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Alterrcation
Feb. 13, 2011, 03:47 PM
:no:I have created a clever Alter so I can vent, I guess.
I have a dream horse that is the epitome of what most would ever want for dressage. I look at him everyday and really feel like he should be in a place where he can really live up to what his potential is.
I am 100% overwhelmed by how hopeless it it so have a truly nice horse and know that there will be very little progress due to having a low income, living 3 hours from a competent trainer for help, and always riding alone. I am a lower level capable rider. It is not my dream to win in the local schooling shows and be the "queen" of the little local clinics. I have high standards and goals, and now that this horse is at the age where he should be "doing" something, I am faced with the reality that, it is not going to happen. Living out here, everything is so hard. All shows are also 3-6 hours away and it is not a sport for the lower income bracket people. Even if I decided not to show and focus on training, again the distance and expense makes it not a reality.
Yes, he does not know he is a "nice" horse and could care less if he ever gets out of Trg Level. But he is a valuable horse and I feel like the RIGHT thing is to sell him to a rider who will be able to be successful and appreciate him. I have another horse I can ride and putz around on and still work on dressage with.
Yes it all SOUNDS good, but it will kill me to sell him, I raised him since he was born and I will never have a chance to own a horse of his quality again, I could never afford it. I am his breeder, got lucky with what I ended up with.
Has anyone else ever had to make a decision like this? It is very practical, I suppose...

xQHDQ
Feb. 13, 2011, 03:59 PM
I hate the word "should." He should be doing more. He shouldn't be just a TL horse. I should sell him.

Maybe his talent is not upper level dressage (potential is nothing if it's not what you want) but instead it's being the best all-around horse ever. Your all-around horse.

He's your horse. Do whatever you want with him. Period. End of story. Stop worrying so much and have fun with him. If you don't need to sell him, don't.

Calhoun
Feb. 13, 2011, 04:02 PM
I don't think your horse stands at the fence looking at you, asking "Why am I not a show horse?" It's obvious you love him, so keep him and just ride. Owning a talented/valuable horse does not equal dressage shows. I'll bet there are many people on this Board, who have equally talented horses and do not show due to circumstances in their lives, but would never give up riding.

joiedevie99
Feb. 13, 2011, 04:16 PM
Have you ever looked into doing lessons by video? It's not ideal, but it works really well for some people. If you could afford one video lesson a month, you might find yourself advancing enough to make you happier.

exvet
Feb. 13, 2011, 04:31 PM
First, let begin by saying I'm sorry you're having to go through this because I know it's not pleasant. In reality we all face very tough decisions and have to come to terms with what we decide to do. For me it's putting down a horse that I feel I moved heaven and earth to get on the ground (but there are now health reasons for which there is no cure). I will be following through on my decision on Wednesday. Your decision is whether to sell or not; so, personally I think it could be worse. Yet, again, I do understand the turmoil you're burdened with. I think there are a few things here though that you need to re-think or clarify (not to us) to yourself if you haven't already:

1. Do you need the money? If so then sell.
2. How can you say you'll never have another? You got lucky once. You could get lucky again. Sure the odds may appear to be against it; but, unless your crystal ball is better than mine you just never know what the future will bring (both good and bad).
3. Are you happy just trail riding and/or training a horse with less talent or will that horse "suffer" for not being what you almost had?
4. Can you afford to take care of both horses. If you can then there is no moral/ethical reason to get rid of the horse. Things could change, someone could move closer or who knows what circumstances may present themselves. I've seen many talented horses start late in life - low mileage isn't always a bad thing.

Whichever you decide to do, there is no right or wrong answer. Again it all comes down to what you can live with day in and day out.

CosMonster
Feb. 13, 2011, 04:38 PM
I've got to agree that what your horse "should" be doing isn't something to worry about. Show ring potential is all well and good, but that doesn't mean the horse has to live up to it. If you enjoy working with him, can provide him a good home where he is happy, and don't want to sell him, then why on earth would you feel like you shouldn't keep him?

I mean, I might be willing to listen to the argument if we were talking about a horse that was somehow guaranteed to rival Totilas or something. Since I doubt that's the case (no offense, I hope you know what I mean), I don't think you need to worry about it.

Of course, I have a really fantastic young horse that started out with a bang but now I mostly just trail ride because I school other people's horses all day and I like just relaxing on mine, so I'm a bit biased. ;)

Eclectic Horseman
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:02 PM
How many horses with potential never get anywhere because of a stupid injury or illness? Hoe wmany more don't get anywhere because of "training issues?" The majority, I think.

If you can afford him, and he suits your needs, keep him. Obviously, if either you need the money or he didn't suit your needs (not a good trail horse or not enough time to ride him, etc.) then don't keep him.

In my view, there is nothing wrong with keeping him. What is tragic is seeing a horse with potential lost due to stupid accidents, etc. and that happens more often than not.

BaroquePony
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:04 PM
Posted by exvet:

In reality we all face very tough decisions and have to come to terms with what we decide to do. For me it's putting down a horse that I feel I moved heaven and earth to get on the ground (but there are now health reasons for which there is no cure). I will be following through on my decision on Wednesday.

Sorry to hear this, exvet. Hope it isn't one of your cool Cobs.

Alterrcation, if you can afford to keep your nice young horse, I would keep him. Have fun. Your other horse still needs a buddy.

blaster
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:20 PM
:All shows are also 3-6 hours away and it is not a sport for the lower income bracket people.

I've got no idea what your current show expenses are, but every time I've been to a dressage show people appear to be spending all kinds of $$. Traveling those distances are not uncommon in eventing. We camp in our trailers at shows, live out of coolers for food, don't get new tack often, and warm ourselves up trainerless. Maybe you could look at your show expenses and see if you could get there?

thatmoody
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:42 PM
I have to second Blaster's recommendation for eventing shows. I've had the most fun there - it's such a relaxed atmosphere, and everyone has made me feel so welcome, even though I'm a wuss who refused to set foot on the cross-country with my Friesian! I camp, we roast hotdogs with everyone else, and just enjoy the atmosphere.

sid
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:46 PM
Question...are you getting pressure from others about your horse? If so I've been there.

I got behind the "timeline" for my last two youngsters and you wouldn't believe the number of people who say "why aren't you do more with them by now...what a waste"? Sometimes circumstances get in the way, so I just blow it off.

I had people telling me that 18 years ago when I didn't even start some of my homebreds until they were 4. And they turned out just great!

SO WHAT, if he doesn't move up the levels at a predetermined pace. As someone else mentioned, he could be injured at any time and never progress at all...and if that happens he will still be with you, and not be sent "down the pike".

If it isn't about showing to you (and I'm sure he could care less...;)), then I would just do the best you can (video lessons that someone mentioned is a splendid idea) and enjoy this fine horse that you are so proud of. :)

Remember, just because someone owns a Masarati or Corvette doesn't mean they have to be a race car driver...:winkgrin:.

FlashGordon
Feb. 13, 2011, 05:46 PM
I've got to agree that what your horse "should" be doing isn't something to worry about. Show ring potential is all well and good, but that doesn't mean the horse has to live up to it. If you enjoy working with him, can provide him a good home where he is happy, and don't want to sell him, then why on earth would you feel like you shouldn't keep him?

I mean, I might be willing to listen to the argument if we were talking about a horse that was somehow guaranteed to rival Totilas or something. Since I doubt that's the case (no offense, I hope you know what I mean), I don't think you need to worry about it.


