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Opinions, please - whether to sell a really good horse

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  • #21
    You say you don't feel balanced and feel like you are going to come off...
    Ok, first of all, is he balanced? Is there a training issue where he needs to work on carrying himself better? And, as another poster pointed out, could there be a saddle issue that is making the situation worse? How is your fitness level--could that be a factor in your not feeling balanced or secure? Is it time to take a clinic or single lesson with a different trainer who might identify a training issue that could help things?

    The only reason I ask these questions is that you wouldn't want to sell a really nice, safe, sound horse without being sure about it. I am usually the very first person to tell people to sell inappropriate horses. But from everything you've said, the horse is overall fine. He isn't doing anything that makes him inappropriate for you, is he? Does he spook or trip, or pick up too much speed? Usually a rider's confidence or gut feeling is based on something. If there isn't anything you can put your finger on with this horse, maybe lease a QH packer type for a short period to test yourself out and see if the problem is better on a different horse.


    • #22
      Nothing at all wrong, especially after 2 yrs of trying, to move onto something more fun! This is a hobby, our respite from the rest of the world. Barn and riding time is your time to unwind and enjoy the sport. No shame at all in selling a horse you don't mesh with and buying one you are excited to be with.
      Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


      • #23
        Originally posted by Remington410 View Post
        Let me preface by saying I'm an adult re-rider.

        My first horse was an older TB mare. She's retired now due to arthritis. I purchased my Oldenburg gelding when he was 3 - he's now 6. My intention was to event. He's a fairly quiet guy, and has good manners. My problem is that, even though he's done nothing wrong, I just can't get comfortable riding him. He's tall and lean, with a big stride, and I never feel balanced. I always feel like I'm going to come off. This hasn't changed in the two years I've been riding him. I have zero confidence on this horse. I think his age and size may just be too intimidating for me. But he's a really good horse!!! I'm not a particularly skilled or ambitious rider. I just want to have fun, and do lower level events. I think I may do better with a short, fat quarter horse packer type.

        I'm having a really difficult time deciding what to do. Part of me says there's no point in keeping a horse you aren't enjoying. Part of me says it's insane to sell a great horse b/c of some mental block I can't seem to get past. Everyone who knows this horse will think I'm an idiot to sell. And it would be heartbreaking for me, but I can't afford to get another horse without selling this one.

        Opinions? Advice? Help, please?
        Have you taken lesson and have some one helping you to improve your seat? Do you ride with attire that helps you have a good seat? If you can't get a better seat with trying different things and he is talented I would sell him and I have never sold a horse but always ept them.


        • #24
          I go through that every time I sell a horse..once they are in a new home and loved and taken care of, the anxiety goes away. I've wasted years in my life with a horse or horses that were not right for me, and it is true..life is too short.


          • #25
            Originally posted by Remington410 View Post
            Thanks everyone. I'm just so embarrassed and disappointed in myself for not being able to make this work. I really expected him to be a forever horse. Justing posting this makes me tear up.
            Sounds like you are grieving the loss of a dream you had for you and this horse. Letting go of dreams is way hard.

            What would you say to someone who came to you with this issue? I bet you would tell them life is short, and after you gave it a good shot, it's time to move on.

            As to the people that want to say you are crazy for giving this great horse up, I used to say to people when they would stick their noses in about my divorce, "Oh, he's not a bad guy at all. I'm really looking forward to someone else appreciating his good qualities."


            • Original Poster

              I do work with a trainer and have taken regular lessons and done a few clinics on him. I have been told that we don't look unbalanced. He doesn't trip or anything like that. I always feel like I'm "perched" on top of him and not moving with him, if that makes sense? I've tried adjusting the stirrups and that doesn't seem to help. I do have a different saddle I'm going to try.

              How would I know if he was unbalanced?

              He hasn't done anything to make me feel unsafe. If he does his lazy boy trot we do ok. When he moves out like he needs to for decent dressage scores, ack I ride ugly.


              • #27
                Originally posted by Remington410 View Post
                I do work with a trainer and have taken regular lessons and done a few clinics on him. I have been told that we don't look unbalanced. He doesn't trip or anything like that. I always feel like I'm "perched" on top of him and not moving with him, if that makes sense? I've tried adjusting the stirrups and that doesn't seem to help. I do have a different saddle I'm going to try.

                How would I know if he was unbalanced?

                He hasn't done anything to make me feel unsafe. If he does his lazy boy trot we do ok. When he moves out like he needs to for decent dressage scores, ack I ride ugly.

