To be honest with you, I’m feeling a bit down, and very frustrated at the moment. Which, considering all the amazing things that are happening in my life at the moment, probably makes me sound like an ungrateful cow. It’s just that we seem to have hit an enormous road block in our aim of riding together. Finding me a horse coupled with improving Hal’s fitness, flexibility and confidence.

When I was younger, you used to buy the local paper on a certain day of the week and there would be pages of small ads for horses for sale. When you’d selected some likely sounding candidates, you were then able to phone the sellers, because they sensibly provided a phone number, and discuss the horse’s suitability with them. Then you could arrange to go and see the beast.v Now, everything is done through the Internet and social media, andit seems impossible to to actually talk to anybody in person. Another thing that has changed is that, in the past, if you placed an ad saying you were looking for a horse, you would be inundated with calls , usually about totally unsuitable horses, but not always. I got Sapphire that way. So far this year I’ve put 3 ads on various sites and had exactly 0 replies! Strange, as, if you believe what you read in the equine press, people can’t afford to can’t afford them, and are dumping them because they can’t give them away.

What hasn’t changed is some of the pointless wording used in horse ads. The 3 that annoy me most are
No novices
No hoof kickers
No time wasters

No Novices –
Fair enough, obviously not every horse is honest, safe and vice free,, an some horses are more high powered than others. Shouldn’t this be made clear in the ad though? Why then do I keep seeing horses being described as paragons of virtue with the words No Novices written at the end of the ad? We all began somewhere, and none of us really start learning until we get our first horse. Using myself as an example, I started riding when i was 9, but didn’t get my 1st horse til I was 21. As far as riding went I was pretty proficient , but I didn’t start learning anything about horses until I led my own horse off the lorry ! So if no horse is suitable for a novice, how can anyone progress? In fact, when I see these words at the of an ad for an otherwise lovely sounding horse, it makes suspicious about the honesty of the seller.

No Hoof Kickers –
I actually don’t know what this really means, but I think it probably says more about the seller than any potential buyer.it’s a very derogatory turn of phrase, which screams of narrow minded arrogant , anyone who treats their horse like a friend not like a tool is an idiot, old fashioned prejudice.i imagined the people who use this express as being the kind of people who believe the best way to solve a problem with a horse is to beat them through it, or use harsher and harsher bits and gadgets. These people often use the expression that anyone else who does things differently from them has all the gear but no idea.

No Time Wasters –
In itself this expression is in fact a waste of time. As a seller surely you want your horse to go to the best possible home. So why wouldn’t you want people to take the time to make sure that your horse suits their needs? Or, are you actually more interested in getting shot of your horse as quickly as possible, to the first mug who walks through your gate? If you haven’t been entirely honest in your ad, then whose time is being wasted exactly? OK, I have sold horses from time to time, and I know that it is difficult especially when they are less than perfect. I also know that there are a certain kind of person who enjoy viewing horses, or for that matter, houses or cars, who have no intention of buying. They just enjoy it! Yes it’s annoying, but putting No Time Wasters at the end of an ad won’t keep them away.

The biggest problem i am having at the moment is the lack of suitable sounding horses in my area. You read about a lovely sounding cob on a local platform, and it turns out that it’s at the other end of of the country! I I look at a Devon & Cornwall for am and find the perfect horse – in Yorkshire! So who’s time is being wasted here? Then, when when I do find something close enough and and send the seller a message or email, because there’s no phone number, I either don’t get a reply, or , suddenly the horse isn’t quite as originally described. Examples of this include a 14.2hh cob mare, described as a wait carrier and anybody’s ride, Who was suddenly not big enough for me, and a15hh Belgian Draught, that was described as a safe confidence giving happy hacker, Who suddenly became fizzy, difficult to handle on the ground when in season, and strangest of all for a horse who stood at only 15hh, very big!

The trouble is that I find it difficult to tell whether The original advertisements for these horses were dishonest, or, if I am being the victim of good old fashioned disable list prejudice when I explain to potential sellers what my situation is. All I know is that the chance to even try a horse, even if it does turn out to be unsuitable, would be a step in the right direction

On the subject of no novices, Hal had a strange experience the other day, which I think has knocked his all over self-confidence quite considerably. We have been trying to find a sand school or similar in our area that we could hack two and have lessons. A near neighbour, Who does not normally allow people to use hers, very kindly offered to let Hal use hers a couple of times, as long as he was under the supervision of a fully qualified and insured instructor. Result! We were in the process of arranging for his usual instructor, Melissa, to come over, when the yards owner said that she had her instructor coming one day, and Would Hal like to have a session with her? Well he jumped at the chance, Who wouldn’t? However, when we got there the instructor refused to teachHal, saying he was too unfit and inflexible to ride. She also said thatLeonie was totally unsuitable for him. How she knew this by watching Leonie stand like an angel whilst tied up next to a strange horse on the strange yard, I honestly can’t tell you. What I can tell you though is that I have One very upset husband whose confidence is at rock bottom.