Shell game

Today my friend Mary and I went to Coquille to look at a horse. This was a promising sounding Belgian that had been up for sale before I looked at Emma, but sold before I could go look at her. A few days ago I got email from the owner saying the sale had fallen through and that the horse was back on the market.

To make a very long day into a short story, I will simply say this:

  • Very pretty horse
  • Big horse (2,000 lbs. big)
  • Nice enough horse, but a bit existentialist (what’s the point of all this?)
  • Under-competent people who believed in their own über-competence
  • 220-mile drive (each way) to the back of beyond, which meant no time with Bob
  • Horse with bad brakes, mediocre ground manners, and “dressage training” (not)—who hadn’t been out of her paddock in more than two weeks

There were also a number of other surprises, including the “no, there is no tack included, even though the ad said otherwise”, as well as “y’know that surgical wound that we told you about? Well, it’s still healing….” There were just too many small problems, and they added up to a large problem of a very big horse with a not-so-great past and spotty training who is beginning to understand just how big she is. Oh—and she was in season, too, just for added fun.

Not a good first horse. In fact, not good. Period.

It was frustrating because I felt like this was a horse in a not-that-great situation through no fault of her own who needed a knight in shining armor to bring her to a better place, but she was just going to need way more time and attention than I could give her—and there was no guarantee that she was ever going to be a solid horse. It was especially frustrating because of the five people there, I was the one the horse liked the most (Mary was a close second; everyone else was tolerated, at best). I didn’t feel like the the seller was deceptive per se, but this was not the horse that was described to me over the phone and via advertisement.

On the bright side, I got to see a part of Oregon I had never seen before and had several hours to chat with Mary about all kinds of horsey stuff. And I got a little bit of practice driving a gooseneck trailer. And it really makes me appreciate Bob.

And I also got some good stories that will creep into future horse conversations.

About Mike

Michael Heggen is a horseman, maker, and thinker who lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife, Kim, and "three to eight cats". He stays quite busy riding, driving, and caring for their three horses, Boulder, Shasta, and Bob. Among other things, Mike has been a fencing coach, police chaplain, computer consultant, aspirant to the diaconate, computer salesman, box boy, carpenter, computer technician, typesetter, church youth leader, copy machine operator, and network administrator. His other interests include juggling, reading voraciously, and (pretty occasionally these days) cycling.
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