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What do you do when you are offered your Heart Horse. And you can't afford it.

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  • What do you do when you are offered your Heart Horse. And you can't afford it.

    What do you do when you are offered your heart horse back, everyone has one. That very special horse, the one close to your heart, the favorite and you just can't do it for financial reasons.

    Four years ago, when I was 16 my mother brought home a black STB gelding from a trainers yard. It was come home with us, or get dogged. Well, for some reason that funny little gelding bonded with me. He followed me around the paddock, would play with me in the pasture, would lick my hair and wuffle in my head when I fed him. He suckered me right in. I fell hard for his surprisingly handsome face, his funny faces and his gentleness, not to mention his near perfect conformation. He looked like a well bred WB than a STB.

    I broke him in, and did everything with him, Endurance rides, showjumped, evented, but he was a real star in the show and dressage ring. He had extensions like no other. He could collect as well as any WB I had ever sat on, he picked up shoulder in in 2 lessons, he was so willing and so easy to ride. I just covered over his freeze brand and judges and everyone else would assume he was a WB.

    He used to wuffle in my ear when I was grooming him, and played frizzbee. I would throw the frizzbee and he would grab it and trot back to mewith it. Sometimes he would try and throw it at me, the shy away and run around behind me, then he would put his head on my shoulder. He was so special.

    I found his original owner, a regular joe who brought STB and had them in training with his owner. He was so excited that he never got dogged, as he really loved horses, and in face retired Midas's dam out to a lovely retirement place. He came and saw me ride him, He even sat on him as I led him around the arena. He started a campain with other owners of ex racing STB's to rehome them rather than dog them.

    I came home from school 2 years ago, to find him gone, and a note on the whiteboard saying he was sold and to put another horse in his stall.
    Turns out my mother had gotten an offer she couldn't refuse and sold him on. Without telling me. I Never did get to say goodbye. That was the start of the rift between my mother and I. She knew how special he was to me.

    I heard through the grapevine that the lady who brought him was having a lot of trouble, apparently he was bucking and biting her and being naughty, she sold him on before I could talk to her.

    He was sent to the other side of Australia, when I found a for sale add on a website, rang the number and he had been sold on already. Trail went cold until one day I was browsing a forum, and bang, there he was, a picture of him on a picture thread. I got in contact with his owner, who was trail riding him, had no idea of his education and ability. Apparently he started trying to bite everyone and everything and was a very agressive horse.

    Told her to get on top of him, and he seemed to change his personality back to the normal him.
    We kept in touch, with updates every now and then and photos. His owner is lovely. He is living the best life, with the best of care and everything.

    Today she emails me, has some heath problems, doesn't think she can ride anymore, and is selling her horses, would I like to buy Midas for $1300.

    I can't. I live in suburbian Hobart, there are no close boarding areas, I can't afford it on my $29,000 job. I can just pay rent and food and other expenses. I am struggling for time, no way could I see him more than once a month, let alone get the time to feed.

    Bottom line is, I just can't afford it financially or time wise, and it's breaking my heart.

    Can you please tell me your stories of finding and getting your heart horse back? Just to make me feel like there is some hope for me out there?

  • #2
    I've afforded horses on a WHOLE LOT LESS than your salary, and while a time-crunched graduate student..


    • #3
      Originally posted by nightsong View Post
      I've afforded horses on a WHOLE LOT LESS than your salary, and while a time-crunched graduate student..
      Good for you. The fact is that the OP is being realistic. You have no idea what her living expenses are, her taxes, her rent, food, transportation etc. Plus the OP says she could only see him once a month - why buy a horse if that is all the time you can spend with him.

      I am so sorry you can't afford him back. If his current owner is so nice I am sure they will do everything they can to find the best home for him.


      • #4
        This isn't at all helpful but your story made me really sad and I just wanted to say that I will be jingling for you. I hope it all works out okay, I can't imagine how hard that is
        No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
        For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
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        • #5
          Originally posted by nightsong View Post
          I've afforded horses on a WHOLE LOT LESS than your salary, and while a time-crunched graduate student..
          Me too.

          And years later, I am still cleaning up the financial mess, despite having a good job and a wonderful horse (on a reasonable salary!) now. It sunk me in a way I never would have been if I had not kept my horses...who I had to sell in the end anyway, because I had no financial alternative. Glad it worked for you, nightsong, but I could never in good conscience counsel someone down that road (and yes, I made EVERY sacrifice, right down to barely eating at times, and not seeing the horses because I could not afford the gas to get there. What kind of situation was that for my horses or me?).

