Thursday, September 26, 2013

Temporary Shut Down

Hi Everyone-

Though I have nothing to hide and will be totally upfront with my pony's new owners, it does seem like a good idea to take a short hiatus with this blog.

So, in the meantime, I will be reading your blogs and might pop up commenting with a new blog.  I'll let you know.

Again, I went and re-read everything and I don't see anything horrid, just a very honest view of someone who had the wrong match, but I also know that it doesn't put our best hoof forward and Tessa has come SUCH A LONG WAY and is really only a freak when it's me handling her.  Sigh.  :)

Thank you so much for all of your support and I can't wait for my pony to find her perfect home and to start my new adventures.

mona and Tessa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Hate Marketing

The Princess is up for sale now.  She's not on Dreamhorse quite yet, as I first wanted to tap into the local market.  We have a great Facebook page that is very community minded and made up of a bunch of folks involved with Eventing and Pony Club, so I started there.  Here's her ad:

2007 Registered Half Arabian mare for sale. Currently being ridden dressage and jumping up to 2’6. Has been out on trails and to schooling shows and handled it all marvelously. Super friendly, lovely mover, gets along with other horses. An uncomplicated ride for advanced beginners and up. Loves to jump. 

Currently being used in the lesson program and would make a good pony club mount.
Clips, bathes, loads. Tessa would be a perfect match for a small adult amateur or junior rider. 14.3 hands. $3,500. Also the cleanest grey horse (in fact the cleanest horse) I have ever owned! Located in Woodinville WA.

Video with Junior Rider (age 11) riding her:

Jumping Video:

And then I used this lovely picture of her.

The ad has only been up for two days, but so far nothing.  I've been watching other ads and it seems like the horses that sell quickly get lots of comments right away.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I'm concerned because she's an Arab and they don't have great reputations in the Pony Club/Eventing world.  It's funny that everyone at my barn loves her and always says how much they don't like Arabs, but they do love her.  And yet, she's not a completely atypical Arab.  I think I've just had more exposure to Arabs than most folks doing the eventing thing.

So, for those of you who have sold horses, what was most effective?  How long did it take?  Was Dreamhorse the way to go?

And if anyone knows of someone looking for a super cute partner, I'm flexible on price for the right home.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Busy Lesson and More Waiting

My lesson on Licorice started off with another lesson finishing up.  I stayed on the rail, while a man named Jim rode his fresh off the track Thoroughbred over fences.  She was a handful and quite the jumper.  She would gallop up next to Licorice and I, who were trotting at a snails pace along the rail.  She'd snort and huff and sail past us.  Licorice ambled on.  Later when I was grooming Licorice, the mare was in a stall waiting to go back out.  She showed her VERY off the track Thoroughbred side by weaving side to side and back and forth and slinging her head up and down and up and down.  She made me anxious just looking at her.  Luckily, her owner came back after putting his tack away and took her out to her pasture.

So, after Jim was done riding his horse, my lesson on Licorice began.  You know what my favorite thing about the lesson was?  NONE of it involved fixing Licorice and ALL of it focused on me.  Ha!  This makes me sound so narcissistic.  But really, it was lovely to be able to focus on pulling my shoulder back on the right side.  And feeling, viola!  Licorice straightened his head out.  We worked on finding my seat in the canter, which is something I have struggled with.  Licorice simply cantered and cantered and cantered.  At first I was heavy and stiff.  Licorice cantered, strung out, but still cantering.  I worked on breathing and counting.  Licorice cantered.  A bit lighter.  I pulled my right shoulder back and let my hands move with him.  Breathing and counting.  Licorice got lighter and more together every time I pulled it together.  It was brilliant.

And of course, every time I wanted to stop, Licorice was more than happy to obey.

At the end of my lesson, we were left alone to trot some poles and mess around.  During my lesson, outside the arena, a colt was gelded.  When his sedation began to wear off and he was able to stand, they tried to move him to a stall.  Somehow he laid down (or rather began to fall down) on a pipe corral.  There was much yelling and running and the two horses next to the arena began to run frantically around their pens.  I could feel my whole body tense up.  Licorice looked over there, clearly interested.  I put him to work, asking him to yield off my leg, my heart thumping.  Licorice went right to work and didn't look over there again until we trotted past a while later.  Then it was with mild interest.

