Selling Punch

Yesterday a couple came to visit and put a deposit down on Punch. He will have a happy future as a trail pony in Vermont. He is going to a dairy farm with 300 acres in corn, 350 acres in hay, and a 14-acre pasture, with two other horses.

I am relieved. I find selling animals traumatic and it is the main reason I do not, for instance, breed dogs. I could never cope with screening all those potential owners.

I’ve had ads running on Craigslist in Albany and Vermont for two weeks. The selling point has definitely been the photos of my niece Lizzy riding him this summer. I’ve had many, many emails.

I enjoyed the ones from little girls. “He is so cute!!!!! I am going to show his picture to my mom!!!!”

More tedious were the hundred inquiries: “Is he still available?” and “I live in Podunk, New Hampshire. How far are you from me?” The ad’s masthead stated my town. Finally I amended the ad to say:

1) Yes, he is available as long as the ad is up. When he is sold, the ad will come down.

2) I am in Lake Placid. Please check on Google maps to see how far this is from you, as I am unlikely to know.

I was amazed by the cluelessness of many responses. The ad was long and detailed, with every bit of information about Punch I could think of. Since I was at the property with Leon all day I specified “emails only, as I cannot be near a phone.” Nevertheless at least a dozen women ordered, “Here is my telephone number. Call me.”

Moreover the ad said clearly of Punch: “Fine for lead-line activities, but too much pony for a true beginner without supervision. Zero bite or kick, but cheerfully determined on his own program in the way of drafts if he thinks he can get away with it.” I had at least twenty inquiries wanting Punch for four- and five-year-old children.

Finally, I was selling Punch at the same extremely low price I bought him for, to ensure he found the perfect home. Still, this price was not quite low enough for some. A hay dealer wrote, “Would you take $100 cash for him and ship him to Starksboro, VT?”

The young couple who bought him seems cheerful and sane. He is a dairy farmer and she is a graduate student. They trail ride on weekends, often with nephews in tow. We are just waiting for Punch’s Coggins test and health certificate to come back from the vet, and then they will return with a trailer to pick him up.

I am glad for Punch and glad for me to be able to cross off another chore on the list. Lucy and I were not able to ride as much as I’d hoped this summer — too many conflicting needs, too little time. Still, we did ride and, overall, having him was a good experience. Certainly we did Punch a favor, saving him from auction last winter and finding him a great next home.

Happy endings are a comfort.

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