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WWYD--breakup and horses question

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  • WWYD--breakup and horses question

    I recently ended my relationship with my partner of 8 years (if it matters, it hasn't been a bitter breakup, just that we'd been having problems for the last couple of years and counseling and the like only did so much--we'd grown apart too much). We weren't legally married, so this is just all being hashed out between us. He was never really horsey, but he did buy a horse to ride with me. The problem was that he bought a horse that was too much for him (would it be petty of me to say, "I told him so" here? because I totally did, but he bought her anyway), so I had to ride her for about 3 years. Then, with work and other issues he's barely been on her...we've owned her for almost 6 years and I think he's been on her less than 50 times. Maybe less than 30 even. Still, he did go out and give her treats and dote on her a bit.

    He also has shown little to no interest in the day-to-day care of the horses, and I have paid all their bills. I'm a farrier so I handle hoofcare myself of course, but he's also only rarely (if ever) contributed to their feed or vet bills. In his defense, I have never asked him to, but I think he doesn't really understand how to care for a horse or how much it costs, even though I tried to explain it to him.

    The horse is legally mine. Her brand inspection and registration papers are both in my name (he wasn't willing to pay for or take the time to transfer either, so I did them--and if I was paying for them I figured I'd just put them in my name, especially because at the time I was the only one riding her and was actually using her pretty extensively).

    Anyway, now that we're split up he has expressed an interest in taking her. My knee-jerk reaction is "hell no." He is not the type of owner I would sell a horse to if I didn't know him--he's an OTR trucker with a terrible company so only home about 3 days a month, doesn't have much real horse experience, doesn't have a realistic idea of how to care for her... He would supposedly be boarding her with horsey friends of his family, but I don't know these people and stories I've heard of them make me wonder about the care they provide. Not that it's bad, but that they're not that knowledgeable and take a one-size-fits-all approach that won't work with her. He's also talked about maybe selling her in a year or two if he's still trucking, but that would be a year of her sitting around doing nothing and I don't think it will be so easy to sell her then.

    But on the other hand, I want to downsize my herd and she's one I don't want. She's a really nice horse, purebred Arab, 12 years old, safe and steady on the trail, etc.--should actually be pretty easy to sell even in this market. I just never really got along with her that well personality-wise--I can recognize that she's a really nice horse and she's done well for me, but she's not a horse I would have bought for myself and I have others who I do want, so she's one I want to send along.

    I just keep going around in circles. On the one hand, letting him take her would be an easy way to get rid of her. On the other hand, I have some serious concerns about the care she would get--again, not that she would be abused, but that they just don't know what horses need. I also am pretty sure he will get tired of paying her bills in a year or two and then try to sell her after she's been sitting in a pasture for that long, and he doesn't know the first thing about selling horses anyway.

    I would feel more comfortable selling her into a home I can vet (I have a lot of contacts in the community so can find out the dirt on most people, check references, etc.), rather than having him (again, not someone I'd sell a horse to--just too novice) move her to some random person's barn 100s of miles away when they can't even keep a donkey sound because the ground is "too rocky" for him (as a farrier and donkey aficionado, my response to that was a big WTF).

    However, I'm not sure that's fair to him, or that it's not colored by the fact that I'd get the proceeds from her sale. I just don't think I have enough emotional distance here to do what is best for the horse, which is what I want. So, I thought I'd open it up to COTHers. Try not to be too hard on me please.
    exploring the relationship between horse and human

  • #2
    Jingles and Hugs and AO for You and this Horse `

    I am sorry .... offering Jingles & AO

    no advice just wishing some peace for you during this struggle ...
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


    • #3
      Personally, I would give her the mare. She was bought for him. She won't care that she's been thrown out in a pasture and not worked. Maybe you can help find a place for him to keep her, so you at least know that she's getting fed, feet done, etc. Tell him you'll take her if one day he doesn't want her anymore - not that it will mean much a year or 2 from now, but maybe it would.

      Sometimes you have to let go. I'm sorry you are going through this.


      • #4
        Apart from the emotional/ethical issues, don't forget the financial ones. If you legally own the horse and have been the one primarily out of pocket maintaining her, you should be compensated for your investment if he wants to leave the relationship with her.


        • #5
          I would let him take the horse and say, if you EVER need help placing her or cannot keep her, let me know.
          It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati


          • #6
            I'd keep her and rehome/sell her into a good home.


            • #7
              I'd keep her, and tell him if he wants her that he owes you X dollars for farrier care, medical, vet bills, boarding etc. I think it's a whim on his part, and he really doesn't want the horse, but just wants to irritate you. Then find the mare a nice home with someone who'll love and care for her.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                Originally posted by JanM View Post
                I'd keep her, and tell him if he wants her that he owes you X dollars for farrier care, medical, vet bills, boarding etc. I think it's a whim on his part, and he really doesn't want the horse, but just wants to irritate you. Then find the mare a nice home with someone who'll love and care for her.
                I'm gonna go with this option.


                • #9
                  yes, keep her and find her a good home. At least, you would feel better you have done your best for the mare. If you are so concerned about where she may go and end up, you will always wonder. THAT would bother me too much.


                  • #10
                    I'm with Mildot and JanM here.

                    Your money and time in the horse? check.

                    Your riding effort to keep it civilized? check.

                    Best interests of the horse with you? check.