After my lesson, Licorice and I were hot and sweaty.  Licorice is growing in his winter coat and it was quite warm out, so I asked if I could hose him off.  They don't have a formal wash stall, but he ties, so she had me tie him to a post and just hose him off outside.  He moved around a little bit, but was mostly good.  When we went to eat some grass, he was atrocious about pulling me along, but once I was clear about him not dragging me along to eat grass he was pretty good about it.

It's been interesting because I don't feel the 'rush' that I got when I found Tessa.  On the other hand, this time, I'm trying really hard to shop with my head first and my heart second.  I think I'm being really guarded about Licorice because he's at his home barn still.  And my trainers haven't tried him out yet.  And he hasn't passed a vet check yet.  I think I will know how I really feel, when I saddle him up in my own barn and ride him down the driveway.

Already, I have noticed that I have the horse bug back.  It's taken everything in me not to bug the living daylights out of the trainer he's with now to see if I can ride him every day.  I wanted to go see him this weekend so badly!  But I know he's used for lessons and I don't want to wear out my welcome.  :)  Keeping my fingers crossed that my trainers check him out this week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thoughts about Licorice

In no particular order, here are some random thoughts about Licorice:

1.  He will need some ground manners refreshing.  He's just thoughtless.  Not in a quick, dirty way but in a doofy, not paying attention kind of way.

2.  The first thing my husband said when he saw a picture of him and I (my selfie) was "That horse needs a new halter.  A nice leather one."  Oh honey, that's reason 341 why I love you.

3.  When I took the family out to visit Licorice, I went into his paddock and was petting/scratching him.  He put his ears back and his face came towards me.  I stopped what I was doing because I didn't have a halter on him and was uncomfortable.  Later, as I was grooming him on the shoulder, he kind of did the same thing.  I don't know him well enough to know if this was a 'Stop That' reaction or a 'That feels good, let me groom you also.' kind of reaction.  He is the kind of horse that will pick up brushes and play with his leadrope, so I'm hoping it's a playful thing. I am going to ask the trainer about it today to see if she has any feedback.  He wasn't giving obvious cranky signals so it was hard to tell.

4.  This may just be nerves talking, but his mouth looked a little hard while I was grooming him.  He seemed a bit more frustrated than the other times.  This may be because I visited him in the late afternoon and he was hoping that he was coming in for dinner.  It's something I'll pay attention to in the future.  I'm really looking forward to getting my trainers out and getting Licorice out of his comfort zone.  I think it's SUPER important to know what he'll do when he's out of his comfort zone, as that will be a make or break thing for me.

5.  I haven't been riding Tessa at all and now she no longer kicks out at the canter.  I will miss her adorable, bright eyes and dainty princess face.  I sometimes feel guilty that I'm not riding her.

6.  I think about riding Licorice EVERY DAY.  Maybe this is because he is a new horse, but mostly I think it's because when I ride Licorice he just does what he's asked.  Okay, we kind of run into the trot. He's been used as a lesson horse so his transitions need some help and he needs a lot of work on using his body, BUT if I want to tool around at the trot practicing MY body, Licorice just goes.  And goes.  And goes.  Until you ask him to stop.  It feels like a minor miracle to me when I get on him and he just goes.

7.  I actually want to go on more trail rides with him.  I can see a future of taking him places.  Of me doing things.  Of joining in because I'm not worried about my horse.

8.  I may own two horses at the same time.  Ugh. Eek.

9.  I will need a new bridle.  My fingers have been positive itching to buy things for Licorice.  He needs blankets, a bridle, a new halter, saddle pads (okay, my hot pink one would look pretty awesome on his black coat).  But I'm waiting patiently until the deal is done before I spend money buying things for him.

10.  I had expected this process to take a year, not a month.  I know in my gut that if Licorice is everything my trainers, his trainer and our mutual friends say he is, that he is the right horse for me.  I also know that this horse is not one that I was 'shopping' for, but one that comes recommended by my farrier, his wife, their daughter, the trainer who has him and my trainers.  That's a pretty solid background.  Still...unexpected and leaves me a little emotionally gritty.  I'm so excited about Licorice (also I have a lesson today with him!  yeah!  will post updates!) but also grieving over my darling little Tessa.  I'm sure it will be better when Tessa finds her person and we can all celebrate that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Second Date with Licorice

My second date with Licorice was a trail ride.  He was a star.