Agree with this.

The horse has no idea that it has "potential." The horse just wants to eat grass and hang out.

If it is a nice horse that you enjoy riding, why give it up? You will regret it, I am certain. Good horses are hard to come by and if you have one I'd hang onto it and enjoy it, and be grateful the universe sent it your way! Who cares if you guys never light the dressage world on fire, what does it matter in the long run.

duecavalle
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:02 PM
If you sold or free leased the "other" horse would you be able to afford lessons on the more talented one?

Maybe you are considering selling the wrong horse. :sadsmile:

sid
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:07 PM
Good point. "Dressage" horses love to hack out trail ride too when given the opportunity...;):cool:.

sign of Grace
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:20 PM
I "should" be at 3rd level by now on my dressage bred 17.1H Dutch warmblood, but much to my dressage trainers dismay, but seemingly my horse's approval, we are now doing endurance---barefoot.

Bogie
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:28 PM
Do you enjoy riding him? Then keep him!

I bought a very fancy, beautiful mover. He turned out to not be suitable for dressage because he couldn't handle collection (long story but part physical, part early training errors).

I felt terrible about not riding him to his potential.

I also didn't have the money to stay in a program, schelp to shows, etc.

I started foxhunting him and found that he was amazing at that. He loved to jump, he loved to be out and about watching the hounds and he was a blast. I always got compliments about what a lovely mover he was ;).

Foxhunting was less expensive, closer and more convenient to boot.

He never knew that he was bred for dressage. He loved foxhunting.

I guess my message is don't get trapped into thinking your horse has to excel at a particular discipline.

shalomypony
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:32 PM
I "should" be at 3rd level by now on my dressage bred 17.1H Dutch warmblood, but much to my dressage trainers dismay, but seemingly my horse's approval, we are now doing endurance---barefoot.

:winkgrin:Cool!!

sophie
Feb. 13, 2011, 06:42 PM
I guess my message is don't get trapped into thinking your horse has to excel at a particular discipline.

This!

I love all the stories of people enjoying their horses, whatever the discipline and whether they are showing or not.

SisterToSoreFoot
Feb. 13, 2011, 07:25 PM
You don't have enough money to campaign this one? Why not sell the putzing horse, and focus your resources on this one? I don't see why THIS is the horse, of the two, that you'd think of selling??:confused:

I guess I don't get the vent, when you've chosen to own multiple horses. I own one horse and am very poor:(. I can't imagine owning two! Seems to me you could go down to one horse and better pursue your dressage goals.

I agree with all the other posters that your horse doesn't care if he's a big shot dressage horse as long as he's loved and gets attention/exercise. I still don't understand the complaint when you've tied yourself to two horses.

EqTrainer
Feb. 13, 2011, 07:39 PM
Agree with this.

The horse has no idea that it has "potential." The horse just wants to eat grass and hang out.

If it is a nice horse that you enjoy riding, why give it up? You will regret it, I am certain. Good horses are hard to come by and if you have one I'd hang onto it and enjoy it, and be grateful the universe sent it your way! Who cares if you guys never light the dressage world on fire, what does it matter in the long run.

This! Your horse will be fine.

columbus
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:05 PM
I can appreciate all your sadness, it does seem like the 'forces' are against you a lot of the time in life...yes I am bringing in the horses as a metaphor for life...but ultimately it is up to you. I think it is a great idea to have a Pity Party here. There are many many people in the same boat and very few people who are not in the same boat. We all have a limited amount of resources. If it isn't money, it's time; if it isn't one horse, it is the other horse; the saddle doesn't fit; the barn owner is a sad sack; the sitting trot makes me dizzy, menopause s@#ks; the barn is too busy when I want to ride; I am the only one at the barn in the day and it is too dangerous to ride; my horse is lame, I'm lame; a million things. Dressage does not require a judge, an audience, an olympic mount, a trainer. Dressage requires amazement about movement and curiosity about unity and a determination to learn all you can even if you have to re-invent dressage.

All of us have been there. I don't know where you are but I have been poor. I would read and read and read. I would ask questions on the forums. I would make my own education plan. Find an instructor you appreciate and who has been there. Plan to haul over say once a quarter or twice a year and spend 2 days. Take 2 lessons and maybe 2 more on her horses...very intense. Make a plan with her, maybe send periodic tapes or send a tape when you have a problem. Forget about showing and instead clinic with a judge to get an idea where you are at IF you could afford to show. Set a mental goal...bronze medal scores...silver medal scores...gold medal. Ride like you mean it. Don't shlop around, keep your horse and self like you respect yourself and when you ride for the bees knees they will share that respect and treat you as a serious student.

Put an add in the local paper and seek out your local dressage curious with the goal of bringing a clinician in. You are in a good spot not a bad spot...you just need to optimize not criticize. Be creative and invent dressage...it's been done before. PatO

Equibrit
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:09 PM
What you should be concentrating on, is being the best that you can. Your post does not suggest that you are. There is no reason that you couldn't be REALLY good at some other discipline with your great horse - he doesn't care. Whatever you do you should be doing it to the best of your ability. If that means trail riding, chasing cows, doing obstacle courses etc, then so be it. Give yourself a chance to be proud of something. If you think this way, success seems to creep up on you, rather than you experiencing a constant striving for something out of reach. Learn how to just enjoy your horse.

OverandOnward
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:14 PM
If you can give up the idea your horse has a destiny to fulfill, perhaps it will be easier. He doesn't, imo. His destiny may be to make you happy day after day, not set the world on fire.

If you can't give up the idea of his destiny, then would you feel better if you knew he was in a wonderful, progressing show home? Releasing him to reach that future. With something in writing that he comes back to you when his show career is over.

Another option - could you make major life changes and get close enough to the resources you need to show? I suppose there is an income element to those changes as well. Be open minded. You have to think in terms of your destiny as well, that could be what is eating at you.

We choose what we dwell on. If we work to switch our thoughts when we are angst-ing over something we can't/won't change, that alone can solve a lot of problems.

Good luck with your beloved horse. :)

sid
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:19 PM
Columbus... personally, I think you need a big fat Gold Star bestowed upon you for that post. Just wonderful.:)

Mrs.ChickenBritches
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:24 PM
I quit riding dressage over a year ago. I was tired of the nitpickiness of it and the whole "should this" and "should that" garbage that is so prevelant. But before that, I took in a friend's dressage horse that had a career ending injury. He is nicely bred but more than that, he has natural ability and would be at Prix St Georges by now getting ready to move to
I1. My friend was devastated, she had bred this horse specifically to get to the upper levels.

Crap Happens.

I now have a horse that will hopefully be cleared by my vet for hacking and is a blast to ride, and my friend has moved on to her other interest and is culinary school. There is more to horses than just dressage.

questomatic
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:29 PM
I have high standards and goals, and now that this horse is at the age where he should be "doing" something, I am faced with the reality that, it is not going to happen.


Age is only a number. I school second on a blind 26 year old Appaloosa. That's the highest level he has ever been at. Keep him sound and you've got his whole life ahead of you.

