Between the first time I saw her ad on Dreamhorse
, and Lisa's phone call to her seller, somebody else put a deposit down on Samba, taking her off the market. But the morning of Lisa's call, mere hours before the scheduled vet check, the buyer forfeited her deposit, canceling the sale. "My trainer saw the video, and told me this horse makes my butt look too big." Seriously. I was getting the opportunity to buy my dreamhorse, because someone ate too many Quarter Pounders with Cheese.
I would bet a week's salary that if I asked you to describe February 4, 2009, in detail - everything you did, what the weather was like, how you felt - you would probably offer me a blank stare and a weak smile. You know, the kind you reserve for Aunt Tillie, who always pinches your cheeks at the annual reunion and exclaims, "My, how you've grown!" (In spite of the fact that your midsection is the only part of your body getting any bigger...) But I remember the day in Kodachrome detail. I can't tell you what I ate for breakfast this morning, but I promise, February 4, 2009 is etched in my brain.
Lisa, not the morning person I am, agreed anyway to meet me at my house at the butt-crack of dawn. We loaded my saddle into the back of my Chevy HHR, made sure the digital camera batteries were charged, and tucked my new Flip video into the center console. We were ready. Well, except for a caffeine and sugar infusion. Thank goodness for drive-thru Starbucks.
Four hours of sunshine and open freeway later, we were pulling into the long driveway at Canyon Spring Ranch
in Lompoc. We were soon greeted by Tom and Denise Peterson, owners of the ranch and sellers of draft crosses. Two nicer people you will never find, and I can't say enough about the care they take raising young draft crosses for sale. Tom brought the cutest little (if sixteen hands, give or take, can be considered little) mare I had ever seen into the round pen, and showed off her temperament. He roped her head with a lasso (gently tossed it over her);she tossed it off with a flip of the nose and a smug look. He shook a plastic bag on the end of a stick at her...she didn't bat an eye. She looked bemused. "Is that all you've got?"
Her trainer hopped on, and showed off her gaits. She's a cute mover. Nothing fancy, but nicely put together. So then Lisa got on, to see how she would handle being pushed a bit outside what she was used to. She did really well, and when Lisa convinced herself this was looking like a good fit, I rode. Just a bit of walk and trot, to make sure we jelled. I could not stop smiling.
I brought her into the center of the round pen, hopped off, and held her reins while she stood next to me. Lisa, Denise and I were doing the whole "is this really going to work out?" dance, and I felt warm breath on my neck. Samba was resting her chin on my shoulder. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
So, we skipped (ok, drove, but I felt like skipping) up to Tom and Denise's house, scheduled a vet check at a nearby prestigious facility for the following week, wrote a deposit, and called it official. And that's when I did the math. WHAT? I've just committed to buying a THREE YEAR OLD?!! Oh well. Too late now. I'm in love. I swear, if you could stuff a horse into the back of an HHR, I'd have taken her home then and there. We did have one more body in the car going home, though: Olivia. See, Tom and Denise also breed rat terriers. Lisa had one at home that needed a friend. Tom and Denise had puppies ready to go to their new homes. Kismet.
This is where I would insert pictures and videos of our wonderful day. If we had ever bothered to get the cameras out of the car, I might have proof that my butt looks just right on Samba. I guess I'll just have to take Lisa's word for it.
From my blog: Green on Green