 Ear picture!!!  I FINALLY HAVE AN EAR PICTURE!!!!
 He tried to eat the ferns and sometimes wanted to be up in the lead horses business, but was otherwise amenable and quiet.  Even when someone drove by on a golf cart with trees loaded on it, he didn't look.

We only walked on the trails and when we came back we went into the arena and I did some basic flat work.  Then we put out some ground poles and trotted over them.

He doesn't have any dressage training and gets a bit heavy on the bit, but he is easy and simple and he doesn't argue about anything.

He did try to eat grass when I led him back to his pasture, but nothing horrible.

He's also a talker.  Whenever I would walk into the tack room, he would do this low nicker until I came out.  Adorable!

I tried another horse.  It was meh.  Then another one that I was lined up to try sold before I got the chance.

My trainer told me that the really good, really broke horses usually don't go on the market.  They're sold just like Licorice, by word of mouth.  If Licorice went on the market, he'd sell in a hot minute for what they're asking for him.

Dressage Championships are happening this week and my trainers are busy with 9 horse and rider combos going.  As soon as that's over, we will get busy marketing the pony and moving forward with Licorice.

Oh - and I can't remember who asked, but Tessa's other parentage is a Paint.  Though it's her Great, Great, Grandfather so she's really more of a 7/8ths Arab.  They just register them all as 1/2 Arabs if they have anything else in them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Putting It Out There

The worst part about horse shopping for someone like me is the part where you have to tell complete strangers that you are a nervous rider.  And then you have to be willing to get off and say "I'm scared to stay on this horse."

It's like going on a first date and starting out the conversation with "Hi, I don't like snuggling, I am anal retentive about how the silverware is lined up and I leave my dirty clothes all over the floor.  Also, sometimes I cry for no reason and I get anxious in new situations."  I'm pretty sure that would send most prospective dates running for the door.

The double whammy for me is this feeling that I am somehow a failure as a horse person because I'm not sticking with Tessa.  It's embarrassing that I have a horse that is 'easy to handle' for most people and she feels like too much for me.  It's embarrassing that I've been riding for over 10 years and I'm needing a babysitter horse.

The logical part of me knows this is not exactly the truth of it all, but man, my ego is taking a bruising.

I hope that Tessa sells quickly and without fanfare to a lovely family who will want to do Pony Club or something with her.  I hope that I find a horse who helps me find my confidence and my mojo again.  I know that ultimately, it's the journey that's important and not the destination.

I made a video of Tessa this morning.  She's being ridden by a 12 year old and they look adorable together.

She should be officially on the market in the next few days.  Hoping the process is straightforward for both of us.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Horse Shopping Is Hard

I won't post a picture of horse number two because my experience was not a good one.

His owner had answered a Horse Wanted Ad that I had placed on a Facebook page.  My ad stated that I was a nervous Adult Amateur looking for a bombproof horse with life experience.  She said her horse fit the bill perfectly.

So, I went out and saw him this morning.

She pulled him out of his stall and put him in the cross ties where he had his raised up, the whites of one eye showing and was shifting from side to side.

I asked if it was his Appaloosa eye making it look like he was nervous or was he nervous.  She said that he was kind of up today because they were doing work on the barn.

At that moment, I knew he was the wrong horse for me, but I wanted to stay committed just in case he 'seemed' more energetic.  When she was putting boots on him, he tried to pull his leg away.  Then he pawed in the crossties.

She got on him first and he was very looky in one corner.  His head went up and his body got stiff.  He didn't spook, but he didn't look relaxed.  She rode him and he seemed very forward.  Since she's more a jumper type, I didn't worry too much about it.

I told her that I was pretty nervous to get on him.  She offered to walk next to his head until I got comfortable.  I think she was one of those girls who has not experienced fear in her life.  If I have to have someone walk next to the horse's head, it's not the right horse!

So, I got on and walked and then trotted.  His trot was forward and rushed.  I had to take a super firm contact on the reins to keep him in check.  He zoomed around the arena.  His body bunched up every time we went even close to one side, so I kept him on a twenty meter circle.  I turned him to go the other way and he tried to jump into the canter.  I could feel that every time I tightened a muscle, his whole body got tense.  I got off, handed her the reins and said "He's a nice horse, but not for me."

