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Buying Blind - Silver and Gold during a Pandemic

I’ve bought a Horse during Covid-19, sight unseen. Am I nuts? A little, but here’s how it happened.

There I was, scrolling along in Facebook, looking at posts with a cursory glance, before spinning my mouse like a wheel of fortune and moving on to pause at a cute puppy photo or a pretty landscape, when I landed on a photo of a grey horse. Something about her gaze made me stop and read the caption that said something along the lines of her being ready for her new home. I looked to see who had posted and found it was a rescue in Washington State. I read that post, and then went searching for more info about her. 

She was young, had had a colt when rescued and looked sound on the videos. She is an Andalusian—I’m more of a Thoroughbred person and would have guessed I’d get an OTTB if I ever got another horse. She's five, not trained under saddle, and a rescue--and I’m always the one setting up adoptions, not actually adopting. She is already started in Clicker Training and loves to play target training, so this is huge plus for me. She is smart and looks like she'll be fun. 

I sat back and pondered the idea of another horse. I wrestled with the guilt over getting another horse. I wondered why anyone would need another horse. 

So I did what any sane person would do and sent an inquiry to find out more about her. I told myself it wouldn’t hurt to ask and it didn’t mean I was really looking. There was just something about her that drew me in, made me picture her here, with my other two. I played with the idea of having a red horse, a bay horse and now, a grey horse. I imagined them at pasture. I asked the geldings what they thought of having a girl horse among them again. They replied with sad begging eyes that meant food would be their first choice, please.

I fretted. I asked the rescue and the current trainer more questions. I looked up as much as I could find out about her and them. I asked about her personality, her height, her temperament, her mind and her ability to do certain things. Were her feet good? Was she prone to colic? Does she live in a herd or in a stall? What ranking was she within the group? And I got so many  good answers! 

Hesitating, I did not submit an application for her for a few days. I hemmed and hawed, and jigged and jagged. So I talked to my husband and of course, he said I needed to get her. I sent in the application and was approved. I told myself that it wouldn’t hurt to see how much transport might cost and if I could get her here for $800 total, I’d know. I said that if she didn’t pass her PPE (pre-purchase exam) that would be that.

The bids began coming in on transport and they ran from $950 to $1850. So that settled it, I’d back off and this lovely filly could go live somewhere else with someone else. But then a bid came in at exactly $800, and from a reputable, high-ranking hauler, complete with DOT number, insurance, experience and oh yeah, they could haul her to me in the next two weeks. 


I looked at plane fares, dreading both the idea of not meeting a potential new family member, and travel in the era of Covid-19. Knowing my husband is high risk with cancer and knowing I shouldn’t go, I couldn’t take the chance. Luckily (or not, depending how you look at this) the fares were outrageously high for a time when air travel companies were standing planes on runways across the nation. So no, I would not go meet this horse, and yes, I would go ahead and get the PPE, then book transit if she passed. She looked super sound to me on every single video, but if you know me, you know I can and will happily rip any horse apart regarding their correctness and conformation, so I commenced to go over her one final time before booking her passage to Colorado. 

She’s more of a cute horse than a pretty horse to me, and what was that bump at her SI  (sacral-iliac) joint? Did she have a hunter’s bump? It didn’t look like one, but maybe. And her  hind end angles are a bit straighter than I’d build if I were in charge. She is slightly sickle hocked in some photos, and not in others. Her neck is shorter than I’d like and her head bigger than I’d prefer. But wow, can she move! She glides along at a trot like a higher level dressage horse. And her front canons and backs move together at the same height when she is moving collected and intent. And she has those perfect ears I love, an upper lip that shows me she’s smart and a square lower lip that means easy to work with and likes to please. Her eyes are intent and direct. I have a feeling she is honest and kind just by looking into the photos.


Now what? Well, a PPE couldn’t hurt and it would be a good idea after all, right? I asked the veterinarian to pay particular attention to her stifles, her lameness exam should be what I’d like them to begin with, and flexion tests in particular. And then I waited for the call with the results.

Little mare passed with the cliché flying colors declaration. The vet who did her PPE said she is forward, "floaty" and moves beautifully. She passed with a report full of comments about nothing unusual to be noted and no reactions to any palpations, hoof testers; and she comes to me with no limitations. Did I want them to pull and run the Coggins? Why, yes please, that’d be just dandy, I said. And I accepted the fact that I’d just bought a horse sight unseen, having never touched her or worked with her or smelled her coat.

I booked her transport, paying the non-refundable fee. I sent payment to the veterinarian and paid for the horse. All on PayPal, and having not met in real-life, a single person, or the horse. I was good for about a week, anticipating a new horse arriving and looking forward to fun times, new adventures and a new baby to bring along how I like!

But then, I woke in the night, in a panic worried, anxious, scared of what I’d done. I used to scoff at people being so trusting and dare I say, gullible? Took me a full day to come to the conclusion I have, because sometimes, a girl gets lucky enough to have a world filled with all things silver and gold. 

To regress a bit: We had been on a wait list for a Golden Retriever puppy, too, and she’d been born just before I found this horse. (Or before she found me, because those eyes of hers just bore into my soul in an odd and peaceful way.) We bought a silver truck in between and I realized how good my life is, This year has been such a sparkly year for me. A new Golden puppy coming in June, a new shiny silver truck that I'm in love with. And now, a floaty silver horse named "Prism" to join us here on the 23rd of this month.

I was unsure about getting her (or any horse) but there is just something about her that tugs at me. I can't believe I've bought a horse as if ordering on Sears & Roebuck Catalog, but pretty much, with this virus, what can I say? I feel that she'll be good for all of us. The lack of girl power in my barn is glaring.

I told the boys, but being geldings, they are unfazed and simply asked for another helping of dinner. Really guys?

My husband was pretty pushy about going forward with her and I balked pretty much at every step along the way, but the stars aligned and her eyes said yes. I had to comply, you see.

How lucky and blessed am I? And spoiled. Just a little? Around the edges, maybe?

Here’s to silver and gold and new adventures, Happily Ever After!


~Tanya Buck

The FREEBIE today is a Tip Sheet on BUYING BLIND; how to buy a horse online. Get it here:

Tanya Buck
Published on 21-05-2020
Tanya Buck is an equine advocate, an author (101 Ways to Die with a Horse or Live Happily Ever After and White Horse, A Novel), horse trainer, coach and riding instructor. And if that list isn't long enough, she is also a member of the Front Range Animal Evacuation Team in Colorado and founder of the Horses Happily Ever After Project. Tanya believes that a holistic approach incorporating the horse's physical, mental and emotional state combined with reciprocal communication is most beneficial in creating the bond of champions. Her ongoing work to better the world for the horse drives her to keep doing what she does!