My Kingdom for a Horse

Is it me, or has the horse sale market been insane lately? My sweet older Appendix Chance hasn’t been himself for over a year now, and about 8 months ago, I surrendered to the fact that it’s time to retire my handsome chestnut and find a new riding partner <see footnote below>.

It’s been a hot decade since I’ve looked at getting a new horse, and in my naivety, I thought my budget was pretty hefty for a buddy that can do lower level dressage, trail ride, maybe some low adult hunters, etc. I wasn’t looking for a fancy sport horse, just an all around youngish, sound horse with a good brain. No problem, right?? WRONG.

I started with word of mouth at local barns or with local trainers. Horses that were in my budget not 2 years ago are now 3 -4 times the cost. What happened? I heard that perhaps during COVID when people were not going into the city to work, or being forced to stay home and isolate, people either started riding or became more interested in their weekend warrior habit. I suppose riding is naturally socially distanced. Nearby horses and their board cost an arm and a leg, and perhaps a kidney too. Recently boarding fees total more than most people’s rents, and horses have price tags that have more zeroes than sports cars. As I cannot afford to raid the kid’s college fund, I would just have to be more creative in my search.

At today’s inflated market this leaves me with limited options in my area -either find an older statesman (but soon to be retired – I can’t have another one of those), a sour schoolie or find a baby and train it up. (That would most likely land me in the hospital, as I simply do not have those skills.)

I expanded my search parameters; I scanned every horse listing on every facebook horse group, every online horse sale page, every classified on Craigslist. Did I need to travel to Oregon to test out a new horse without my trainer, pay for an unknown vet for a PPE, and then ship it 3000 miles only to find it has kissing spine? I looked at every breed, every conformation, every size. You name it, I considered it. I looked at horse finding trip airfares to Florida, Ohio, Colorado and British Colombia. I Google-mapped routes to western Pennsylviania, Kentucky, Ontario. My poor trainer had to screen every listing I sent her prompting her to politely tell me “do not to buy without trying” about 5 times per week. My search consumed my evenings late into the night.

I took a step back and a deep breath. I’m a blessed person to have a horse in the first place, so I needed to recalibrate and count my lucky stars and thank God for everything I have. I will find my new partner, just not now, and just like that, my stress level went down, and a new opportunity opened up.

My friend rides at a show barn with an excellent reputation. One of their clients had her experienced, sweet and super solid chestnut gelding available for a partial lease. I jumped on the opportunity. He’s perfection and I’m so happy to have such a sweet horse to ride while my search goes on hiatus for now. I will enjoy what I have, ride Chance when he’s feeling ok, and hug my kids and doggies and be thankful that I have such a great family. If God trots another permanent partner my way, all the better.

What are your experiences? What the horse market look like around you? Where do you think the market is going?

<footnote: As soon as I said out loud I was going to get a new horse, Chance decided that he didn’t feel so lame and was somewhat ridable again. I think he knew I was looking. As soon as I decided to wait little longer until purchase, he immediately went lame again – so all I can do with him at this writing is tack walk. Funny how that works….:)>

Okay EventionTV, you’ve done it again….LOVE it.

Just love the Schramms!

xo

lb

A “Shout Out” to the Schramms – Q & A

ImageAs a relative newcomer to riding, I find myself voraciously consuming anything equine-related to help me get to the next level. One of my newest go-to places is EventionTV.com. Originally on YouTube, founders Dom and Jimmie Schramm, professional three day event riders and owners of Schramm Equestrian in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, shared their endless knowledge of all things equestrian. It took off. After my first view, I too, was totally hooked. Now in their second season, the adorable Dom and Jimmie combine expert advice, real riding examples, humor and loveable personalities into digestible horsey segments on their very own newly-launched webTV channel EventionTV.com.

Their warmth, caring and expertise is a welcome addition to the equine airwaves. I especially love that every episode includes a “Schrammo’s Shoutout” where Dom and Jimmie bring much needed attention to equine-related charities around the globe. Consider EventionTV a horse treat for us humans.

