Putting something, anything, up for sale can be time-consuming and annoying- having to run ads, field calls and emails, deal with prospective buyers, all of it one big annoyance.
We have a pony for sale. I say “we,” even though he’s not mine. Some things “take a village,” or an army to get done- selling this pony is one of those things. Not because he’s a bad pony, he’s not, he’s a very good pony, but he is extremely strong, and a tad bit spooky and he requires a good rider, and there are only so many good riders looking for ponies. He’s a large pony so he’s suitable for an adult, a small adult, say, five-four, one hundred and twenty pounds- that would work. He has only one thing he really likes to do, and that is to jump. He is a jumper pony, but he hates liverpools, but I’m sure that is something that could be worked on…so he needs just the right buyer: a good, well, to be honest, better than just “good” rider, someone who wants to jump, someone who doesn’t mind a spooky, crazy, forward, bat-out-of-Hell kind of ride…
A woman inquired about the pony and the owner was quick to point out everything about him. Everything. She didn’t hold back, told the woman how he’s forward and spooky and loves to jump, and requires a good, confident, strong rider to match his strong, forward, spooky ride. The woman assured her she was a strong, confident rider who had been riding all her life. She’s fifty-eight, and was looking for exactly what was being described. She said she was looking forward to getting back into eventing- the triathlon of horse sports- dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country, a sport not for the faint of heart. She sounded like the perfect fit for our pony. He has evented in his past and proved himself to be quite good at it, so with high hopes we waited for her to arrive.
Oh, she arrived…watching her walk up my driveway to the stable my initial reaction was she was a tad bit heavy to be trying a pony, she looked rather out of shape, and certainly it was easy to see she was fifty-eight. She could have said she was sixty-eight and I would have believed her…but appearances can be deceiving, and who was I to judge a book by it’s cover? She had a list of questions with her, all right so she’s thorough, okay, I can appreciate that.
When it came down to the nitty-gritty of trying the pony she was quite adamant in doing things her way, and being the accommodating person I tend to be (insert a heavy dose of sarcasm here) I let her do as she pleased. I watched as she toyed with him in his paddock, led him around, stopping and backing him, explaining how she was accessing his ability to be led on a skinny trail. Then she wanted to see him on a lunge line, which is fine and reasonable, so we did that. Finally, after a good thirty minutes of leading and lunging, she wanted to groom him, pushing and poking his back as she did, checking to see if he was sore. She looked in his mouth, examined his teeth, felt down his legs, inspected every inch of him before letting me get on to ride so she could watch him go. Finally, I was given the green light to get on. I rode him and did whatever she asked. It was all a bit much, and a little over the top, but reasonable I suppose, for someone who had been riding all her life- an expert from what she was saying. She was quite vocal in accessing everything from his conformation to my riding him. I was quite looking forward to seeing her ride, sure in my mind I was going to see someone who had a command of the sport, a seasoned confidence from years spent in the saddle. Her saddle was expensive, the best of the best, she exuded confidence and knowledge and I wasn’t quite sure why the adage “Thou dost protest too much” kept coming to mind…
She couldn’t ride. She exuded fear from the second she sat on his back. She wouldn’t canter, and the idea of jumping him was out of the question. She walked and trotted him; well the trotting was kept to a minimum. It was laughable; except that we were an hour-and-a-half in by now, and it was obvious she and the pony were anything but a match.
The funny thing is, after all was said and done, she was talking about coming back to ride him again, because she felt there was a connection between the two of them. We nodded and smiled, our faces resisting the urge to break out laughing. I didn’t know whether to applaud her for her self-confidence or laugh at her absolute lack of self-awareness. I ended up laughing. I wouldn’t have, except she was such a know-it-all, so invested in letting us know how much she knew. It was a sad display of someone trying too hard. Her monologue never let up, her wanting to let us know her vast experience and ability was pathetic when it came time to put up or shut-up. The sad thing is, she never did shut up.
Sometimes selling something is hard. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t sell what she was selling, and our pony is still for sale.