When I started looking for a new horse, I spent several hours writing down what I
needed, and then what I wanted, and then what I thought I could live with. After the problems I'd
had in the past few years, I thought this might keep me from making more mistakes in
horse-acquisition. I set the height requirement at 15-16 hands. I wanted a calm, steady, sensible
temperament, a horse that would be safe to ride out in the big field, through woods, with other
horses or alone. I wanted basic soundness; I've owned unsound horses and they're heartbreakers. On
color I was flexible--any solid color, not too much white trim. It would be nice to have a horse
already trained for jumping, but that increases the price tag, and I had a firm limit.
In October, Illusion bucked me off again; this time I wasn't hurt, but I wasn't having
any fun, either. And--unable to take regular lessons because of my travel schedule and the
unusually heavy fall rains--I was losing condition since I couldn't ride the horse I had. At that
point, I gave up on looking for a horse with any jumping training, and looked for any horse I could
ride safely on the flat.
I had found the Penncross Ranch site in November or early December, and emailed them
about a bay gelding they had for sale, describing my riding experience and what I was looking for.
They said he wasn't suitable. In the meantime, I was looking at a lot of other horses, all over the
country (online looking, this is, but including some emailing.) The nice mare in North Carolina was
too old (21); the handsome gelding in Virginia was too young and too green. The week before
Christmas I looked at the Penncross Ranch site again and saw Mac, in the picture below. I emailed,
then called, and they sent me the picture above.
The right temperament. The right size. Sounder than the dollar has been for years, in
his pre-purchase exam. The flaws (all horses have flaws) the vet mentioned are things I can live
with. Trained western, but I've shifted western horses to English tack before (it's easier that
direction than the other.) Within my price range. And after I sent the check off, I looked up what
I could find of his pedigree and discovered that he's very well-bred indeed.
Picture Courtesy of