She looked surprised, but I gave the horse a pet and left.  He was not a horse for a nervous rider at all.  Then, I went back and was looking at some other ads and found an ad for him for sale.  From two months ago.  She had told me she only owned him a month because she got him in a trade, so she was upfront about that.  However, I saw the original Facebook posting (on a local horse for sale FB group) where his original owner said "He is very loving, willing and tries to please. He is sensitive and therefore needs a confident rider"

I agree with her one hundred percent.  Cute horse.  Tries hard.  But he was VERY sensitive to my body and he would be a TERRIBLE match for a nervous rider.  Sigh.

In other news, I'm going to go ride Licorice a second time and even take him out on a trail ride!  I'm also looking for a few other local horses to try to see how they feel.  Licorice isn't technically for sale yet, but once he is for sale, he will sell fast so I'll need to have some sense of comparison so I can make a sound decision.  I'm really grateful to have my trainers helping me figure this out.  They are super busy with local dressage championships next week, but after that they are going to come watch me ride Licorice!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tire Kicking Checklist

So, I'm gonna be kicking some tires the next few weeks..or at least I'll be trying out some different horses and I thought it would be good to put together a list of things I should try.  I mean, we know I want a broke horse so how do I make sure I get that?

Be as enthusiastic and gesticulative (huh, that doesn't seem to be a should be.  It would be used like this "I am very gesticulative when I talk" meaning I use my hands and arms a lot to tell stories.) as I normally am.

Allow myself to be anxious.  The right horse will go through his paces despite the crazy lady on his back.

Groom him everywhere.  Touch under his belly.  Lift up his feet.  Ask to have the horse wear boots or bring boots for the second trial. (I didn't do this and I should have!).

It's warm enough that if they say the horse bathes, ask if I can rinse off the horse after my ride.  Do I do this on the first ride or wait until I really like a horse?

Ditto for clippers.  If they say he clips, I want to see it.  Again, maybe a 'return' visit request.

What else am I missing?  What do I need on my pre-flight, tire kicking, horse shopping checklist?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Energy and Second Opinions

So, despite my misgivings about good old Licorice, my trainer asked me to go see him.  She had really solid reasons, a big one being that the horse had two good horse people recommend him.  She also pointed out that his current trainer does not want his owner to sell him, so to take what she says with a grain of salt.

Here's what I had forgotten.  When other horses spook, it's not an Arab teleportation spook.  In fact, I saw Licorice 'spook' today and I would be hard pressed to call it a spook.  Not to say that he may not have more in him, but at least today he was not at all spooky.

On the other hand, he wasn't nearly the deadhead she made him out to be.  He was goofy and sweet and definitely required leg to get moving.  In fact, I had to do a very un lady like thump to get him to trot but once he picked up the trot he was relatively forward.  He's used to being ridden on a long, loopy rein and he enjoyed looking around a bit while we trotted around.

His energy was so different from Tessa's.  It was a great reminder that we all carry our own energy and have our own quirks.  My energy is a bit high energy, talkative and on the anxious side.  Tessa's energy is a bit in your face, intense and sometimes on the anxious side.  If you know dogs, Tessa reminds me of a herding breed.  She wants you to pay attention to her ALL THE TIME.

Licorice would be more like a golden retriever.  Licorice's energy is wanting to know if you have a cookie.  He also wants to get his face into everything and use his mouth to pick up stuff.  When I stood with him in his paddock, he stood with me with his face close enough to get any treat I might have.  When  a treat didn't materialize, he let me rub his face for a minute and then walked off to have some water.

I was surprised how much I liked him.  And how anxious I was riding him.  I really take a long time to get comfortable with a horse and though I'm anxious with Tessa, she's much more of a known quantity.  I know what she does on her worst days or if you push her too hard. 

So, the next step is for my trainers to go ride Licorice and push his buttons.  This way we'll have an idea of what he does under pressure and what his potential is.

The only concern the trainer had is that Licorice's living arrangements would be changing significantly.  He's currently stalled at night, but then has a 40 acre pasture to go out into every other day.  He also gets to jump regularly and he gets to go on trail rides a few times a week.  His life with me would be more boring, I'm afraid.  I could ride him down the driveway and on some short trails, and I could have him available for other folks to jump him on jump night but we do not have giant pastures and our arena is pretty small.  I suppose this dilemma will be true for most horses though.

Anyways, I always say 'never say never' which is why it's funny that I said 'never' about Licorice and here I am taking the next step with him.  But, in my defense, he turned out to be way less 'dull' and 'out of it' than the trainer called him.  Or at least we have different ideas of what is dull.....
 Licorice showing that he's a good size for me.  And that he can take prettier pictures.
His eye in this picture is much more aware and open than in the other pictures, which makes me happy.  He just looked so depressed and dull in the other photos.

