What do you get when you combine house hunting and online dating? Horse shopping. Each prospect has its advantages, and its problems. “Hmm, not quite the right size, kinda rough around the edges, great except when it rains, but with a little work…” Of course, I’m no carpenter, therapist or horse whisperer, but I don’t always give that fact enough respect in my selection process. The heart just wants what it wants.

I have looked at several seemingly suitable prospects. There was the petite paso fino, who was sweet to ride, but wouldn’t come near me in the stall. There was the Black Beauty, who was exactly what I thought I wanted, but only had one gear, turbo, and no brakes. There was Chocolate, who was so well put together he should have been in a calendar for his breed. He was a solid mount on the trails, but the arena brought out the warrior in him and everyone who knows me knows I’m a lover not a fighter. There was Pretty Eyes, the quarab matron who had already raised two girls. I would describe her as eager to have you please her. There was Urban Cowboy, who could do anything, but just not for me.

I got some good advice when I started looking. “Make this decision with your head and not your heart. Find a mature horse that knows its job and can teach you yours.” So I shopped for that horse. The same person gave this advice regarding a third party. I paraphrase. She’s got to love the horse. The work is just too hard to do unless you love the animal. I have, to the best of my ability, tried to embrace this duality.

This brings us to Colossus. He’s a little younger and taller than I would have wished for, so I’m clinging to the adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” I think he’s safe and kind and trusting. He’s curious and not pushy. He’s also lovely to look at and really fun to ride! I’m having a professional come out and evaluate him, and have my fingers crossed. The last time I had her come out to see a horse it was a Jekyll and Hyde situation. It was like bringing the date home to meet the parents. A whole new set of traits came out. I have a lot of hope, but haven’t made his picture my screensaver…yet.

Alison C.