To put it bluntly, I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous. Graduations, exams, job interviews, getting married, having a child — piece of cake! In those instances, I had some semblance of control. But shopping for a horse has been a downright out-of-body kind of experience. My dad was an Army guy — disciplined and strong — so I come from pretty tough stock. But this is a trial for even the strongest people.
Personally, I have been left completely worn out, dazed, and probably blathering incoherently at some point. The whole process is, candidly, enough to fray whatever nerves you have left. And then when you think you’ve met with success, you hurry up and wait.
This August, my daughter, Rachael, went off to sleep-away camp. So my trainer and I used the opportunity to go looking for horses, including a very long day of trekking to Pennsylvania and back for multiple trials at multiple barns. In all, we probably rode a dozen horses. And it came down to two. But Rachael was still at camp. So we waited for her to come home.
Then we called the two “finalists” to see when they were available to see us again, and meet Rachael. Did I mention this was to take place over Labor Day weekend? Ha! And so we waited to hear back from the owners.
We got scheduled, and took two days, driving to two different locations to try two horses and see which one Rachael preferred. And so we drove, waiting for the miles to tick by.
We made a choice, but then we had to schedule a pre-purchase veterinary exam. So we called the vets. But most of them knew the owner of the horse we were vetting, so we kept looking. And waiting for a call back from a vet who didn’t have a conflict of interest.
Then the vet called, and we scheduled a visit. But the day that suited everyone’s schedule was a week away. And so we waited for the day of the appointment.
The vet check came. He tested well. We drew blood. The blood was sent off to an outside lab for testing. And so we waited for the vet to call with the results.
The vet called, and the results were generally good. So we were ready to make the owner an offer. We e-mailed the owner. And now we wait again.
Remember the old Heinz ketchup commercial about “anticipation”? Well, I think we’ve got that darn ketchup beat by a country mile. Whatever nerves I had left are worn to a frazzle. Minutes seem like hours, and hours seem like days. I don’t want to talk about what the days feel like because I’m aging rapidly enough already!
But with a little luck, we’ll be the proud new owners of a lovely horse in a couple of more days. Here’s hoping my nerves hold out that long. But heck — I’ve waited 48 years to own a horse. What’s a few more days?