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To sell or not to sell...Give me a fresh perspective please!

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  • To sell or not to sell...Give me a fresh perspective please!

    Hey everyone! So I finally caved and admitted to myself that my current boy isn't happy doing what we're doing anymore, and might be better off going to a home where his talents (and heart) will be better used and appreciated.

    I've had to switch to dressage after a back injury, and my horse is most definitely NOT happy about it. We've been having some pretty miserable rides, and my coach finally gave me the tough love talk last week, and said that it might be time to consider that we're both unhappy, and we both need a change, and it's not fair to either one of us to keep going the way we are.

    I've had this horse for 10 years, and he's great. He has great manners, is a packer over fences, and so fun to ride. Except if it's in dressage....then it's a battle. I can't afford two horses, and I can't afford to buy a new one, so it looks like the solution is that he has to be sold. I feel awful. I feel like I'm giving up on him, and I'm SO worried he won't go to a good home, or will wind up on a meat truck some day. He is 15, and while he has a few good years left, with the economy the way it is, I am stupid to think that there isn't a possibility he could wind up someplace bad, and I don't know if I can handle that.

    This is my first *owned* horse, (I always leased) and I bought him at a very difficult time in my life. I feel like I owe him happiness, and I feel like $hit selling him because he isn't going to be what I need....but I can't keep forcing him to do a job he so clearly is unhappy in. I've been looking for a part board or a lease, but there has been little to no interest, and nobody wants to pay even part of the costs to ride him - everyone is looking to spend $200 bucks including lessons He's sound and fit, and could really be a great horse for someone who is able to jump and enjoy him - child or adult.

    Can anyone give me any ideas? Insight? I really need some fresh perspective on this, I'm going nuts. Thanks

  • #2
    That is a hard road emotional road but if he really is a sound, sane 15 year old packer over fences then some person, somewhere would be thrilled to own him. I completely support your idea of finding him a new home where his talents would be enjoyed and allow yourself to find a horse that fits you better now.

    Can your coach help you sell him?

    Comment


    • #3
      What about getting a new dressage coach? Not all approaches work for all types of horses. Also if you've recently made the switch I don't think you mean your horse hates practicing high level movements, you must be working on the basics. There's no reason that any horse can't be happily ridden walk, trot, canter with some leg yielding to start with. You could throw in some exercises with poles set between standards to give you and your horse the feeling of doing a course again, see if he perks up. Also hacking and hill work with strengthen him and be more relaxing than arena work.

      I think you're right to be concerned about his future as a 15 yr old. Imagine if he had some injury that prevented him from jumping, if you wanted to keep owning him you'd find him another job. Which brings me back to your coach being something that you might want to think about changing. Sure it would be easier to teach you dressage on another horse, not a 15 yr old ex hunter or jumper but hopefully you can find someone who wants to work with what you have.

      I see no reason to sell him if you're attached to him and no reason that he can't improve. When people say 'my horse hates dressage' I think its the way training is being approached combined with endless arena work.
      Last edited by Marengo; May. 17, 2012, 02:51 AM. Reason: grammar

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      • #4
        Would his mood be greatly improved for your rides if he is ridden over fences a few times a week (1 or 2 times I mean, not loads)? If you can get someone to ride him, like a lesson person over fences and you just have his flat days for dressage, would that help him? I don't know if it'd make a difference, but maybe if he's able to hop around a few days a week he'll be better in the dressage lessons.

        Agreed too that maybe you could have some lessons outside the box of the arena/typical dressage practices, too.

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        • #5
          Unless you have upper level dressage aspirations, I'm kind of with Marengo. I had surgery on my neck last year, which has prevented me from jumping since. My horse isn't a great dressage horse, but he's comfortable for me, and he's safe, so I wouldn't consider selling him. I'm not sure if I'll try to jump again, but in the mean time I figured we should both be comfortable, so I sucked it up and bought a custom dressage saddle. He's going better than ever
          "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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          • #6
            Consider giving him another job that doesn't include jumping. How about competitive pleasure rides, join a drill team or teach him how to drive? Trail ride more. Or as other said, if he likes jumping then have someone jump him once a week.

            It seems like you like this horse and don't really want to sell him. In that case, find a job he can do that works for you. I know plenty of horses that would be unhappy if all they did was arena work.
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            • #7
              Keep him-you will regret selling him. I too had to stop jumping due to a back problem and guess what, dressage hurt just as bad! Proper dressage anyway. Now, 4 years later, thanks to time, physio & stretches, my back is good enough to jump again, albeit not as high as I would like. Keeping in mind that your boy will be 19 if the same happens to you, but that's just my 2 cents.
              Good luck, it's a horrible decision & I'm going thru it at the moment too

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              • #8
                I will be the voice of dissent and say I would think about selling and just vetting the new home well. A packer over fences is usually easy to rehome and they often end up in good situations. They are worth their weight in gold.