Of course, I had to take a selfie of the two of us.  Licorice just wished I had a cookie.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Worth a Visit

This is Edward.  He's a 6 year old Appaloosa without any dressage training.  He's a big boy, at 16.1 hands but he's broke.  Broke.  Broke.

Talked to his owner today and she said she doesn't want to sell him, which is why she didn't even put a picture with this ad.  She has done trail riding, arena riding, roping, sorting and camping with Edward.  He ties for hours.  He hobbles.  He goes out alone or with other horses.

When I asked what makes him nervous she said she couldn't think of anything that makes him nervous. He's just not that kind of horse.  When queried about if he would get bored doing circles she said he was an easy going fella that wants to do whatever you want to do.  He has more whoa than go, but is just a happy fellow.

She breeds Appys and this was her personal horse, but with four kids and a working alfalfa farm, she just hasn't had much time to ride.  She wants to be very picky about who he goes home with, which works in my favor.  It means she's just as invested as I am in having us be a good fit.

He's about three hours away from me, but I have a trip at the end of this month that will get me within an hour and a half of him.  So I'm hijacking my family trip and am going to take  a day to go out and ride Edward.

I know he's under Western Saddle, but what do you think?  I haven't heard back from my trainers yet but I"m pretty sure they're not going to be happy that he's an Appy.  From a personality standpoint though, every Appy I've known has been a steady going kind of horse.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Contender Number One

I have not gone out and looked at this horse yet, but my trainer sent me pictures and I talked to the person who he is currently with.

Meet Licorice.  He's a 9 or 10 year old gelding of undetermined breeding.  He's been at the current barn for 6 years and the trainer LOVES him.  If she had the money, she said she would buy him herself.  He's currently being half leased by a 9 year old.

According to the trainer, Licorice has the personality of a warmblood.  His ground manners are lacking, not out of spite but out of 'not paying attention'.  Her example was that if he sees grass, he will try to drag you over to it because he just doesn't think about the person on the end of the rope.  She used the word 'dumb' numerous times.  But she meant it as a compliment when it came to being able to do just about 'whatever' with him.

He hasn't done dressage and is a 'slow mover'.
She said he spooks at unexpected noises.  His spooks consist of throwing his head up and scooting out into the canter.  She said he spooks about twice a month.
He has a capped knee from banging the door, but it doesn't cause him problems.
Not great ground manners.

He's only 9 or 10 so he is a good, solid age.
He goes out on trails alone.
My trainer knows his trainer and they are close enough that I could do multiple rides and probably lease him for a month at the barn he's at or take him out on trail rides etc.

Again, I have not looked at this horse in person yet but I am trying to make sure that I make ALL initial decisions with my head and not my heart.  The part that bothers me is the spook part.  A horse that spooks twice a month at his home barn, spooks twice a month too often for me.  I KNOW that all horses spook, but I want the horse that if/when it does spook it comes as a 'Wow, I didn't know he had it in him." surprise.  Not that I want a scary spook surprise, but I've ridden Quarter Horses that spooky just wasn't in their vocabulary.

So, what do you think?  Am I being overly sensitive about the 'spooky' part or am I being sensible about what I REALLY want this time?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I went out to ride the pony yesterday.  I tacked up and got on and could feel her body tense up like a spring.  So I hopped off and lunged her.  She immediately went into a fast canter, which for her is unusual.  I lunged her both ways for about five minutes each side and then re-mounted.  She stood solidly while I got on.

We had lots of lovely trot, with her back lifted.  I thought about asking for canter and started to ask her to bring her hindquarters over by moving my leg slightly back.  She hunched up and kicked out.  I pushed her back into trot.  She pinned her ears and kicked up at my leg.  I took a long slow breath, willing the tension out of my arms and legs.  We trotted and changed directions.  I tried moving my leg back every so slightly.  She kicked out at my leg again.  I asked for more forward.  She put her head down and kicked up.

I went back to trotting, determined to just have a good ride.  My husband and I had been painting the interior of our house all weekend and my back was sore.  I didn't have the energy to work through her attitude and I didn't want to.  I hadn't ridden much in the last three weeks and my hips were reminding me that they needed to ease back into the program.

