I first met Taliesin when my mare and I moved into a new boarding barn. It was love at first sight.
Taliesin was a handsome and friendly grey Oldenburg gelding — clearly the biggest horse in the barn (well second biggest, now that my mare was there). He was young and playful. Under saddle he was a terrific mover and scopey jumper.
I felt immediately drawn to this horse. I’ve always had a soft spot for the big ones and the trouble ones. Taliesin wasn’t necessarily “troubled” though. He was just A LOT of horse, and perhaps a bit too young, for the ambitious though timid 12-year-old rider who owned him. A few big spots to the jumps coupled with exuberant crow-hops after them, and Taliesin learned he could easily knock the kid out of the saddle. That eventually became kids plural, as he upended some teenage riders after that.
Soon I was designated to be the only one allowed to ride him.
After a few “discussions” in the saddle, Taliesin became a joy to ride. He was a fabulous jumper and had a great brain and a great work ethic. His owners decided to put him up for sale, and I took him to the showgrounds to school and show him off while I competed with my mare.
Back home, I’d ride him just as much as I’d ride my own horse. I very quickly fell in love with the big goof.
The owners got a few offers and plenty of people came out to ride him. I usually schooled him for these potential buyers. So when Taliesin’s owners offered to sell him to me at a very generously discounted price, I was stunned. That quickly changed to elated — I probably wouldn’t have a chance to buy a horse this talented for a price this low again in my lifetime.
But to say I could afford to board and show two horses, meanwhile have the “emergency” funds tucked away for each, was a stretch. I’m planning my wedding this year. My partner and I want to buy a house. Sometimes affording just my one horse is a struggle. Now I wanted to double that?
I took a long time to think about it. I ran the numbers again and again and again. My mare, whom I love with all my heart, will be with me until the end of her days. She’s no spring chicken anymore, and I know the cost of her care will go up as she ages. I hassled a few equestrian friends about the offer and most of them brought me back down to Earth.
While I do like to compete, I can only afford to do so sparingly. So why wouldn’t I just want to focus on the good years I have left with my mare? That made a lot of sense.
A really great rider and trainer came to see Taliesin this week. It’s the first time I’ve had a good feeling like this might be the one. Tomorrow he’ll see the vet for his pre-purchase exam. While I’ll be heartbroken to see him go, he deserves a good home. I wish it was with me.
The timing just isn’t right for this one. But maybe one day I’ll be able to afford the barn-full of horses I dream of.