                If he really hates dressage (I have one of those -- horse listens but let's just say "submission" is dismal) I would find him a home where he can do the job that makes him happy.

                Also look the the future for you -- selling at 15 and sound is totally responsible. With proper vetting of new owners you can find him a good situation. If you put it off for a few years, selling at 20 and borderline retired will be irresponsible, and you will be faced with either not riding (since you can only afford 1) or putting him down.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                  ...I've had to switch to dressage after a back injury, and my horse is most definitely NOT happy about it. We've been having some pretty miserable rides...
                  I have to agree with fordtraktor. IMO the miserable rides are not going to change, and I don't care what different 'training' methods you employ. Your horse does not like to do dressage work only (even if you mix a hacking day in there).

                  I just went through the long process of selling my horse because she HATED dressage work once we bridged into the 1st/2nd level work. I fought with her for over a year trying to make it work, different training methods, yada yada, but it came down to she had no interest whatsoever in doing that dressage work and there was no way I was going to make her do it. Now that she is sold, would you believe that riding is actually fun again? I did not realize how miserable having to ride her was. I have seen her recently too, could you believe that she is perky and happy being a jumping horse? She was miserable having me have to ride her. We really grew to despise each other over that last year and the 6+ months it took to sell her.

                  Your horse is skilled and could find an absolutely great home, just check them out thoroughly. If no one sold horses, how would any of us have bought them?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Marengo View Post
                    What about getting a new dressage coach? Not all approaches work for all types of horses.
                    I agree with this post and I would at least try a few lessons with a dressage instructor who takes a different approach before I made the decision to sell him.
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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks everyone - it has been frustrating to say the least!

                      This is my 2nd coach in the past couple of years, and he has worked wonders with both of us. I have my horse moving like I never thought he could. He has fixed many of the problems I thought were just "there" and had to deal with, and I have seen a lot of improvement overall. However, he agrees with what the other coach has said, and has told me if I ever want to make it past training level, or get ribbons, this isn't the horse to do it on.

                      My horse however, isn't a happy guy. He evades by breaking gait, will swish his tail, suck back, and just looks pretty unhappy. I have a girl that does some jumping with him and he just comes alive over fences, ears perked, happy squeals at times, and is loose and forward and content. Even if he jumps 2 times per week, he's still the same about his flatwork. I tried flatting him in different rings so it's not always the dressage ring, but no change....We can have bad rides in every ring or flat space on the farm! I've had him thoroughly checked by the vet, as I had been rehabbing a back injury, and his saddle has been professionally fitted and fits perfectly.


                      I'm trying to find a lease if I can as I think that might be the best solution, but they're REALLY hard to find!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It sounds like he's not happy in his new job. There's nothing wrong with that. Why do we assume a horse is so much different from us. I know I would hate to be a sales person. Could I do it? Yes, but not very well and not happily.

                        Your horse should easily find a new home where he can do what he likes, someone will be thrilled to have him, and you can do what you want to do. Don't fill guilty. If you want to ride something without an opinion, get a motorcycle! It sounds like you are listening to your horse and doing what is best for him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                          Hey everyone! So I finally caved and admitted to myself that my current boy isn't happy doing what we're doing anymore, and might be better off going to a home where his talents (and heart) will be better used and appreciated.

                          I've had to switch to dressage after a back injury, and my horse is most definitely NOT happy about it. We've been having some pretty miserable rides, and my coach finally gave me the tough love talk last week, and said that it might be time to consider that we're both unhappy, and we both need a change, and it's not fair to either one of us to keep going the way we are.
                          Before giving up on him, I'd be curious to know what it is exactly he "is not happy" doing in dressage? What level are you schooling at? Is there a different way he could be asked to do certain exercises?

                          Please don't take this the wrong way, as it's not meant to be negative towards your instructor. But different instructors teach dressage differently...sometimes *very* differently. If you want to do dressage and this approach isn't working, before you completely give up on time, why not do a few sessions with a different instructor.

                          If two instructors with two different approaches to dressage still can't get him going in a way in which he enjoys, as I see it you have two choices: give up dressage or give him up. You could always lease him out for a year while you try a new horse.
                          Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No matter what the horse is going to have to do "dressage work". Dressage work, is just flat work and flat work is always needed, especially to improve the jumping.

