View Full Version : When is it time to sell? - Update Post 27

Jan. 14, 2011, 01:23 PM
I've been pondering this for the last several months regarding my mare. First let me say that I'm posting this in the eventing forum, because that is what I ultimately want to do. I've schooled cc multiple times and ridden with an eventing coach, but have yet to make it to an actual show. At heart, though, I consider myself an eventer! :cool:

I've owned my mare for nearly 6 years and during that time I've always felt that we never truly got along. We've always butted heads and I learned to just ride through those rough moments and try to keep my frustration down. She has never had any true bad habits, but my requests under saddle are always met the first time with a NO. Even simple requests like: circle left here, or stay on the rail, please. I'm sure you could say that maybe she has my number, although we have a great relationship on the ground. In any case, riding her has ceased being fun and I now find myself making excuses to avoid the barn. She is actually going better than ever at the moment too, but still pulls those "I won'ts" with me every ride. She doesn't toss her head, pin her ears, or kick out with a leg... she just quietly ignores me and maybe swishes her tail. If I insist, she'll throw every (non-violent) trick in the book at me until I finally win. She'll bulge her shoulder, grab the bit and pull me to the center of the arena, turn her head to the outside, try to pull the reins from my hands, etc. Now, I always make sure that I win these little battles and have had to seriously get after her on more than one occasion... yet we do this " quiet battle" thing every stinkin' ride and it is getting old. Most people can't even tell it is going on, these are very subtle "NO's"... they just wonder why we are standing at the arena gate again. :lol:

Anyway, I have recently been letting two 13 year old (novice) girls at the barn hop on her and what do you know?!?! She goes for them without an issue. Much better than she goes for me and has EVER gone for me. She will calmly pop through a 2'6" course with them, landing on the correct lead after every jump. When she is tired and they ask for a little bit more, she merrily picks up the canter again or whatever they have requested. With me, I am met with attitude and resistance. So, what gives?? I have always thought that we were a poor match personality wise, and I guess this is the proof.

So, my question is this: When is it time to sell and how do you do what's right by your horse? I am so attached to her on the ground, so this is breaking my heart. Unfortunately, I can't afford her and another horse. Thoughts? Kind words?

Jan. 14, 2011, 01:33 PM
This happened to me with my first horse. I did at least learn to event with him, but he would constantly test me, and eventually he learned he had my number. I was sick of it, riding was fun and ended in tears, and he started intimidating me, so I sold him. He would go fine for other people in my barn. I did disclose he had this in him, but was able to easily sell him. Emotionally it was hard, but it was the best thing for us. When it isn't fun anymore and you don't want to ride, that's when it's time to sell.

Jan. 14, 2011, 01:59 PM
Thanks for sharing your story, WishIwereRiding. Did you end up buying another horse, and how did that go?

Coincidentally, she is also my first horse.

A year ago, I would have said that she wasn't worth anything in the current economy, but after watching her with less-experienced riders and how calmly she packs them around, she's definitely worth something now.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:20 PM
Wow, this is exactly what happened with the first horse I bought as a 'grownup.' Had him for years, but he was tricky with me and started getting my number in all 3 phases. However, he would pack around children and beginners like an angel - he loved not having "high pressure" rides where I was really turning the screws on him and demanding a lot of intricate performance. So, I sold him to a cross-rail kid who is happy as pie.

Now I have a MUCH simpler horse that is really fun and WINS! It was absolutely heart-wrenching to sell the horse I planned to hold on to forever, but the end result is happier for both of us, I think.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:24 PM
This is from the person who has never sold a horse (but I only just bought my 2nd one). I think you know in your heart that both you and your mare will be happier in a different situation. Not saying it won't be a bit sad, but overall, look at the chance of getting her in a situation she clicks with, and yourself a horse you wake up every morning BURNING to go ride.

My OTTB, along with his myriad of physical issues, also wasn't one to volunteer anything under saddle. He was my first horse and I bought him b/c I fell in love with him. On the ground. He wasn't even rideable when I made that decision. (Learned my lesson there.) The thought of selling him crossed my mind more than once, but he's had so many issues that I didn't feel he had a chance of getting a *good* home, so I'm keeping him for life. But it's hard paying for two, even if he is retired.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:30 PM
It's time to sell when you're not having fun any more.