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Feb. 13, 2011, 08:34 PM
I have heard this before, my horse could be grand prix, but he will never be that with us so maybe I should just sell him? To what? A barn that will keep him in a stall, ride him rigorously everyday, go to shows every other weekend, ship him across country etc...? What kind of life is that for a horse, just because he was born talented? He is your horse, luckily in your control where you can ensure that he is happy everyday, enjoying playing with you, where he would rather be played with by you than out grazing in a pasture. Imagine if he was at a barn with a trainer where he could "live up to his potential" what if everyday he is being ridden he is actually wishing he could be out grazing in pasture instead? Or out playing with you instead? Enjoy your horse and give him the life he DESERVES! Work everyday to make sure he is happy! Who cares about "living up to his potential!?"

atr
Feb. 13, 2011, 09:10 PM
Agree with Sid...

And you know. it's perfectly OK to enjoy your really nice horse doing whatever floats your boat. There are few things more fun than hacking out on a well-trained, well balanced, good-moving horse. And whilst I enjoy competing, one of my personal aims is always to make my horse into that horse too.

Alterrcation
Feb. 13, 2011, 09:56 PM
Thank you for all the responses. I realize there are a lot of assumptions made because it does not seem relevant to list every detail. I can assure all that I have exhausted all resources for education, no one has ever done more than I have to try to make dressage education more accessible in my area. I read, audit clinics, drive all over the place watching lessons, etc. Everything that is semi-quality is at least 150 or miles away, not easy when you only have Sat. and Sun. to spend on such things.
I own a very nice farm with an arena and a trailer, so housing the horse is a minimal expense. He is pretty valuable and in 5 years when he is still the same in his training, not so valuable. He will be the horse at age 9 or 10 that gets slammed for "only being 1st level". As far as having fun, I think if I could afford the maintenance I could have so much more fun on my other horse (an older FEI horse) because there is no pressure to accomplish anything and so much to learn. Anything I can do with him is a bonus, not expected. I have already by myself accomplished a lot since he was deemed a problem horse and unrideable. He is the second "problem" horse I have successfully had results with, the first an upper level Headshaker that was deemed dangerous that I was able to ride and show.
So yes I guess it boils down to a money thing. Keeping both horses, I am treading water and scraping by. If I sell the marketable horse, I can afford to put some money into the old horse and take as many lessons as I can to learn from his training. Maybe I will get 2 or 3 years out of him of riding. Then I may be able to be better prepared for a younger horse in the future....

xrmn002
Feb. 13, 2011, 10:03 PM
If you don't have to sell him for financial reasons, I definitely wouldn't worry about him not realizing his "potential" as a dressage horse. He doesn't care. : )

Just an extreme example- my trainer has a client who is a wealthy amateur rider and has a Grand Prix horse they say could have gone to the Olympics (and it's probably not much of an exaggeration if any). He showed at Wellington quite a bit when he was 7-9 and created quite a buzz. However, his owner was so stressed by his showing that he hasn't shown since. He's just a big FANCY pet and he is the happiest, soundest horse (at 18) I have ever seen!

sid
Feb. 13, 2011, 10:03 PM
I'm confused by your last post. Is it a money pressure having 2 horses, or an internal pressure of not being able to bring the younger one to your percieved "potential?"...or the thought of making a good buck from selling the younger one so you can afford the older one.

Or all three or some combination thereof? :confused:

dwblover
Feb. 13, 2011, 10:03 PM
What columbus said!:) Great post!!! I for one am not in the "tons of money" category by any means, but I make it work. I found two great clinicians that come to my area every other month and I save up on the non-clinic months to ride with them. They give me homework for the next time. Yes, it is possible to improve greatly only working with someone every other month IF that person happens to be a truly gifted teacher. They are out there, find one!

As for showing, heck I just used my darn tax return money to sign up for a recognized show. I'm hoping and praying that my horse and I get our first level scores toward a USDF bronze medal. I won't show again until November. You can make things work if you cut out unnecessary expenses like braiding (do it yourself), food (bring your own), and splitting the hotel room with someone else going solo to the show. You are not alone, lots of us "underdogs" so to speak are out there.

Your horse loves you and you love him. If you can afford to keep him then I would do just that. Life is a journey, dressage is a journey, enjoy the journey!!! It's not about Grand Prix, it is about each day, each stride, each footfall. It's about that nuzzle your horse gives you each morning. It's about you and him being together and improving each ride.

You CAN learn a ton through videos. I have a subscription to horsehero.com and dressageclinic.com. Two great websites you should check out. Also look into Jane Savoie's programs. If you want it badly enough you will find a way!!!

Elegante E
Feb. 13, 2011, 11:16 PM
Training a young horse is a different ball game from riding a trained horse. It's not something to be done for the first time without help. And if things go wrong, without help, who's going to fix it? Everyone pushing her to keep the horse, are you going to pay for her to bring him to a trainer?

OP: I think you are making an informed decision. Your last post makes a lot of sense. And who knows what the future will bring. Maybe you'll move to a more dressage friendly area and be in a better financial situation to take advantage. You have a sound plan. Good luck.

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:22 AM
Whats keeping you from moving closer to a dressage-y area? Sell everything (except the horses) board them at a nice place and live in a tiny house or apartment so you can put your time and money into lessons and less time and energy on upkeep of property. If your holdin' - let go. Do like Buddah and simplify.

spotted mustang
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:27 AM
don't sell your horse for the horse's sake, just so he can "do" something (go higher levels). Remember, those are human ambitions; they mean nothing to horses.

What horses want is a safe home, good food, an owner who cares for them and spends time with them, and an exercise regime that keeps them sound and happy. As long as you can provide all that, there's no reason at all you should part with him.

AllWeatherGal
Feb. 14, 2011, 07:19 AM
If you're the type of person/rider who thrives in structure, organization, and a program that's guided by a trustworthy instructor/trainer, nothing else quite does the job. If it seems insurmountable to find that guide in a person at this time in your life and you've got a horse looking at you over the fence saying "pick me!" ...

From your second post it sounds like you kinda know what you want to do ... and it makes perfect sense to me. So, you're mostly feeling guilty about selling this horse that you never expected to WANT to sell. And I completely sympathize and empathize and identify with your situation.

I just read a knitting book that spent a chapter discussing fixing mistakes and the author made a point of describing the different ways that different styles of knitters would be happy. You've gotten a wide variety of wonderful suggestions. Choose among them what would work for you, start to take action and you'll feel a weight lift.

(And you might want to consider that the older horse *is* sale-able to someone who wants what he has to offer and has been sharing with you and will devote the resources to keeping him going.)

CFFarm
Feb. 14, 2011, 07:48 AM
Sounds to me that you've pretty much made up your mind. Sell him. But sell him as the breeder, not as a failed upper level trainer/rider. Make sure you can stand to see someone else succeed , or more important, not succeed with him. Otherwise, learn from him and try to live in the moment as horses do.

I had my horse of a lifetime at the worst time. I was a single Mom, working two jobs and a lot of other baggage I won't go into. Sure, I think about what might of been but I also had the best "horsey life" with this girl that I could and savored every day with her.

suzy
Feb. 14, 2011, 08:22 AM
I came away with the same impression as Allweathergal after reading your second post. It sounds as though you have a plan that makes sense, and that you are putting it out there for comments/suggestions from objective outsiders. I feel for you regarding parting with the young, talented horse, but it sounds like your second horse has a lot to offer you in the way of having fun and increasing your education. With the funds from the sale of the first horse, you will be able to do clinics/lessons/shows with the other horse.

