I’ll keep this short. A good friend, a lifelong horsewoman, has had several years of health problems leaving her on blood thinners and with shaky confidence. She reached out to me last fall about wanting to buy a solid, experienced trail horse. I had met a cowboy up in the nearby canyon who was living up there all summer and fall, wrangling free ranging cattle. I saw him again and asked if he knew of any horses for sale. He was on a beautiful grey gelding and said he’d sell him for the right price, to the right home.
This is a horse he rode 12 hours a day, every other day, over every type of terrain, and the horse was unflappable in that setting. He sent me videos of his little nieces on the horse, on the trail, no problem.
I told my friend, she drove up with me and tried him out, liked him, had him vetted (clean bill of health), and the deal was done. Winter hit, and he sat.
I just talked to her again, and turned out she is terrified of the horse. Took him to a clinic and had a bad experience where he was “high as a kite”. She took him on a trail ride, with people she didn’t know beforehand, and was scared and stiff and had a “panic attack”.
I feel guilty for recommending the horse. I feel awful that she’s had such a bad experience. I know I didn’t make her buy the horse, but he honestly is one I would have loved to ride. It didn’t help that she paid more for him than she’d ever paid for a horse, over the objections of her husband.
Because she had owned horses her whole life I didn’t think to give her the advice on how I get to know a new horse: only ride with a small group (2 or 3) of riders on horses that are steady eddy types, lunge them first, set them up for success. A clinic with lots of riders and energy is not a calm environment, in my experience. Especially if the rider is nervous.
Since talking to her I’ve actually considered offering to buy the horse, but I just paid my taxes and have zero extra money. Do I offer to help her sell him? Or just stay out of it and wish her well? Or file this under “no good deed goes unpunished”?