Wednesday 6 July 2016

Making a Solid Citizen Blog Hop

SprinklerBandit started the idea with her post on non-existent forever homes and EventingSaddlebred expanded on it and made it into a blog hop.

What would happen to Kachina if something happened to me and I couldn't keep her any more? I agree that the best chances for a horse are for them to be a horse that other people would like to buy and own.

The people I bought Kachina from didn't think about this well enough. They had land and lots of money so they owned a bunch of horses and had a few favorites that they never thought they would sell. Kachina was part of that group because the lady loved black and white overos and planned to breed Kachina someday. Then, they ended up moving and had to sell a bunch of horses. Kachina was part of the sell off and I don't think she would have appealed to a very large market as she was a 12 year old grade mare with very little training (as in, she wasn't started under saddle until the age of 8, probably only had about 60 rides total in her life, and wasn't trained in any specific discipline). I actually think that my work with Kachina is making her into a more sell-able horse but she's still got some factors working against her.

Her old trainer riding her the day I went to see her, who wouldn't want this majestic beast? haha
(to be fair, the camera caught an unfortunate moment, but relaxed and on the bit were not things Kachina understood)

Reasons People Wouldn't Want to Buy Kachina

1. Age - This is probably the biggest thing working against Kachina and it's one I can't do anything about. Kachina is in excellent health and condition, but she is 14 years old. Most people don't want a horse that age unless they are highly trained (working on it but we have a long way to catch up) or are beginner friendly (Kachina is too hot and sensitive to ever be a true beginner's horse)

2. Grade - Kachina has a hardship registration with the Canadian Pinto Association, but her dam and sire are unknown so she can't be registered with anything else and buyers who care about bloodlines won't want her. This also pretty much eliminates her from ever being sold as a broodmare. If I can ever get scores with her at Third Level dressage, I can and will use that as a performance record to register her in the mare book of the Canadian Sport Horse Association (that's also the only way I will breed her myself).

3. Mare - I love mares and Kachina is completely rideable when she is in heat, but there's still a significant number of people who avoid all mares. I also can't change this.

4. Scars - Kachina is fully sound, but she does have a couple of ugly scars on her left hind leg. Their location and her markings mean they aren't visible from a distance, but it might turn off some buyers.

5. Hotness - Kachina has way more of an accelerator than brakes. Some buyers like this, some don't. The biggest thing is that she'll likely never be suitable for complete beginners as her speed will probably scare them.

6. Training Level - We are currently only at Training Level in dressage - this is mostly just a problem because of her age. If we move up even one or two levels she will be a lot more desirable.

7. Some Minor Ground Manner Issues - We consistently work on ground manners and are improving, but she sometimes paws when tied, and will sometimes try to walk ahead of you when leading or bridling.

Canter transitions also need work

Reasons People Would Want to Buy Kachina

1. Conformation - Kachina has classically good conformation that would work for a range of disciplines - she is built slightly uphill, has good proportions and straight good legs.
Not an ideal photo, but the best conformation-esque shot I have

2. Movement - this is the biggest reason I bought Kachina and one that other buyers would like too. Kachina has three good gaits, uses her hind end extremely well, and is a flashy mover. Also, even at this low level of training, she is quite adjustable in frame and speed.
Tell me this photo wouldn't look good in a sales ad

3. Attitude - Kachina has a very ammy-friendly mind. She isn't very spooky, is eager to please, and rides the same whether she is ridden regularly or after a long break.

4. Health and Soundness - Kachina keeps an ideal weight with a diet of just free choice hay. She has had no major illnesses or injuries (that I know of). She is completely sound. She has great feet and is kept barefoot all around and can even be ridden on gravel. Also, while her late start in life puts her behind in terms of training, it does mean that her joints haven't been subjected to near as much work as other horses her age.

5. Trail Horse - Kachina is pretty much the perfect trail horse. She is great in wide open spaces. She goes the same whether she is alone or in a group, in front or behind, on the way out or on the way home. She will walk on a loose rein and can handle obstacles with ease.
My very first ride on her - water no big deal

Trying out some rough terrain

6. Dressage Horse - Kachina has a solid dressage foundation (ish) and has been successfully shown at walk/trot and training level with scores in the 60s. I hope to move up the levels with Kachina and if I can show her successfully at 2nd level or higher there will be a good market for her.

7. No Vices - Kachina doesn't bite, kick, crib, weave, fencewalk, buck or rear. She is good for bathing and loads into a trailer with ease. Just have to continue to work on the minor groundwork issues listed above and then I can make this an even better selling point.

8. Colour - I've never really understood this one myself, but some people do buy for colour. Paints and pintos are popular in my area and Kachina has attractive markings.

Since there are some factors about Kachina that will always work against her in the sales market, it is my responsibility to work extra hard on the training side of things so she becomes a solid citizen that will hopefully always have a happy home. That said, I plan for her happy home to be with me for the foreseeable future :-)

I would also like to add to this blog hop that while making your horse into a solid citizen is one way to protect their future, having an emergency fund and smart financial planning is another. I see too many ads where the owners are selling their horse because hay prices went up, they lost their job, they can't pay for vet bills, they need the money for car repairs, etc. There is always the possibility of something happening in your life that causes changes so profound that you could never plan for it, but putting aside a designated emergency fund that can, amoung other things, support your horse for a few months will go a long way towards protecting their home with you when the unexpected happens. At the very least, it allows you to take your time selling your horse so you can choose a buyer based on them being a good fit and a good home rather than needing to go with the quick sale or the highest bidder.


  1. I got way too excited about actually getting a post on the blog hop. Thanks :)

    I think you are giving Kachina an excellent start to being a solid citizen. I hadn't realized that she had such a late start in life. Also the emergency fund is so important, excellent point.

    1. Haha no worries, it's a good blog hop!

      Ya, we'll always be playing catch up due to her late start. But, on the other hand, it meant I could afford her so I can't complain too much! :-)

  2. "...while making your horse into a solid citizen is one way to protect their future, having an emergency fund and smart financial planning is another"

    THIS. This is so important. I'll have to jump in on this blog hop!

    1. I look forward to reading your post!

      I'm a big big believer in the emergency fund. Glad I'm not alone :-)