Excuse me whilst I vent 🙄

Maybe this s/b in the Vent thread, but it’s specific to Driving, so you are my Chosen Audience (& Jury).
Apologies, this gonna be lengthy…

Driving friend is an Older Gent - now 83.
He’s quite a competent Driver, recently retired from doing Events - Weddings, Parades, etc - with his horses.
Has 3 at home, all early to late 20s, Halflinger mare & 2 DraftX geldings. Drives most often on roads near his property & nearby State parks. When weather is good, sometimes 3DW driving for 2-3h.
In the past, his showing has been limited to the County Fair. Where he has always had great success, regularly taking 1st in Gamblers Choice & usually 1st or 2nd in Driving classes.
This Summer he took 5th in a Driving class & my 2¢ says this is why he’s decided he needs a flashier moving horse.
Fine, his $$, his Life.
That said, the adult daughter of another Driving friend found online a prospect in a state 12H from here.
Friend 2 is an Energizer Bunny, always on the move - though somewhat slowed recently by bad knees. She’s most often the one who drives with him, along with another Club member or 2.
Back to the Find:
16yo FSH, video reportedly looks good (& I trust his eye) but when he told me, my question was why so far?
Plenty horses available in our area - we’re 2h from a large Amish community.
Where recently, the DHH & crosses that don’t make the cut for breeding or sales to (English) show homes end up on the roads & for sale.
Friend 2 has offered to make the drive with him, trailer in tow, to try the horse.
I suggested flying - mainly to avoid the 2+ day RT.
I know it could mean a return trip, but he asked me about Commercial shippers when he told me about the Find.
Friend has trouble staying awake driving. I’ve been with him when this happens, most recently a 3h drive, where I took over the last 2h, while he slept.
F2 says she can drive the whole trip.
And she did so, 4yrs ago, w/daughter, to FL to pick up her new horse. Also a Friesian.
Yes, he turned out to be a very, nice horse.

But I suggested to both looking closer to home.
Even suggested contacting Club members who actively competed CDE to see if they might know someone with a horse stepping down from competition.
& Found a STB rescue in a nearby state with a 9yo gelding broke to drive, “in training” to ride.
I msg’d the rescue asking if a trial drive could be arranged (w/friend’s harness & cart).
Sent him the info w/pic of horse yesterday.
No response yet from either.

AITA for trying to keep things closer to home?

No, but anything “from out of town” with a healthy price, is naturally “a better buy!” I am not sure why people often think that, but it happens a lot around us. And going out of state is even a better horse!

Sounds like he is being pushed a bit, but not resisting, to go see the fancier horse. You offer good advice but friends will do what they want. Then you get to listen to the whining later. Ha ha Recommend Vet checking done before the visit, hooves, legs, wind, eyes. EPM and Lyme testing if horse is in the East.

Fresians are not known to be distance horses, but a slower gait could work for long drives. Not road trot the whole way. Some of the Fresians crosses do fine with distance, like Morgan crosses, who are also quite attractive.


Is there any way you can talk your friend into being a second eye looking for a horse ‘for you’? If you hear/see/read of something nearby, tell him that you (or another ‘friend’ he wouldn’t know) that you are ‘checking this mare/gelding’ out for you/them? And in doing so (if you think the horse is a good possibility for him), shake your head reluctantly and say it’s not quite what you/they want–i.e. wrong sex, color, markings—, giving him the opportunity to think that ‘it might do for HIM.’

Just my thoughts.

Edited to add: I hope that the Standardbred rescue gets back to you. Love stories of off-the-track-racehorses of any type finding new careers. :slightly_smiling_face:


Maybe your elderly friend should take a page from Prince Philip’s book.

“I am getting old, my reactions are getting slower, and my memory is unreliable, but I have never lost the sheer pleasure of driving a team through the British countryside,” he said in a book he authored about the sport.

[Born in 1921,] Towards the end of the 1980s he ceased driving four-in-hand teams, but he continued to drive competitively with teams of [Fell] ponies, eventually retiring from the sport in 2003,[at the age of 81/82] though he still took part non-competitively in his 90s.

I don’t know what Prince Philip’s idea of a “smart horse” was, but I do think that driving a quiet, well-trained Amish horse, or pair, would be a lot better idea for your friend than going for something flashy.


It’s a case of MYOB.

I find your driving club stories amusing and relatable, but I find them relatable because I myself have had to learn to choke back my impulse to tell everyone how to run their horse lives.

These days if there is no blood, or not much blood, and the horse (or child) is not actually bolting into traffic, I just smile and walk on unless specifically asked for advice.

Everyone else’s horse choices are wierd. I wouldn’t pick that horse, that tack, that grain, that farrier.

Maybe your friend has always secretly wanted a Friesian? Much more suitable for driving than dressage IMHO! And no, if you want a Friesian a STB is not a substitute.

If he’s got driving and logistical support just let it roll. I expect the road trip is part of the fun.


The issue might be that “none of us” want to admit we could not manage the flashy ones anymore!


