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  1. #1
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    Default Breaking up is hard to do. Update Post #34

    I'll start by saying that I cannot even believe I am starting this thread or opening myself up on COTH to the criticisms I will likely receive. But I need some advice, or maybe just some support from those who have been in my position.

    I think it’s time to finally make some sort of decision regarding my mare, Color. I have talked about this on and off for years and have always made the decision with my heart. Now I think it's time to use my head.

    I have known and loved my horse since the day she was born. She is now a 17 year old ASB recently diagnosed IR and has the beginning of stifle issues. She was started saddleseat but some years ago, my riding took a different turn and I decided to go back to my hunter jumper roots. Instead of selling her and buying a different horse, I changed her discipline too.

    I’ll spare the details because they could fill a book, but there have been many trials and tribulations over the years. I do love her dearly, but it is time, though, to finally admit she is not the right horse for me. I have “outgrown” her and, simply put, I just don't enjoy riding her anymore. The type of horse she is the type of horse I used to enjoy riding. I no longer want to ride that type of horse. And it's not her fault. Part of it is her breed, the way she was started as a youngster and her individual personality. In many ways she is a very well behaved horse.

    My trainer (who actually really likes Color) and I had a heart to heart the other night after a terrible lesson.

    I am not getting any younger and I feel like I am wasting my prime riding years. I cannot have children and so my hobbies are my life and I need to be able to take joy in them… and it's too expensive of a hobby to NOT enjoy. It's so incredibly hard to admit that I have not truly enjoyed riding in a long time. I want to re-iterate that I am not scared of my horse. I can ride my horse. I just don’t want to. She will never be the horse I want her to be and it’s time I stop trying to put the square peg through the round hole.

    I am not sure what all my options are at this point. I do know that I cannot afford 2 horses because sometimes it’s a stretch to afford just her. But I think, and DH agrees, that if nothing else, we owe her a good home and a good life even if I never ride her again.

    As you can imagine, after 17 years together, this is breaking. my. heart. I wish I didn't love her so much... that would make it much easier to move on. But I can't just toss her aside. She is not disposable. She is a part of who I am.

    ***Flame suit on for all those who say I haven’t tried hard enough, or haven’t exhausted every single trainer and cowboy under the sun, but my pocketbook is pretty shallow. I don’t expect perfection, but at what point do you cry uncle?***
    Last edited by drmgncolor; Apr. 8, 2013 at 04:36 PM.
    Dreaming in Color


    2 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
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    Just because she's not the right horse for you does not mean she won't be the right horse for someone. I think there is no reason to try and make this work any longer. Sometimes having a horse is like a marriage, it doesn't work, you get a divorce and everyone is happier.
    Last edited by islgrl; Oct. 31, 2012 at 07:18 PM.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Since you're obviously very attached to her, can you afford to lease her out and keep another horse?
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


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  4. #4
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    Dec. 19, 2008
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    Sometimes, we're forced with making tough decisions about finding a new horse that has the ability to ride to the level that we desire or to limit ourselves as riders to the level that our horse is capable of. Neither one of these is wrong and they're both an inherently personal decision. Riding is too expensive not to enjoy. If you really are that unhappy, I'd work with your trainer and find a young spit-fire of a rider for your mare and maybe lease some willing and able horses for a while. Take some pressure off of yourself and decompress. It sounds like you've been under stress for a while and deserve a vacation from it all. Good luck to you! I've been there and it's not easy!


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  5. #5
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    Default

    I'd be pretty darn upset, personally, if anyone thought to flame you for this. I'm sure you can find her a good home/free lease her/some other option. You deserve to be happy on your horse. GOod luck.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


    5 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Apr. 1, 2006
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    My friend had a mare that she did not enjoy riding. Their rides were a disaster and it was just a matter of which one would mentally break down first. Friend gave her to me and I absolutely loved that mare! She would do anything for me, no matter how scary. I felt 100% safe on her. My friend's main regret is she didn't give her to me sooner. My friend is a better rider than me, but I was a better personality fit for this particular horse. It sounds like you're in the same situation. You're not a good fit, send her down the road and find a horse you enjoy. Both of you will be happier.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by islgrl View Post
    Just because she's not the right horse for you does not mean she won't be the right horse for someone. I think there is no reason to try and make this work any longer. Sometimes having a horse is like a marraige, it doesn't work, you get a divorce and everyone is happier.
    This is very true and I agree. I'm struggling with this because if I sell, let's be honest here... rehome her as a giveaway then I lose control over her future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
    Sometimes, we're forced with making tough decisions about finding a new horse that has the ability to ride to the level that we desire or to limit ourselves as riders to the level that our horse is capable of. Neither one of these is wrong and they're both an inherently personal decision.
    This is what I pretty much had decided... that I would ride within the confounds of her. But I can't deny any longer that I want much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverreed View Post
    I'd be pretty darn upset, personally, if anyone thought to flame you for this.
    Yeah, well... it IS COTH.
    Last edited by drmgncolor; Apr. 8, 2013 at 04:39 PM.
    Dreaming in Color



  8. #8
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    Dec. 1, 2007
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    Default

    Is there a cheaper board option available (no ring, field board etc.) and wether thru the horseless rider link on COTH or putting out the word locally find other horses to ride while saving for another horse down the road.
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Sport horses

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  9. #9
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    Luckily, I have a wonderful trainer who truly understands how much I love this horse that isn't a good fit. She has offered me her ex ammy low jumper mare (she's not been ridden in a while so I have to bring her back slowly) to ride/lesson on for a while until I figure things out. But I know this offer will not always be "free." And of course, there is always the old school horses.

