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It???s All a Blur

By Cindy Hale

Wednesday, October 21, 2010

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A few days ago one of my friends told me, “In today’s horse market, with this bad economy, you’ll be able to look at horses all day, every day.” She wasn’t kidding. There are a ton of horses for sale and I think I saw a good portion of them last weekend.

My sister, Jill, was a saint and shuttled me north of Los Angeles to visit a ranch that was offering a half-dozen or more nice, quiet saddle horses for sale. Several of them had recently come back from the New Mexico film set for a blockbuster movie that premieres next year starring Harrison Ford. It’s some kind of sci-fi/western (sounds good to me!) with both cowboys and Indians. I went to try the horses, figuring that if a horse can tolerate running through the boulders and cactus of New Mexico in the midst of the chaos that accompanies an outdoor movie set, then it’d be darn near bombproof on the trails of my neighborhood.

Unfortunately, what I learned was that what qualifies a horse to be a safe, sane mount for stunt men and super star actors does not necessarily qualify it to be the perfect mount for Cindy Hale. Though every horse I tried there was broke, quiet and well-mannered on the ground, each of them had one trait that precluded them from being right for me. One had horribly rough gaits (the most experienced stunt man probably rode that horse). Another one was a sweetheart out on the trails but his lope/canter/gallop felt unbalanced and only barely under control. Another proved to be too small for my gangly legs and a fancy mare needed more time under saddle to be properly finished. I came close to purchasing a big, flashy black and white Paint gelding that had been ridden both English and western. He was a bit rusty, having been used for several years by a novice rider who just plodded down the trails at a walk. But after about 20 minutes riding him in the arena, I actually got him to execute a couple of flying lead changes at the canter! I was in love…. Until my sister and her eagle eyes pointed out the rampant spread of fly allergies. I thought it was only on the Paint’s lower legs, but Jill reached under his chest and discovered a wide swath of bumps and sores.

I know fly allergies aren’t the end of the world to most people, but I am a neurotic horsewoman. I’d be spending hundreds of dollars and countless sleepless nights every fly season, fretting over my horse’s misery. I went back to the car and speed dialed my vet. Since it was a Sunday I got a hold of her and she assured me that we could do things to treat fly allergies, providing the horse was worth the hassle and expense. I decided that he wasn’t. Once I took into account the fact that I’d have to re-school him for at least a month before he’d get back into the swing of things under saddle, the acute fly allergies became a deal breaker.

So Jill and I drove the two hours home. I was a little bit disappointed, but I knew that I had a lovely, predictable, somewhat obnoxious but always safe horse standing in my backyard. Until I find a perfect complement to good ol’ Wally, I’ll just keep being a one-horse owner.

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It???s All a Blur

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Reader Comments

jumpergal    ranch, AB

1/14/2011 6:01:28 AM

you ended up buying the black and white paint right???

Debbie    Norco, CA

10/25/2010 12:08:20 PM

Cindy, Ziggy has had fly allergies nearly all his life. I give him a vetalog injection every two months during spring to fall. Depending on how bad the flies are sometimes he only gets one injection during the entire season. Might not be so bad to deal with if the horse is that good and the price is that low :)

Fly    desert, CA

10/22/2010 8:27:34 PM

good luck! I sure have some crazy horse shopping stories myself.

CINDY HALE    HORSE CHANNEL, CA

10/22/2010 9:54:41 AM

HONESTLY, AT THIS POINT I'M STILL CONSIDERING THAT BIG OL' BLACK AND WHITE PAINT. HE WAS REALLY COMFORTABLE TO RIDE AND HE HAD EXCELLENT TRAINING AT SOME POINT IN HIS LIFE. IF HE'S OTHERWISE THE BEST HORSE I'VE SEEN, MAYBE FLY ALLERGIES ARE SOMETHING I CAN DEAL WITH. IT'D BE MY SEASONAL CHALLENGE!

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