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Advice Appreciated - Keep/Lease/Sell

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    Advice Appreciated - Keep/Lease/Sell

    I have been dealing with a bit of a dilemma for the past while now regarding my current horse, and I apologize in advance if my post gets long. My horse has turned out nicer than I ever dared to dream. Before buying him I had a bunch of resale projects that I successfully trained and sold in order to get the next horse and slowly worked my way up to my current one. When I bought him I bought him to keep long term as I was extremely tired of dealing with selling horses. I have had him 7 years now, got him as a yearling, did all of the training myself and truly ended up with a nicer horse than I could have hoped for when purchasing him as a yearling.

    My current dilemma is that with the stage I am at in my career I am feeling like he is almost going to waste with me keeping him. I have time to ride 4 days a week and he is going just as well with 4 days of work as he did with the 6 I was used to, but I don't have the time or really the desire to get him out to show. I know that horses don't care whether they are out showing, and that he is pretty content with his current lifestyle so I am not in a rush to make a change but I keep on feeling like he should be somewhere he can show an ambitious junior the ropes of showing.

    Am I insane for feeling like I shouldn't have a horse that has already been very successful in the 3'3 hunter divisions and is ready to step up to 3'6 and do more derbies because I don't have the time to get him out showing regularly? Would a lease seem like a good idea for a year or two in case I change my mind about showing? With leases how do you manage to vet the home the horse is going to? Would it be better to sell if the right situation came up, or do I just enjoy having a horse that I can jump on bareback in a halter and take for a trail ride around the property one day, school 3 tempi changes the next, and jump around a course the following day and to just appreciate that I wound up with a really nice horse?

    I know the reality is that if I sold him I would wind up taking in another horse that was either in need of an upgrade, or a youngster that shouldn't be doing too much work at the stage it is at in its life because I am not looking to get out of the horse world just genuinely feel like my current gelding is going to waste. I also admit that I feel like the sensible decision from a financial point would be to sell the horse that could pay off a decent portion of my mortgage rather than keep him to have some fun playing around with him.

    Has anyone been at a similar point with a horse? If you have been what have you done and did you feel after the fact that you made the right decision?

    A lease can be a great solution - if you can find the right person which is not easy! I would only do it if I knew and trusted the persons, or the horse would be with a trainer I knew and trusted. Are you currently working with a trainer? If so, I wouldn't hurt to ask if they have any clients that would be a good match. But if I were you I'd just enjoy riding my nice horse in the manner that works for me


      If this is a horse that is going to bring in a truly interesting amount of money, and you need that money to move forward in your life, then this becomes a financial decision as much as an emotional one. If you could get $50,000 to $100,000 for a horse and that money would actually help you in your life, that's a real dilemma. Or if you could lease him out 3 years in a row for $30,000 a year.

      i think that if you need to maximize your financial return on this horse you should be selling him sooner rather than later, because leases are risky and his value will only decline each year.

      On the other hand, if you don't really need the money, then there is nothing wrong with keeping the nicest horse you have ever had, and enjoying him. There is no reason to feel guilty that you aren't living up to his potential. There is no reason also that you owe it to any ambitious junior to supply her next level up horse. If he is a nice all around horse for you and you are proud of the job you did on him, then keep him forever and ride 4 times a week.

      Really, the question is whether you need the cash that selling this horse would provide. If you don't, then keep him and enjoy him.


        If you enjoy him and it's not putting financial stress on you I say keep him. Like you said he doesn't care that he's not showing and being competitive. I totally get what your saying about feeling guilty, my gelding is an absolute saint. He's the type of horse that can win any small jumper class, honestly he would probably jump the course with or without you. But with my greener horses taking up most of my time he doesn't get ridden super often, and I've felt that maybe he'd be happier with someone who can get more use out of him. I ultimately decided to keep him because he's a little quirky (AKA very wild in the warm up ring, won't deal with a rider who doesn't have super soft hands, doesn't like being turned out with other horses, ect.) Plus for me it was nice to have something to take a relaxing ride on once in a while. He honestly only gets ridden 2-3 times a week but he loves it, once a year we go to my local schooling show and he cleans up. Was it selfish to keep him? Maybe. Could he have taught a new rider the ropes? Sure. But as cheesy as it sounds, he's definitely my favorite horse, and that's why I ultimately decided to keep him. If I hadn't loved him as much as I did I would have sold him, I resold more talented horses then him but I have always kept him because he has always been my favorite.
        Plus if your felling like you don't have alot of extra time how would you manage with a greener horse or something that needs tuning up?


          He is a horse which should bring an interesting amount of money which I think is part of the reason for my dilemma. I can comfortably afford the costs of living and horse ownership so this is not a NEED to sell situation but I would be lying to myself to say that getting $50,000 plus for a horse wouldn't have a significant impact at this stage in my life.

          He is also only 8 so I figure his value shouldn't start to drop too quickly if I take a year to decide whether to just enjoy being lucky enough to have purchased/trained such a horse, or to make the sensible choice and sell. That being said I am also realistic enough to know that I will have to get him out to some shows each year to keep his value where it is at...

          I think right now I am trying to decide whether to make the sensible choice, sell and hope to see him go on to accomplish a lot with an ambitious junior or amateur and be proud to have been involved in giving him a great start. Or to make the impractical but appealing choice of keeping him and just enjoying getting to ride him.

          The irony is if he was a hot difficult horse I would not be faced with this debate, I would just be keeping him since he would be a tough sell, and not worth much...


