved him, took a lesson on him and bought him. Here he is, this is MY HORSE, Beaujolais (barn name is Beau).
He’s a 16.1 grey Hanoverian x Trakehner gelding. Beau’s many accomplishments include winning the Ontario Gold Junior Championship at Training Level in 2010 and the Ottawa Area Dressage Group’s Gold Junior Champion Award at Second Level in 2011. He is now 14 years old and he’s sweetheart. He is perfect for me, he’s my schoolmaster. He has, in the few weeks I have had him, already taught me so much. I ride him on average 4-5 times a week. I used to spend a considerable amount of time trying to get him clean. I quickly realized he will never, ever be clean. He’s grey, enough said. He did come with some health issues. He has allergies and, at 14, his joints need some care. Nothing too major at this point in time. I am lucky I found him and was able to buy him. He’s such a sweet horse and so beautiful.
1. Take your trainer with you when shopping for a horse. I did. I was very lucky to have Sian, look at my “prospects” and advised me on which one to go see and which one to skip. Sian rode all the horses tried. I could not have done this by myself.
2. Take a lesson on the horse you want to buy, preferably with its current trainer. It confirmed that Beau was a good match me. I had not cantered him when I first rode him (I know, weird but remember… I’m a novice rider). I cantered him during the lesson and that confirmed that he was the horse for me.
3. Get a vet check and be at the vet check. I learned so much.
4. Buying a horse may well be the least expensive part of this adventure…. the on-going cost of owning a horse can be significant, so be prepared. I was/am and I am glad I was well advised (thanks again Sian).
5. Take your tack budget and double it. Seriously.
6. Say goodbye to all your non-horsey friends. You will have little time for them and if you do have time, they will quickly get sick and tired of all your non-stop horsey talk.
7. Make sure your significant other supports your new addiction, not only financially but emotionally. If he/she is not on board…. see #6.