Well, at least I don’t seem to be the A-hole for my lack of enthusiasm :roll_eyes:

@RHdobes563 No need for subterfuge, I just Told it Like I Saw it to Friend & Friend 2.
They’ll do what they want, no need for my agreement or approval.

@goodhors Friend actually saw a Morgan at The Ntl Drive he liked & horse was for sale.
He didn’t pursue there, but I suggested posting on Ntl Drive FB page. Someone might know someone who knows seller :woman_shrugging:
For all I know that horse could be at a distance too. Drivers came from all over the US.

With Winter approaching, the Plan may be shelved.
I may see Friend 2 tonight & mention how iffy a drive East will soon be.
Knowing her, she’d want to power through.
Hoping Friend feels differently :pray:

Good point. I read in some book about some Jane Austen movie that back in the day a flashy horse and carriage was the equivalent of a modern sports car. So, yeah, flashy horse.

To me that would be a Hackney. Not that I know much about Hackneys.

OP, in your friend’s place I would like a nice quiet Morgan or a Fell Pony.

He’ll want something with size as his carts & carriages are sized for large horses.
Hackney Horse might work & I have a connection to an Amish/Mennonite family that was breeding from their stud a couple years back. They had some very nice crossbred yearlings then.

I’ll keep thread updated when/if anything happens :+1:

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That’s your answer right there.

You are clearly like me in that efficiency is a primary life direction. It has to make sense in every aspect for it to make sense. Florida is probably closer to me than you but I am never driving that far to buy a horse, not if it was Shadowfax himself. (Well – I’d go for Shadowfax.)

Friends 1 & 2 are in it for the adventure. Efficiency is the last consideration, not the first as it is with the two of us.

Let them have their adventure. And you may get messages from the road about all the small perils and sidetracks they end up having to take – just roll with it, grin and be encouraging.

Plus them trying to decide objectively on a horse when “no” means driving the whole way back with an empty trailer. Maintain good cheer with thoughtful comments, but don’t take one side or the other, just remember it is all part of this adventure they want to have.

In short: For them, this is not about the horse. It’s about the journey.

Just roll with whatever they do. And keep yourself behind the arena fence on railbird status. Stay out of active participation. Don’t travel or spend money to bail them out of anything. If something comes up just positively suggest alternatives. No ‘I told you so’s’.

Keep living your own life and cheer their lives on from the sidelines. It’s a show with a ticket that costs you nothing but patience and a positive attitude about everything. Strictly logical people like us can learn a lot from the adventurers. :slight_smile:


100% this.

Sometimes we can learn something about life from the people who are more about the drama than the logically direct path. Not that we will follow the drama path, of course. :slight_smile:

And 98% of the time there’s no harm done anyway. If you look objectively at the horse’s experience of it’s life, it makes no difference to the horse that it isn’t fulfilling some career objective. The Black Stallion and all the other fictional back-pasture-to-champion fictional stories covered all the bases on that one. The rest of horse-dom doesn’t have to do the same.


You don’t need to drive to Florida to pick up Shadowfax. You just whistle or “bend your thoughts his way” and he comes galloping up from the far reaches of Elfland. Really saves shipping fees.


Oh right! I saw that in the movie. Yet another must-have feature of the great Shadowfax. :grin:


I don’t know all that many quiet well trained Amish horses that are actually for sale. The ones that are for sale aren’t nearly as inexpensive as many think they are. The older horses are often retired on the farm.

They also put up with more quirks than you’d think if a horse is road safe. I know one guy who goes grocery shopping with his wife every weekend. He stays in the buggy and warns passers-by not to get to close to avoid getting bit. He also harnesses the mare because it’s not easy. But the mare isn’t bothered by a fire truck or semi.


Not without llamas, anyway.
Even Amish-trained ones.

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But both friends have decent Amish/Mennonite connections who would steer them to an honest seller.
One Club member has a truly lovely & well-trained Halflinger bought from an Amishman. Horse was part of a team pulling a manure spreader.
He’s a roadsafe driving horse now, probably thinks his new Life is Heaven.
Here he is at his Very First Fair this Summer - took 2nd & 2 3rds in classes:


He is beautiful!

ETA: Are those pretzels in the background?

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:laughing: Yup, County Fair arena has a lot of the food vendors on that side of the arena. Smoke & smells abound.
Add metal bleachers - 10 tiers high! - on the one side & smaller, creaky wood bleachers the other 3, plus sounds from the Midway rides & grandstand shows (Demolition Derby!).
Many classes at night, so add lights shining into the ring, making seeing the stands impossible :smirk:
I tell people any horse that survives Fair has done Trial by Fire


Well if he is “spreader broke” he probably is very accepting of other things!

That was a measure of “very well broke” to my Grampa. Spreaders were about the last and worst piece of machinery to have horses trained to pull. Really noisy, jerky while moving being ground-driven, harder to keep moving and then add in flying manure! It got exciting with a new horse pulling sometimes!!

Handsome horse!


He’s a really nice horse!
Trained to voice: Gee & Haw :wink:
I’ve driven him & he’s a pleasure, but has some motor to him too.
Almost makes me want to drive something bigger than my 34" of Bugs.
Then I remember bigger = bigger harness, heavier cart… :smirk: