What do sane people do for Mother's Day with their family? Let me guess, its not drive 12 hours round trip to buy a pony on the cheap? Well we don't roll that way.
I'd thought about getting a pony for a while now. They're cute, fun, and easy to get on. Oh and I have a child now so that's a totally legit reason for me to get another horse to train. For my son. Right? Anyone believing this? Me either, well maybe a little. So the shopping began.
Its me and if you can't figure it out, I'm looking for a bargain. Shopping for a pony is very different from shopping for a horse. First, people looking for a horse in some way, shape or form understand this thing can kill them. Or at least cause injury. Ponies? Apparently the people buying them on the cheap don't understand at all. I found sooooo many ads for ponies being dumped for basically not being bicycles for their kids. Not "teaching their child to ride" and all sorts of other depressing things.
Their loss is my gain though.
I wanted something I could register, preferred a mare (see a trend going?), and I wanted it to be able to be ridden by myself. At 5'9" and 200 lbs at the time, it was going to take some doing. I also wanted something with color because for resale it would probably be better. Oh and its fun. I have issues...
I found this cute (but HUGE) pony on Dreamhorse and contacted those people. Much like Piper her price was all over the place on the internet so I was curious. Short version (the lady talked to me for 2+ hours o.O), the mare had been rodeoed on and was well trained in roping, poles, etc and ridden by those trainers' 7 year old son. They'd gotten the mare for some $$$ thinking their very beginner daughter could ride the mare in 4H and endurance.
Not so much.
The daughter was unwilling to ride the mare outside the round pen and generally grew to hate her. Sad, but enter me. I talked to the owner on Saturday and on Sunday we drove to North Texas. Like, almost Oklahoma, Texas. It was 6 hours each way but my lovely husband is insane enough like me that we thought nothing of it. With our brand new truck and crappy old Shelby trailer with very outdated plates, we made the trip.
When I make a trip to see a cheap horse, I'm normally 80% sure I'm going to get it. The other 20% is going to depend on what I see in person but I'm normally sold before I get there. Years of scrounging the bargain bins for horses makes you clever and quick to ask "the right" questions. So basically, we had cash in the truck and ready to rock if we wanted.
Upon arrival we were greeted by... no one.
Well then. We parked where we thought was best and the house and barn were very adorable. The land was about 100 acres of lush grass - did I mention this mare had put on a TON of weight in the 3 months these people owned her? No, well she did. After about 10 minutes the people drove "from up the road" and met up. The lady brought the mare out of the barn and I did a few groundwork exercises before tossing my child on the pony (bareback). She was literally that calm (I'm not that careless about my kid, no worries :P). We did some trot circles and I said sold.
So Mango came home with us on Mother's Day, 2013. Another project horse in the making.
I've lived with my crazy insane yet perfectly logical thinking for a long time now. As I've gotten older, that has been honed to a fine point. I'm ruthless about efficiency and productivity, things that have helped me get through some wicked tough times at my job over the past 9 years. I can also convince anyone of anything with relative ease. Convincing myself is infinitely harder, despite how it looks. There is always a mastermind of reasons behind every action I do, I'm calm, cool, collected.
So when my husband convinced me to ignore my beloved 1988 Ford Bronco in favor for a 2002 BRIGHT RED Dodge 3500 dually 4x4 in 2004, I balked. $425 A MONTH! THAT'S INSANE AND WASTEFUL. But he wanted me in something "safer" and since he had a 2001 Dodge 2500 diesel it kinda made sense. Also we'd just started living together and I figured I had little say in this; it wasn't like we'd end up together, right? My past told me the stars were stacked against it, but hey, if he wanted to spoil me why not.
It was also a killer deal.
That truck was awesome, I loved it. So nice. I wasn't riding much but I had my old TB, Athos and a 2 year old AQHA that I was retraining to sell. Sure, why not?
When Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit the gulf coast, gas prices skyrocketed. Diesel was over $4.00 a gallon and approaching $5.00 with me driving from south Houston to College Station daily for work. Our fuel bill for me was reaching $1200 a month. Something had to be done and as much as I hated to say it, paying for TWO diesels in that time was not going to fly.