                It sounds like you also might not be used to riding a bigger mover. Is there anyway you could get a few lessons on a school master? It might give you a feeling for what you want from your horse. A big mover that isn't really connected and balanced (as is the case for the vast majority of young horses) can be intimidating, especially if you aren't used to it.

                I suggested the saddle issue earlier and think you should still pursue it, but a few lesson on a school master might also make a difference. The lessons on another horse might also help with your decision to sell or keep.



                • #28
                  You've had him for a while and aren't very happy with him, so I don't disagree with the idea that you should enjoy your saddle time.

                  But have you tried some different saddles on him? Sounds silly, but I've ridden horses that feel like a completely different horse in a different saddle (both saddles that fit the horse, but fit me very differently). Might be an easier thing to change than the horse, and could possibly make enough of a difference for you.

                  But at the root of it, if you're afraid of him then I say get a horse that makes you smile every time you get in the saddle.
                  Flying F Sport Horses
                  Horses in the NW


                  • #29
                    Since you say you feel "perched" on him, I would try a saddle with a deeper seat. Do you school him in a dressage saddle? If not that might be worth a try.

                    I am not opposed at all to selling a horse thats not working out, but for one as nice as this horse sounds I think you should exhaust other options and then you'll know you are making the right decision. If he was doing something legitimately dangerous that was severely scaring you I'd have a different opinion.
                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                    • Original Poster

                      I would like to try a different saddle to see if it helps. At this point I'm just not sure my skills are going to be compatible with a big mover.


                      • #31
                        If your skills aren't compatible with a big mover, and you aren't in a place in life where you want to work very hard at becoming compatible with a big mover (which is your decision and no one else's) then let him go to someone else who will enjoy him.

                        I look at my big moving youngster and my heart quails a little at what he's going to be like once he learns the power and control through dressage training. I'm ready to try to keep up with him, but if I weren't I would sell him. It may yet come to that, but I like him and hope it won't.


                        • #32
                          Like most everyone else has said...sell or trade down to a packer. There is a time in life for challenges and brilliant, talented horses...then there is a time for a Steady Eddie that fits your comfort zone. It sounds like you are ready for a move to the comfort zone and relaxed enjoyment. Been there...done it myself. No shame!!
                          Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                          • #33
                            Look at it another way. You're going to make some youngster amateur so damned happy when you sell him/her this horse. So instead of feeling like a failure, feel like a mentor. Not alot of people get to be that significant in another person's life.

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


                            • #34
                              Two thoughts for you, OP:

                              1. My guy is 15.3 and recovering from severe back issues. I recently rode a gelding that was 17hh and had huge movement. I have never felt so unstable in my life. I felt like was just all over the place on top of him. He wasn't an easy ride. I almost fell off, and I have never had a fall. (Knock on wood.) I always thought my balance was impeccible.

                              One suggestion is to examine your ability to hold yourself. Try Pilates. Really develop your stabilizers, core strength, and body awareness.

                              2. When you say you feel as if you're perched on top of him, I immediately think the saddle is acting as a barrier. Would you feel comfortable using just a bareback pad under the supervision of your trainer? Maybe even on a longe line? This may help you again re-examine how you're carrying yourself as well as allow your body to follow your horse's movement better.

                              If you're not having fun and this is still a point of stress for you after two years, my first thought is with many others here- to sell him. Even so, allow me to play devil's advocate:

                              If, other than in the saddle, you are in love with this horse, you can find a way to make this partnership work. It's probably going to be very hard. It's going to make you try new things- even new trainers for new ideas. It's going to take you out of your comfort zone. It's going to be more than the same regular lessons you've been having with your regular trainer because it's clear that's not working. But I really believe you can find the key to unlock everything you seem to envision yourself doing with this horse.

                              If you're not in love with him, I don't think it will be worth it. You would probably be much more satisfied with a LL packer, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's doubtful at this point my guy is going to turn into much of an athlete, but I love how he feels under saddle. We're comfortable and happy together. I do this for fun. I don't need to show advanced and win. If you are love with him, you're going to come out of this a much better rider than you are now and be thankful for how much he has to teach you.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                                I struggled with a giant flashy horse for over three years before I finally faced reality, sold him to a much more capable 11-year-old girl, and bought a small, plain-jane packer. There's no shame in it! The most liberating thing I ever did was admit my limitations.

