The quest, and I call it a quest, to try and find a second horse is proving to be a challenge I wasn’t prepared for.
The quest started months ago, before Alfie was officially retired. The market right now for horses is a hot one. Horse prices are much more expensive than they were several years ago. COVID and the shut down of all indoor activities for adults and children left the door wide open for people to discover the amazing world of horses. This discovery has driven up the prices of horses but has also created a shortage of those unicorns – you know, the ones that have no rear, no buck and no bolt, the ones that can walk, trot, canter and jump small cross rails – the ones that are school masters and are SAFE.
Groups on Facebook have been created specifically for the advertisement of horses that are available for your consideration – since you can’t actually “sell” a horse on Facebook. Many auction houses have actually created Apps where you can bid on a horse from the comfort of your home and have it delivered to you as well. The days of “shopping” for a horse are long gone. Being able to try a few different horses before making your decision are also a distant memory. These days, if you see a horse you like from videos posted online, and you like the description – you pretty much have to take your chances and just buy them site unseen, in a matter of hours those horses have sold.
During my quest to find another partner, I’ve actually only tried out 1 horse. He was a very nice larger sized quarter horse. He was pretty, he seemed safe, he had some good breaks, but I had only about 1 hour to make my decision on whether he was “the one” as the next appointment to try him was rolling in. I ended up passing on him because I just wasn’t sure if he was “the one” and sure enough, he was bought by that next appointment.
A week ago myself, my friend Heidi, our barn managers Regina and Jenna all piled into my car and headed 2 1/2 hours north to a small town known for their livestock and horse auctions. A few weeks leading up to the auction, videos and bios of some of the consigned horses were loaded online. There were about 5 horses I was interested in taking a better look at, but out of those 5, only 1 horse fit the bill.
We got to the auction hours before the horses were being sold, and we were able to go through the sale barn, we watched many of the horses being ridden around the property. We were able to ask questions and really get a good look at them. And then we saw him, the 1 horse out of 180 horses being auctioned that night, the 1 horse that was “the one.” Oh, he was beautiful. The right size, the right skill set, the right experience, and he was calm amidst the chaos of a busy parking area.
We got his number off of his sticker, we found seats inside the arena and we waited. My friend Heidi, you might remember she just lost her horse Cayman about a month ago. Well, a pretty little halflinger named “Dan” came out. She had her eye on him for hours before the sale started. Before I knew it she was bidding on “Dan” and holy cow, she won! She bought him!! I was THRILLED for her!
As the horses continued to come through, my nerves were getting frazzled. The anticipation of “the one” coming up was causing the worst butterflies in my stomach I’ve ever experienced. My heart felt like it was going to beat right through my chest. And there he was – this was it.
The auctioneer started the bid price high, there were no takers… once the bid price was low enough, I raised my shaking hand with my auction number. The next thing I knew, his auction price jumped up by $2,000. And then I bid one more time, but it wasn’t enough. At this point he was already $700 over my original budget, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go any higher. It turns out, “the one” had a reserve – so he didn’t get sold that night. I sat there totally deflated. The waves of disappointment flooded over me like a wet blanket.
So the quest continues. The emotional roller coaster continues. I know there is another “Alfie” out there somewhere, where he is, I just don’t know.
Alfie is enjoying the retired life of just being a horse. Our days together are filled with lots of grooming, grazing and naps. I miss being able to ride him, but seeing him happily be himself makes my heart very happy. ❤️🐴