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how to part with a wonderful lease horse

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  • how to part with a wonderful lease horse

    I don't really know where to start with this one... just need some support or words of wisdom.

    I absolutely adore the little TB gelding I've leased since October. For the first time in my 18 years of riding I had the opportunity to spend every day at the barn with him, learning from him as I helped him recover from colic and other medical issues, playing with him in his stall or the pasture, and just enjoying his darling, friendly personality. I know he has become just as attached to me as I have to him.

    My lease with him ends in about a month, and although I have thought seriously about renewing for a few more months, it doesn't seem to make sense for several reasons: a) I am trying to move up the ranks and jump a little bigger, and he's a 2'9" horse, tops
    b) my relationship with my trainer is not so great these days (I'm don't really get the time of day from her) and legally I would not be allowed to take him to another barn/trainer
    c) I cannot afford his very high lease fee anymore
    d) He has had a lot of medical issues in the last 7 months (colic, acute leg fracture, abscesses, girth rubs, skin fungus, etc.) and I worry about more things happening, PLUS all the vet bills

    The bind? I really really love this horse, and cannot fathom parting with him. He is so special to me; I tear up thinking about having to say goodbye. I'm not sure how many more "good" years he has in him but part of me wants to buy him after the lease ends (somehow I'd find the money), bring him to my new barn and lease him out to someone who is more of a beginner... just to keep him in my life and in good hands. It sounds silly, but I don't want to wake up one day and realize that he was "the one that got away." The pessimist in me also fears that he will end up in a bad, neglectful home.

    Any horse person knows that riding is an emotional pastime that pulls at your heartstrings in a variety of ways... but this is something new for me, and I don't know how to make a decision I can be confident and happy about.

  • #2
    Originally posted by anna3328 View Post
    The bind? I really really love this horse, and cannot fathom parting with him. He is so special to me; I tear up thinking about having to say goodbye. I'm not sure how many more "good" years he has in him but part of me wants to buy him after the lease ends (somehow I'd find the money), bring him to my new barn and lease him out to someone who is more of a beginner... just to keep him in my life and in good hands. It sounds silly, but I don't want to wake up one day and realize that he was "the one that got away."
    Is he for sale? Could you afford to buy him and bring him to your new barn? Is your new barn a boarding barn or at your place?

    There are times when your heart just makes more sense than your mind.
    Nevertheless, she persisted.

    Comment


    • #3
      Is he even for sale? If so, you could potentially purchase him and, like you said, lease him out.

      If he is not for sale, would his owner allow you to visit? Would she contact you should she decide to place him on the market?

      Have you spoken to the owner and told her the situation along with how you feel?

      Comment


      • #4
        Awww, hugs to you that's tough. I have a friend who part boarded a pretty neglected tb gelding in his teens. She spent a lot of time tending to this horse's needs in lieu of the owner and got really attached to him. At some point she told the owner she needed to end the part boarding agreement because she wanted to buy him and if he wasn't for sale she didn't want to get more attached. The owner at first said no way and she spent two weeks grieving for the loss of this special gelding in her life. Then, just like that, after two weeks the owner called her and said that after thinking it over she realized she had too much going on in her life and was prepared to sell him. More negotiations happened about the price and once again my friend thought she wasn't going to get this horse but again the owner gave in.

        My friend didn't have a lot of riding ambitions just loved the horse so its different from your situation. I mention this story though to say that perhaps you should just enquire if he's for sale. If so, let them know what you're willing to spend and then walk away. At least that way they know you're interested and might contact you in the future. Maybe he'll develop another abscess and the owner will remember that someone wanted to take him off their hands.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is it common for a leaser already paying a "very high lease fee" to also have to cover the vet bills of the horse they're leasing? That seems like it would be the owner's job, especially if the medical issues make the horse unusable for a period of time. Then the leaser is getting almost nothing out of the lease AND paying all the bills. Am I crazy to think that's too much?

          Comment


          • #6
            I was thinking the same thing as Lesgarcons. Why would anyone be paying a high lease fee for a horse with that number of issues in the last 7 months. As described, this horse sounds like he should have been a free lease.

            If the OP wants to buy the horse, just do it with a clear understanding that there is a good potential of acquiring a money pit. I think major medical insurance will be hard to acquire given his health history, so consider how much you have to spend to keep the horse going if something else comes along. And certainly, I wouldn't pay very much for a horse with his health history. There are way too many good horses with great personalities available for reasonable prices these days.
            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
            http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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            • #7
              It sounds like he's spent more time on stall rest then teaching you how to ride! I think ending the lease, moving to another barn, and getting something you can ride is the best option for you.

