zondag 19 april 2009

How to buy a Horse in Holland - We did it!

On friday we brought Ulo home to our manege!
After months of searching (in Jolanda's case years of wishing) once we made the decision to buy Ulo it all went very fast. I contacted the owners on Easter Monday to say we were really interested in her, and within hours we had exchanged email contracts, and paid a deposit to confirm our commitment.
The deal was conditional on a vets report (klinische keuring). I had researched this, and found a really good article (in Dutch) written by a vet explaining what he would do, and what was the value of the report. Amazingly, the vet who wrote the article was in fact the vet who attended the stables where Ulo was kept.
The owner of Ulo was able to get an appointment for friday for the keuring. The usual procedure is that the horse is checked, and if it is sound you can take it immediately. John was able to take the day off, and we arranged to borrow a horse trailer. The appointment was at 11 o'clock in Noord Brabant, so Jolanda and John set off at 7.30 a.m. (Jolanda was able to get the day off school). I stayed at home, so I could make sure that everything was sorted our for their arrival at the stables.
There was a slight problem in that the trailer did not attach correctly to John's new Land Rover, so they "stole" another one from another person at our manege, (thanks Robin). The journey down was fine (even though it was on the A2 all the way - the busiest motorway in the Netherlands). They got there early, and were able to have coffee and a chat whilst waiting for the vet. The vet took about half an hour to run the checks, and sign the report, then all that remained was to hand over the money and load Ulo into the trailer.
In the meantime, I went over the the stables, where several people helped me sort out the stable, cleaning the waterdish, and feedtray, as well as mucking it out and putting down new bedding.
We were not quite finished when the trailer arrived! There was a slight hitch getting Ulo out, which resulted in John being hit on the head with a safety bar. (the safety of the horse was not compromised, but John bled quite convincingly)
Janette asked if she could lunge her, and found her very relaxed, and not a bit stressed by the journey or the strange surroundings. In fact we are all impressed by how calm and gentle she is -
She's very friendly, and loves being around people and other horses. Within a half an hour of being put in her stall she was making friends with her neighbour. Thankfully we were given an old horse blanket by the owners, so we could rug her up for the night in that, as the temperatures were dropping.
We've had her a day and two nights now, and its still very new, but Jolanda is on seventh heaven, and John and I are catching our breath, and making sure we have all the "stuff"you need for a horse. More on that later

zondag 12 april 2009

How to buy a horse in holland part 4 - The search continues

This weekend - Easter weekend - had us traveling the length and breath of Holland looking for a pony. On friday we were in Noord Brabant and saw Ulo.

Today we were in Groningen and we saw Flair

I am not telling you yet what our decisions were about these two lovely animals!

zondag 5 april 2009

How to buy a horse in Holland! (Part 3)

Remember Wahid ? We were going to go and see him again yesterday, and we were thinking that if he could do the things we wanted to do, we would really like to buy him, so we were very excited! Well I was excited, and 12 year old daughter Jolanda was REALLY excited!
Then the lady who was selling him rang up and said she did not want to sell him anymore! (Sob from me, and buckets of tears from Jolanda)
She came up with loads of reasons why we would not be the perfect people to own Wahid, but really the bottom line is that she loves him very much, and you just have to accept he is a very loved horse.
So its back to the search for us, and I´ve got some phoning to do this week. Next weekend is Easter so we have four days to visit strange corners of Holland and try different horses.