We finished our ride and I took her in the wash rack for a quick rinse.  She stood politely while I hosed the girth marks off.  While standing there, I realized I was ready to let her go.  I was ready for her to go to a home with someone who would love her as she is, not as she 'might' be.  She's a fantastic little horse, who has the potential to be even greater.

She has been a rock star every time she has gone out on the trails, she loves jumping, her dressage is quite lovely and her gaits are all super comfortable.  She just wants to get out there and do more stuff and she needs someone who is happy to sit through her little tantrums and laugh them off.  I'll bet a month or two with a rider like that and she'd stop having tantrums altogether.  She will make someone an incredible partner.  And because she is a smart little mare, she loves to bond to her person.  She whinnies when I come into the barn.  She walks to the gate to greet me.  She wants to have that perfect person and I'm in a position to help her find it.

The hard part for me is that now that I've decided to let her go, I'm ready for her to go.  I want to put her on the market as of yesterday!  I'm like that with all my relationships.  When I'm done, I'm done.  I emailed my trainers to let them know that I want to move a little faster with getting her out there.  Hopefully I'll hear back from them soon and get my girl her new, improved home soon!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Going Through The Motions

Finally, I got to meet with my trainers.  Or at least one of them.  So here's where the trainers are at:

Jumping trainer loves Tessa.  Put her over a 2'6 course the last two weeks and Tessa was game and forward.  She thinks that Tessa is a gem who just needs more time and miles.  However, she also agrees that I may not want to do the same things as Tessa.  I won't be jumping any 2'6 courses...probably ever.

Dressage trainer does not like Tessa.  Jumping trainer blurted it out and then tried to backtrack by saying that she just doesn't like how frustrated I get with her.  But I knew this already, which is why I switched to jumping.  I think my dressage trainer just isn't a fan of Arabians or mares and especially not opinionated Arabian mares who aren't particularly thrilled to be doing dressage.

Things we all agree on:

The bucking to the whip is a habit.  It can be broken with training and time.

The kicking out to the spur is partly her nature and partly because she's a smart horse and she knows how to intimidate me.

Tessa likes jumping a lot.

I like dressage a lot more than jumping.

No matter how un-anxious Tessa is in the outside world, I will probably be anxious at every single new experience.  I can't give Tessa experience AND myself experience in a safe and sane way.

Jumping trainer (Laura) suggested a few things for me to start on.

1.  We are going to move slowly and steadily forward with putting Tessa on the market.  Laura will look at Dreamhorse to see what she thinks is comparable.  Her partner has three kids who are ALL horse trainers and all are actively involved with Pony Club kids.  Tessa would be PERFECT for a Pony Club kid who likes jumping.

2.  I am going to start looking at horses that fit the bill for what I want right now.  I will not purchase a horse without their input/feedback/guidance.  They have been instrumental in helping me get to this point with Tessa and they have asked me lots of hard questions.  They also know everybody in the area.  In fact, they heard of a horse through their farrier that might be for sale for a ridiculously low price due to his owner wanting to just stop paying expenses.  They think he might be a good fit for me.  I'm waiting for details to go try him out.

Laura actually said that if this horse IS available and IS what I want, that it would be worth having two horses while we wait for Tessa to sell.  She pointed out that it wouldn't cost much more to have two horses than it would to put Tessa in training.  She's right (sort of) but it makes me anxious to own two horses.  I cannot afford two horses for longer than a few months.  But we then talked about leasing or half leasing Tessa and again, I'm pretty sure they would help me figure something out if things went sideways.

Laura said that at any point during this process, if I see a different way or change my mind about Tessa I can just raise my hand and yell Stop!  I get a little teary when I think of selling her....but then I rode her.  And she was bitchy.  And kicked out.  And bucked at the canter.  And as much as I love that she nickers at me when I come into the barn, I think I'm ready to let us BOTH move on.

So, now I move in to the ugly business of horse shopping.  I'd love a lease to own type situation or even a lease for a year with someone who was *thinking* about selling.  So if any of you know of anything that fits the bill...dead quiet, doesn't mind endless dressage circles, broke to death for going outside, will pop over the occasional log or crossrail, clips, bathes, will stand while I spend an inappropriate amount of time combing out his tail, kid broke, easy going and dare I ask for it, sound?  It wouldn't hurt to have a cute face, but I'm being realistic.  Tessa is adorable and I don't want to ride her.  I'll take the right horse over the cute one....