            To answer the question of how I would have time for a greener horse, with all the 3 and 4 year olds I have ridden in the past I won't work them more than 3 - 4 days a week usually for less than 30 minutes because of not wanting to put too much stress on them when they are growing and all have progressed really well and I definitely have that many days to still dedicate to riding.


              If, for you, it would be a significant windfall to sell - then perhaps get him going again and feel out the market. And price him high! No use giving someone a deal on a horse you don’t need or even really want to sell.

              But what I really wanted to chime in to say is that there are plenty of folks who would be thrilled to own a super nice one “just” to play with, who would be thrilled to make it out to the barn 4 times a week and thrilled to show a couple of times a year, because life is busy and horses are expensive and how amazing would that be?! You have no obligation to sell him to a busy show home just because he’s a nice one.


                You have an interesting dilemma. Let me make it more simple....If he were gone, would you be sad, relieved, looking for a new challenge, or think about it for a few months and likely hang it up? Once you have a sales agreement, there is no turning back without a lot of likely complications. What will make you the happiest? Don't worry about guilt--your horse does not have an ego, and you should take pride in what you and your equine partner have created. Just do what will make you happy and fulfilled. If you don't know, please.......just don't hurry in your decision-making.


                  It sounds to me like you enjoy the process of bringing them along. Is that true? If so, maybe this one has completed his journey with you. Perhaps he should go teach someone else the ropes, while you use your gifts and talents to bring along another. If you just enjoy riding him, and have no yearning to get another greenie, I say keep him. But if your passion lies in the process, then yes, maybe you should sell and enjoy the financial windfall.


                    Does he currently have a show record? Are you a big enough name on the circuit, or have a bnt name to market him to the $50k+ crowd? Those will both be factors on his price tag. If the answer to those is no, you may be better off to lease him to a good junior or adult ammy riding at a reputable farm that can put a solid year of showing on him before you try to sell him.


                      Throwing out a new idea that hasn't been posted yet- Have you thought about half leasing him? It could be an awesome opportunity for a junior that doesn't come from a lot of money, he'd be in more work during the week, his talents wouldn't be 'going to waste', you would still get to enjoy him, and you'd get a bit of extra money. On the downside you wouldn't be getting the large lump sum from his sale price.


                        Sounds like a pretty high value horse to be keeping as a pet. As horses age they have less value and opportunity. A lease would be a good way to kick the can down the road and potentially increase his value as well. The thing to look for would be a trainer and program you trust. Even that can’t insulate you against injury, but it’ll go a long way toward making sure his care is top notch.


                          I'm inclined to say you should keep him! Everyone deserves what you just described

                          However- I'd also say that you can put him on the market without actually parting with him. Perhaps putting him on the market will give you the 'opportunity cost' information you're lacking to feel like you're making an informed decision.

                          For what its worth- I, too, ended up with a MUCH nicer horse that I imagined when I purchased. Is the money tempting? maybe a little but mostly I'm just so thankful to have a partner like I have. Also- candidly what would it take to replace her? Every dollar of profit. Life is short, I vote that you enjoy your horse.


                            Either keep him -- a nice horse will stay nice being ridden 4 days a week and staying at 3'3" and below (and god, isn't it nice to have a horse that is going great being ridden only 4 days a week and that you've brought up yourself??)


                            Sell him -- price him high like the others say. But don't get heart broken if he gets ruined or broken.

                            Don't lease him. That can end ugly. Bad riding. Bad care. He could very quickly become not nice and not be enjoyable to you or worth much if he develops a quit or some vice.


                              If you enjoy him, keep him. It would take you another 7 years of a lot of work to replace him, assuming the new one was a similar match both personality wise and physical ability.



                                Talented horses that sit for a year or are not shown can be a red flag for many. If he is indeed as nice as you say then advertise him and see if you get any interest.

                                I personally wouldn't let a horse with that value or potential out of my handling / control unless I sold him. I know every day is an opportunity to become unsound,( injured, ruined, etc..) but I would rather it happened on my watch and not in the hands of an off site lease.

                                Keep and enjoy what you have or sell.


                                  When I had one of those gems I received a good offer - my veterinarian friend said, "Put dollar signs, in your eyes, put dollar signs in your eyes." They can get hurt so easily. So I did, and paid off our mortgage even though it broke my heart, family came first.

                                  The I learned that there is more than one pebble on the beach - I have bred three more and all are special
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                    Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                                    When I had one of those gems I received a good offer - my veterinarian friend said, "Put dollar signs, in your eyes, put dollar signs in your eyes." They can get hurt so easily. So I did, and paid off our mortgage even though it broke my heart, family came first.

                                    The I learned that there is more than one pebble on the beach - I have bred three more and all are special
                                    I was coming here to say this. It would be very hard for me to turn down $50k plus for something that could be only worth emotional value tomorrow.

                                    Luckily for me, no one is knocking down my door for my retired OTTB with some loose screws or my middle aged with maintenance needed WB mare. LOL!


                                      When this has come up I have asked myself how I would feel if I didn’t sell and the horse had a major injury next week and was essentially a pasture puff. Would I be bitter, or would I be somewhat regretful but still happy to have the horse?

                                      Personally I wouldn’t sell. He sounds like a phenomenal horse. Your life might be different in 2-5yrs and you might want to do lots of showing then - and if you don't, does it matter?

                                      I’ve had a few offers over the years for mine and I have no regrets not selling him – even after he strained a suspensory and was questionable about jumping again. He’s just special to me and I enjoy him every day.


                                        Mine was never worth five figures, but when asked if I’d sell him my reply was “I spent all this time and effort training him for me not someone else”! Enjoy what you’ve made and keep him safe.
                                        Not my monkeys, not my circus.