The only suggestion I can think of--and without knowing where you live, this may not help--is to find a sponsor or some scholarship money. My local GMO offers about $1,500 per year in scholarship money, and the larger regional organization offers quite a lot more than that. If you aren't already a member of a GMO, you may want to consider joining as a number of them do have $ available for educational purposes. Whatever you decide, good luck to you.

mimiwenk
Feb. 14, 2011, 09:00 AM
I was in the same situation (still am), and have made the decision to "get out of horses". I've been beating my head against the wall for years, trying to do it on my own. I've tried different trainers (all a day's travel to and from) for lessons, even tried the putting horse in full training at their barn. It just isn't working for me. It's hard to get motivated on my own. I understand your situation.

Calamber
Feb. 14, 2011, 09:00 AM
Thank you for all the responses. I realize there are a lot of assumptions made because it does not seem relevant to list every detail. I can assure all that I have exhausted all resources for education, no one has ever done more than I have to try to make dressage education more accessible in my area. I read, audit clinics, drive all over the place watching lessons, etc. Everything that is semi-quality is at least 150 or miles away, not easy when you only have Sat. and Sun. to spend on such things.
I own a very nice farm with an arena and a trailer, so housing the horse is a minimal expense. He is pretty valuable and in 5 years when he is still the same in his training, not so valuable. He will be the horse at age 9 or 10 that gets slammed for "only being 1st level". As far as having fun, I think if I could afford the maintenance I could have so much more fun on my other horse (an older FEI horse) because there is no pressure to accomplish anything and so much to learn. Anything I can do with him is a bonus, not expected. I have already by myself accomplished a lot since he was deemed a problem horse and unrideable. He is the second "problem" horse I have successfully had results with, the first an upper level Headshaker that was deemed dangerous that I was able to ride and show.
So yes I guess it boils down to a money thing. Keeping both horses, I am treading water and scraping by. If I sell the marketable horse, I can afford to put some money into the old horse and take as many lessons as I can to learn from his training. Maybe I will get 2 or 3 years out of him of riding. Then I may be able to be better prepared for a younger horse in the future....

I am sorry, but I have to second the Pity Party post. You own a nice farm and two horses and you are crying because you cannot afford to show like the Wellington people do? Have you looked around you at anyone else lately? How about you take a young really poor rider under your wing, someone who is dying to get out and even touch a horse and teach them what you already know and take "online" classes, ie videorecordings and work on this yourself. At least you have a home and horses. Good grief.

Bronte
Feb. 14, 2011, 10:04 AM
First of all we all deserve a good horse!

I am sorry you are feeling frustrated. Sometimes these things cause us to rationalize how we are living life. I don't know if you have family, or are a single gal, but if you have the freedom to do it, think about changing some of the limiting factors. But hang on to your lovely horse, after all that's what gives you pleasure!:)

SmartAlex
Feb. 14, 2011, 10:08 AM
Here's my take on it, and I'm not being judgemental, because I know where you're coming from.

You think it is best that you sell him, but because you love him, raised him, and you feel like you are giving up on your dream... you feel a little guilty. Guilty for "giving up", guilty for selling a "pet".

Hey, there are worse reasons to sell a horse than "the money sure would be nice". You don't need to use the "I live in a horse free zone" excuse. If you feel like it's time to maybe cash in a little, that's OK. I'm sure he would have a nice life with a more competitive person, and you might find another horse that makes you put a little less pressure on you to be something you don't really want to be right now.

I'm not sure you are seperating in your own heart the issues of making a nice sum of money by giving up your "dream horse" and your frustration on how hard it is to achieve a dream that might not seem worth it anymore.

Sonichorse
Feb. 14, 2011, 11:37 AM
Oh man, do I ever know what you're talking about. I am/was in the exact same position with my filly whom I just posted a video of on another thread. She has world class breeding, attitude, talent, the works and is absolutely my dream horse.

Unfortunately, I am at rock bottom financially and have not been able to get any help until hopefully this week. I had to start her myself in an unfenced outdoor arena and go from there, constantly forcing myself to keep moving forward instead of obsessing about how I was ruining her. She is definitely behind for her age, but the future is bright. I just moved her to a hunter/jumper barn so I can at least have eyes on the ground but it is a huge stretch for me financially.

I think you can use resources like the internet to either get trainers you admire to send you feedback, or, if you're brave enough, ask forums like this to chime in. Then just haul out for a clinic when one comes through your region that seems worth driving to, get it video taped, and work from that. It is hard, but I think the key is to just keep moving forward and not let yourself cave in a moment of weakness. Dressage attracts a lot of perfectionists, and sometimes we have to learn to just put that aside and work with what we have.

scubed
Feb. 14, 2011, 11:51 AM
If personal finances not an issue (meaning you don't need the money from selling him), maybe you would consider leasing him and still own him and get to hear of his dressage progress with someone else. I have done this (in eventing) with a lot of horses and I really love hearing about how my guys are doing in their new (typically totally doting) homes.

SunsAfire
Feb. 14, 2011, 11:59 AM
I bust my buck-maker 6 days a week to afford my "dressage" horse. Most of the time I am too tired to care if we're rushing our leg yields. I get on, relax, and feel my gelding moving underneath me as my team mate. Because I'm so Ramen noodle poor right now, I had to kiss Spring show season (and my bi monthly lessons) goodbye.

I was upset for a little while but now I DON'T CARE! I love my horse, he is my dream come true, and just the pleasure of being around him is enough for me right now! This is supposed to be fun!

I agree that you should consider leasing/selling the other horse. The horse your talking about in your post... it seems you really have a spark with him. Don't dare sell him! Potential is in your eyes, not his. I hope you make your decision easy (: <3

GallantGesture
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:26 PM
Sounds to me like maybe you are confusing your horse's goals/dreams with your own. You are the one that saw an upper level horse in him, he doesn't know upper level anything exists, and likely would think it's just much harder work than hanging out in the field! Think about what you really want for you, and then make a plan to get there.

I was in the same situation last summer. I had my heart horse, an average mover, teenaged ottb with previous injuries that bug him (so not a great prospect for showing/moving up levels) but a heart of gold, and I had a fancy young horse that made me dream BIG. I could keep both horses, but I couldn't afford lessons, clinics, and especially the shows I dreamed of with the fancy young horse! I finally decided that what was really important to me was my bronze medal (then silver, then gold... still dreaming big lol), and that it would actually mean more to me to do it on my heart horse if possible, and that the fancy horse could better serve my goals by providing me the money to reach them than by carrying me into the ring herself.

It was hard to kiss 2 years of training goodbye, but I still hadn't shown her, and the situation wasn't changing. So I sold her, and in a weird twist of fate, ended up finding a super bargain on a trailer (which was another thing holding me back from clinics/shows, I'd been looking forever but couldn't find one cheap enough!), and then a week or two later stumbled upon a very cheap young ottb that just made my heart melt. So I sold the fancy horse, ended up with another young (not quite as fancy but darn nice) horse and a trailer, and still have cash in the bank. I've got the young one started and at some point he will either further my goals by providing me with more money, or I will fall in love and he will take over as my show horse... but for now, I've been really working with that teenaged heart horse, he got $1200 of joint injections (thank you very much young fancy horse!!) and he is SOUND, and I am hauling him out for lessons with a great trainer, and he is doing work I never dreamed he'd be capable of! I am having SO much fun with him, and I'm actually even enjoying riding/dressage more now... no more pressure to show, just desire to show! Bronze medal now appears in reach :)

Decide what your real goal is, and how each horse can best contribute to helping you get there. Once you decide, open your mind and let it happen. I never thought I would find the deal on the trailer like I did, or that I'd even end up with the new young horse I found, but once I set my plan in motion, the rest just fell into place.

