Monday, February 15, 2010

Ah, horse shopping...

No matter what you EVER hear me say:

I. Love. Horse. Shopping. 

Sure, it makes me ABSOLUTELY crazy 80% of the time, but I thrive on being on the edge of crazy, if you haven't noticed.

I do most of my horse buying in the super-duper cheap range, but every once in a while I get to spend more money- and is there anything better than helping someone else spend their money?

I thought not.

I'm shopping for an old friend of mine right now from NY. Her range is quite a bit more than I usually spend and I also get to talk to some people I don't usually shop with. I bet I've talked to 10 people in the last week who I know in passing or have gotten their name from someone I know. I'm looking for a fancy hunter, and I usually work with the low level hunters or the eventer types, so I'm really not shopping with people who know me really well.

So far, I've noticed 3 kinds of people, and I SURE know who I'm going to come back to!

 The first are the people who don't have what I need in the barn but are more than willing to find those horses, bring them in and try to get a cut. Or don't have what I need but offer me something that "yeah, could work" and then ask what my top price is and it just happens to be that price tag. They make some phone calls to people I've already contacted (effectively driving those people insane as well) and try to take on my job.

I may be "new" to this area, folks, but I know the "right" people, and I'm efficient and thorough. Just ask me, I'll be glad to name names privately. I guess I should add this in here- this is not a BAD or wrong thing to do, per se, its just annoying to a young professional capable of doing it on her own.

The second are the people who don't have what I need in the barn, but are gracious and very willing to give me the numbers of people who do. They know that I'm working as the buyer's agent and don't try to infringe on that- they just pass me along and wish me well, sometimes offering helpful hints, buyer bewares or fun stories on the way. 

I love and truly appreciate these folks. They've been where I am and they're doing the best they can to help me. I'm not a threat to them, so they're willing to give me a shove in the right direction and offer a little support so I can get my feet wet. There have been two of these people who have been the biggest help- one I've worked with quite extensively in other facets and the other I just know in passing, she's helped me with Ari some at some local hunter shows but ALWAYS stops to say hi when she sees me and answers my emails and phone calls- neither of these ladies has ever made a penny from me and it won't matter if they do- they're just genuinely nice, trustworthy, well established horse people. 
The last is the group who has what I need in the barn, doesn't care that I'm a small fish and treats me just like they would treat another big name trainer. I talked to two people on the phone tonight who I have never talked to before and stayed on the phone with them for 40 minutes each, just swapping stories and learning about each other. I talked to another two who are Very Big Names in the area and had already saved my number in their phone so they answered with a personal greeting. THAT is service. They offered full disclosure on their horses for sale (a big deal) and they're priced reasonably with records to back it up. I love that.

This makes me WANT to go shop, to introduce them to my client, to spend money with them. And that is why these are big names in the area- they exude that aura. That first group about had me quitting before I'd begun.

Also, I'm dog sitting at the barn for a few days. I should have taken some pictures of the snow this morning, but I was busy with Anita's smaller four-legged crew. I'm staying at Anita's for three nights and next month I'm staying at Amy's for a week. I will tell you right now that there is nothing more wonderful than walking out the front door in the morning and already being at the barn. It makes my heart smile in the midst of this misery.

We have more snow on the ground right now and I just feel stranded. I can't get much done with the horses and don't have a truck and trailer to go anywhere even though I'm in the vicinity of several very nice arenas. It is absolutely painful for me to think about. I'm hoping to buy a truck this summer, it just needs to happen- its time.

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