I just needed a thread to start putting my thoughts down. I ride a 15h 11yo arabian gelding who I recycled from Western pleasure into a dressage horse. He has gorgeous sporthorse movement and the (sporthorse) judges love him. We tested for our first time at an AHA sporthorse show and managed 65's in our Intro A and Training 2 tests, which was huge for us both (since we primarily work without a trainer). I love this horse to pieces. He has taught me so much, and we have improved together--the both of us-- in a way that I don't think I could have with another horse personality. For reference, I've had him about 8 months and ridden 5-6 times a week religiously. He's healthy, fit, increasingly flexible (great range of motion in his joints) and just a wonderful horse.
However, I've begun to realize that I also really love dressage. I started looking at dressage horses about a month ago and finally went out today to try a 16.1h 10yo oldenburg mare (claimed to school 3rd level at one point) who is extraordinarily priced due to the horse market down here in Tucson and due to the fact that while fit, she's been used for lessons and by a leasee who isn't exactly a wonderful rider (or so I'm told). Seeing her in person, I swear she would sell for 20k in a decent market or on the East coast--great breeding, gorgeous shoulder, giant roomy hocks, very correct (although a little stiff and tense when I started poking and prodding). The owner said she has a natural extended trot and I didn't believe it until I saw it (and rode it)-- wow. Just, that perfect flick-y forward trot. She has so much power and nice bend, it was an incredible new experience for me to ride her! Fun story-- I accidentally extended her canter in an AP saddle, tried to sit it... HA. Anyway, we rode in the arena, on the trails, through a dust devil (didn't bat an ear) and she is just a solid, capable dressage horse. But she does need work (schooling).
Yes, I owe you all pictures and video when I ride her again! I'm going to take a lesson on her next week and see how we do.
Here's the catch. A few months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. His prognosis is wonderful, he is doing very well and treatments are mostly covered by insurance, but the $300 scan here and there and weekly+ co-pay fees have started to take a toll on our finances. There is no way we could (or would even think of) financially handle two horses. I would have to sell my gelding to take on this mare. I can't help but feel very connected with my gelding (and rather distant from the mare I rode), but then that's what happens when you spend all of your time with one horse. Part of me says to go for this mare if everything works out, but the other part says that I'm 25 and have my whole life to invest in a nice dressage horse to move up the levels-- maybe in a few years when my finances can support more than one horse.
I'll be sure to update this thread with fun photos and things at some point. Just had to vent! Anyone else have a similar experience?