The Beauty of Imperfection

28 Dec


When people start shopping for a horse (or a house), they are looking for perfection.  The horse must be between 5 and 15 years old, at least 15.2 hands tall, tie, clip, load, bathe, pass a vet exam and be safe on trails, good in the arena, not buddy sour, and have a rocking chair canter.  They must be a gelding and have no vices.  The horse must respect fences, get along with other horses, not be too alpha and ride well in the surf and on the beach.  They must also highline and overnight camp and not need shoes.  If they also are patterned on barrels, work cows, jump and do Western pleasure that would be good.  They must be schooling at least first level dressage.  Four white socks and a blaze would be a nice touch, as would a show record.

Reality drops like a ten ton brick.  It’s like when you want to buy your first house.  Every flaw seems monumental.  That spot of mold in the drywall under the sink could be a deal breaker.  I wouldn’t look at 1 1/2 car garages, only 2 car garages.

Slowly the search expands.  The great house with a 1 1/2 car garage starts to look appealing.  As does the horse with a few quirks.  That is because no horse and no house is perfect.  They all need work.  And will need work later.  Downspouts rust through.  Horses get older and have issues.  Nothing ever achieves the perfection of the original list of “must haves.”

The more houses and horses you own, the more you become willing to look at a great animal or house with a small problem or two.  Big structural problems like building in a flood plain or having a termite colony in the basement are deal breakers.  So is a lame horse, a horse with major psychological or physical problems.

But little quirks become acceptable.  A house with an ugly bathroom is OK.  The silver and pink cupid wallpaper in the dining room can be steamed off.  A horse that needs shoes in front is OK.  An 18 year old pony maybe isn’t so bad.  Forget the four white socks- plain bays are cute, too.  Horse doesn’t clip well- that can be worked on.

If a horse has a sound mind and relatively sound body, it is like a house with good bones in a nice neighborhood.  You can work with it.  Often the perfect house or perfect- appearing horse has hidden problems.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Now that I have a pony for sale, I fell compelled to reveal all her shortcomings first.  It’s like being a parent- you live with them, so you know all their quirks and want to be honest.  So I haven’t had any luck yet selling.  I have a great pony, but people want a 13.1 pony, not an 11.3 pony.  They want a pony who is perfect in every way and not one with a mind of her own.  The truth is, every pony has a mind of her own.  Or else they are 30 years old and deaf.  Then they need senior feed.  My pony has perfect teeth and vacuums up hay and every form of organic matter that resembles food.

Being on the buying or selling end of anything is no fun.  I prefer to not buy or sell anything ever.  But somehow I keep ending up buying and selling things.  Like houses.  We’re on our third house.  But it has been 25 years so we haven’t bought that many houses.  I dread selling the pony.  I want the perfect home to appear, the same way every buyer wants the perfect dream pony.  Somehow, we all need to accept the beauty of imperfection.


13 Responses to “The Beauty of Imperfection”

  1. Christi December 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    That’s a great philosophy. 🙂

    • A New Path December 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      Thank you! It has taken me so many years to be comfortable with imperfection.

  2. aspireequestrian December 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    I am sure it’s all rather unpleasant but that’s such a fun comparison of houses and horses buying. Although I can’t say I can compare myself (never bought a house yet!) I can certainly see it around me.
    All crossed for a great buyer for the pony…

    • A New Path December 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Thank you! 🙂 I am going to hold out for the right buyer – she is like part of the family.

  3. Dark Creek Farm December 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    So, so true – on both house and pony front!

  4. aspireequestrian December 29, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    Reblogged this on ASPIRE NEWSBOOK by www. and commented:
    It’s certainly not easy to buy a horse but to sell it once it became part of the family comes with its own challenges. I am reblogging this great post with fun comparisons between house and horse buyers…

  5. Becky December 29, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Good luck finding a new home for the pony – just as you know the right house and the right horse when you see them, I think you’ll know the right buyer too. The one who doesn’t disregard but enjoys the pony’s quirks. The one for whom 11.3 is the perfect fit. The one who will love the pony just as much as you have.

  6. Rodney's Saga December 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    As bad as buying – or at least shopping – is I can see that selling could be even worse. Can’t imagine the calls you get/people you see.

    • A New Path December 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Yes, I had her for sale before and pulled the ads. I couldn’t part with her unless it was to a home at least as good as what she has now.

  7. pickledsparklymooseprincess January 10, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    This is so true! We were looking for a 14’2 highland age 7-15 but ended up with a 15’2 thoroughbred-type aged 29and we all love him :). Sometimes what you think you want isn’t as perfect as what turns up!

    • A New Path January 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

      Good luck with your new horse! Old horses are the best 🙂

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