Thursday, November 3, 2011

I knew I loved you before I met you

I so clearly remember the first time I saw Suki. The search for a young dressage prospect is not easy. My husband and I had viewed probably close to a hundred videos of 2, 3 and 4 year old warmbloods, looking for one with potential. This was more than 8 years ago, when you tube and downloading videos were not available. So we would wait for videso to arrive in the mail. Several would descend upon our mailbox every week. We were sure that our mailman suspected we were receiving porn videos!

There were some nice horses in these videos, but none of them had what I was looking for. Since many of them had not yet been started under saddle, the videos primarily consisted of horses being chased around or, in some cases being properly "free-schooled" so that their gaits(walk, trot and canter) could be seen.

I had been ill with the flu when one batch arrived, but as I felt better, decided to watch some of them. I opened an envelope from Capriole Farm in BC, Canada. The note enclosed explained that the horse was Amiritta, a 3 year old Premium Oldenburg mare. Oldenburg is a warmblood breed typically consisting of Dutch Warmblood and Oldenburg blood lines. The horses are inspected and rated, usually at 3 months of age. Premium is the highest rating, and Amiritta (Suki) had scored the highest of all of the foals that day. This video was taken during the inspection, or Keuring, while still by her mother's side. If I liked what I saw, the owner would make a current video and send it to me.

The MOMENT that video started a squealed with delight! Amiritta, already pretty tall at age 3 months, trotted and cantered alongside her Mama. Chestnut, with 4 white socks and a blaze, with lovely floaty gaits....I was in love! I immediately emailed Kitty Storm, the farm owner and requested an updated video. When that video arrived I could barely wait for it to start! And wow, was I thrilled. From the very first trot steps of the video, I was hooked! The beautiful chestnut mare floated before my eyes up on the screen. I had found my horse!

Now, when you are working with a trainer, it is important that they see the prospect and help you decide. My trainer worked with a veterinarian whom she trusted immensely and told me to send the video to him (she was out of the country at the time). This veterinarian had extensive experience with dressage horses and visited the farm from a distant state several times a year to look at our horses. Dr. X called me as soon as he watched the video. "Buy her", he said, "Or I have several other clients who would be interested"

Because Amiritta had not been started under saddle yet, I could not give her a "test ride" before the purchase. So yes, I bought her off the video. A pre-purchase exam was performed, and the veterinarian in Canada spoke to my veterinarian. All was good, and the sale was finalized.

During this time I had been reading an Abigail Adams biography. One of her daughters' names was Susannah, with the nickname of Suki. I thought it would be a good barn name for Amiritta. While speaking to Kitty I asked if Amiritta had a barn name yet. When she said no, I requested that they start calling her "Suki", and so they did. That was in May of 2003, but Suki would not arrive until Later in the summer. In lieu of price negotiation Suki would be started lightly under saddle before coming home to me.

Arrangements were made for Suki to make the week-long trip from BC to Pennsylvania. She would travel in an air-ride tractor trailer, in a box stall, so that she could move about and raise and lower her head. I thought this would be the best way for her to travel, as she had not been on a trailer before.

The trailer would make several over night stops during its journey and the horses would be unloaded and stabled over night. I spoke to the shippers daily, checking on her as she travelled.

Tomorrow: Suki's arrival

November 2, 2011: Suki had a lovely day out in the pasture today. She was a little antsy while I was performing her "spa treatment", probably because the farrier was there and horses were being shifted around a lot.

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