SunsAfire
Feb. 14, 2011, 01:33 PM
What you should be concentrating on, is being the best that you can. Your post does not suggest that you are. There is no reason that you couldn't be REALLY good at some other discipline with your great horse - he doesn't care. Whatever you do you should be doing it to the best of your ability. If that means trail riding, chasing cows, doing obstacle courses etc, then so be it. Give yourself a chance to be proud of something. If you think this way, success seems to creep up on you, rather than you experiencing a constant striving for something out of reach. Learn how to just enjoy your horse.

LOVE THIS!

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Feb. 14, 2011, 01:50 PM
Have you checked out any of the emerging online training programs? Or maybe find a trainer who is willing to help you based on evaluating video footage? You can get a lot of feedback just based on a video of your rides.

If he's your dream horse, keep him. You'll find a way. Progress might be slower, but you sound committed to doing your best, so there. :)

onelanerode
Feb. 14, 2011, 02:15 PM
If it is a nice horse that you enjoy riding, why give it up? You will regret it, I am certain. Good horses are hard to come by and if you have one I'd hang onto it and enjoy it, and be grateful the universe sent it your way! Who cares if you guys never light the dressage world on fire, what does it matter in the long run.

Ditto. Especially the "good horses are hard to come by" part.

katarine
Feb. 14, 2011, 02:45 PM
Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.

What I would love to do is be able to show my TWH in NWHA shows that offer the gaited dressage tests. OK I'd like to do that 4-5 times a year, please.

Um, yeah, right: There's exactly one show this year thats the bill. And it's a 4 hr drive from here. And it's not until SEPTEMBER! LOL. Eons from now. Just for EVER. Ok to be fair there's one more: just as far away, in May, but with a work conflict. Sob. Gulping, ragged, sobs.

Heavens, Whatever CAN I do? What I CAN do is take him to the schooling shows that offer these tests, and I'm happy to say that many do just that, give me a place to go play... I ride to the best of my tiny ability, I pay attention to the notes on the test, watch others ride, see my friends bringing their horses along, gossip with my trainer LOL, all the fun stuff. I can take him to a clinic a year, maybe. I audit clinics here and there, too: but like you there's not much going on around here. So what? He's a devil of a trail horse, too, so off we go to the Smokies.

Hey, you chose your place on this rock, just as I did. You can whine and whinge but every day that passes is another day you say oh poor me and another day you wanted and wished and flittered away. Gone. That's it, this ship is going back to port, pronto.

bizbachfan
Feb. 14, 2011, 02:46 PM
I would look into leasing him out through a reputable dressage trainer. The money you save with him leased take more lessons on the "putzer." Maybe in a year or two you and horse will have improved enough to do it "together."

Sandy M
Feb. 14, 2011, 02:56 PM
I sympathize completely. While I am in a show and trainer-rich environment (Northern California), and am a competent if not brilliant rider (an ammy, evented through prelim, have done jumpers, etc.), I still feel the frustration. I have a horse of an "off breed" but he is a lovely mover (most people guess he is possibly half-WB. He's not.) I am not overly ambitious, but would like to get to, say 3rd level, before I'm 70 (I'm 65! LOL). But.... I cannot afford to have him in training, I cannot afford more than two lessons a month, etc., etc. I work hard, but he is not an easy horse, and while I'm not in a "he should be" attitude, it IS frustrating to feel that YOU (generic you - which includes ME!) are not able to reach-realize-fulfill (whatever) the horse's potential. Still, as others have pointed out, the horse doesn't care, so I take my two lessons a month, read extensively, beg, borrow and steal videos, take the occasional clinic, and just do my best. *shrug* You do what you can, and again, the horse doesn't care.

wildlifer
Feb. 14, 2011, 03:34 PM
Don't buy in to the "timeline." My dressage trainer has a GORGEOUS Dutch mare -- bred her out of her old mare, has Iron Spring Farm bloodlines on both sides and is just drop dead drool worthy. She got her going as a four year old but then life and medical issues and financial issues intervened.

The filly is 10 years old now and basically is starting over, so she is GREEN GREEN. So what? She is still gorgeous and because not much was asked of her early in life, she has basically no wear on her body. She has a willing mind and lovely movement and is coming along nicely just training in the backyard. She'll probably still be going when she's 30.

Don't stress so much about "should." Just enjoy the horse.

Kyzteke
Feb. 14, 2011, 05:18 PM
:no:I have created a clever Alter so I can vent, I guess.
I have a dream horse that is the epitome of what most would ever want for dressage. I look at him everyday and really feel like he should be in a place where he can really live up to what his potential is.
I am 100% overwhelmed by how hopeless it it so have a truly nice horse and know that there will be very little progress due to having a low income, living 3 hours from a competent trainer for help, and always riding alone. I am a lower level capable rider. It is not my dream to win in the local schooling shows and be the "queen" of the little local clinics. I have high standards and goals, and now that this horse is at the age where he should be "doing" something, I am faced with the reality that, it is not going to happen. Living out here, everything is so hard. All shows are also 3-6 hours away and it is not a sport for the lower income bracket people. Even if I decided not to show and focus on training, again the distance and expense makes it not a reality.
Yes, he does not know he is a "nice" horse and could care less if he ever gets out of Trg Level. But he is a valuable horse and I feel like the RIGHT thing is to sell him to a rider who will be able to be successful and appreciate him. I have another horse I can ride and putz around on and still work on dressage with.
Yes it all SOUNDS good, but it will kill me to sell him, I raised him since he was born and I will never have a chance to own a horse of his quality again, I could never afford it. I am his breeder, got lucky with what I ended up with.
Has anyone else ever had to make a decision like this? It is very practical, I suppose...


I am going to disagree with the first few posters (admit I did not read all replies), because I have most definitely walked in the OP's shoes.

I bred a horse who I feel had a real talent for dressage. The plan was to keep this horse for me....but as time went on, I realized I simply don't have the drive to pursue dressage to the level this horse could do.

Yeah, the horse could care less - I agree. But I looked at it as a situation where I had a valuble commodity that was being wasted ....and the longer I kept this animal at MY level, the more it was going to lose value.

I to had/have another horse who was/is perfectly capable of fullfilling all my needs in dressage or any other sport -- at this stage in my life I really just need a dependable Ford -- the Porche is wasted on me.

So I took my time and sold the Porche to someone who cherishes it and knows how to use it. We keep in touch, and I share in this person's joy & love in the animal I bred. Plus, as they move up the levels in sport, I am vindicated as a breeder because I know I produced a talented animal.

Plus, that sale gave me some funds to use the Ford to the best of it's ability -- AND mine.

I have/had many of the same issues facing me as are facing the OP, so I understand. Lack of funds, age, physical issues, living in a decidely NONE dressage-y area, etc.

For me, I am at peace with my decision....but it IS hard to give up on a dream, and I hope the OP will either come to peace with HER decision or keep up the good fight with her dressage journey.

Good luck...

