Buying Used Saddles…

 I love saddles. Well, correction, I love vintage saddles. I like just looking at them. I own quite a few. (I could be on the next episode of hoarders. I will be one of those who will part with almost nothing.) 

 Some people like to use buzz words. But they do so hoping to actually get more money than they have any right to for the saddle they are selling. I have found some terms they use that have different meanings than you might expect. 

  I have compiled a list.

 Vintage = old, possibly a real vintage saddle, but usually just worn out and dirty.

 Antique = see above term, with rodent chew marks, a broken tree, moth eaten fleece and no stirrups, possibly no fenders. Also a price tag that makes your butt cheeks clench. 

 Unique = I actually really like looking at these. It can be hilarious. I was permanently scarred one time though. Found a saddle that the horn was a phallus. 

 Hand tooled = my cat likes to use it as a scratching post. Or again, no idea who made it, but it has tooling. 

 Trophy saddle. Marked with someone else’s information, (possibly stolen)they have a well made saddle that actually fits their horse and don’t want this piece of junk with writing all over it. 

*( I personally hate trophy saddles. When asked what I want mine stamped with, I beg for nothing. If they insisted on something or already had it marked, I donated every one to the 4-H. Sorry kids)*

 Barn find = I think it was a saddle, it is made of leather maybe? Dead cow possibly, maybe some other dried, desiccated, mummified mammal that was locked in the barn and forgotten. 

 Old, real Cowboy saddle = won’t fit a modern horse, or a modern well fed American ass. Seat is a 13” (no kidding, I have one) needs some reassembly. Well made, plain, but awesome all the same. 

 Very comfortable = feels good for 10 minute rides, then causes saddle galls on you, the horse, and anyone who trailered in with you. 

 Custom made = this can either mean, 

a) no makers mark, I have no idea when or who made this saddle.

b) made for a deformed obese horse with no shoulder, or my grandpas cow, and will never fit another horse again.

 c) hideously ugly.

 d) stirrups are not adjustable.

 e) trying to sit this saddle will torture your lady bits (female) or make you sing soprano (male), or actually cause spontaneous castration. 

 f) my cousin made this in summer camp when he was 9. 

 g) all of the above, so now it is in the 6 digit range. 

Some of my actually saddles, but not all of them…

Brita and the crazy

Of course when you have horses, eventually you will have to sell one. It happens. For whatever reason, you need to rehome a horse, either to cut down, you and the horse are not a good match, you are contracted to sell it for someone else, or you picked up the horse to train and now it is time for it to move on, or whatever. Now comes the fun part,  The Horse Shopper. Now these come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all nationalities. That is fine. It is the common sense level that usually concerns me. There are some people are concerned and informed horse people with the ability to consider all new information, know that what works for one horse does not always work for another, and make great horse owners, others that are just misinformed, some that admit to being ignorant, some that are new and want to learn. I have no problem with any of the aforementioned people. Then comes the people that are dangerously stupid and  think they know EVERYTHING. These people have read or heard something about one horse and true or not that is their law. They will not believe anything other than what they believe even if shown evidence from the Pope, their favorite TV personality, or Me the one who has owned and trained the horse. They know more about everything than any one else ever and everyone else is stupid, liars and/or wrong. Those are the ones that make my head hurt. 

I had a mare to sell and placed an ad for her.  The mare was 5 years old and registered Quarter Horse. (Most Registries require a genetic testing and then their papers are marked as such) The mare had been registered as a 2 month old, with baby pictures on the registration that matched the markings on the mare.  I had this mare since she was 3 years old, and had broke and trained her. I had bought her from the breeder, who owned the Sire and Dam. People I knew very well and had bought many horses from and had trained many of theirs.

 This woman started right in on this mare that I was wrong about her age and I had been lied to, as this mare was obviously not a Quarter Horse at all, but was in fact a Morgan. She told me she could tell by looking at her (not her teeth even but looking at her over the fence) that she was at least 16 years old. She also knew she was a Morgan because she was too tall to be a Quarter Horse, that QH are all under 15 hands high and are much wider built. Since this mare was almost 16 hands high she was a Morgan. She went on to tell me that Morgan’s are all over 16 hands and All Quarter Horses are 14 hands to 15 hands. I thought I was talking to a rational human and tried to explain that the breed characteristics of the Morgan horse actually state a Morgan is generally between 14.1 and 15.3 Hands high, but there have been some bigger or smaller. And the Quarter Horse states no standard size at all, but that many foundation QH were 14 hands to 15 hands and that the racing QH were up to 17 hands, some even taller. She said who ever told me that was stupid and knew nothing about horses at all. (I have actually Judged a few shows in my time, and happen to know many breed characteristics)  

