Thursday, January 26, 2012

How it All Began: Finding Zara

Well as I approach my first advanced horse trials this February, I thought I would share with all of you the details of my journey with Zara to where we are now. So first of course, is how I came by such an incredible partner for eventing.

Many people have asked me how I chose Zara, or what I would look for as a horse for the upper levels. To be honest, the first time I ever went looking for an eventing prospect was this Winter when I bought Geno, my new baby thoroughbred off the track. So far, for the most part, my eventing partners have "found me" in a way.
As for Zara, well everyone knows that Steuart Pittman bred, broke, and worked with her as a young horse. I had been a student of Steuarts since I was about 10 or 11 in pony club. I continued lessons throughout college when I could, and in the Summer of 2009, I decided to take on a job as a working student to continue working on moving up with Zoomer. Over this Summer, I met Zara. There were many wonderful horses at Dodon that I enjoyed watching, but none that got my attention more than this stunning mare. I didn't often ride her in the beginning, because as she still is, she was BIG, strong, tense and opinionated. I watched as Steuart worked her, or while I rode on hacks with Steuart or Emily on her, and was repeatedly impressed by the mare's boldness, scope, and movement. Despite her alpha mare attitude and belligerence in the barn, there was just something about her that caught my eye. I was finally given the opportunity to ride her, starting on trail rides and working up to more. As my interest grew, I despised every time (and it was very frequent!!) someone came out to look at her and try her. Most people couldn't really ride her well enough to consider buying her, as while very talented, she was far from simple or trainable.
I knew I couldn't keep another horse at my house, and I didn't need another horse to compete, and I knew it was a bit crazy to invest in a tough, big, red, hot headed mare. Despite these things, Steuart came to me one day and pretty much said, Look, if you think you would really want to buy her, I need to know, and I suggest you work on it. I caved and said yes, I would like to try and buy her. So, first thing to do was sell a horse, since I can only keep 3 at my house. My older pony, Joker, was sold quickly to a lovely family where he would be loved and pampered by 2 lovely little girls. Ok. Now I needed to find the money. While Joker was wonderful, he was not a high dollar horse, so I resorted to taking money out of other sources to gather what I needed. With the help of MANY, I managed to buy her by the beginning of my school year at Washington College that Fall, and took her to her 2nd and 3rd novice level events in October. So this was the strange and simple start of my now incredible upper level horse -- It might be cheesy, but this horse truly did find me and stir up a spark the inspired me to be where I am with her today.

Maybe some day I'll have the resources to actually buy an upper level horse, or shop for another young one like Zara and then I can answer when people ask me how to shop for one!! Because for now, my answer would be to look for one like her =] (but less hot, just maybe?)

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