I recently caught up with the super busy super couple to ask a few questions:

lb: What is your riding background? How did you guys meet?

dom: I grew up in outback Queensland Australia. I had the typical ‘bush’ start, tearing around on ponies and being a boy. My mum was the one who got me started competing in the show and dressage ring bit. It was when my father was on a military posting in the UK when I discovered eventing at age 11 and I never looked back. Since then I have ridden track-work, broken in lots of horses, and re-trained problem horses to fund my eventing habit.

jennie: I am originally from Dallas, TX and went through pony club which is where I learned about eventing. I rode with Chrissy Allison who also happens to.be where Tex aka Mellow Johnny came from. I went to college at Auburn University where I had the opportunity to work for Mike and Emma Winter who taught me the ins and outs of upper level eventing. I then spent a few months in California with Tamie Smith and that is where I found my current mount Bellamy and have been striving to make it the the top with him ever since. Dom and I met through our good friends Ryan Wood and Jennie Brannigan. We did the long distance thing for a little over a year and then got married and the rest is history.

lb:  What is EventionTV and who is your main audience/ who are you trying to reach?

d&j: EventionTV is a FREE web based how to tutorial series that presents practical information for horse enthusiasts in a fun, fresh and easy to digest way. We target any one who enjoys horses, wants to learn and likes to have a laugh!

lb: Why did you guys start this channel/ what prompted you to start making your show?

dom: To be honest it actually started as an idea to write a book, but I realized living in a digital age, online and visual made more sense. We try to answer simple questions people may have in the least condescending way possible as we thought a lot of what was out there was making people feel stupid. We also realized being broke ass event riders that we didn’t have mom and dad with the never ending checkbook that we were going to have to differentiate ourselves if we were ever going to get off the air mattress and pay the bills!

lb: What will be different about your second season? What is “new and improved”? Any spoilers to share with my readers?

d&j: We have put a tonne more effort and money into this season. Viewers can expect more in depth explanations. Visually it will be broadcast quality and revamped.  We will be trying out new technology to do things that have never been seen before in equestrian videos so it is a really exciting time. As far as spoilers, well, you can expect some more humorous segments as well as some special guest appearances!

lb: What is your favorite riding gear – what do you guys use on a regular basis (I know you use Stubben saddles…anything else)?

d&J: Really all of the Stubben gear is fantastic. Not just the saddles but the bridles and all the accessories as well are such great quality. My new favorite piece of tack is a Stubben jump bridle with fancy stitching. I like that sort of thing.

lb: What is your recommended show clothing? Hack clothing? Does it really matter?

j: For me it always matters, you want to look professional and put together. It obviously helps if you ride well too: ) I wear Pikeur breeches in competition and I have been searching for new competition jacket and tails and really like the Charles Ancona ,their stuff is beautiful. For every day in the summer the EIS sun.shirts are a staple. In the fall and winter I like polo shirts and rugbys. Ralph Lauren makes some really fun ones as well as Joules. As far as breeches go I like Pikeur and Cavallo. Yes they can be expensive but for someone that rides a lot of horses every day, they last.

lb: What is the best advice you have for an adult beginner rider? Is it worth their time working towards a show?

j: The best advice.I have for an adult beginner is to make yourself a realistic schedule and most importantly STICK to it. And by schedule I mean daily rides, lessons working up to possibly a competition. I also think it is worth aiming for a show because it gives you a goal you can work towards and a reason to improve your horse and your riding.

lb: What was/is your biggest challenge putting this show together?

d: Two things, finding the time on top of running a busy barn and second, paying for the production!

lb: Will we get to know some of your staff better in any upcoming episodes?

d: Steph, our barn manager/superwoman of all things is crucial to everything we do. I really want her to be more visible on the show but I know she will groan when I ask her. Hopefully you will get to see more of her.

lb: Where/when can fans come and cheer you on (your show schedule)?

d: Things are actually quieting down for us however we do have our biggest show of the year coming up in Fair Hill MD Oct 16-19. I will be in the CCI** on Cold Harbor and Jimmie will be contesting the CCI*** on her superstar Bellamy. We love seeing Evention fans at the shows so come out and say G’day!

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Personally, I would love to cheer them on in Maryland this October. I may need to use some of their horse loading tips to load my kids into the car for a road trip – so we’ll have to see 😉

Check out these pics – I wish I could do this!!!!

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xo

lb

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