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What Do You Love More, Your Horse or the Discipline?

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  • What Do You Love More, Your Horse or the Discipline?

    I have been leasing a horse for a year now and had been offered full ownership of her. I love this little horse, I know what to expect from her and she is an easy keeper. My income just went up so I can finally afford my own horse but...I am in love with dressage and don't know if I would keep her as my forever horse. I realize not every horse can reach the upper levels of dressage. I have bonded with this horse and don't know if I could ever part with her which means I would probally top out at third level. I love dressage and want to earn my medals. Then she looks at me with those beautiful eyes and nickers her welcomes everytime she sees me how could I ever betray her? Ugh, so do you love your horse more than the sport or the sport more than your horse?

    Dawn
    Dawn

    Patience and Consistency are Your Friends

  • #2
    Third level is pretty darn high as it is.

    Personally, I wanted a horse, and if he didn't turn out to be suitable for foxhunting, well, I don't have to foxhunt or I can figure out how to have two. If I like him, get on with him, I'll keep him, and if he can't do exactly what I asked, I'll figure out what he can do.
    Author Page
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    • #3
      The horse. I've changed my focus more than once to accommodate my horse's expressed preferences. This is, of course, a highly individual choice. If I am bonded to a horse, I would not get rid of it to pursue a specific discipline. Other folks make different choices which are correct for them.
      Eileen
      http://themaresnest.us

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      • #4
        Honestly? I love the sport more (show jumping). If I have a horse he will be well taken care of and well ridden, and as long as he holds up his end of the deal I will hold up mine. If the horse ends up not willing or capable of the level I want to do with it, it is sold to someone for whom the horse will be useful.

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        • #5
          Horse. Hands down.
          www.specialhorses.org
          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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          • #6
            Horse.

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            • #7
              The horse.

              But I do wonder... how realistic is it for you to "get your medals"? (I'm a straight up hunter rider, and I (shamefully) know VERY little about dressage, especially at the level you seem to be talking about!).

              You say your income just went up. Will it ever go up enough that you CAN get a horse that can do Prix St Georges or whatever comes after 3rd? I mean, THAT sounds like a pretty freakin' expensive pursuit. Would it mean you have to buy a baby that is a prospect, or are you really good with savings and could afford to buy the horse that definitely can get there (as definitely as anything is in the horse world, anyway)? Are YOU immediately ready to ride at a higher level than 3rd? And, are you immediately ready to obtain a horse to match? If not, you gotta ride something in the mean time.

              I honestly and truly am not trying to rain on your parade. It just sounds like this horse means a lot to you, and if you're only passing on her because you have a dream that isn't significantly obtainable... you're kinda throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

              Many people have big dreams. Maybe you really will get all the way to yours. But if it's not really logical and on the horizon... I'd say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

              And now I'm done with the cliche sayings.

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              • #8
                Horse. No question about it! It is why I have managed to collect quite a few though, haha! If I fall in love with a horse and develop a deep partnership and bond with them, they are with me for keeps, and more than once I have had to adjust to accomodate a horse. That does not mean I do not pursue my own passions (I am currently pursuing show jumping to the upper levels with two prospects), just that I have to work things out so as to serve the best interests of both my horses and myself

                I know how you feel though, I've been tracking a racehorse I developed a strong bond with (same deal as your mare - I see those eyes and hear that nicker and absolutely melt!) and am waiting for him to finish his career just so that I can bring him home - even if just to retire him and allow him to be a gorgeous pasture puff. I lost track of him at one point though and had assumed he had been shipped off on someone's dinner plate in France already (he's 8 this year and has a long list of previous injuries) - and not a day passed that I didn't think about him. If you love this mare, keep her - IME you will regret passing her up. Take her as far up as she will go - whether it be 3rd level or beyond. At that level, you can then perhaps lease her out whilst pursuing your dressage career with another horse (or who knows, maybe you will be happy at that level!). If you lease her at a later date you maintain a say in her future and can ensure she always has a great home, yet can afford the horse who will take you higher.
                ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

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                • #9
                  Horse, but at my level I don't really have a "discipline".

                  But if you take this horse, who's to say you'll never progress past level 3? In the future you might be able to lease, or even own, a horse that can go further. Getting this horse now doesn't keep you from ever owning another in the future.
                  And if this horse is fairly young and you take her to level 3 and she's sound, you could sell her on, or lease her out.
                  Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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                  • #10
                    Horse. However, that is an individual decision which requires some searching on each of our own parts.

                    I would add though, that if you truly aspire to participate in a performance discipline that will surpass the horse's ability, and you are NOT yet in love with this horse, I would pass on the horse and get one that will allow you to reach your goals without becoming frustrated. That only becomes cyclical, depressing, and is never healthy for the poor horse.