 She then pointed out my Stallion and told me she knew the people who used to own him and had raised him. I explained that was impossible as I had bought him at 2 days old and brought him home at 4 months, he had never been raised or owned by anyone but me. She gave me a strange look and then went on to tell me I didn’t need to lie to her, she knew the only people who raised Palominos in the area, and I could not have raised him. Huh? Only one place raises Palominos? What about me? I had about 8-12 hit the ground every spring for the last 5 years. I decided not to argue the point. By this time I just wanted to get rid of this nut job. She then told me my horses were not in good shape, they were too fat and needed better feed. That you needed to see their ribs a little like race horses, those horses were in the best condition. My horses were too bulky and fat. Since I had Quarter horses and Appaloosas, they are not built anything like Thoroughbred race horses. They were all of a heavier brand than any racehorse and were all worked daily, so were pretty heavily muscled.  

 She then started telling me that what I was feeding was not good enough feed and my horses would “literally starve to death” on it as it did not have enough calories or nutrition. Wait a just a darn minute, first my horses are too fat, now they are starving? You can’t have it both ways lady. I made a comment that maybe I had better call a vet and have him check out my too fat starving horses. She nodded and stated that was a good idea, but she could help me become better informed on feed as not many vets knew as much as she did about horse feed. Ho boy, what an ego!

 By now, I am getting a bit testy, and am making snarky remarks, which she either does not hear over her wonder at her own brilliant edification of horse knowledge she is imparting to me, or is too stupid to understand that I am insulting her. My stable girl is suddenly finding things to do in our general area and snickering. I suggest that since she is not finding my horses to her liking, I will stop wasting her time and she is free to leave. But oh no, she is not done pissing me off yet, or entertaining my stable girl, who is making funny noises behind her hand and has suspiciously cleaned the round pen next to us for much too long without emptying the wheelbarrow.

 My new expert on what I am doing wrong, (I already had an ex husband and a Mother, I really did not need anyone else to tell my what I did wrong) Has decided that she has nothing better to do than stay at my barn and annoy me. She starts telling me her training methods, and how she has been riding and training for over 4 years. That she has even shown a bit. She tells me this like I should be highly impressed. She tells me all about how she was taking lessons for a while but then stopped as she realized she was a much better rider than the person giving her lessons. she said her trainer agreed that she could not teach her anything. This made my stable girl start choking and I shot her a dirty look. She could be helping me run of the crazy instead of laughing, even though if I were in her position I would probably have done the same.

 She tells me to saddle up a black gelding I have, and she wants to see how he rides. I tell her he is not for sale and he would not let her ride him even if I wanted to sell him. (He had less tolerance for idiots than I did) She laughs and tells me she knows better and all horses are for sale and I am just trying to run up his price. Karen, the stable girl, with a malicious gleam in her eye offers to go and get the geldings tack. She knows this particular horse is an asshole to everyone, including me on occasion, but that I am the only one who he lets ride him on a regular basis. I do not want her killed, just off my property. I tell Karen to saddle up Brita. Karen smirks broadly and runs and gets the mare. This mare is very highly trained, but she is smarter than most people and if she decides you are not a good rider, she just parks her ass in the middle of the arena and refuses to move. Or her other little trick is to run back and forth across the arena at high speed, sliding to a stop at each end and whipping around to go the other way. Trained as a reining horse, she is hard to stay seated on when she pulls this unless you are prepared and have a deep saddle and good seat. She could lose most riders within 4 runs, more for good riders. She had lost one guy in 2 runs. Brita could also run straight forward with her head turned into your knee. She would only respond to leg aides, which I was betting this woman did not know or use. I may not be able to get rid of her, but I could have some fun right?