    I am looking into rough board options near my house, but gosh, pasture board alone is going for 250-375 because of the drought and hay is through the roof. Plus, she's IR, so putting her out free roaming on pasture could be problematic.
    Dreaming in Color



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by islgrl View Post
    Just because she's not the right horse for you does not mean she won't be the right horse for someone. I think there is no reason to try and make this work any longer. Sometimes having a horse is like a marraige, it doesn't work, you get a divorce and everyone is happier.
    agreed. well put.



  11. #11
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    May. 28, 2006
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    First of all, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I know it's a tough decision.

    I understand that she isn't the world's most ideal horse to try and place, and I'm not familiar with your area or horse market, BUT if you DID want to try and lease her out, you never know...there could be some horsecrazy kid out there who would jump at the chance, just can't afford to buy. Or someone who needs a pasturemate, but will love and spoil her to death. Or.....ya know? I realize it might not work out, but if that's really what you'd feel the most comfortable doing, why not at least try?
    Last edited by talkofthetown; Apr. 8, 2013 at 04:51 PM.



  12. #12
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    You never know until you've tried. Not many people would want the horse I'm leasing: he has a history of rearing and bolting and is lacking on ground manners. I decided to give it a chance, I was horseless anyway, so what did i have to loose? The rearing and bolting issues are no longer an issue, the ground manners... we're slowly working through that. And I found out that I really enjoy this horse, even if he's not an "easy" horse.
    Last edited by Niennor; Jun. 20, 2013 at 08:29 AM.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DottieHQ View Post
    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.



  13. #13
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    Default

    No flames from me, and I know it seems really hard to think of the type of person who would want Color, but what if you frame that question differently? Rather than focus on what she's NOT good at or cut out for, think about what she's great at and then you can market her towards those people. She's got to be good at something - you've kept her for 16 years! Plus you did mention that your trainer really likes her - so she's clearly got some good things going for her.

    It's tough - it sounds like you two had many good years together - so focus on those and "sell" her (literally or figuratively) on her good points, not the bad ones! You don't want to hide the negatives, but don't let them overshadow the good, for her sake and yours.



  14. #14
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    I'd find a horseless teenager and lease her to them. I grew up riding ASBs and I enjoy riding that kind of horse. I would have done pretty much anything to have a horse of my 'own' even if it had some issues. A lot of teens out there enjoy the challenge of something like your mare. I'd give leasing her out a shot for sure.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Default I'll pass on some words of wisdom from my mother

    Mom told me this everytime I sold a horse:

    "Just because you're done with him doesn't mean someone else won't want him."


    3 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    What does your trainer think of the horse as a whole? Has she ridden her? I think you may find she'll have some of the best advice with regard to leasing or selling. There may be a younger version of you out there who can't wait to have a horse like her.

    I think sometimes when there's a situation with a horse combining limitations with issues, resentment builds. It doesn't mean the horse isn't loved. But if you find yourself growing defensive in the saddle, waiting for her to pull some of her favorite stunts, she won't let you down. At that point, riding isn't productive for either of you. Tension in the rider begets tension in the horse. If you think you can recall the fun times, re-discover the confidence of your younger years, and relax with her, things could improve. But if you're simply tired, that's not wrong either. Everyone changes over time, and some pairs are just a bad match. I commend your effort to find a better situation for her and wish you both luck.
    Jer 29: 11-13



  17. #17
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    It sucks, and expect some of the same feelings people have with divorce/death. Sixteen years is a long time. But like you said, you aren't getting any younger, neither is she, and as pointed out already, she might be the perfect horse for someone else.

    I had a four year old and it took longer than it should have to admit that we were NOT a match. Like you, I had her since birth. And now that there has been time, I can admit that EVERYTHING was a friggin' trial with this mare. Even as a baby, she would rather rear up and flip over and have a fit for 30 minutes rather than follow mommy 50 feet to her pasture while wearing a halter and having a lead rope on. Now multiply this for everything a horse learns: tying, picking up feet, getting groomed, loading... I cried every time I went to the barn. It was a hard decision, but it was the correct one also.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

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  18. #18
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    No flames from me as I have recently given up on a mare that was supposed to be my forever horse! I know that it's a hard decision and one that you haven't taken lightly (16 yrs to stick with something that isn't right is a long time). Your mare will be somebody else's perfect horse, and if it's really tearing you apart that badly can your trainer use her has a lease or school horse?
    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!