Period. This is a sport/hobby/obsession we shoehorn (well, most of us, anyway) in our already too limited free time. It is supposed to be fun and bring joy. If riding isn't something you're getting a kick out of, if generally speaking going to the barn isn't something you're looking forward to, there's really not a whole lot of reason to keep on doing it. From what you've said, it sounds like you're not really having much of a good time with her. If your goals, you reason for having horses, is to hang out with them on the ground and watch others ride them, than you might consider holding onto her, but if you want to ride and compete and train, it sounds like she might not be a good fit. There's nothing wrong with selling one to a good home that will be a better match - there's no inherent glory points to continuing to gut it out with one that doesn't work for you.

I've had some spectacular horses who were lovely, but not good fits with me or our rider for whatever reason. They've found great homes with folks who adore them - nothing wrong with them or with us, it just wasn't a good match. And I've got one now I'll keep forever, who is a less fancy mover and likely less talented and stubborn to boot, but he's a heck of a partner and a lot of fun to ride and I wouldn't trade him for the world. When it's right, it's fun. When it's not, it's a pretty miserable way to spend a huge amount of time and money.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:34 PM
In any case, riding her has ceased being fun and I now find myself making excuses to avoid the barn.

This is when its time.

Look at it like dating, not every person you date is right for you, doesn't mean they are an awful person, just not the one for YOU. I went through this with my first horse. I tried for three years to make him right for me. I finally realized I work too hard, and life is too short and horses are too expensive to not be happy. I sold him, he's happy, his new owner is very happy and I'm happy with a new horse that's right for me... Its okay to move on.

Jan. 14, 2011, 02:34 PM
Exactly what GotSpots said.


Jan. 14, 2011, 03:18 PM
Thanks for sharing your story, WishIwereRiding. Did you end up buying another horse, and how did that go?

I did end up buying a horse shortly after I sold horse #1. We competed, but then he got injured, and due to some difficulties with his rehab, it was in our best interest to rehome him (long story there). I am on #3, a green, but fun, sane, safe, calm, OTTB who is a fast learner. He's a ton of fun to ride, and is currently in Aiken for the winter getting some miles.

Jan. 14, 2011, 03:20 PM
There's nothing wrong with selling one to a good home that will be a better match - there's no inherent glory points to continuing to gut it out with one that doesn't work for you.

I think this is part of the problem: selling her just feels like giving up. I've always consider all of my animals "lifers", but then I have to remember why I'm involved in this sport. If it was to have a giant, very expensive pet, this wouldn't be an issue.... However, I'm also in it for the riding. :lol:... which is not fun the majority of the time.

Jan. 14, 2011, 03:24 PM
When I bought my first horse, I thought I would own him forever. I would never sell him. But basically after 2 years, I wanted him to work harder than he wanted to, and everything became a struggle. It's not giving up if you're selling--it's moving on. Time to find something more appropriate for the both of you.

Jan. 17, 2011, 12:28 PM
I just wanted to bump this up to the top to thank everyone for the advice and kind words. I have decided to go ahead and put my mare up for sale. I spent the whole weekend making up excuse after excuse to avoid the barn. This is so VERY unlike me, so I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's time to move on.

I will hopefully be able to update this story in a couple of weeks with a happy ending. Thanks again! :)

Jan. 17, 2011, 06:48 PM
Wow, Acking1, I could have written this post word-for-word, even down to the part where you said selling feels like giving up, and you've always considered your animals lifers, and the part about finding excuses to avoid the barn. It took me a year to actually decide to sell mine. She hasn't sold yet, but making the decision and sending her to a trainer in another state has lifted a huge weight off my shoulder. The trainer she's with LOVES her, and my mare loves the new environment. Hopefully she will be sold soon!

Jan. 18, 2011, 09:44 AM
The horse industry is expensive and we dish out so much for the hobby.
When you think you could be having more fun with another horse--it's time to sell.

There is no shame.

I woke up one day just after the 2011 new year and for some strange reason the emotional hand-cuff that I have had with my horse was totally gone.
He's outta here this weekend and hopefully not coming back.
I made the decision when I realized that I have more fun riding my mom's cow pony than I do my uber talented perfect to a T TB.

This was a horse that I enjoyed many many wins on--he's a freak and spectacular at EVERYTHING he does. He's got that Awww factor so everywhere I go he brings me attention. He's has perfect manners and is really fun to be around. He's been the love of my life for 8 years. My house is FULL of him.

And poof. Time to move on.

When it comes down to it horses are not pets, and they are not family members. There is no shame in selling and finding a new one to have fun with!! You'll find someone who will be a great match for your horse!

Have fun horse shopping!

pony grandma
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:55 AM
I saw one of those silly commercial made signs for inspirations in a store once. It said "Some people change so we learn to let go." Bingo. Learning to let go if a life skill that parents should help their children understand as they grow into adults. Like bad situations in life, learning to go find the positive places; giving up those immature friends when you've grown past them.