          OP, I am so sorry. You must feel so much pain and frustration right now. I have one in my past (the one sold in the above situation) that was much the same for me, and I don't know what I would do now. Do you have any friends from your horse network that might like to have Midas? Friends of friends, even? This woman sounds like a very nice person to make sure to ask you first, perhaps you could help her place him? It is so great you've kept track of him, and I very much hope that all works out for both you and him

          All of that said, for you and your sake, I very much wish you could have him back. One day, perhaps, all will work out. In the meantime, glad for you that you at least know where he is and that he is ok. Be well and keep us posted...


          • #6
            Do you know anyone who could take him?

            Is there a backyard somewhere you could board him and do the owrk to offset cost?

            Would the lady be willing to let you buy him on a payment plan?

            I always think there is a way if you want it bad enough. I hope you can work things out.
            Boss Mare Eventing Blog


            • #7
              Get him back, and drop your mom. She doesn't sound like a very kind person.
              I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
              I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


              • #8
                Get another job or a better job - cut expenses - stop eating out, cheaper car
                do what ever you have to do - if you want him that bad.


                • #9
                  Is there anyplace within a half hour's drive where you could pasture board him for fairly cheap? The idea being, to hang onto him until perhaps you can half lease him out to someone who is the right person, and can split costs...

                  How old is he now? Is he of retirement age, or still working age?

                  I feel for you and am jingling, for both you and him.


                  • #10
                    I think I'd call my mom and tell her she has a chance to fix her bad juju with me by buying the horse back and paying to keep him.
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                      I think I'd call my mom and tell her she has a chance to fix her bad juju with me by buying the horse back and paying to keep him.



                      • #12
                        I feel for you, OP; I've been there. Was offered my "heart horse" for free, but with a husband and a young son and no job security, there was no way I could afford to keep him. We were just barely getting by as it was. And I was his "heart person," too. I had to go away for a week and he barely touched his food.

                        He was sold to an owner who loves him, but if I had the chance I'd buy him in a heartbeat. So I have a picture of him on my desk at work (right next to hubby and the kids!) and keep an ear to the ground for news of him, and hope that someday the opportunity comes along.

                        And ditto to EqTrainer!


                        • #13
                          He does sound like "yours."

                          I'd do a lot to try to stay in this horse's life, leaving no stone unturned.

                          That might include-- giving your mom the chance to "do the right thing" with full appreciation and a repaired relationship from you in return.

                          Ask the seller to give him to you gratis if the purchase price is more of a barrier than is the cost of keeping him.

                          Help her find a buyer--including asking all of your horsey friends.

                          Look high and low for an affordable boarding situation and a way to juggle your budget to own him.

                          Ask the seller to put you in touch with anyone who does buy him so that you can give them the insight they might need to get along with him. Maintain contact with those people, asking for right for first refusal if they ever wish to sell him.

                          I do hope you find a way if that's what you really want. Otherwise, trust his current owner to do well by him.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat


                          • #14

                            Ditto Eq Trainer. I bet your Mom feels REALLY badly and has not told you. Here's her chance to make it up to you. She just might.

                            I got rid of a heart horse 30 years ago, a tiff between owner and me and he was gone. He was not mine but I have always wished I could take it back and have gotten him back. I still have pictures and I'm sure my heart horse is long since dead as he was 16 in 1980.

                            Do try to get him...at least for me
                            Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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                            • #15
                              Silver Snaffles-- I am in almost the same situation as you are regarding a horse that was sold at court ordered auction to settle my late husband's estate almost 20 years ago. Sorry in advance, because this is kind of long.

                              Here's Directly's story. He will be 20 this June. He was bought at auction by a horse trainer/ dealer as a colt by his dam's side. His dam was my own my Tennessee Walking Horse show mare. This man bid even though he knew he was bidding against me. I was trying to keep her and my son's mare. My step-children had forced the whole auction situtation on me. They even forced the sale of the show mare my young son rode.

                              Anyway, this trainer took Directly and his dam Allegra to Texas. He sold Allegra; but kept her colt and trained him, but first he gelded him. When he was three or four, the trainer sold him to another client. This woman showed him all over Texas and the southwest. She showed him until he was 14. Then she sent him to another training barn/ dealer to be sold.

                              He was bought by a riding therapy organization and taken to Arizona. last year, I finally tracked him down. the director of the facility told me that when he was too old to be of any use to them, she would contact me to see if I wanted to give him a retirement home.

                              Earlier this year, she called to tell me that because of rising costs, her organization was discontinuing the riding program and selling the horses. She offered to let me buy him back for $5,000.

                              Well, I make just about what you make. I could not afford to buy him. A month later, she said she had convinced her board to allow me to buy him for $3000. Again, I just could not afford this price.