It was a sad day but I convinced myself that with a yearling human baby and the other big truck, we needed a more family friendly vehicle. Something that could hold dog crates would be nice for my dog showing hobby too. The Saturn Outlook was a sexy crossover option with some smart features. We bought that one and now had $600 a month payments. But with the money we saved in fuel, it was justifiable.
The Outlook sucked from day One.
I hate to say it, but it did. It was a FABULOUS vehicle, well thought out, fun to drive, sleek, shiny, wonderful for dog shows. But it had issues from the start- annoying little things here and there, but HEY! they're covered under warranty so whatever. It was working out the kinks, no? We had an extended warranty and sure enough, at 65,000 miles the evaporator coil exploded. Freon and all sorts of fun gasses filled the vehicle while I was driving back from Ft. Worth one day. In July. I was so miffed but managed to limp the thing home once I figured out it wasn't an engine issue. When I got home we looked for estimates for the repair. $4000-6000+. Apparently the sleek vehicle was badly designed and to access those parts, you have to remove the entire dash. The.entire.dash. of the vehicle. W.t.h.
So I traded it in angrily as is for a new 2011 Ford F150. My husband had had a Ford work truck that he'd driven all over these four states and put 50,000 miles on it in less than a year with no whimpers out of it and just regular oil changes. I wanted reliability! My new truck was pretty basic. I was hoping to keep the mpgs from the Outlook as much as possible and was hoping by compromising on the engine (I went with the little V6) and no 4x4, and just power windows/locks/cruise and the one "fun" thing as the SYNC system, that I could save some on the payments. Yes, we were about to pay $800 a month. For a $30,000 truck. I was mad. I felt stuck. I wanted my old Bronco back.
We got it and I was extremely thankful for our dealership for working it out, they were truly supportive and wonderful. As a previous car salesman myself, that's saying something. So I drove the F150. It was reliable. It was comfy. It was great. We put a cap on the back and the dogs rode in there 3 months of the year and in the cab the other 9. I drove that truck from here to Missouri for a week long dog show. It was a champ. Within two years though, I was approaching 40,000 miles. What? The warranty was out and it was hitting the break even point on the Blue Book Value. It was time to decide to keep it forever and end up with a truck not worth a thing later on, or trade it in now.
I will admit, it is amazing being able to pay $800 a month, I'm extremely thankful for the situation I'm in. The younger version of myself thought $800 a month would buy something more like a BMW, Corvette, or a really really nice diesel truck.
Hold the phone!
If I was going to be bleeding out the wallet, I wanted to be like HELL YEAH THAT'S MY TRUCK! So I thought about what would be my dream truck and without hesitation, I was like KING RANCH DIESEL! I decided to keep an eye on local truck dealers for a nice used King Ranch. Hopefully it would have all the accessories on it as I always like those, but never put them on. Within a few weeks, the wonderful dealership that had sold us the F150 had one roll in. It was big. It was sexy. It was my big sexy beast.
When I stopped at the dealership after work that day, I went right to the finance manager. "Can we work the numbers?" He was accommodating and in my insane shock, he said yes. The payments were barely $100 more than my F150. My mouth went dry. It was like all those years of paying off debt were suddenly paying off. The golden retriever of a salesman then asked for the 500th time if I wanted him to go drive it over from the other facility. I paused. Naturally they let me take it "no pressure" and I glared. "Fine." 20 minutes later it pulled up and I swear, my heart skipped a beat.
My husband was there by this time (gosh that man must love me) and got in grumbling. I assumed it was the money or something but we drove off. The next day he was still miffed and I confronted him. "I want something nice and shiny like this!!" Ahh! I asked him what he'd rather have than his truck (it was his dream truck out of college) and he paused. "Fine, get the damn thing." We signed the papers the next day after I nit picked every tiny thing that was wrong with it. They agreed and we got a killer interest rate and a bad ass truck. 2019 can't get here soon enough for this to be paid off! *dies
Up next, trailer? Poor husband.