My parents and I met with my trainers to talk about what we would be looking at. They had to discuss pricing and location (how far we were willing to go). I also told them that I would really like to have a grey horse. Bay (dark brown) and chestnut (light brown) are the most common. That is what I had always ridden and owned, but I had always loved the greys. My trainers laughed. I rode with a group of girls and we were all about the same age. During this time we were silly preteens and our trainers ALWAYS laughed at us. In this case, they told me to not get my hopes up. Greys are rare and pretty greys are really rare. Grey horses are born black and spend only a short time being pretty dapply grey before they turn white with brown or black dots all over their body. My trainers felt it would be difficult to find a horse that had the skills I wanted for the price my parents were willing to pay and that was grey. I told them I knew that, but if they found one I'd be happy. I knew it was a long shot though and it certainly wasn't a deal breaker.
I spent the next few months after selling Sparky riding my trainers' horses while we tried to find a new one for me. Then one day, I got home from school and there was a message on the answering machine. I remember it to this day. "Hi Kim, it's Patsy. There is a horse down in San Diego that we want to take you down to see. He is an 8 year old warmblood who shows hunter/jumper. He is 16.1 hands (1 hand = 4 inches). Oh, and guess what, heeee'sss greeeyyy." I jumped up and down. I was so excited to go see him. The following week Jamie, my other trainer, hooked up the trailer to the truck and he, Patsy, and I drove south down to San Diego to checkout the grey horse. The horse was beautiful. He wasn't spotted, but a really pretty dapply grey. His name was Sidney. He was mellow and sweet and really enjoyed jumping around the fences. So we loaded him in the trailer and brought him back up to try for a few weeks.
He acclimated nicely to our barn and after getting him checked out by the vet, he was mine.
Sidney's show name was "London Fog". My dad came up with that one too. Around the barn, we just called him Sid. He was a sweetheart as well, like Sparky. I loved giving him baths with this shampoo called Quicksilver. It was this dark purple shampoo that when used on the white socks or blazes of a horse made them super duper white. I used it all over Sidney and he was always so shiny and beautiful.
Sidney and I were pretty successful together over the next few years. Then I graduated from high school and had plans to go away to college on the East Coast. I hadn't really thought about what would happen once I graduated high school, but as it got closer, my parents reminded me that they couldn't afford college and riding at the same time. Therefore shortly after the show season ended my senior year of high school, Sidney went up for sale. We didn't sell him right away, thank goodness, so when I went away to college some friends of mine rode him and took care of him. One of them even leased him for awhile, which means my parents still owned him but my friend paid all the boarding and training and used him like he was her own.
During the middle of my freshmen year, a little girl from my barn bought him for her first horse. He was older at that time and basically bomb-proof, so he was perfect for her. I haven't been on a horse since Sidney was sold.
In some of the comments I have been asked why I don't still ride. The answer to that comes down to one reason...I can't afford it. Knowing what it's like to have a mortgage and expenses makes me wonder how in the world my parents were able to afford to keep a horse boarded and their daughter in training. The monthly expense at that time was very expensive and nowadays it's exorbitantly high. I do want to own a horse and ride again someday, but until teachers make a lot more money or I marry a rich man who can pay the bills, I'm going to just have to relive the past. Maybe someday I will be able to ride again.