The cast of characters : the “project pony”, Dandy

To be specific : Dandy Lena Boon, also known as “my very own Jac”

Dandy06Fev16-01PMand there he is, in all the glory of his 21 months old untidyness

Much of my true frustration with Joli stemmed from two things. One, he wasn’t a registered Quarter or Paint Horse. Two, he wasn’t built like one. Yes, the smallish size and buckskin coat could, in the proper Western attire, fool the unknowing, but anyone versed into American breeds could immediately see what he was not. I’ve been a fan of Western type of riding and horse breeds since my early teens (when they were very little known in France), and I’ve dreamed of owning such a horse ever since. Call me a superficial b-i-t-c-h if you will, but I’ll admit owning a real, true blue, registered, purebred horse, was a dream, and I strongly believe in chasing, and if possible fulfilling, those. So once Joli was happily settled in his new home and the sale was final, I started shopping for another horse.

Dandy06Fev16-02PMDandy, in his home, the day I initially met him

Encouraged by having found two “virtual mentors” I admired and trusted, and whose methods I was committed to use, I decided to dream very big, and buy an unstarted horse (pretty crazy, in retrospect). My ideal prospect was a three year old, that I could do the groundwork with, then break to ride, as soon as it would seem safe to. Alas, there is a good reason I never owned a registered American bred horse before… they’re outrageously priced !! Even though I had gotten a very fair, and even pretty good price for what he was, for Joli, I still didn’t have any solid budget to afford a desirable young Quarter, or Paint. As we all know, anytime you don’t have the money to buy what you’d like to, something has to give. In my case, I chose to cheat with the age of the horse, and to purchase a 2 yr old, instead. Because many people start horses around 3, or 4 (or even 5 in the more “English” type disciplines), 2 yr old are still pretty affordable, all the more so those males who haven’t been gelded yet. Gelding has a cost, and any breeder who can spare it will happily give you a discount on an intact horse. I’ll spare you the horse hunt, that sent me cross country (literally) to find a colt I liked, had an agreeement to buy, and whose owner finally changed her mind the minute I was mailing her my deposit check… I’ll spare you my insane temptation to buy yet younger, a yearling, and find cheaper boarding solutions for it until it grew old enough to work with, etc…

Dandy06Fev16-05PMI’ll spare it all and take you directly to that February morning, when I went to visit a potential prospect that I found after much searching. And there he was, Dandy Lena Boon, 21 mths old registered solid Paint Horse, still very much intact, and with a massive scrotum I immediately checked, upon meeting him. The only gelding process I could afford was the external one, way cheaper compared to the inner abdominal surgery the vet needs to perform, should one of the testicles play hide and seek. But this guy had two very obvious and very big nuts that he was too happy to let me look at and, yes, I’ll admit it, even feel, to be sure the vet would have no worry taking them off (I’m not a testicle freak, but I’m insisting as it will bear some important consequence, later on).

Dandy06Fev16-03PMI like small horses. But I’m not very aware of how big they should be at various stages, so I did find him big, but not alarmingly so. Only later, when I got him off the delivery truck, did my friend Jean-Michel, who runs the boarding operation I stay at, and has been breeding Quarter Horses for way over 20 years, open wide eyes and tell me : “He’s going to be huge”. So much for the small horse, then…

Other than looking at his balls, I did spend a bunch of time trying to appraise him, both physically and mentally. He was living with a similar aged stallion, had been since birth, on a large pastured bordered by a river, with a big shelter, and friendly humans bringing food, and loving on them twice a day. How close the two boys were screamed buddy sourness, and I could hear it despite being a little lovestruck, at first sight. I asked to halter the horse, led him a little, bent him some, ran the rope behind his butt, to which he immediately found the way out by flexing, disengaging and walking himself out of it. I thought, Hmm.. smart horse. He seemed serene and content, and sturdy, and oh so gorgeous ! He had very decent lineage (I had been insisting at least one side of the pedigree bore a reining bloodline, as it is my discipline of choice), was registered with all documents in order, so was the vet stuff, he was sturdy and well built. And importantly, he was 1.5 hours close to my place, and suitably priced. The breeder and I shook hands, and the date was set for three weeks later for pick up.

Dandy06Fev16-04PMDandy, running down his field to meet his friend at the bottom, where the river flows

So I came home, grinning from ear to ear, and kept his name and details secret for the next three weeks (burned as I’d been by the previous failed sale). And on February 28th, I jumped out of bed early and set off to pick up my boy – to be continued…

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