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Unrealistic expectations?

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  • Unrealistic expectations?

    We are changing the horse industry in many ways, some overall for the better, as it should be, some maybe not.

    I was talking with someone buying a young horse to retrain and they were mentioning "it will be their forever horse".

    That is a lovely sentiment, but not that realistic, especially with horses.
    Even when people marry it is supposed to be "forever" also and we know how that goes, some times is best to eventually part company.

    I think when we expect horse buyers to have such unrealistic expectations from the horse they buy, we are setting them up for possibly unnecessary heartache.
    There have been enough such posts recently, some blaming sellers for giving up on a horse, some handwringing over needing to give up on a horse.
    We can love any horse we own and also understand that part of loving something is doing the best we can for it, including letting it go somewhere else if it is not a good fit with us.

    I think we are putting way too much pressure on the horses we have in our lives when we make unrealistic demands of them.
    We need to understand that the responsibility to care for those under our care doesn't require that we now do so for the rest of our lives above reason.

    Demanding that the horses we buy be "forever" is also letting the seller down as "the one that has the horse and didn't keep it forever, bad owner".

    While it is so nice to work with a horse that fits us, we should temper our expectations of that being a good fit "forever".
    We need to realize life may change for a myriad of reasons and alter at any time the "forever" premise so many are told is the one and only way, the right way to buy horses.

    We really need to be a bit less sanguine, not so black and white, because life keeps showing us it is not so simple.

  • #2
    Intriguing post.


    I feel that it is sometimes in the best interest of both the horse and the owner to move on. I was in that situation once. Thought that maybe I had a forever horse, but decided after a year or two that he couldn't handle the level of turnout in my area and eventually sold him to a lady who had her own 5 acre property. I was also traveling quite a bit at the time and wasn't able to ride regularly. It ended up working out well all the way around, although I did feel very bad about it initially.

    Comment


    • #3
      The expectations can vary according to a persons approach to the horse in general. Some people view horses more as pets and so they decide to keep them forever. Some people simply do not have enough knowledge to buy something appropriate but don't want to admit the mistake by trying to sell it later. Sometimes the situation changes and a horse that was ideal no longer fits into the owners goals.

      I have a horse that I really enjoy but in the past year my riding goals have changed and I am considering selling him. Up until a couple of months ago I would never have even imagined selling him but my situation has significantly changed.

      I think a lot of expectations are unrealistic. Horses are individuals and as the owner/rider evolves the horse may not be able to adapt. Sometimes it seems that people view horses almost like cars 'Well I like the color so he will be perfect' when actually the horse's skill, personality, training level, etc. is totally wrong for the person.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Banned" not sure if this is right forum

        I was just reading posts in the racing forum and noticed that someone posting there had under their name on the left side, instead of "training, working, etc" for their level of previous posts, was the word "Banned"........ and there were several posts from them. If they had been banned, then why could they post several times with that as their status??????????? Just curious, haven't ever seen that before

        Comment


        • #5
          It will say banned on all their posts retroactively.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Bopper View Post
            The expectations can vary according to a persons approach to the horse in general. Some people view horses more as pets and so they decide to keep them forever. Some people simply do not have enough knowledge to buy something appropriate but don't want to admit the mistake by trying to sell it later. Sometimes the situation changes and a horse that was ideal no longer fits into the owners goals.

            I have a horse that I really enjoy but in the past year my riding goals have changed and I am considering selling him. Up until a couple of months ago I would never have even imagined selling him but my situation has significantly changed.

            I think a lot of expectations are unrealistic. Horses are individuals and as the owner/rider evolves the horse may not be able to adapt. Sometimes it seems that people view horses almost like cars 'Well I like the color so he will be perfect' when actually the horse's skill, personality, training level, etc. is totally wrong for the person.
            True.
            Still, even as a pet, you want a pet that fits you.
            We don't get a snake if we want a dog, we don't get a great dane if we want a chihuahua, if we get a brittany to go hunting and it it won't hunt, we look for another that may.

            We may be able to change our goals when we have an unsuitable pet, as my future agility dog being off on a hind leg since puppy and being offered and refusing another puppy by the breeder and so now being head of security and seat warmer and I am not active in dogs any more.

            We can't always adapt, especially with a pet requiring such large resources as horses are.

            I think all of us look for that one perfect horse for us, all want to make this new horse work very hard, hopefully "forever".
            I don't think that should be what someone considers up front as an absolute.
            I am seeing that requirement reflected in ads any more:
            "Will only sell to a good/approved forever home".
            So, you want to sell your horse, but require the buyer keep it "forever" when you yourself are in a position to sell, didn't keep it "forever"?