  19. #19
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    No flames, but a word of caution-a 16-year old difficult to ride horse with medical issues who isn't super talented in some sport but can't be trailridden isn't going to end up in a good situation unless you, who have known and cared for her for her entire life, make sure of it. You could get lucky and some kid could fall in love with her and keep her and care for her so much that the kid and/or her parents fund the horse's retirement, but the reality is that you've kept this mare long enough that she's aged to the point that the likelyhood that she's going to find another "forever" home is highly improbable.

    Assuming you are concerned about her future, if I were you, I'd ask your trainer if there's anyone in your barn who would be willing to free lease her, or even partially lease her, and then you should start riding the school horses or a leased horse of your own.

    if you can't free lease her out to another rider, I'd find the cheapest quality retirement board you can find that will take her medical needs into consideration, even if it's not close enough to visit very regularly, and then I'd start riding another horse.

    I wouldn't flame you if you said you were going to give her some nice retirement time and then put her down.

    What I wouldn't do is give her away to a "good home". The good homes for horses like yours are so rare as to be mythological. From what you've said about her, your mare is unlikely to be someone else's perfect horse.


    9 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niennor View Post
    You never know until you've tried.
    Totally Agree.
    Quote Originally Posted by candysgirl View Post
    I'd find a horseless teenager and lease her to them. I grew up riding ASBs and I enjoy riding that kind of horse. I would have done pretty much anything to have a horse of my 'own' even if it had some issues. A lot of teens out there enjoy the challenge of something like your mare. I'd give leasing her out a shot for sure.
    I am going to try and lease her out, but I don't' hold high hopes that is going to go well in my area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie4Bar View Post
    What does your trainer think of the horse as a whole? Has she ridden her? I think you may find she'll have some of the best advice with regard to leasing or selling. There may be a younger version of you out there who can't wait to have a horse like her.

    I think sometimes when there's a situation with a horse combining limitations with issues, resentment builds. It doesn't mean the horse isn't loved. But if you find yourself growing defensive in the saddle, waiting for her to pull some of her favorite stunts, she won't let you down. At that point, riding isn't productive for either of you. Tension in the rider begets tension in the horse. If you think you can recall the fun times, re-discover the confidence of your younger years, and relax with her, things could improve. But if you're simply tired, that's not wrong either. Everyone changes over time, and some pairs are just a bad match. I commend your effort to find a better situation for her and wish you both luck.
    My trainer and the 2 that work for her don't have any clients who would be interested in my horse, not even for a lease. At least they are honest with me.

    My trainer likes her, but that doesn't mean she wants her or that there is a market for her. When we were discussing my options she never used the word "sell". And I totally understand why.

    I think you are spot on about the resentment, sadly.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheJenners View Post
    It sucks, and expect some of the same feelings people have with divorce/death. Sixteen years is a long time. .
    My DH even agrees that he thinks it is equivalent to ending our marriage in a lot of ways. I am heart broken, but I know it's the right thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
    No flames from me as I have recently given up on a mare that was supposed to be my forever horse! I know that it's a hard decision and one that you haven't taken lightly (16 yrs to stick with something that isn't right is a long time). Your mare will be somebody else's perfect horse, and if it's really tearing you apart that badly can your trainer use her has a lease or school horse?
    No, they are not interested in her as a lesson horse because of her alternative breed.

    Quote Originally Posted by NCRider View Post
    No flames, but a word of caution-a 16-year old difficult to ride horse with medical issues who isn't super talented in some sport but can't be trailridden isn't going to end up in a good situation unless you, who have known and cared for her for her entire life, make sure of it. You could get lucky and some kid could fall in love with her and keep her and care for her so much that the kid and/or her parents fund the horse's retirement, but the reality is that you've kept this mare long enough that she's aged to the point that the likelyhood that she's going to find another "forever" home is highly improbable.

    Assuming you are concerned about her future, if I were you, I'd ask your trainer if there's anyone in your barn who would be willing to free lease her, or even partially lease her, and then you should start riding the school horses or a leased horse of your own.

    if you can't free lease her out to another rider, I'd find the cheapest quality retirement board you can find that will take her medical needs into consideration, even if it's not close enough to visit very regularly, and then I'd start riding another horse.

    I wouldn't flame you if you said you were going to give her some nice retirement time and then put her down.

    What I wouldn't do is give her away to a "good home". The good homes for horses like yours are so rare as to be mythological. From what you've said about her, your mare is unlikely to be someone else's perfect horse.
    The bolded parts of your post are highlighted because you pretty much summed up why I am having such a difficult time with this. As I said in my OP, it would be so much easier if I didn't love her or care about her future. But I do care. Probably too much.

    I am not naive enough to think she would find a forever home with a little girl to love her always. That's equating her situation to the dog who "went to live on a farm." I know where she's likely to end up and while I don't oppose that (another thread altogether) it is not what I want for this horse and I will do anything I can to keep that from happening. It just sucks, that's all, because even though I have admitted and am learning to accept that my horse and I are not a good match, I still can't move on.
    Last edited by drmgncolor; Apr. 8, 2013 at 04:53 PM.
    Dreaming in Color


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