A year ago today I found this ad on Craigslist:
Red Dun gelding Quarter Horse. Registered AQHA name The Talk of the Town aka “Willy”. 19 yrs old, great for beginner/intermediate. Used for lessons, shows, 4-H, trail riding, beach and rodeo. He is a gorgeous, smart and all around fun horse, but haven’t spent the quality time he deserves. I took lessons on him for seven years and he knows everything and more!
The month before, at the beginning of September, I had to put Nick down. He was getting so old that his teeth were worn down so much that he couldn’t properly chew his food. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t keep weight on him. His last five years had been good ones; it was time to put him out of his misery.
I had planned on waiting to getting another horse until spring when the grass was coming on. Though it certainly couldn’t hurt to look and get an idea about the market, right? When I found the ad, he was pretty much everything I was looking for – and a dun! – despite being a couple years older than the range I was considering. And, he was relatively close.
I quickly replied to the ad and we waiting anxiously for a response. After trading several emails, the owner, who lived a hundred miles or so away from the place where she was boarding him , said she couldn’t make it on the afternoon that we’d agreed on, but to go ahead and go look at him anyway. I’d asked my trainer to come along because she knew what she was looking at better than I did.
We found the place relatively easy. Willy was out in the pasture with a couple other horses, and immediately quit grazing to come investigate and beg some treats. He was very friendly and not standoffish at all. My trainer assessed him and said that he was slightly sickle-hocked and a bit cresty in the neck, and with exercise his back would come up; overall, he looked pretty good.
Afterward, we agreed to meet that weekend at a local arena so I could try him out. I was so excited! When we got to the arena, he was already tacked up and his owner was warming him up. After being idle for seven/eight years while his owner was in the army, he needed a little warm up. I got on him and he was great, did everything I asked willingly. His western pleasure-like trot was to die for! That settled it, I was definitely in love. And the rest is history!