For me, the decision would depend on how much your horse is currently worth. Losing out on $50,000 sale would be different from losing out on a $10,000 sale or a $5,000 sale.
It sounds like what you like about riding is the competing. Do you have goals like wanting to the make the Olympics? It's hard to tell what you want long-term. I just enjoy being with the horses, so grooming and trail-riding makes me immensely happy. You mention you don't want to ride unless you do it at a "high level." Do you mean showing at the top?
Just to give you some background info and without disclosing too much, this horse is/was a successful jr hunter, equitation horse and has dabbled in the jumper ring as well. Shown lots of big places with lots of good results, gone to medal finals, etc. Infer price point from that info. The horse could mean part of a downpayment on a first house for me.
Originally Posted by Abberlaze
I most definitely do not have Olympic dreams, but do enjoy showing on the A/AA circuit, as it's what I've done most of my life. My parents aren't hitting the Fortune 500 by any means - they actually sacrificed a lot for my riding habit and gave up many luxuries of their own, but as I've become accustomed to having a nice horse and showing at a high level, I don't think I'd enjoy a once a week 3' lesson on a schoolie. I know that sounds a bit awful, as having horses in your life at all should be considered a luxury, but I'd just rather pay to have exactly what I want at the level I enjoy, or just not at all.
Alter, if you are anything like me, I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be happy plodding around on a school horse after having something so nice. Good for you for knowing that about yourself. That said, if you sell now, it could be 15 years until you can afford to purchase another horse of the same quality as your current.
Originally Posted by Hello, I'm An Alter!
With all you've said the horse has done, if you want to hang on to him, I am quite sure you could get a handsomely-paid full lease. It will probably be out-of-barn, but there are plenty of good trainers out there and parents of juniors who don't want to go whole-hog on purchasing. So, if you need a year or two to get on your feet and want some decent cash up front, leasing could be a great way for you to go. 1/3 of his purchase price per year is still a very sizable chunk of cash.