  Brita was a striking Buckskin Appaloosa with a blanket. The woman was thrilled and I told her how highly trained she was and showed her the awards and ribbons on Brita’s stall door. Telling the woman how this horse was so smart and highly trained this was the horse she needed. I am not very nice sometimes, and as I have said, I am probably going to hell. As a side note, Brita was not for sale, but this was just for me and my stable girl’s amusement. We got her all tacked up in her nicest show tack and she looked like a million dollar pony. The crazy lady takes her to the arena and mounts up. That alone was really amusing for me and Karen. I had never seen anything like her technique. She goes up to the side of the mare and standing in front of her shoulder facing the back of the horse, she puts her foot in the stirrup and holding the saddle horn swings from the stirrup and horn catching her heel on the saddle and is trying to pull her self up. Her head at this point is lower than her butt. I swear that Brita rolled her eyes, but she ever budged. Karen shoved the crazy up into the saddle at which point the crazy blamed Karen and Brita for her trouble stating the horse needed more work if she was going to move out from under people trying to mount her, and that Karen should not have interfered. What happened next should have been on America’s funniest videos. Crazy tried to make Brita move. Brita flicked an ear. That was it, her only response to crazy flapping the reins and actually kicking her. After I saw the flapping reins and flapping legs, I started thinking that this may not be so funny anymore, as Brita had never had anyone this stupid on her and I was not sure what she would do. After 4-5 minutes of the crazy trying all her rein flapping and kicking, looking like she was humping the saddle trying to get the horse to move and cussing, Brita looked like she was going to sleep. Karen and I were laughing out loud now and I started to say enough, you need to get off my horse and go check your self back into whatever ward you escaped from, when she did the one thing guaranteed to make Brita move, she smacked her with the reins. Brita ran to the end of the arena at high speed, slid to a stop, reared up on her back feet and turned completely around and came down running again. Amazingly, crazy was still in the saddle. She was making a high keening noise and had the reins pulled up to her chin. Brita was in revenge mode though and was not paying the least attention. I had not really thought this through. I had no way to slow or catch Brita, or do anything to get crazy off except the inevitable crash. She made even the next course reversal, but was half out of the saddle. Now the keening had changed to a repetition of whoa, whoa, whoa. Karen stepped into Brita’s path and held out an apple she had secreted in her pocket. Brita did another lovely sliding stop in front of Karen, and crazy was launched. I was not in the right spot it seemed, as she landed on me. Crazy started in on us putting her on an unbroken horse, then Karen interfering with her “training methods” and making the horse throw her. Before I knew what she was going to do, she shoved past Karen and raised her hand to hit my horse. At which point Karen grabbed her and I lost all amusement and threatened to blow holes in her fancy car with my shotgun if she did not immediately remove herself from my property.  Crazy did not believe me at first, but when I put Brita in her stall and grabbed my shotgun and a box of shells she ran for her car, screaming she was going to call the cops. Karen had the hiccups and tears rolling down her face, Brita had her apple. Me? I had bruises from a crazy half again my size landing on me at a high rate of speed, and cops in my barn laughing at me and drinking all my Coca-Cola.


Horse Sales rule #6

The Amount of riding a potential buyer has, is inversely related to the amount they think they know about horses. A buyer who has taken a few weeks of riding lessons will try to “instruct” you on your riding while showing a horse to them. They will also tell you all about the horse you have owned for 4 years and they have seen for 4 minutes. Try to let them live.

Just trying to help…..

 I help people all the dang time. Sometimes it is because I just like doing it, others it is because I just can’t help going to watch crazy people.