                              Then I called her to ask her to please pass on my name and number to whomever they sold him too so that they might contact me if they wanted to sell him later for a lesser price, or just didn't want to sell him to slaughter when they were through with him.

                              She told me that horse prices were way down, and that none of the other organizations they contacted were interested. She said they would be willing to to sell him to me for $2000. I told her I could afford $1,500, and would need to make payments. She said she would call back after the board voted on the offer.

                              Yes-- He is coming home to me in April. It is costing me $600 to have him transported, and her board agreed to allow me to make payments to buy him.

                              I do already have other horses, but I will just tighten my budget again so I can afford just this one, this special one, more.

                              I am a school teacher. The other horses my grown children and I have taken in are all 'rescues' of some sort or another. I do not eat out. I do not buy new clothes. I drive a 1992 model year car. I don't ever go to the mall, and I might go to the movies once or twice a year. My house has central air and heat, but I don't use them. I use space heaters and window units to heat and cool only the room that I am using at the time.

                              The horses see a vet twice a year for their vaccinations and to check and float their teeth, if needed. I go to the doctor only if I don't feel well- same for the dentist.

                              They live in small pastures ( 1 to 5 acres each) with run-in sheds. They eat free-choice round bales of mixed bermuda and bahia grass. Additionally, I feed them Tractor Supply's brand of feed mixes, which my vet says are just as good as the fancier brands.

                              They get hoof trims every six weeks - none wear shoes.

                              So, what I'm saying is, if you really, really want him -- then you can find a way. I agree that you should ask your mother to help out because of what she did in the first place -- this could give her a chance to "make it up to you." Talk to his current owner, and ask her to at least pass along your contact info if she sells him to someone else. Also, ask if she will take payments. If you have any "horsey" friends, ask for their help.

                              I don't know what kind of job you have, or what your hours are, but you might be able to find a place that will let you pay partial board plus do some barn work in exchange for board. If you want to have time for him, you will be able to figure out how to have time. In my experience, people always manage to find time for the things that are really important to them.

                              I once had to board my horse at a barn that was 25 miles from my appartment. I arranged to pay another boarder to feed in the morning-- and I faithfully drove 50 miles each day to feed and groom him in the evening.

                              Good Luck


                              • #16
                                As far as the comments about the OP's salary, please remember that she's talking Australia dollars, not US dollars. As someone who has purchased an item or two from there and had it shipped over, there is a drastic difference in the value of a dollar.

                                Silver Snaffles--I'm free leasing a horse right now because I can't afford to buy or do a traditional lease. I muck stalls, feed the horses, do a random assortment of barn chores (bordering on barn management at times), and in general, make myself available to pitch in whenever the BO needs a hand. It minimizes my costs to training fees only, but results in a lack of free time for almost anything but work and barn (I don't mind this--my ex-boyfriend did). My point is, get as creative as you can. If this is your heart horse, don't let him slip away again. In the economic situation, he could easily have a bad end and it may be up to you to prevent that.

                                Good luck and please keep us posted.
                                Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                                • #17
                                  If you can't afford a horse, whether it is your "heart" horse or not, then you can't afford a horse. People that get into things like this are one of the reasons animals end up in bad situations.

                                  As for what I'd do in your situation? Some years ago I sold a special mare. Couldn't afford what was going on with her at the time (long story, I won't put you through it). Mare goes up for sale a few years later, for an obscene price (unreg. 18yo mare, in foal, not rideable). I try to negotiate as I was then in the position to care for her. No go. I shed lots of tears as I'm really worried this mare will end up in bad hands...but I simply cannot pay their asking price for the mare. I have a family to consider.

                                  Fast forward, mare doesn't sell and loses foal at birth (novice breeders fault probably), sells open for much less, has a healthy foal for new owner and then a few years later is found looking for a home to retire to. Came across her completely by accident here on COTH. Mare is sitting in my field now, at 27.

                                  So, sometimes things do work out. But if you can't afford it now, be sad but don't bite off more than you can chew.

                                  Good luck.


                                  • #18
                                    I like EqTrainer's idea!!!
                                    Originally posted by barka.lounger
                                    u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                                    we see u in gp ring in no time.


                                    • #19
                                      I can see both sides. Being responsible in life is important and you are to be commended for knowing what the responsible thing is at your young age!

                                      However..... it is 1300 dollars, not 13,000 dollars.... I can see $1300 as being a reasonable amount to scrape up. Is your job something that has potential for advancement? You are starting out in your career and it will get better - salary and time wise. I'd hate to wonder if I could have, if there's any way you can make this work, even if it's tough going for a bit.