Sandy M
Feb. 14, 2011, 06:19 PM
Well, if you need money, the horse is talented and you think you don't have the time/money/talent to develop it, sure, sell it and get a more "suitable" horse with the cash. But if it's merely, "the horse has such potential......" No. Unless you feel overfaced, keep the *&(&*())% horse and develop it yourself, to the best of YOUR ability. The big caveat is DO YOU NEED THE MONEY? Otherwise, develop the horse yourself and consider yourself fortunate to have a nice horse.

HOWEVER, If I may VENT: I think one of the most irrational, to me, statements I ever hear is from people saying something along the lines of "The horse is so talented, I'm holding him back, I must pass him on to someone who can develop his potential." Aaargh!!!! If you are lucky enough to get a talented horse, do your best. The horse will challenge you and you will learn. You will get as far as you get.

I remember an article in Practical Horseman where some poor schmuck took her horse to a Bruce Davidson clinic. She learned a lot. She learned how to handle her talented horse better, BUT.....ooooooh, he was talented, he needed to "develop his potential," so she sold him to Davidson. Like Davidson LACKS horses to ride? I believe the end result was father passed the horse on to son, the horse competed a few times, no big wins but competitive, and was never heard from again. Probably passed on to some ammy like his original owner. Really??? The horse NEEDED to develop his potential??

yankeeclipper
Feb. 14, 2011, 07:41 PM
I agree with what others have said. Just go out and have fun with your horse. Why put so much weight on shoulda, woulda, coulda? Make him the best darn horse for you. If that means he lives a great life hanging out in the pasture - so what.

Kyzteke
Feb. 14, 2011, 09:22 PM
I am probably looking at it more like a breeder....

But I would like to say that just because the horse might be innately talents in dressage, that doesn't mean the rider can bring this brilliance out. The horse still has to be taught.

And often "brilliant" horses are not an ammie ride anyway.

I agree that if the OP gets great pleasure from just having the horse, then by all means, keep it. However do not expect that animal to hold whatever value it has now as the years go by and it is stuck at Trg. Level or develops various bad habits or holes in it's training which is likely to happen with any beginning ammie (beginning to dressage, I mean) who doesn't have alot of pro help. Or, heaven help her, the horse isn't really trained at all!

The animal will lose value -- you can be sure of it (ask me how I know :rolleyes:); so understand that you ARE paying for this horse whether you know it or not.

If this horse has a market value now of, say $12K, and it's 5 yrs old, then in 5 more years and it's only barely scraping by at Training or 1st Level (because of rider issues, which is the reason MOST horses at the lower levels stall out), the horse will have lost 1/3-1/2 of it's value.

So make no mistake -- you are "paying" to keep this horse unless you plan to keep it for life....

Again, if you are in love with the horse, then it's well worth it, but it's important to make a choice you can live with. Because, just like with anything else, there is a optimum time to sell a horse, and sometimes it's tough to tell when that is....

smm20
Feb. 14, 2011, 09:40 PM
Since you are not showing, if your older horse is a good boy, maybe you could use him to teach some basic riding lessons. A few up-down lessons per week might bring in some extra cash.

Or, since you have a nice barn, could you take on a boarder?

GraceLikeRain
Feb. 15, 2011, 01:06 PM
Right now I have the epitome of a "should have" horse. She had the talent and brains to be a solid prelim/one-star eventer and ended up with a series of so-so riders with minimal showing ambitions. She is now 15, out of shape, and happy as anything. I hope to have her back training level test 1/2 by April. By almost anyones standards these are very low goals for such a talented horse.
I actually sold this same mare back in 2008 because I felt like she "deserved" a more ambitous rider and that deep down she wanted a life I couldn't give her. Well that persons financial situation changed and 18 months later I got back a thin, wormy, sad horse. That day I realized that she wants a nice green pasture, a fluffy clean stall at night, and someone who knows all of her itchy spots and her favorite treats. Nothing in life is certain, but for now I can promise her that.
If you love this horse don't let it go unless you absolutely have to do so.

Valentina_32926
Feb. 15, 2011, 01:36 PM
Is it viable to sell him then use the money to:

1. rebreed original sire to dam for another and
2. (in the interim) use the rest of the funds to take some serious (away from home) dressage camp type lessons?

2-3 weeks should make a BIG difference - and once you "get it" you don't "lose it". :D

D_BaldStockings
Feb. 16, 2011, 08:05 PM
So what will it cost you to get this horse noticed by eyes that can ride it to the levels you believe it can reach? Will a good trainer take her in full training as a sales horse at this point? Would she be better with 3-6 months dedicated work?

I only ask because there seem to be few people with the magic combination of money, time, ability and desire to take on a prospect.

Sometimes your horse may sell for a price to another person who will also get stuck at the lower levels...if you really want to see the horse at top training, that is a different goal than maximizing your own riding skills.

Both of these are good goals, but realize that selling the horse for good money to make changes in your own -and their life- isn't a terrible one, either.

And if the new owner should be happily stuck in the lower levels and is also a decent horseman your former horse will still have a good life. Yes, there are other poeple who take good care of horses; selling is not a 'last resort' choice, often it works out best for all in the transaction.

Then there is leasing, if she is truly that wonderful.

Boomer
Feb. 17, 2011, 08:59 PM
I am 100% overwhelmed by how hopeless it it so have a truly nice horse and know that there will be very little progress due to having a low income, living 3 hours from a competent trainer for help, and always riding alone. I am a lower level capable rider. ..... Living out here, everything is so hard. All shows are also 3-6 hours away and it is not a sport for the lower income bracket people. Even if I decided not to show and focus on training, again the distance and expense makes it not a reality.
...

I have a 10 y.o. gelding that I bred and raised.

He's a fancy horse - could he be much farther along with someone else other than with me? Yes. But he's mine and I wouldn't trade him for the world. He's got a great life - lives out 24/7 with a few mares - thinks he's king of the world :)

Do I make a lot? No.

Do I live 3-6 hours from a trainer / shows? Yes. I haul for a lesson twice a month - it's expensive, takes up the whole day and I gotta get down the road to get home afterwards.

There will always be someone who makes more and has lots of access to training.

There will be people wished they had "as much money as I do" to even afford to own a horse. There's someone sleeping in a carboard box tonite. Someone panhandling for money.

I try to focus on what I can change and not what I can't. If you live far away from stuff, look for a new job and relo. I have been but it is a slow go.

red mares
Feb. 18, 2011, 08:04 AM
I understand what the OP is saying. I'm in a similar position, but I haven't decided to sell the horse. Yet. I do saddleseat, not dressage, but I'm NoVA. I may as well be in a desert. I have a 4 hour round trip to a trainer, and when I get to showing, it will be expensive, more so than for most dressage shows, and there aren't many cost cutting measures. It is frustrating. Finding another job in another geographic area would still keep me on the east coast, because that is where jobs in my field are. There are few saddlebreds anywhere along the coast. Besides, I like my job.

I could relocate the horse to NoVA and do dressage, hunt, jump, trail ride, etc, etc, etc. But I DON'T WANT TO. If I had wanted to do any of those things I would not have bought this horse. I would have bought a quarter horse. There have been many posts in other threads about riders who retire from horses completely because they are no longer able to perform at their desired level. This isn't that much different. I would not be happy "making do".

I am well aware, and the OP is too, that there are others who are in a much worse position financially. Horses are nothing but a luxury. But unless one has limitless funds and resources (not necessarily $$), there is a choice that has to be made - a) do you participate at the level you want, b)particpate at the level you can afford, or c)not participate at all. For some type A personalities, 'b' is not really a choice.