 I went out a couple of weeks ago to haul 4 horses for the most horse ignorant person I have ever met, for free. Well except for the entertainment value. She was going to rent a u haul to haul these horses in and wanted to know if the ramp on the u haul would be too slippery for them to walk up, and how she should tie them inside. By the way these horses she just got for free from a relative, are not halter broke, have never had much done with them, and are 3 year olds. She was going to give them to her 10, 12 and 13 year old kids. After an hour long talk that morning, I convinced her to let me help haul them. But she was still convinced, (she had not seen these horses yet or had to try to do anything with them) that she could break and train them since she rode horses when she was a kid and was raised on a farm until she was 11. She is 32 and had not touched a horse since she was 11. I thought to myself, I am going to have so much fun today! We talked a bit more. I found out she was a zealot about a lot of things. She doesn’t believe in immunizations or deworming as these are just ways for vets and pharmacies to make money. A wild horse did not have to have this done and certain herbs and proper diet would insure their health, after all people do not have parasites and they do not use dewormers. (by the way, in case you are wondering, people do have parasites, Google it sometime. Or maybe not, it will give you the heeby jeebies!) She did not believe in “altering animals” by spaying or neutering them either. Argh. She did not want me to touch her new horses or help in any way as she had her special ways. I considered bringing a video camera, and now I wish I would have.
 Long story short, those horses are still at her uncles property. She had been watching natural horsemanship training videos. She did not want me to interfere and “ruin” her horses. When I offered to bring a horse and rope these unbroken and untrained horses, or use my horse to show her horses how to get in the trailer as they might follow Brie, (my mare) into the trailer. She was really opposed to this “violent” method. I don’t know what I am doing you see. She had not touched a horse in over 20 years but has been watching videos for the last several weeks and has learned how to train a horse properly. I don’t know how to train a horse properly because I had never heard of her videos. Even though I have trained for almost 30 years, rodeo-ed for almost 40, and shown for close to 35. I guess if you don’t have time to watch hours of videos, you just don’t know how to train a horse. (I asked her how the people in the videos learned to train the horses if they didn’t have the videos to watch. That earned me some really dirty looks, but made me giggle)  Roping a horse ruins them she told me, she was going to put each of them in her uncles round pen and work them for a few minutes to “get them listening to her.” She went out with a halter and lead to get the first one after her uncle pointed out the ones she could have. This was lots of fun to watch, but didn’t last long enough. Her uncle and I stood out in the field and watched with some amusement. I liked the uncle right away, he nudged me and said, “this should be worth watching”, then turned a big grin on me. I knew then he was the smart one in the family. She chased the horses around for a while with halters. She actually got a halter on the little bay mare, well part ways anyway, before the mare decided she had had enough and took off with the halter mostly on, but only over one ear. She actually caught another one and wasn’t amused when her uncle pointed out it wasn’t one of the horses he said she could have, it was actually his daughters riding horse. He told me just call him Uncle, he had almost 30 nieces and nephews and pretty much everyone just called him uncle now. I was standing out there scratching and visiting with the horses who got curious about me. (I was told this is not the way to treat a horse it makes them spoiled and not want to respect you or work for you.) Funny, I had one of her little studs in a halter and it was really enjoying having its chest scratched and letting me pretty much do whatever I wanted. I think they are actually pretty smart and easy going animals. I let it go, she didn’t realize it had been one of the ones she wanted to catch. I think I am going to hell. 2 of the 4 her uncle is giving her are studs, every mare there is pretty much bred, most are very pregnant or have babies at their sides, all were in pretty good shape. They were not halter broke, but all were run through some stocks and had their feet done several times a year. They are on 110 acres. He has another 100 acres as well. There are about 40 head of horses there.  He just wanted all the 3 year olds gone and has gotten rid of all the other studs, but his good one who is 12 and who is kept in a separate area with his best friend, a mule named Lemon. (I love that mule and told him if he ever wants to get rid of him I would pick him up.) Nice stud, great build, foundation lines and when you scratch him he flaps his lips and makes noises. He has also been trained to do a few tricks which the uncle showed me. The stud will lay down on command and Uncle can turn him on his back and sit on his chest holding his front legs. Then Uncle scratches his chest and he makes more silly noises. Those 2 are a pair. Uncle is a pretty decent guy, just getting older and doesn’t want to raise but maybe 2-3 horses a year now. He did not want the 3 year old studs in with the herd, but they got out there last year after the Uncle broke his pelvis falling off his roof, and he has had no way to catch them. He and I chatted while watching her chase the horses. I asked him what he thought of her “training methods”. He said that he thought she was an idiot, but the horses were really good minded and he didn’t think they would hurt her. He didn’t know about her thinking it was wrong to “alter” animals by spaying or neutering them. When he heard this he told her she could not have the two studs unless she was going to geld them, at which point she threw and epic fit. She was sweaty and dirty from falling down a few times trying to slap halters on horses who she made no effort to let get to know her. She had also been drug a fair ways by a few she had snagged by the mane and tried to hold on to. She was pretty banged up and her clothes were almost completely gray from dust except for the blood on her chest form a bloody nose. Screaming and crying at the top of her lungs at us that neither of us had a clue about the proper way to do natural horsemanship. Got in her car and left in a huff. Me and the old guy had another cup of coffee, and he asked me if I would give him a hand because he is going to call the vet to come out to geld the 2 boys. Also he would like to pay me to get the four halter broke. He didn’t think she is going to be coming back, and it will probably be another 4 years before he hears from her again. She only called him a few weeks ago to ask if she could have a few horses to train as she was learning to train and wanted some horses to work with. He didn’t know at the time she was insane or that learning to train meant watching videos and never once touching a horse. Previous to that he had not heard from her since she got married 4 years before. She hadn’t invited him to the wedding, but sent him an announcement and a card that said in lieu of a gift he could send a check to go towards their down payment! I took some pictures that day, but all you can really see is horse figures and dust. All in all I made a new friend with Uncle who makes excellent coffee, had a lot of fun watching this girl chase horses around, saw some really pretty horses, and I met a mule named Lemon.