                            Anyone who buys a horse to be a jumper is still going to be working him on the flat. I would hope they wouldn't just jump a 15 year old packer everyday.

                            I don't get it.
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                            • #15
                              If the horse isn't happy, then either someone has to compromise, or something has to give.

                              Not all horses are happy with having their riders hands constantly in their mouths, being constantly bugged by heavier use of the aids, and being dictated to every second of the ride. H/j horses usually have less of all of that to deal with, and the rider spends less than half of that time riding directly down on their backs. Not so dressage horses. What some look at as a beautiful partnership can be seen through another's eyes as pure dictatorial misery. Depends on who is doing the dictating, and who is on the receiving end.

                              Then there is the aging issue. At 15 your horse most likely has some arthritis setting into his joints--most probably the hocks--which is not helped by constantly working in circles. Add in any underlying back issues he may have regardless of the saddle fit, and hoof imbalance issues that may directly be affecting his back, dental changes and a lack of time doing some other than dressage so he can clear his head, and there are many reasons he could be miserable.

                              Before deciding one way or another, I would make sure I went through everything physical that could be causing this again with a good vet, dentist and a good chiro. One adjustment can work miracles!

                              Then look at your own practicing/riding and see if you are the root of his problem. Does he go out on trail with you, only to end up doing lateral work, etc so you can keep practicing? Or is he given time to clear out his head? If he loves hunters so much, can you go out on a hunter pace from time to time (hill toppers division), do a trail class, horsemanship class, equitation class to keep him happy without jumping him? Or are you really looking to change someone from the game he has known and loved for years to the one he doesn't know and doesn't like, and make that the only discipline he is ever to do? Not fair to the horse.

                              So, if there aren't really any physical issues causing the problem, and you are the one determined to switch the game, and he doesn't really like it, and you are not willing to compromise so he can shine and feel good about himself along the way, then I would find him a good home where he does what he really loves to do. For us it may be the goals that motivate us and get things done, but for the horse it's the journey that marks his days, and if he's not happy with it, then something's got to change. JMO.
                              "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                                No matter what the horse is going to have to do "dressage work". Dressage work, is just flat work and flat work is always needed, especially to improve the jumping.

                                Anyone who buys a horse to be a jumper is still going to be working him on the flat. I would hope they wouldn't just jump a 15 year old packer everyday.

                                I don't get it.
                                Though I know h/j riders who do dressage type flat work, I can also tell you that for the 9 years that I was participating in that world, the riders at our barn jumped two days a week and the other days consisted of hacking - ie walk/trot/canter on a loose rein, just to get the horse moving around. There was no contact, no bending, nada. So I'll bet OP's horse would do that happily. And if he's easy enough to navigate around a course, that's probably all he needs at this stage in his life.
                                We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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                                • #17
                                  Try reaching out to your local Pony Club, and, if there are a lot of Pony Clubs near you, the Region. It sounds like your horse would be perfect for a child/teen.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by philosoraptor View Post
                                    Before giving up on him, I'd be curious to know what it is exactly he "is not happy" doing in dressage? What level are you schooling at? Is there a different way he could be asked to do certain exercises?

                                    agree.... OP-There is something about the way you describe this that gives me pause. there are some lazy horses out there but baring any real ringsourness or pain, most horses can do dressage even at 15.

                                    I maintained an older horse for quite a long time and I would say 9 times out of 10 the lack of forward/not wanting to work was either me blocking the horse/not correct or pain in hocks. Most horses, even lazy and challenging ones, usually come around in time IF they are sound.

                                    If this was my horse I would X-ray the hocks and NECK for arthritis and get outside of the ring/do something else like hacking.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Just being a little devil's advocate....have either or both of these "coaches" told you they would help you find the right horse for you? Remember...that is part of their business.... ;>

                                      I would trust your gut feeling about selling him....it seems to be telling you no.

                                      I'm with Marengo on this one.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                                        Just being a little devil's advocate....have either or both of these "coaches" told you they would help you find the right horse for you? Remember...that is part of their business.... ;>
                                        Yes, this happened to me. It wasn't that my horse was un-situable, it was they weren't smart enough to know how to work with an opinionated horse, and amazingly! they had a horse that their client was trying to sell.

                                        horse went on to do well with a new trainer for 4 more years and I had a BLAST.

                                        Sometimes people being "honest" is genuine wanting the best for horse/rider, there is definitely a time to sell, but for the right motivations.

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