                    Good luck making your decision.
                    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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                    • #11
                      My horse. However, she's more talented than I am so I wonder how she feels about being stuck with me?? /paranoid
                      You are what you dare.

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                      • #12
                        The horse. When I was looking for my first horse, I wanted a huge unbroke two year old that could show all the APHA HUS classes. The day that I wanted to go look at some paints, my mom was busy and couldn't travel that far, so I went to go look at a champagne foundation bred QH. When I walked in and looked at her, it wasn't exactly love at first sight, but more of a "well you're the one/we're stuck together" feeling. I wouldn't trade my horse for the world though. She isn't the HUS horse that I wanted, she just doesn't track up, but she can averagely do anything I want to do- jump, barrels, WP, reining, dressage, etc. She's amazing and will do anything I ask her to...that's worth more to me than any blue ribbon or level of achievement in a discipline. Luckily for me though, she has chosen the discipline that I enjoy the most, hunters, but I guarentee you that she won't ever win anything big. I'd advise anyone to take horse over discipline, but I'm also not out to judge people who do chose their discipline. I think the question is whether you are in it for the sport or the relationship.

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                        • #13
                          horse
                          Every horse CAN piaffe, but not all can piaffe and win. I think the truly beautiful journey of dressage is the exploration of your horse's abilities, and the undying fact that every horse will surprise you with a hidden talent. every horse
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks everyone I enjoyed reading all the responses. Thankfully I don't have to make a decision today. Only if a buyer comes along and she is not advertising this mare so no pressure.
                            Yes getting my medals is a lofty goal. I have lots of smaller goals too but this is something I really want. I have a pretty amazing support system so I feel confident in obtaining this goal and I love a challenge

                            Dawn
                            Dawn

                            Patience and Consistency are Your Friends

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                            • #15
                              The horse...always.

                              Bear in mind...if you are good enough someone will romance you with a horse and sponsorship so it is a moot point really. Get the horse your love and enjoy the ride
                              I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                              Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

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                              • #16
                                From the title, I thought you were asking if I'd pick a horse that couldn't do my preferred discipline at all (ie, buying a horse to do jumpers with that couldn't jump, for example) ... not one that simply might not be able to go as far as I wanted.

                                Two different questions, obviously. I adore my horse but I bought him specifically to do hunters/eq. If it turned out he couldn't jump, or jump well enough to be competitive... I might look into other options. For instance I think it would be interesting to pursue some more serious dressage work, so if he could do that, I'd switch disciplines and see what we could accomplish in a new arena.

                                On the other hand, if I was told we could only trail ride... that would be a bigger challenge for me. (I don't particularly care for trail riding, and there aren't many opportunities for it in my area.)

                                I've had this horse since he was a youngster (he's now 11) and I am very attached to him. In the trail riding only scenario, I don't think I could sell him but I might lease him out to someone who enjoyed that kind of thing, and get myself something I could compete on.
                                **********
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                -PaulaEdwina

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                  horse
                                  Every horse CAN piaffe, but not all can piaffe and win. I think the truly beautiful journey of dressage is the exploration of your horse's abilities, and the undying fact that every horse will surprise you with a hidden talent. every horse
                                  oh, beautifully stated!
                                  www.specialhorses.org
                                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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                                  • #18
                                    Horse! Mine will never "take me up the levels" in dressage, but we're having a blast seeing what we can do, and I find that dressage has a special way of humbling you just when you thought you had it figured out.

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                                    • #19
                                      I do think, on reflection, my answer would be different if I were intending to riding as a business professional. Then I would have to consider suitability--I can't make a living riding and training GP jumpers if my horse can't go over 3'. But that's an entirely different LIFESTYLE. If I'm a true amateur--just doing it because I like the sport--then it's about the horse.
                                      Author Page
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                                      Steampunk Sweethearts

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                        I do think, on reflection, my answer would be different if I were intending to riding as a business professional.
                                        That's a great point. And it depends on your goals - if you are determined to show to the top of the field in your chosen discipline, you may have to go through a few horses to get the one that can help take you where you want to go. It is a foreign view to me - BUT that doesn't mean it isn't a valid one.

                                        For me, I love to try different things. Due to some restrictions imposed on me by Mother Nature, the chances of me being at the top of anything are slim (unless I win the lottery and can get a truck & trailer driving chauffeur ). So I enjoy learning what is best for the horse - and I like figuring out what is best for each horse. I'm fortunate, too, to have my own place where my old guys can retire in peace...
                                        Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                        Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

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