When my daughter was about 7 years old, I got her started in riding lessons. She took to it and in the next few years progressed through weekly lessons and riding day camp to leasing so that she could have a pony to ride regularly. I loved the chance to be around horses and going to the barn allowed me to spend lots of time with her. Some of our best discussions occurred when we were driving to and from the barn and we both liked being part of a group of families.
It was only a matter of time before the question of whether to buy a pony came up. I wanted to proceed with a purchase but was very inexperienced. I talked it over with a respected trainer who consulted at the barn. He gave me advice that changed our lives forever. He knew of a wonderful older horse for sale and said he would be a great choice. The horse was named Beaujolais.
He explained that Beau was neither a fancy pony nor a Thoroughbred, the traditional choices for the children’s hunter division. Beau was an American Quarter Horse. Though Beau was not fancy like a high dollar pony or big like a Thoroughbred, he was very experienced and safe and was also a proven winner. Because of his age, the price would be more affordable.
We tried Beau out on a frigid winter day at an unfamiliar barn. As my daughter remembers with embarrassment, she was so nervous that she put him to an oxer going in the wrong direction. I was a bit stressed too. Just before we left for the tryout, my husband had said he hoped that I would not buy the first horse we saw but take more time with the purchase. After we had tried Beau, the trainer told me that there were 6 other prospective buyers and I would need to decide fairly quickly. I took a deep breath, quieted the inner voices that doubted, and made the leap of faith.
Actually it was not as up for question as it may sound. We took to Beau immediately. There was something special in his eyes and his way of going that shined through right into your heart. He was rolly polly and fuzzy but clearly nobility. We were new to “children’s hunters” but Beau was quite well known. I immediately received calls from several barns and we were welcomed at a barn with a wonderful trainer. Over the next years Beau gave my daughter experiences that built her confidence and work ethic and brought her all the fun that such a partnership gives