Horse Tradin’

I’m going to switch topics for this blog. I was called last week to perform a pre-purchase exam. Of course, I could not perform the exam as I am retired, but I talked to the potential buyer and it reminded me how important this is when considering a prospective purchase. If you have read The Travels of Dr. Rebecca Harper A Matter of Time, you remember Rebecca had to find a means to earn money while living in Sacramento in the 1800s.

She helped find suitable horses and mules to be used during the gold rush. The client was a greenhorn. Interesting side: the term appears to have two derivations but the most prominent one may originate in the 15th century and refers to young bulls with soft immature horns …

Anyway, as a vet, I had a love/hate relationship with the process. If I examined a horse and found him suitable, then I was a hero, but when I found something wrong, both the seller and the buyer were unhappy with my findings. It was a no-win situation.

One biggy is the pass and fail monikers. I never used those labels. That is a sure way to a judge’s chambers. One of my favorite stories was when a friend asked me to examine a pony for her son. The pony was in heart failure and listed to one side.

The price was ridiculously high and despite my warning; she bought him anyway. Her son wanted a pony he could lead around and the pony leaned away and never stepped on the little boy. The pony only lived a few months, but my friends were happy with the purchase. Go figure.

Anyway, one of the nicer aspects of this was when I had reputable sellers who stood behind their sales. It’s kind of like the Merritts in the Time travel series. They were reputable livestock agents. They sold good stock (one woman-broke mule aside). But that is book 2 in the series and is made up. H.P. Merritt was an actual doctor who found he could make more money from his livestock and land investments than from doctoring.

He traveled across the States and paid his way by vaccinating people for smallpox by using cowpox. He is my great-great-grandfather. My great-grandfather was Lanson Merritt, and my grandmother was born in the house that is depicted in the Rebecca Harper stories. I come from excellent stock, but I personally would never pass a pre-purchase exam.??

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