                    Pretending to honor some concept of it having been his horse? Not worth bothering with.
                    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by JanM View Post
                      I think it's a whim on his part, and he really doesn't want the horse, but just wants to irritate you.
                      This sums up my qualms about it more than my novel of a post did. In the OP I made it sound kind of mutual, but in reality I left him. He was happy to just keep going on like we were, but I wasn't and he wouldn't work with me on that so eventually I came to the end of my tether. Anyway, he's hurting now and he's done a few other things in an attempt to lash out at me, and I think this thing with the horse might be part of it.

                      But then, I think he does love her, or at least the idea of her...he carries a picture of her in his wallet and brags about her to his friends, but at the same time I don't think going out to feed her treats and scratch her withers once a month counts as care. If I did give her to him, I don't think she'd come to any harm in his care due to intentional malice, but I think he's just so ignorant of the horse industry that she'd likely end up in a bad place anyway. When we were together and I asked him about doing something with the horse (her name is Kalahari, for simplicity), he would just say, "Whatever you think is best."

                      I did suggest a few more local farms to board her at (people I knew would care for her) and even offered to trim her for free if he kept her in the area, but he wants to send her to the family friends. I really worry about that, especially because of the donkey story I referenced in the OP and a few other stories which make me think they're the "kill them with kindness" types...and Kalahari is an air fern and prone to laminitis and needs to be managed carefully.

                      I'm not writing anything off right now and really appreciate everyone's thoughts.

                      And Zuzu, thanks. Whenever I get too down I always hear in my head, "AO~Always Optimistic!" Sounds silly, but it really does help!

                      edit: just wanted to add that a few posts showed up while I was typing...give me some time to read and process them...
                      Last edited by CosMonster; Dec. 27, 2011, 10:18 PM. Reason: too many posts! ;)
                      exploring the relationship between horse and human


                      • #12
                        Make sure the ownership documentation places her in his name. Especially since he's probably not going to be doing much to or with her, there is the increased likelihood of things going wrong and you getting caught up in a lawsuit.
                        The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                        Winston Churchill


                        • #13
                          Well, if he bought her, rode her occasionally, and 'doted on her', and she was always called "his" horse, I would let him take her. Especially if you don't even really want her. Just tell him if he changes his mind and wants to sell her, you will take her.

                          To start saying he owes for board/farrier/vet is a bit ridiculous if you have been living together and sharing/trading off other expenses.
                          Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                          • #14
                            not an exactly similar story, but: My ex-hubbie and I got a dog - actually a puppy that we raised for about a year or so when we split up. His first comment was "I want the dog". My first thought was to fight, then decided a different tactic might be in order. I agreed PROVIDED he agreed to contact me FIRST if he did not want the dog before sending her back to a shelter. He was fine w/ that. Fast forwrd about 3 months and my phone rang..."do you want the dog?" Of course, I took her! He didn't really want her, it was a power play...

                            OP - you might want to think about this - if your terms w/ said partner are reasonably ok and you offer the horse w/ the agreement that you are the first contact if he changes his mind... You "win" near term for not fighting; you "win" later because you give your partner an out...
                            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by saultgirl View Post
                              Well, if he bought her, rode her occasionally, and 'doted on her', and she was always called "his" horse, I would let him take her. Especially if you don't even really want her. Just tell him if he changes his mind and wants to sell her, you will take her.

                              To start saying he owes for board/farrier/vet is a bit ridiculous if you have been living together and sharing/trading off other expenses.

                              You are ending this relationship, right? Then let it go. Be gracious and polite and sincere... And let it go. Thats what endings are for.
                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                              • #16
                                If you are able to discuss this, i would ask him if he is willing to take everything into consideration, her health, her well being. If not, maybe he would be willing to let you sell her to a good home. Good Luck.


                                • Original Poster

                                  You guys are not helpful. Both sides have really good points!

                                  Okay, seriously, I am reading and taking in all of your points and they are all helpful. I'm just finding myself on both sides of this discussion and was halfway hoping COTH would fall heavily in one direction or another. I should have known better after all my time here. The diverse opinions are a huge part of the reason I stick around here after all...

                                  I'll keep you updated on what I am deciding and really do appreciate further posts. I just still have no idea what to do right now!
                                  exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                  • #18
                                    If you don't know what to do, then maybe following the Golden Rule will tell you.
                                    The Golden Rules says to be as fair to others as you hope they will be fair to you.
                                    Put yourself in his shoes and ask yourself honestly, if you were him how would you want to be treated on this? We can't really know because we have no idea what he thinks. But if you know him well enough to figure it out, then do what you would have him do to you about the mare.

                                    I'm sorry you have this painful decision but it seems like you two are already doing a good job. At least, no lawyers are involved.


                                    • #19
                                      He wants the horse, you don't want the horse. I'm not really seeing the issue.

                                      Yes, he got the horse because of you. Yes, you took care of the horse, but that's because that's your area of expertise. No, he has no idea how hard it is to properly care for a horse. If he paid attention at all for the last 8 years, he'll quickly see the differences in care.

                                      I'd let him take her, and just say you'll help if he wants to sell her later. In a few months she'll be back with you.


                                      • #20
                                        This is the biggest red flag, what said about the 'Kalahari is an air fern and prone to laminitis and needs to be managed carefully.'.

                                        If he does not have sufficient knowledge to provide said care, or to know when she is not receiving it somewhere, the best interest of the animal is to keep her under your care, custody and control. Good luck, and keep us posted!
                                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.