So in your case learning to let go is your first horse. Look at the positive - you will get to find out who the next one is. It's always been said that you need to ride/experience some numbers of horses (not all have to be bought/sold and traded of course). So you are on your journey. Your lesson here is learned - you listened to the horse and found out what she wants.

Don't settle, go find the horse that needs you.

Jan. 18, 2011, 05:09 PM
So, my question is this: When is it time to sell and how do you do what's right by your horse?

I knew it was time to sell my last horse when a very big name rider fell off him twice in about 3min...he was a dirty stopper...and then became a dirty quitter (choosing to put his front legs down on xc fences vs jumping over them). That BNR told me that he COULD go Intermediate, but that he didn't WANT to. Basically, one of us was going to break or die if I kept pushing him down the same road.

I worked with my trainers (dressage and jumping) to figure out what HE wanted to do. The answer was show hunters. I sold him almost 4 years ago, and he's been happily toting an older lady around the A circuit in the midwest. Finding a job he liked and a rider who would give him a good life was a much better decision for both of us than me struggling to make him do what I wanted him to do.

If your mare seems to prefer juniors, perhaps that's what she's meant to do. Good luck!!

Jan. 18, 2011, 07:19 PM
So many good things have been said. I will be another person to chime in and reinforce it......feeling a failure for not being able to "fix it" is self torture, do not waste your time with this!!

I had a horrible time getting rid of horse #1 because I thought if only I were good enough....things would be better. I must have gone through 5 professionals who all very consistently announced within 1 or 2 rides that the horse was never going to work before it occurred to me....out of the blue....that the horse was never going to work. True story. I'm very quick on the uptake.

@ Kaboom.......you should post a blog on this subject........

Jan. 19, 2011, 11:58 AM
So, I rode my mare last night and had those same feelings of frustration and annoyance about 5 minutes into the ride. I keep coming back to this thread and re-reading to help hammer into my head that I'm doing the right thing. For both of us.

Tonight I'm going to try to take some video and post her on dreamhorse in the next few days. I think she'd do fantastic with a ponyclubber or just a barnrat who lives and breathes horses.

Purplnurpl: Do you know if there's an active pony club market in Texas? I've tried looking online and it doesn't seem like my area is that into it.

Thanks again, everyone!

Jan. 19, 2011, 12:08 PM
Purplnurpl: Do you know if there's an active pony club market in Texas? I've tried looking online and it doesn't seem like my area is that into it.

Thanks again, everyone!

YES! there is a big group out of Curragh Equestrian Center.
You could email Angela. PM me if you need her info.

Jan. 19, 2011, 12:10 PM
@ Kaboom.......you should post a blog on this subject........

noted. when the time is right.
for now, Toby is going to post blogs on his transformation from cow pony to rock star eventer!

Jan. 19, 2011, 04:41 PM
Let me also chime in and say it's time to sell.

My friend had a mare she stopped riding because she was having anxiety attacks. She's a great horsewoman and rider, but their personalities did not mesh-- at all. I'm riding her mare now, and we get along great. I love that mare, and trust her with my life. Same mare, 2 people, 2 totally different results.

Now she has another horse, and just loves riding him. They get along great and she looks forward to going to the barn again. Her only regret about her mare is that she didn't give her to me sooner.

Jan. 19, 2011, 05:27 PM
Do you know if there's an active pony club market in Texas? I've tried looking online and it doesn't seem like my area is that into it.

Contact Ruth S. at Pine Hill. They host pony club rallies there which are close to you in Houston.

Jan. 19, 2011, 05:39 PM
This happened to me, except it was a re-sale project which wasn't working out very well since I couldn't get her to go well! I finally had the 12-year old ride her for a solid month, at which point she was going 100% better. All we could figure is that she hated being asked/told what to do - she preferred to be the 'senior' in the relationship and show the younger rider how well she could do!

You might also consider that you are not a 'mare' person in general, and try a gelding for your next horse. I find that in general, they accept direction better.

Jan. 19, 2011, 07:37 PM
This is/was the exact situation that I have gone through with my first guy. I bought him beacuse he fit the bill for what I was wanting exactly. Bombproof, easy-going, a total "push" ride and a confidence-builder. I rode him several times, had my friend who knows a lot about horses ride him several times- we agreed that he was exactly what I needed. I will say that even then, something didn't feel quite right to me. But at the time, it wasn't really anything I could put my finger on- I didn't know my horse well at that point, and he literally was a saint.