                                I'm a mediocre rider, and I'm proud!
                                This cracked me up. Ah....to be that capable 11 y.o. again and not my middle aged, balance and confidence challenged self!


                                • #36
                                  Try riding another horse or two before you make your decision. And if it is you, decide if you want to do whatever it takes to be able to ride this horse or if you would be happier riding a different horse.


                                  • #37
                                    I'm getting visions of saddle issues, as well. Sounds as if your saddle isn't working for you. It may or may not work for him. It does need to work for both of you.

                                    I, too, am a (mediocre) adult re-rider with a narrow, big-moving WB. It took me a year to get comfortable and a year for my trainer to allow me to jump her (small). We have both gotten more balanced. She is so powerful that I do need to be careful about what I point her at. XC and big jumps would definitely be too much for me to stick. I thought long and hard about whether she was right for me, after a scary fall.

                                    Note she is also an Oldenburg and she stopped growing at about 7/8, then she seems to have filled out now that she'll be 9. She's not so narrow now and she's gorgeously balanced! Your guy is still a baby!

                                    My point is two-fold... Since you say he's a good horse, think critically about whether this could be right. Check the saddle, try others. Talk to your trainer. Don't sell your good horse on a whim and end up with something not good.

                                    Secondly, though, none of that really matters if you just want something else. If you're not comfortable, there's no shame in selling.
                                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                    • #38
                                      More about saddles... They really do make ALL the difference in your riding. They affect your balance and security dramatically. Really do try a lot.

                                      When I tried my trainer's Antares, I went from an unbalanced, insecure rider, to feeling like I had a fabulous seat and could sit through most anything! Really, it was that dramatic! So find what works for you.

                                      Good luck!
                                      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                      • #39
                                        It's tough to say from outside, but if you've really been riding him for two full years and still just feel "not quite right"...well, that's a long time, and there's no shame in picking out a youngster then learning that you're just not a good fit once he grows up.

                                        My first horse was a weanling, who was bigger than all the little warmblood weanlings he was boarded with. He was adorable, tolerant, sweet, pretty much bombproof, and for 3.5 years I eagerly waited for him to grow up. He grew, but stopped at 15hh, and he developed a gorgeous, slow...lope. I'm 5'11", not slim, and I ride Jumpers and Endurance. Much as I loved this horse, I couldn't really ride him out in public, I looked like a giant trying to squish a pony. He is a PERFECT trail horse for the family that ended up with him. PERFECT.

                                        There is definitely nothing wrong with selling a sound, trained, talented horse to someone who is a better fit. It's not like you're trying to dump a problem, or get rid of an aging horse...you're adding a GOOD horse to the sales market!

                                        One quick note though,
                                        He has a fitted Schleese, but it's pretty old (could only afford used!) and not very comfortable any more.
                                        Schleese Dressage saddles work really well for a lot of people and a lot of horses. Schleese AP or Jumping saddles work really well for those same Dressage riders...they tend to not work very well for people who are used to a more forward balance point for jumping. I feel really unstable in my Schleese Jumping saddle, compared to my CWD and Equipe...the Schleese is what I use for my Clydesdale, because it fits her (a challenge) and we don't do anything beyond cross-rails any more. The Schleese has a balance point further back, so while your position looks ok for hunt seat, you have to kind of fight the saddle to get into two point, and the saddle doesn't help you out at all once you get there. I don't doubt that there are people who enjoy this saddle for jumping, but there's a reason that you don't see a lot of H/J riders using them...they just don't work as well for most riders as some of the other makes. With a big moving horse, riding is a lot more active, you need to be free to move with the horse, so you want a saddle that helps, not hinders. My problem with the Schleese is that it tends to put me a bit behind the movement, and I feel off-balance. I have to work harder to find my position and hold it.

                                        It's not reasonable to expect that a saddle will eliminate nervousness on a horse or anything, BUT if what is bothering you on this horse is that you have trouble maintaining your position...it could be worth trying out some saddles that are designed to HELP with big-moving, big-jumping horses. The CWD dealer laughed when I explained my saddle "likes"...big thigh blocks and sticky leather. She nodded knowingly and said "Adult Ammy Special then." Very proud that I have a horse nice enough to require some "helpful" equipment, and MORE proud that I've progressed enough as a rider to notice things like "balance point."
                                        Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                                        • #40
                                          Sell him. No point keeping him if you're not connecting with him or truly enjoying him. I too have been in this boat and best thing to do is sell...your best horse ever could be just around the corner.
                                          America dialed 911. Donald Trump answered the phone.

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