            Now, a friend just missed a sale because she wanted to sell to a competitor, not to a broker that would resell.
            That is placing a horse best you see.
            To sell requiring a horse be guaranteed a forever home?
            To buy with the absolute requirement the horse is "forever"?

            I think we need to reconsider if that restrictive a standard is what we mean to impose, to hold ourselves and others to in the horse world.

            Comment


            • #7
              And some idiots like me get very, very lucky. As a 50 year old re-rider I bought a completely unsuitable for me horse - 3.5 year old just gelded still thinks he's a stallion nervous nelly who would shy and spook at anything unfamiliar. Four years and a lot of work later I have the PERFECT horse for me. I would never think of selling him now, although it sure was frustrating the first year or so. But I got lucky and worked hard and learned a lot. I now have a kick ass trail horse who will also be going to his first show this year.
              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

              Comment


              • #8
                If each horse had to be a forever horse and each buyer had to buy from the breeder and keep for life... where would those of us who are looking for that 10-15 yo been there, done that horse be?

                Not everyone is suited to bringing on a youngster and not every horse ends up being suited for each rider.

                Someone working with the unwanted horses group locally recently said... the goal is for the horse you get to be your FIRST horse, not your LAST

                Long ago I was furious at a well-known driver who was 'getting rid' of his older horse who was no longer up to the type of competition the driver was interested in.

                I thought he 'owed' the horse for teaching him to drive and doing everything asked for so many years.

                Turned out to be the best thing ever for the horse who was found a family who was interested primarily in driving for fun with the occasional show within his scope. The driver went on with another talented horse to do very well.

                I'm not generally a fan of rehoming an older horse, as they could be a more risk, but it often works out great. Think of all the Pony club horses that get passed around the neighborhood.

                The one we sold on was a super horse, just not right for us. He and his new owner went on to many years of happy trail riding and hunter pacing and we found a new driving partner that our needs and his much better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Like people, horses change physically + mentally and need to change jobs. Youngsters need someone w training skills and an appropriate job-setup for them to learn. Other people earn a living at jobs needing strong seasoned equine partners. When that partner is 'over the hill' with phys issues, partner may need to step down to an easier job. A nonpro- less intense rider may be a better fit then.

                  Three homes may well be better than one, in that hypothetical case.
                  HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                  www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

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                  • #10
                    I will admit, as an ammy that doesn't have super lofty goals I had hoped to keep my horse forever, however I am now selling b/c life has changed and while I hoped we would be a great fit, we are an okay fit

                    however I will try to sell him to a good home the best I can, but he is only 12 so I hope he can have a "soft landing" vs being used up and tossed out in his 20's

                    and I am hoping that maybe my next horse will be forever but you never know, we were lucky that with Burbank we did keep him till the end, had him for 10 yrs but he was older when we got him

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I plan on keeping my horse forever as I do all of my pets. As with any of my pets I'll pretty much have to be dead or disabled to rehome him.

                      Paula
                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think the best thing we can do for our horses is to make sure they are as well trained and versatile as possible. The more marketable the horse, the better chance to have a soft landing. Even though some of us plan on giving a horse a forever home, sometimes crap happens. The stars don't align and the horse has to move on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's the approach I have with all my pets. My dogs are leash and potty trained, my cats are litter box trained, and my birds are hand tame. I've worked in rescue enough to know that this is the best strategy because man plans/God laughs. Similarly my horse is trained (in training).

                          Paula
                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                            I plan on keeping my horse forever as I do all of my pets. As with any of my pets I'll pretty much have to be dead or disabled to rehome him.

                            Paula
                            We have to understand that many buy horses to do things with them other than own them.

                            For those that make horses an active part of what they do in their lives, some horses will fit that, some won't and you don't know until you try.

                            Oliverred was lucky her unsuitable horse was retrainable enough to finally work for her.
                            Just as others keep trying to do that and end up injured or giving up horses, as we have seen in plenty of posts also.

                            I really think that we are setting people up for failure when we make unreasonable expectations the norm.
                            To feel obligated to fit a round horse in a square hole, to change everything in our square hole situation to make it round, that is something we can always try, but doesn't always make sense to pay the cost to the owner with the unsuitable horse or the horse in the wrong situation either.

