Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Looking Back: When buying a horse feels good and right.

I've posted a few times about the struggles we've had over the winter but I would like to go back and tell the story of how we found Quizz and the incredibly positive experience we had buying her.

Last summer we went to Elizabeth's first recognized event. She was doing the Starter Division but still, it was a step up. While she was out walking the XC course with her trainer, I stayed in the barn to finish braiding her pony. A lovely young woman stabled across from us asked me if I knew of anyone interested in buying a horse. She seemed less determined to sell a horse and more confused about the right course for her future as an eventer.

I said I might be interested in a horse and invited her to tell me about her lovely mare. At the end of our conversation I told her I thought that sounded like the kind of horse you keep, not the kind you sell, and reminded her how difficult it is to find a horse that can stay sound and take good care of you. I think these were difficult conversations for her. She had owned the horse for nearly 6 years and had known her since she was a baby. Quizz had helped her overcome some fears and they had moved up the levels together. I could tell she really didn't want to sell her but she was also aware that it wasn't fair to ask Quizz to do more. They had gone as far as they could together and it was, sadly, time to part.

We went out and competed, went home and moved on with our lives but I kept thinking about Quizz. I mentioned it to my trainer and she thought I was a little crazy. We really weren't looking yet. We hardly met the horse and I had one conversation with the owner. It was strange how seriously I wanted to track them down.

A month or so passed and I was unable to contact them. The prior owner is not on Facebook by her full name and I didn't know who her trainer was. I found their records online but not them.

The first week of August I was at Apple Knoll in Millis, Massachusetts where our Pony Club is fortunate to have camp for one week each summer. I was in charge of camp so was there around the clock. The first day of camp a trailer pulled in and I recognized the driver as a woman who had been stabled with us at the show over the summer. I was pretty sure she would know where to find Quizz. And yes, I was still obsessing about finding her!

This is the craziest part of the story. I approached the woman and asked if she remembered the horse and rider pair from the show earlier in the summer.  Her answer is too much to believe. The passenger in her trailer was none other than Quizz. She was at Apple Knoll to be sold. As luck would have it, we were able to spend time with Quizz that entire week. My daughter rode her a few times in her pony club lessons. We were able to see her lovely personality and be very sure of who this horse is. Our trainer came to ride her thinking we were nuts but by the end of the morning, she was a little in love as well.  Quizz has that effect on people.

Later we found out that as we were trying to track down Quizz's owner, she was looking for us. She wanted Quizz to go to a young rider who would keep her forever and give her a really good home. The best part of buying Quizz has been expanding our family to include her prior owner. When someone owns a horse like Quizz for as long as she did, they want to know that their horse is being cared for properly. From our end it felt wonderful to buy a well loved horse from a responsible owner. Quizz had a heart condition which the owners immediately informed us about. They opened their vet records. They gave us the report from Tufts regarding her heart issue. They did everything so well that I think I'm a bit spoiled as I go through this again looking for my own horse.

I did freak out right after we bought her. We do intend to keep Quizz forever and I think as that reality washed over me I panicked. But her prior owner could not have been more wonderful. We are in constant contact. I am excited for her as she starts her adventure with a new young horse and she loves getting updates on Quizz's adventures.

A couple of weeks ago, after Elizabeth's first XC run of the season at a schooling show, she sat in the
back seat texting with Quizz's old owner all about how much fun she had. I think it's pretty awesome for all of us. Quizz is amazing. It would be selfish to keep her all to ourselves.

This weekend the announcer at King Oak called out the name Quizz D'Orange once again but this time with a younger rider and at a lower level. Quizz had her issues over the winter but honestly that is to be expected in an 11 year old who had been going Preliminary last summer. Her issues were confusing for the humans and we never really identifies what was bothering her but whatever it was, we addressed it and she feels great now! She's very confident and proud of herself, especially as she runs XC. And she is again building confidence in her rider. Rather than fearing speed, my daughter received time faults for going too fast! Looks like it will be time to move up sooner than we thought but we couldn't have done any of it without Quizz.

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