I got him home- same thing. I wasn't very emphatic with my requests at first (and after a severe fall trying out another horse that was supposedly a "beginner" I didn't have any confidence, really), and I mostly just walked him around, because I couldn't go any faster than a trot (for a short period of time) without having an all-out panic attack.

After a few weeks, I started telling my DH that I was still anxious when riding him- for some reason, I just couldn't trust him. He never did anything wrong (and still, to this day, hasn't). But I won't ride him outside of the arena, and I don't really enjoy riding him. He is also a tester. Like you, I can eventually work him out of it, but he is just a general brat with me. Not anything scary- just, like you, won't turn when I ask him to, pops his shoulder out, won't hold a trot for very long, etc. I'm not scared of riding him anymore (in an arena), but he is still a brat.

The solution? He's become my DHs horse. :lol: My DH had never really ridden a horse prior to our purchasing Doc- maybe a few times, and that's it. Him and Doc bonded almost instantly. He tested DH at first, but not anymore. He listens to him pretty much perfectly, pretty much every time. They are planning to start team roping together, and it is working out great. Doc also still lets my friends kiddos rides around all the time- and he loves that too. For whatever reason, he and I just didn't get along (and, like you, we get along grandly on the ground- he adores me when I'm not on his back. :rolleyes:).

If it hadn't worked out as well as it did with him and DH, I was considering leasing him out to a lesson program here as a small kid's beginner horse- I already had someone who was very interested in using him in her program. After a little while as a lesson pony, I probably would have sold him.

I agree with everyone else- it just isn't worth it to continue trying to ride a horse that you don't really love riding- they are just too expensive- it's better to find a great fit for them so that you can find a great fit for yourself. :)

Jan. 19, 2011, 08:51 PM
Acking01, I PM'd you.

Jan. 20, 2011, 12:24 PM
i have this same issue with my mare, my first purchase, my forever horse, big DWB stunning, black beauty. but we spent two years just rehabbing for fitness after her 3yr layoff, and never made it to w/t/c. same as the OP she doesn't do anything dangerous, except maybe the backing up, but she's just not fun to fight with, and i just hop off, if she starts, she's a truly spooky, and fearful mare, (she shakes at the sound of skidoos in our forrest) IMO, but maybe someone else would "get" her, and she'd be fine. i'd LOVE to sell her.

Mar. 3, 2011, 01:57 PM
I wanted to come back and update this thread.

My mare sold about a week and a half ago and I can not explain how relieved I feel. It was very difficult for me, as I had always thought of her as a "forever horse", but the situation could not have turned out better. She was purchased by a beginner rider and it is a match made in heaven. While she was never consistent, willing or eager to work for me; she is all of those things and more for her new owner!!! Something about the two of them just clicked from the first ride. :D

Now here is the icing on the cake: The girl rides at my barn and her parents have decided to keep Cricket's entire life the same (except for the rider, of course). Same stall, turnout, tack, supplements, and farrier! It is the perfect situation and I'm ecstatic.

This is decision that I hemmed and hawed over for 2.5+ years. I wish that I hadn't waited so long because Cricket is definitely happier and so am I. :sadsmile:

Oh, BTW: I purchased a new horse and she'll be here tomorrow afternoon. WOOHOOO! :cool:

Mar. 3, 2011, 02:36 PM
That is great to hear. I look forward to hearing about your new horse

Cheval Gris
Mar. 3, 2011, 03:24 PM
That is wonderful to hear! I am in the same situation for the last two years and finally after getting pregnant and watching my horse throw one of his tantrums I threw my hands up and said this is it. I posted him on Dream Horse Tuesday and Found my dreamhorse last week. He moved in yesterday! :) After hacking out when we got home I asked myself why I was so silly to have missed out on this kind of ride for so long. Now my guy just needs to sell! Good luck with your next partner!

Mar. 3, 2011, 03:52 PM
Congratulations to you! I have been in the same situation for over two years now. I feel a lot of pressure to make it work because I am at a small barn with riders who are experienced with project horses with issues. I can honestly say, until this mare, I never had a fear of riding. I have been working really hard to overcome it, but there are many, MANY days I would like to throw in the towel and start with a clean slate on another horse. I even bought a second horse this summer, and have enjoyed him tremendously when I am not in the mood for a "fight" with my mare. Same situation - she isn't overly spooky, or dangerous - she's incredibly smart, sensitive, and fussy. And has a LOT to say about things.

So I guess we'll see. It is intriguing to read so many similar perspectives. In my case, I am told over and over that I am capable of handling this mare. But at the end of the day, the question is - do I really WANT to?