However, I really wanted a "real" endurance horse, and had been keeping my eyes open for one for a long time. I had a small budget, but nothing huge, and most horses I wanted were over it, lol. Also, of note, one thing that was really important to me, that I never had before, was to have an "emergency fund" for all my animals, but in particular my endurance horses. I didn't want to ever be in a situation where my riding caused them to need veterinary care, and not be able to afford it. So I spent a long time building up a savings, and opening credit accounts, that I could use just for emergencies. There is a difference between being on a budget, and being irresponsible.
In July of 2017 a mutual Facebook friend (Gayle Pena) of my friend and mentor Eileen, told me about a lady (Dale Lawrence) that was looking to rehome her endurance horse, Gallant. I got her info and contacted her. She said she was older, and might not be doing endurance anymore, so she wanted to place him in a good home where he would get utilized, as he was too good to "just sit".
I went up to her boarding facility to ride him, and although we didn't go far I could tell I liked him. He was gorgeous, but hotheaded and underweight. I ended up bringing him home a week later for a 1 month trial to see if I wanted him. I really liked him a lot, but could tell there was going to be things that needed worked out. I had both my farrier, and horse chiropractor look at him and evaluate him. They both liked him, and agreed that after we got the few issues worked out, that he would be an amazing horse for me.
He was raced on the the track the first 7 years of his life, and he did have 100% clean x-rays after the track. After his racing career, he went on to do 6 endurance rides and LD's. Not too many, but he was very successful with them as well. He then sat for a few years and went through a couple owners before I got him. I didn't do a pre-purchase exam, or x-rays, (though I probably should have) and after the 1 month trail I bought him.
Probably the biggest issue I encountered with him was, a bunch of things all rolled into one, which turned out to be ulcers. He was extremely picky with his food, wouldn't eat much, wouldn't gain weight, and was very reactive and hot, crow-hopped, and was just quite a handful in general. My horse chiropractor, Dawn Fletcher, advised me to treat him for ulcers, which I started doing with Ranitadine, twice a day. I also treated him for magnesium deficiency. It took a couple months, but he finally started gaining weight, and becoming better and better with each ride. I knew he would be great, we just had to work out his issues.
The second smaller issue was his feet. He had been shod his whole life and had long toes and no sole depth. When we pulled his shoes off he actually "had a mini coronary" according to my farrier, LOL. Not a real heart attack, but he did get VERY sore and bruised, and we had to keep him booted to keep him comfortable, even though his pasture was just sand and dirt. His feet eventually started strengthening and I was able to leave him barefoot except for our rides where I would still boot him.
The third issue with him was tack. He is a very sensitive horse, and I hadn't really ridden in a few years, so there was just a bunch of trial and error to figure out what would work for both of us, from bits, to riding clothes, to saddle, to boots, it was quite a learning curve with this boy!
I do have to stop and comment about one thing. This horse is AMAZING. Not only is he FUN to ride, he is stinking FAST. I could tell he was going to be an amazing endurance partner.
As time went on he just kept getting better and better, and we slowly got over one issue at a time. I fell in love with his feisty self, and after about 6 months, finally felt like we were ready for our first endurance ride!