This past week or so I’ve been engaged in one of the most unpleasant and demoralizing activities known to human-kind. No, I didn’t have a root canal or a visit to the gynecologist. This is even worse: I was shopping for a new car.
As I went from dealership to dealership, my list of criteria gripped tightly in my hand, it became more and more clear to me must how similar car shopping is to horse shopping.
We all know what we want. And we weigh this against what we can afford. Sometimes the important qualities of practicality are overpowered by the more important stuff, like what color we want. (you know, I really do want a black one..!) Along the way, though, we figure out what we can do without, what deficiencies we think we can overcome with our own expertise and then…maybe….just maybe… we’ll find the ones capture our hearts and imaginations and at the same time are the deals of the century!
Take Tater: he’s pretty much like the car I’m shopping for: your most basic model. It’s pretty much standard features only and not a lot of bells and whistles ( to be honest NO bells and NO whistles, either!) Power- steering and brakes? Almost! He has a nice smooth ride, he must have good shocks! J I like an economical and quick little car, one that’s cute and an easy keeper – not too many trips to the gas pump! I want something zippy and sporty to drive and with really nice handling on the road.
On the websites for some of these dealerships they allow you to start with the basics and “build” your car by adding on features, for a price. So, add on air conditioning, tinted windows and an xm satellite radio – that adds about $1500 to the price. Likewise, as we add on “puts head down”, “picks up both leads” and “jumps ditches” and the last addition “ trots right into water!” the price will also go up! At the moment, Tater is a basic model, but a very cool one, he has a few extras built in and the rest will come on very quickly. He’s the Honda Fit that I really want.
Now take Cecil: at 11 years old he’s a standout in our pasture of relative babies. Because of his age I found I expected more from him – training-wise, but he, too, has only the standard features.
He reminds me of this cool older car I saw on the side of the road while at Richland Park horse trials a few weeks ago –did anyone else see it? It looked like a Thunderbird, circa 1960-ish, lavender paint, with chrome (yeah baby, lots of chrome!) That car probably has none of the high tech features we take for granted on newer cars today. I’m sure it has no CD player, no power steering or brakes, for sure. It’s made of Steel not fiberglass and plastic like today’s automobiles. But it’s a cool car, a very groovy car. The car of James Dean and Elvis: an American classic. Though it’s a bit older it sure was cool in its day, not to mention: fast!
I can imagine when you drove down the street people stopped to look. They’d say, “Wow, that is a bad ass car!” When you drove it you automatically felt cool, like you were a part of automotive history.
That’s Cecil. As It’s A Monster, he won nearly $400K including several stakes races. He may have more history behind him than a lot of our CANTER babies, but it’s a cool history, a very interesting history. His history is definitelyAnd one to be proud of. He’s the epitome of the American racehorse –an American classic. In his day he was among the best, not to mention: fast! 🙂
I can imagine that people stopping to look at him in the post parade and in the winner’s circle. (especially, if they had just won money, thanks to him! ) They’d say, “Wow, that is a bad ass horse!” When you ride him you know you’re on something very cool, and you automatically feel special, like you’re suddenly part of racehorse history.
So, in the end I don’t really know what kind of car I’ll end up buying. Time and a few more test rides will tell. Meanwhile, I’m lucky enough to get to “test” ride Cecil and Tater every day. And unlike cars, their value goes UP when you drive them off the lot.