SmartAlex
Feb. 18, 2011, 09:38 AM
I understand what the OP is saying. I'm in a similar position, but I haven't decided to sell the horse. Yet. I do saddleseat, not dressage, but I'm NoVA. I may as well be in a desert. I have a 4 hour round trip to a trainer, and when I get to showing, it will be expensive, more so than for most dressage shows, and there aren't many cost cutting measures.

I got ya beat. My last gaited horse, I drove over 4.5 hours one way to the trainer. Made it to 3 shows. Did ok in two, awesome in 1. I look at that blue ribbon every morning (it hangs in my closet) and go ride my barefoot horse bareback. I burned out. But it was fun while the money and ambition lasted :sadsmile:

Holly Jeanne
Feb. 18, 2011, 11:02 AM
I've got a horse that a lot of people have told me is very talented. I've dealt with exactly the same issues you have. She's 18 now and I'm finally getting some lessons on her and I showed her training level at a couple of schooling shows for the first time in the fall. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to have such a nice horse in spite of the fact that we haven't really done anything and she's very happy to have her own little herd (of two) and her own little farm. I've also learned a lot from her, even when I didn't have an instructor.

That said, I also have a potentially very talented hunter that I bred and I'm in the same situation with her. I've decided to put her up for sale for several reasons 1) I don't want to waste the talent of 2 horses, 2) I really need the money, 3) I really can't keep 3 horses in work, 4) she really wants to be someones pampered #1 and 5) she LOVES to jump and I don't.

Good luck with your decision but, if you enjoy the horse, I don't think you are wasting it.

Dressagelvr
Feb. 18, 2011, 11:13 AM
Don't "Should on yourself"!

Your horse could care less if he ever gets out of TL.

Do what you can and enjoy the knowledge that if your position changes, you can always get someone to tune him up again.

red mares
Feb. 18, 2011, 02:05 PM
I got ya beat. My last gaited horse, I drove over 4.5 hours one way to the trainer. Made it to 3 shows. Did ok in two, awesome in 1. I look at that blue ribbon every morning (it hangs in my closet) and go ride my barefoot horse bareback. I burned out. But it was fun while the money and ambition lasted :sadsmile:

I can beat that though - I showed my old mare in Indianapolis out of her retirement home in Fort Wayne. 13-14 hours each way from SE VA. We got a blue ribbon & a crystal bowl in our 1 class. Very expensive blue ribbon:eek: Not bad for horse the trainer wouldn't take to a show 3 months earlier.

CZF
Feb. 18, 2011, 02:36 PM
I don't think your horse stands at the fence looking at you, asking "Why am I not a show horse?" It's obvious you love him, so keep him and just ride. Owning a talented/valuable horse does not equal dressage shows. I'll bet there are many people on this Board, who have equally talented horses and do not show due to circumstances in their lives, but would never give up riding.

This.

I also think it's a far bigger shame, when a top trainer tries to push a good horse beyond what it can handle, because they are "almost all the way there". I'd much rather have a horse who is far more talented than I am so we can grow together. I doubt any horse will complain about the work being too easy ;)

I have a lovely horse, and my only goal is to progress as far and as fast as we can while still having fun. If we max out at second level, so be it. I love him and my only desire for him is to enjoy his time with me as much as I enjoy my time with him.

Mariesonny
Feb. 20, 2011, 08:38 AM
I always say that a horse's long term goal is dinner and short term goal is lunch.

Enjoy your horse. He doesn't care much about his career.

cyberbay
Feb. 20, 2011, 06:21 PM
I know this will be an unpopular answer.

I think the OP is saying that she thinks her nice horse should get a shot at developing his potential. She feels her current situation is standing in the way of that. She did not say that the horse HAS to be a dressage horse and going to the shows. She just feels he might be quite good at it, and doesn't want to stand in his way.

I don't think, just b/c we own a horse, that we can do anything we want with it. Honestly, I think that if Secretariat had not been allowed to run, that would have been a tragedy. Going by the movie (and the outtake segments on the DVD), it would have been a tragedy to not have let that horse reach his potential. Fortunately, he got on the path he should have been put on, by the people who took his budding, albeit erratic, potential seriously.

I think we are guardians, not owners, of our horses. And it is part of our job to do our best to get them to the life they are best suited for. I think all living creatures have potential, and if they are in our care (as a parent, as an 'owner), it is our job to set them up for success.

If this OP, in her heart of hearts, feels that her nice horse will do better in a situation that she currently seems unable to provide, I say kudos to her for not making this horse about herself and for making that horse's wellbeing the priority.

People can say the horse doesn't care about a career, but there are many, many horses who through good training, have found themselves thriving as a jumper, trail horse, lesson horse, or dressage horse. Horses may not pull out the calendar and plan the next three months of training and showing, but lots of retired horses get bummed out when they 'lost their job.'

HSS
Feb. 20, 2011, 06:27 PM
:yes:
I always say that a horse's long term goal is dinner and short term goal is lunch. :yes::yes:

But as you do not wish to keep him, and do wish to see him go on, see what you can do to sell him to a more advantaged rider. Horses DO like to advance in their training and some horses live for it, just as we do. Between rides though, most horses want to bask in the sun with their buddies and snooze. That's 22 hours out of every 24, so a good lifestyle is vital when you accept an offer on him.

Shagyas Rock
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:38 AM
Hello! You have received a lot of wise and empathetic replies. I would like to add my 2 cents (maybe worth 1 cent with inflation :)
No matter who you are, or what your income, or where you live, you will always have drawbacks, barriers, challenges of one kind or another. You certainly have your share of them. But one of the things I've learned in my old age is that things change - as often for the better as not. . .
You have bred a wonderful horse; that is a blessing and a gift. Who knows? Someday you may have a better job, with more income, etc. or you may find yourself moving somewhere closer to a trainer etc. You never know. If your horse is young, you have all the time in the world to develop him; going up the levels more slowly might be better for the horse than moving faster anyway, and in the meantime, do what your collegues have suggested: enjoy him. There is a lot you can do just hacking out. . .
I am not rich and I have weathered many setbacks on my "dressage path" but so have many many others. It's about staying in the game more than anything else - in whatever way makes sense to you. Some of my barriers are having no indoor arena and living in an area where winter can ground you for six months at a time. . . I have found I can do quite a bit of schooling on the road (leg yields from one side of the road to the other, shoulder and haunches in, transitions, half-halts!) I also went back to school for an advanced degree that allows me a job with a bit more money but ironically less time. . .:) so there is always something in one's way, it seems. My trainer is three hours away too. I have fewer lessons than I'd like but the ones I do have are awsome and give me lots to work on at home, and in the meantime I read, watch videos, audit clinics. There are ways and ways of staying in the game if you love it and it's what you want.
I can understand how very discouraged you must feel, but in the end it's about what you really want. If you want to keep the horse and carry on in whatever way you can, more power to you. You may find your fortunes changing for the better at some point.
I wish you the very best and I hope what whatever decision you make, is the one that makes you most happy.

Velvet
Apr. 19, 2011, 12:29 PM
Face it, everyone out here will have an opinion. Asking this board for suggestions and ideas is probably not going to help you make up your mind. You are writing out here that you've already given up (at least in the OP). If you have, then sell the horse, take the money and run.

