After a week of sleeping fitfully, checking my phone for messages compulsively, and trying to avoid feeling too much excitement in case it all fell to pieces…today was the day.
I signed the ownership papers for Oakley.
Oakley’s a nine year old TB, and appears to be 18 hands. (Oh my god.) He’s been at the barn of my former trainer in Montreal for the past year, to be trained and casually marketed; he’s jumping 2’6/2’9 courses and has a lovely base on the flat. I actually saw him go a little earlier this summer, when the barn hosted a B-circuit show, and I remember thinking how cute and brave he was. I had casually started my horse search then, and my trainer mentioned him offhandedly, as he was considerably over my budget. His owner is apparently reeeeally tired of paying for him to be in training, though, as I got him for just over one third of her original asking price.
Last weekend, I headed down to the the barn in Montreal to try a different horse, a mare, but I realized within two canter strides that she just wasn’t my type of ride at all. I got off, a bit discouraged at having come all this way just to try a horse I categorically couldn’t (or maybe more accurately, wouldn’t) ride. My trainer took me aside and said she had a sneaking suspicious that Oakley’s owner could be convinced to drastically lower her price – so I said I’d try him out.
Remember after my first horse shopping weekend, I asked you guys whether you had clicked with your horses immediately? In this case, I could tell right off the bat that this horse was my kind of ride. Despite being BIG, green and wiggly, he had a lovely connection in the mouth, accepted my leg well, and made it easy to find a rhythm to the jumps. So instead of over-thinking it, I went with my gut, and I asked my trainer to arrange a vetting.
The vetting wasn’t perfect – he’s going to require a bit of hock maintenance – but it’s nothing too drastic and I feel comfortable that we’ll be able to manage him well. I thought long and hard on it after the vet called to give me the x-ray findings – obviously, I would have preferred a 100% clean vetting. But in the end, I found it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me in terms of the amount of anxiety it would cause me if I bought him.
He’s missing a lot of weight at the moment, and generally needs some TLC, not to mention some big time muscling up. But I rode him again today after signing the papers and it reinforced my decision totally. He’s just lovely, not to mention sweet as anything in the barn.
So this week I have to get my ducks in a row regarding his boarding situation, then he’ll hopefully be in Ottawa next weekend. I’m so excited!!
(And yes, I may have already begun a craze of online shopping for him. Because arguably the best part of getting a new pony is all the new STUFF they completely, 100% need, am I right?)