              I wouldn't try to buy a horse like this no matter how much I liked to brush him, especially if I could only own one horse.
              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                Agreeing with enjoytheride! It sounds as though you can not afford the vet bills on this one. I would not take this one on.

                It is always hard to move on, but most likely you will find another to love, and on the plus side, you will have the freedom to move barns and trainers.

                You need to think long term. That you paid a lease to help this one recoop is enough! As long as you are at this barn, you can still visit him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  hugs of understanding!

                  i have never owned a horse, all my 'special' ones have been leases or horses i've trained/taken care of at school. so i've had to let go of a lot of really wonderful friends.

                  it's hard. it just doesn't get any easier. you will cry. you will miss him. you will wonder how he's doing and if he's being loved.

                  but, at the end of the day, he is 'just' a horse. and based on your description of what you need in a horse, not one worth bankrupting yourself over, especially if you are leaving him in the hands of his (i assume) capable owner.

                  so, take a lot of pictures and videos, enjoy the time you have left with this guy, look fondly on your memories, and give your love to whatever new horse comes into your life next.

                  and PM me if you want to vent or chat.. i've been there a thousand times over.
                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                  PONY'TUDE

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think we need more information: who owns him? what is his owner like? (that is, will she own him forever, or is she absentee etc) how much would he cost? can he really be ridden or should he be retired? can you afford two horses? can you afford his vet bills?

                    Another option would be to let the owner know if she ever needs to retire him, you'll take him. That way you don't buy him and you help ensure a good future for him. How old is this horse by the way?

                    I don't know that I"d be inclined to pay money for this horse, but if you love him and want to make sure he doesn't end up in a bad place you could offer to be a backstop for him.
                    https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                      It sounds like he's spent more time on stall rest then teaching you how to ride! I think ending the lease, moving to another barn, and getting something you can ride is the best option for you.

                      I wouldn't try to buy a horse like this no matter how much I liked to brush him, especially if I could only own one horse.
                      My thoughts exactly.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Hi all; thank you for the great feedback and suggestions so far. A few more pieces of info, if it helps:

                        -Before my lease started he had a clean bill of health and a solid vet check (from a trusted vet). For good measure I purchased an insurance plan for him. It was a smart decision because I clearly needed it... particularly with the colic bills. I didn't realize, however, that getting insurance for him in the future might be very difficult now that all these problems have appeared (pre-existing condition stuff, right? Ugh!).

                        -His owner is a decent person. She has a lot of horses in training, so as a 14 yo schoolmaster he's not going to be the first priority but I know he would be in good hands. I know that's not always the case, so I do feel fortunate that he has a relatively good home. Though, is it appropriate to keep in touch with owners once you give them back their horse? I've had a virtually nonexistent relationship with her (she communicates with my trainer, not me), and I don't want to become "that annoying person that calls every 2 months."

                        -I'm trying to determine if he is for sale; at the start, I was given the option to buy, but I chose to do a lease to see how things panned out. Back in October, he was priced around $20K. I'm guessing that price would be reduced given all the medical problems these past few months. I just don't want to be ripped off, because as you all are saying (and as I have heard from friends), paying the lease fee I paid for him each month is absurd. The owner offered me a free two month lease extension thanks to the two months he spent on stall rest, which is nice... but WOW has this experience taught me a thing or two about how manipulative the horse business can be. People seem so nice, but then you realize it's because they're trying to charm you into paying unreasonable amounts of money, or buying a horse with dozens of hidden problems, etc. I feel so naive. I guess you learn the hard way sometimes. That said, I know there are good salespeople out there; I just haven't found them yet!

                        Thank you all again. My intention was not to ask for pity, just guidance or advice from anyone who has been in my shoes. My head says to move on because I know other great horses will come around, but my heart couldn't disagree more!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                          It sounds like he's spent more time on stall rest then teaching you how to ride! I think ending the lease, moving to another barn, and getting something you can ride is the best option for you.

                          I wouldn't try to buy a horse like this no matter how much I liked to brush him, especially if I could only own one horse.
                          Gotta agree with this. It sounds like they may have taken advantage of you with the vet bills. I would definitely ask about buying the horse, but I personally wouldn't pay $1,000 for a horse with lots of medical issues. Owner may drop the price a bit because you've been a good client and because of the medical issues, however I fear it may not be enough. Owner may be unlikely to take the amount the horse is really worth with all the medical problems because she is banking on someone coming along who knows nothing about them. Someone off the street may pay 10k for a schoolmaster that can teach them to pet a horse and pay through the nose, you shouldn't.

