Finding 'The One'

On July 1st, I moved back from six months working abroad in London. I wasn't even completely de-jetlagged yet before I started horse shopping.

If only they went on sale.

After riding for over twenty years I was going to do this. Buy my OWN horse. And not just any horse, but a small infant tiny new babe*. And not just any small infant tiny new babe, but an off the track Thoroughbred.


Why OTTBs Are So Awesome I Had to Buy One

  1. Price. You can't beat how cheap they are. Even though they've gotten more expensive over the years you can still get something baller for pretty cheap.
  2. Experience. If you get a horse that's raced any amount they've seen a lot. They've probably been hauled all over, clipped, mane pulled, bathed, and been around really busy nerve-wracking settings. They know needles, vets, and farriers.
  3. Thoroughbreds are awesome in general. When I was a little kid I had an imaginary horse named Diamond. She was Shagya Arabian, Morgan, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. In retrospect I have no idea what that abomination would look like but I have since grown and realized that no matter what I ride (and I've ridden A LOT of different horses), I've always come hurtling back to the Thoroughbred. They're nervous little shits, sensitive and often have crappy feet but they are disproportionately athletic and have a ton of heart. And if I'm flying at a trakhener and I'm scared I want a Thoroughbred under me more than anything else.
So started my search. I wanted a bay mare. With little white socks. Who could jump like stink but also came when I called her and ate cookies and was adorable and not mare-ish. Ideally she would be 4-6 years old, 16.1-16.2 hands, flawlessly sound and a 10 mover at all gaits. Perfect self loader and would stand on the trailer for days without fussing. And also in my budget.

That horse doesn't exist. It really doesn't. It would if I took off the budget caveat but alas...

I don't have one of these in my yard. I don't even have a yard.

I tried to buy the first two horses I saw and my trainer thankfully slowed me down. In retrospect I knew deep down they weren't right for me but they were right enough. And I can see potential in anything. But she kept gently guiding me away, being diplomatic (ish) and ushering me along to the next prospect. 

I thought it would be easy, but it wasn't. It had been two months. I had seen 15 horses. A lot of them were rehabbing from injuries or had foot issues that led to unsoundness. I was getting desperate. I turned to the internet. is like Google; if you have to go past the first few pages of your search, what you're looking for doesn't exist.


Somewhere on page seven or eight, past all the nice picture and video ads, there was a very short, simple ad for a Thoroughbred gelding. His name was Runkle, he was four years old and he had excellent bloodlines and an okay race history but it was clear he wasn't going to work out as a racehorse. He was at the very top (okay, let's be real, he was outside) of my budget. But I figured hey, maybe they were negotiable, maybe it was to scare off tire kickers and shitty homes. I wasn't doing anything Saturday morning anyway and I had nothing else to ride. Why not?

Why not indeed.

Brain: Oh no, we are in trouble.

*Babe being a relative term. I wanted something green broke. Ish. I'm not completely insane!


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