If you were serious about riding, you'd make a complete lifestyle change to be able to reach your goals. If you aren't serious about it, but instead have some ideal in your mind that you know you are not going to be able to make the sacrifices to meet, be a realist and give it up. It's okay. You can do something else and be just as satisfied with your life as you think you would be if you somehow fulfilled your dressage fantasy. (In this scenario you can keep or sell the horse. Six of one, half dozen the other.)

If you are serious, then make major changes. No more pity parties. Low income and living in an area away from trainers is an excuse. Anyone can move and find side jobs that will help make up the difference so you can pay for the lessons and board for the horse.

JMO

SillyHorse
Apr. 19, 2011, 01:05 PM
I know this will be an unpopular answer.

I think the OP is saying that she thinks her nice horse should get a shot at developing his potential. She feels her current situation is standing in the way of that. She did not say that the horse HAS to be a dressage horse and going to the shows. She just feels he might be quite good at it, and doesn't want to stand in his way.

I don't think, just b/c we own a horse, that we can do anything we want with it. Honestly, I think that if Secretariat had not been allowed to run, that would have been a tragedy. Going by the movie (and the outtake segments on the DVD), it would have been a tragedy to not have let that horse reach his potential. Fortunately, he got on the path he should have been put on, by the people who took his budding, albeit erratic, potential seriously.

I think we are guardians, not owners, of our horses. And it is part of our job to do our best to get them to the life they are best suited for. I think all living creatures have potential, and if they are in our care (as a parent, as an 'owner), it is our job to set them up for success.

If this OP, in her heart of hearts, feels that her nice horse will do better in a situation that she currently seems unable to provide, I say kudos to her for not making this horse about herself and for making that horse's wellbeing the priority.

People can say the horse doesn't care about a career, but there are many, many horses who through good training, have found themselves thriving as a jumper, trail horse, lesson horse, or dressage horse. Horses may not pull out the calendar and plan the next three months of training and showing, but lots of retired horses get bummed out when they 'lost their job.'
I agree with you. The OP understands that the horse does not care.


Yes, he does not know he is a "nice" horse and could care less if he ever gets out of Trg Level.
But she is also thinking that he could give someone else the opportunity to shine. I think that's comendable, and a good reason to sell him, especially when she has another horse she can enjoy.

But he is a valuable horse and I feel like the RIGHT thing is to sell him to a rider who will be able to be successful and appreciate him. I have another horse I can ride and putz around on and still work on dressage with.

suzy
Apr. 19, 2011, 01:05 PM
Sheesh, Velvet. Did you trip getting out of bed this morning and smack your little head! :lol: I do get what you are saying to a point. However, the job market has changed so dramatically in the past 3-4 years that I, for one, wouldn't dare quit my job and move just to be closer to a trainer. Heck, I'm not even sure I could sell my house in this market. And, the OP may have an SO and/or children to consider.

Anyway, I am in the camp that believes horses are not concerned about career ladders, seeing their names in print, their faces on the cover of "Dressage Today," or having vacation barns in exotic locations. They are much more concerned with a reliable source of food and water, comfort, a safe haven, and companionship. All the other stuff is stuff we impose on them--they can happily do without it.

stolen virtue
Apr. 19, 2011, 01:36 PM
By the time my children were old enough to not toddle around the showgrounds-nonhorsey husband-and my finances allowed me to show locally, my horse went lame. I fell apart over not being able to show a talented calm horse that I waited to show but my horse was OK, even though he loved to show. I think he missed it but when I just could not go out and face my pain and ride him, he missed me more.

I would love to have the life and money that allows me to ride and show, but I don't. I work full-time and now have two horses and it is hard. I am also a show mom to my daughter now, my showing is essentially over. I have horses and my daughter loves to ride, and I am blessed. It is hard having to rearrange your goals but that is just a part of life.

jn4jenny
Apr. 19, 2011, 01:56 PM
Folks, the thread is over two months old. It was bumped by a newbie poster in post #72. Something to keep in mind as you talk amongst yourselves. ;)

InWhyCee Redux
Apr. 19, 2011, 02:08 PM
I hate the word "should." He should be doing more. He shouldn't be just a TL horse. I should sell him.

Maybe his talent is not upper level dressage (potential is nothing if it's not what you want) but instead it's being the best all-around horse ever. Your all-around horse.

He's your horse. Do whatever you want with him. Period. End of story. Stop worrying so much and have fun with him. If you don't need to sell him, don't.

Agreed. Free-lease him to some deserving young rider/WS who can't afford her own horse and who would happily live on Ramen noodles if need be while your horse proves himself. And if he doesn't prove himself — well, he's still your horse. ;)

webmistress32
Apr. 19, 2011, 02:39 PM
my favorite saying about my talented horse matched up with my unambitious self is: "he's my horse, I deserve a nice horse and I'll waste his talent all I like!"

:-D

YAY for me. he's your horse. have fun with him. and waste his talent all day long!

oops sorry, old thread; well hopefully the OP is still subscribed and she'll get an email at midnight...

Wayside
Apr. 19, 2011, 02:47 PM
Folks, the thread is over two months old. It was bumped by a newbie poster in post #72. Something to keep in mind as you talk amongst yourselves. ;)

I'd noticed that as well, though it seems like it's a common enough theme. Though the OP has hopefully made a decision by now, I can't imagine s/he was the only one on this board who wonders if they are wasting their horse's talent and/or feels held back by finances.

Velvet
Apr. 19, 2011, 07:01 PM
Sheesh, Velvet. Did you trip getting out of bed this morning and smack your little head! :lol: I do get what you are saying to a point. However, the job market has changed so dramatically in the past 3-4 years that I, for one, wouldn't dare quit my job and move just to be closer to a trainer. Heck, I'm not even sure I could sell my house in this market. And, the OP may have an SO and/or children to consider.

Anyway, I am in the camp that believes horses are not concerned about career ladders, seeing their names in print, their faces on the cover of "Dressage Today," or having vacation barns in exotic locations. They are much more concerned with a reliable source of food and water, comfort, a safe haven, and companionship. All the other stuff is stuff we impose on them--they can happily do without it.

I'm just saying...life is full of tough choices. Sometimes we have to recognize reality and make the tough choice. If it's truly that important, you'll take the risk and find a way to do something. If it's not (and we've all been there) then you accept it and figure out something else that's less ambitious, or you replace it with something that's feasible.

Not glass half full or half empty, but a glass that has liquid in it that is at the half way point between full and empty. :yes:

Lynnwood
Apr. 19, 2011, 08:23 PM
If he is as nice as you say and you are torn between his potential and your ability to afford it what about trying to find a young or even seasoned pro that would be willing to go into partnership with you on the horse.

There are several breeders on this board that have done so successfully Sakura Hill Farm is the first that pops into my head. Making some of their best available for training /competition partnerships. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too. Just as always get it all in writing

http://www.sakurahillfarm.com/horses.php?HOID=53

blackhorsegirl
Apr. 21, 2011, 07:53 AM
There's too much stress in our lives. Relax and don't worry. Your horse is hardly pining for the ribbons he's not winning. It's clear you love him and, unless your desperate for the cash, why sell?

How do you know that next month or next year a dressage instructor won't move in down the road? Life's too short. Your horse's potential could be nothing more than to bring you joy and peace of mind. If he succeeds at that, he's more valuable than an Olympic gold medalist.