                          Just out of curiosity, was the vet who said the horse was healthy and sound trusted by you or by the horse's owner?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by anna3328 View Post
                            but WOW has this experience taught me a thing or two about how manipulative the horse business can be. People seem so nice, but then you realize it's because they're trying to charm you into paying unreasonable amounts of money, or buying a horse with dozens of hidden problems, etc. I feel so naive. I guess you learn the hard way sometimes.

                            It is a good thing you learned this early on!! (I also had an eye-opening experience in my 20's).

                            If you can find that rare trainer with great values and who teaches well, stick to them like glue! They are out there. If you *are* looking to buy, try to find a trainer who charges by the hour, not by commission to find you a horse. My trainer charges $45/hour for her time, whether she is finding you a $3,000 horse or a $75,000 horse. Plus, for those of us without much money she is great at placing horses for free with us. (We are a self-selecting bunch, however -- we all work hard for and at horses).

                            Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent.

                            There is nothing wrong with contacting the owner, and periodically (maybe not every two months, more like every six) asking for a report on the horse. I'd say you fell in love with the horse but can't pay what she was originally asking, so you'd love to stay in touch and hear about the horse, and who knows? One day it may make sense for him to come to you.
                            https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                            www.PeonyVodka.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              d) He has had a lot of medical issues in the last 7 months (colic, acute leg fracture, abscesses, girth rubs, skin fungus, etc.) and I worry about more things happening, PLUS all the vet bills

                              I'm just curious - how can a horse with an "acute leg fracture" be ridden?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Take lots of pictures, maybe make a scrap book if you're into it. Keep a lock of his tail for yourself. Put a big "we love you, and will miss you" card on his stall and have everyone sign it (if he's moving to a new barn.) Try to keep up with his whereabouts. Then move on.

                                I still have the memories, tail lock, card and photos from the wonderful first lease I had. He's doing great, and I just talked to some of his "family" last week.
                                It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                                www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This

                                  Originally posted by pony4me View Post
                                  Take lots of pictures, maybe make a scrap book if you're into it. Keep a lock of his tail for yourself. Put a big "we love you, and will miss you" card on his stall and have everyone sign it (if he's moving to a new barn.) Try to keep up with his whereabouts. Then move on.

                                  I still have the memories, tail lock, card and photos from the wonderful first lease I had. He's doing great, and I just talked to some of his "family" last week.
                                  This sounds like your "ticket" IMHO ~ Jingles for you and the horse !
                                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We are going to love most any horse we get to work with and do much and take thru some problems, as you did this horse.
                                    We need to learn to, when life together is over, to let go and be ready to love the next one just as much.
                                    We will always love the other ones, but that doesn't mean they have to be in our lives.

                                    Do you want to buy and care for him as an owner?
                                    That depends on what you want from life and horses and that one horse.
                                    No one answer is correct but what you choose.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Let him go, honey...

                                      Sorry, but it just sounds like you need to move on. He can't really do what you want ability-wise, anyway, but it sounds like he can't health-wise either.

                                      I read somewhere that whenever our heart "breaks," it isn't so much breaking as expanding so that it can hold more love. So think of it this way: he taught you to love and care for a horse and gave you the ability to love the one who can do what you want and is right for you. Maybe he needs to stay here and teach someone else the same thing.
                                      "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        All good points and suggestions. Thank you! I think the lock of hair idea is pretty good. Maybe I'll try to take an old horseshoe, too. I'm such a cheeseball!

                                        I'm starting to think that my plan will be to let him go (so that he can teach other people what he's taught me), but keep in touch as best I can. One day when he's ready to retire, I will buy him and give him the Black Beauty ending he deserves. I don't know many grassy pastures with ponds and apple trees in California, but I'll work on it.

                                        **Someone asked how I could ride a horse with an acute leg fracture-- I couldn't! A lot of our bonding happened while I handwalked him and sat around his stall giving him cookies. He was on stall rest and underwent acoustic shockwave therapy for 1.5 months before I could ride him again, and even then it was a week of tack-walking, gradual trotting, etc. and we weren't jumping again for about 2.5 months. This process was made particularly difficult by the fact that I was trying to bring a playful, energetic TB back in the middle of winter. THAT made for some fun!

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