I love horse shopping (to a degree). If non-horse people listened to horse people shopping for their next equestrian partner (and we left out species identifying nouns), the non-horse people would be horrified. A lot of it would be very similar to my assumptions about online dating (my dating life ended when VAX system chats were a “thing”).
We may look at a wide variety of genders (we widely accept three in the equine community) or only be willing to look at one. Age, height, weight and price can all be major criteria/factors. We look for personality hints and there are a number of industry statements that are generally accepted for a double meaning. For example, “fun personality” often really means “this one is so attention needy and demanding that you might as well buy a pile of sugar crazed kindergartners for all the peace you will ever get”, or “needs an advanced rider” often means “this sucker bucks so high you will get fined by the FAA” or “home bred” often means this common little creature is so spoiled and un-handled that the circus wouldn’t take him” or “cribs lightly” might mean “we never put the little beaver in a stall so we can pretend this is a mild vice”. We could go on for pages with these.
Advertisers are often optimistic with how they present their horse. They are only ever for sale due a lack of time, funds, kids lost interest etc. What would be a real source of entertainment would be if couples could only split up after they “rehomed” the other half – can you imagine how those ads would read?? This probably is not something that should be discussed with the other half.
Horse people could only be outdone by high school boys basketball teams in exaggerating height. I went to look at one horse who was advertised at 16 hands. This horse might have been 15.1 with pads on his shoes. I questioned the owner on the height and he became rather defensive about it. I kindly responded with “no problem, he just isn’t as tall as my 16 hand horse”. This seemed to mollify the seller and gave me an opportunity to practice my poker face.
We lurk on a number of websites and may even create profiles on a few. Certain types of riders seem to gravitate towards various sites. Now you can plug in exactly what you are looking for and have the website notify you of possible “matches”. We stare at photos, linger over videos and day dream about the future. So far, so good – and then we start to sound like crazy fundamentalists who are severely socially stunted.
First off – we are not looking for a casual date. Most of us are looking for a life long partner/commitment and not a quick meetup for coffee. Money will change hands and contracts may be signed with a wide variety of stipulations in some cases. There may be an initial visit or two or more rarely a trial period. There may or may not be a medical exam prior to the purchase or not. If this was human dating, horse people would come off as stage four clingers. We will take the animal home and immediately profess our undying love and the probability of baby talk and inane statements are exceedingly high. PDA is likely to follow upon laying eyes on the animal regardless of whether a deal is made or not. SNL couldn’t make this stuff up for a live skit.
But I digress and need to return to the barn to ooh and ahh with the new love in my life who I happen to share with my mother (again – if this wasn’t horses it would be pretty freaky).