October 2006

The owner had already gone through several haulers when she tried to transport several sold yearlings to the U.S. . One hauler from the US who was turned back at the border because he tried to bring a gun into Canada! DUH! Another who turned up with one driver (they had specified there must be two) and the wrong size truck.
I knew what I would be faced with. But as luck would have it one hauler had worked out well and he just happened to be going on a haul to California on the 20th – yippee! The problem was, the price tag was a little steep. We decided to shop around before we booked. This is probably different than most horse sales, because rather than allowing the new owner to sort out their hauling, my seller was to choose the hauler and they had to meet certain criteria. I could understand this because I knew her main concern was a smooth journey. They had to have a box stall and make frequent stops.
I learned that larger commercial horse haulers make frequent stops, to pick up and drop off horses and most do not offer box stalls. We thought we might have better luck if we could haul Jasper across the border ourselves and have him picked up in Butte, Montana as a lot of U.S. haulers are not licensed to cross the border. When I started calling around I also discovered that most haulers do not do North – South trips, but rather East – West.
Time was starting to run out so we decided to go with the original hauler. I was a little frustrated because he would not come down in price AT ALL…and he was going to California anyway. I think he knew he had us between a rock and a hard place. It turned out Jasper would be arriving on the 19th – a day after my birthday!
Then the news came this week that the hauler had just come back from a haul to Texas and the truck needed to be ‘serviced’ so they would not be able to leave until Thursday. Urrrrrrrrr. I have learned enough about haulers to know that this sort of stuff happens all the time and haulings get delayed. What can you do. At least I know that Jasper will be comfortable in a box stall and will get taken off frequently on his long journey.
But I am getting impatient to see him!


I finally settled on an insurance carrier for Jasper. I decided to not take any risks my first year owning him. No matter how healthy he is, something can always go wrong, and vet bills cost the same no matter how much you paid for your horse. Hallmark Equine seemed to me to be the most straightforward and they advertise in Dressage Today. I shopped around enough to realize that all policies are basically the same – you purchase a mortality policy for your horse and, if you desire, purchase add-ons to it – such as medical.
I learned that most policies only cover one colic surgery and your horse will be difficult to insure after that. Which is why diet and GOOD hay is so important. Another criteria of selecting a boarding facility was – do they feed good quality hay? Believe me, about a month ago hay was hay to me. I learned quickly that there are different types and different mixtures – oat, alfalfa, first cut – what the hell? Timothy hay is about the best quality hay you can get and if you can get other grass mixtures thrown in, such as rye,that is doubly great. Another new thing I have learned!

I own a horse!!!!!!!! Make sure you review the terms of the bill of sale, especially for a horse that needs to be hauled a long distance. As soon as Jasper is loaded onto the trailer, he becomes my responsibility. That means if anything happens to him in transit, (god forbid!) I foot the bill.

First things first, I emailed the owner to let her know I was interested in purchasing Jasper. Apparently, it was not much of a surprise! I first had some questions about him. I think it is good to play devil’s advocate when you are seriously thinking of buying. I had noticed that he loved to playfight with his mates when I had been up at the ranch in Alberta and I was concerned that this could be a problem when pastured with other horses. She felt the playfighting would be less of a problem after he was gelded. Also, his size. I was concerned that he would grow too big for me to be comfortable. He is already big! But upon looking at his sire and dam, we determined that he would probably not grow to much over 16 hands. His sire is 17 hands, yet his mom is around 15 HH.
I felt more comfortable after discussing my concerns and the owner left me to figure out if I wished to proceed. I decided to sleep on it and see how I felt the next day. I woke up with the same mindset that this was a good choice. I had found a good place to keep him and the idea of purchasing a young horse had grown on me.
Next step was to request a vet check. Always do this, no matter WHAT the price of the horse. It will come back to haunt you if you don’t. I requested a pre-purchase exam and x-rays, only if the vet deemed them necessary.
When purchasing a horse don’t expect everything to go according to plan. The day of the vet check, Alberta had a snowstorm! 4 inches of snow and freezing rain. The vet check would have to wait until the following week.
I was faxed the results of the vet check and everything was fine except for one minor issue: Jasper has a crooked incisor and may require regular floatings. Not a big deal when you think of all the possible things that could be wrong! He was gelded at the same time. With some time for recuperation, he would be given a refresher course in ground training and would hopefully be delivered the middle of October – right around my birthday!