                            I would say, we get the horses we get for whatever reasons we may have to get that specific horse, hope it will be a horse that will fit our situation, but are realistic enough to understand we may have to move the horse on if it doesn't fit, we can't keep adjusting so it does, or is not in all's best interest, ours and the horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the fundamental difference is whether you feel your horse is a pet, and therefore you are obliged to care for it until its natural death, or it is livestock and has a purpose, in which case there is no reason to keep and pay for it when it no longer serves the purpose for which it was purchased.

                              People get muddled about which it is, and then when you throw in some empathy for the animal (and anthropomorphism), the decision gets very difficult. I think the only thing we "owe" a horse is that his life be pleasant and he be well cared for. Sometimes that is not just standing around in a field and being bored -- so selling is actually a good thing for a horse that wants a job and attention. Some horses need lots of turn out; others love being in a stall and pampered. An owner isn't doing a horse any favors by keeping it in a bad situation where the animal is unhappy -- and that includes amateurs overhorsing themselves, or talented people pushing a lower level packer and getting frustrated.

                              A talented, easy horse has no problems at all being sold and resold; it's the problem horses or the older ones that are at risk for suffering, either by being placed in a home that doesn't care for them properly or being sent to the slaughterhouse. I think as a horse owner the obligation is to make sure we try our best to give that horse the best life it can have.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Kwill View Post
                                I think the fundamental difference is whether you feel your horse is a pet, and therefore you are obliged to care for it until its natural death, or it is livestock and has a purpose, in which case there is no reason to keep and pay for it when it no longer serves the purpose for which it was purchased.

                                People get muddled about which it is, and then when you throw in some empathy for the animal (and anthropomorphism), the decision gets very difficult. I think the only thing we "owe" a horse is that his life be pleasant and he be well cared for. Sometimes that is not just standing around in a field and being bored -- so selling is actually a good thing for a horse that wants a job and attention. Some horses need lots of turn out; others love being in a stall and pampered. An owner isn't doing a horse any favors by keeping it in a bad situation where the animal is unhappy -- and that includes amateurs overhorsing themselves, or talented people pushing a lower level packer and getting frustrated.

                                A talented, easy horse has no problems at all being sold and resold; it's the problem horses or the older ones that are at risk for suffering, either by being placed in a home that doesn't care for them properly or being sent to the slaughterhouse. I think as a horse owner the obligation is to make sure we try our best to give that horse the best life it can have.
                                While that pet/livestock is a consideration, I think this goes way beyond that.
                                Even as a pet, if it is not a good fit and you can't make it one, pet or not, it is not in the best interest of the owner or pet, or both, to keep it "forever".
                                That is my point all along.

                                Not only that, but many that have horses as livestock still may consider them and treat them as pets, both are not mutually exclusive.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Indeed I can only make this determination for myself and cannot do so for others. For me my horse us a pet. He's there for my comfort and entertainment. He makes no money, generates no revenue, and I do not depend on him for my livelihood. I think that takes Fella right out of the livestock category and makes him a pet.

                                  Paula
                                  He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think people are much more aware now of what happens to horses as they become less and less useful. When I was a teen, a lot of people sent their old horses to "retire in Arizona." I later found out that most of those horses went to slaughter, and while I am not 100% opposed to slaughter, I don't think -- as it was done in the US at the time, and is now done in Canada and especially Mexico -- it's a nice thing to do to an old horse that has served you well. The horses that get "passed around the neighborhood" -- what happens when they get to the point where they can't do a job anymore? I would favor humane euthanasia in that case.

                                    My own horse is a lifer; I started much as oliverreed did, overhorsed, and considered selling her within a few months after I bought her. But, there was a good horse in there; we both just needed a lot of training, and I could afford that. These days, I think she's awesome, and more importantly, *we're* awesome together.

                                    When she went unsound and it looked like it might be permanent, I had good cheap pasture board options for her -- and she lived in a herd in a pasture from the time she was born until I bought her, so I knew she'd do fine like that. But again -- I could afford to pasture board her (outside of New England) and own another. But I absolutely do not think that any horse I get must be a lifer.
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think the idea of "forever home" is really romantic clap trap indicative of our society in general. It makes me cringe that we put that kind of straight jacket on ourselves and our horses.

                                      When i see rescues saying they will only adopt to a "forever home" (and also never give up title to said horse) it make me crazy,.

                                      As for a one horse owner buying a horse "forever" 0 that is all fine and dandy if it all works out and the rider no longer wants to ride if/when the horse retires.

                                      While i completely and utterly understand the sentiment, i think it is too limiting for all involved.

                                      now, if only i could take that to heart and apply that to my own situation!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        For me it isn't romantic claptrap, but as I said, I can only speak for myself.

                                        Paula
                                        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                        Comment

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