Deciding when to move on to another horse. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Deciding when to move on to another horse.

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?
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by existentialpony View Post
Anyone else have a similar experience?
While I have not been in this situation many, many horse people have. Normally in such a situation I would say that it may be best to let go of some of your emotional attachments, find a new home for your gelding, and buy this mare to further your riding career. However, what exactly is limiting you from progressing with your gelding? The reason why I ask is that given your husband's medical conditions it may not be best to take on another horse right now. Whenever you buy a new horse (especially if you've been only riding one!) you go through an adjustment period and the horse will suck up lots of time and in all probability money. I am absolutely wishing your family's health the best, but what if your husband's condition worsens, or you have to accompany him to regular doctor's visits and you don't have as much time to spend with the new horse? I know you said that you religiously ride your horse at least 5x per week, but sometimes life gets in the way. In that case it may be better to have your trusty gelding than having the worries of a new horse. You also mention that the mare needs "work"- what exactly does that mean? Just needs to be ridden regularly, or has some issues that need trainer assistance? You know his condition and your financial situation better than I do, but I'm just expressing concerns.

Of course, if this is too good of an offer to pass up, then certainly buy the mare! Also consider that leasing may be an option with your gelding. Try asking around to see if anyone is interested.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 08:03 PM
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Vet check and ask for a trial period on the mare if you do decide to seriously look at her.
She was schooling third - was then chucked into a field - and now is for sale for a song.
The math adds up to that she was probably lame when worked consistently, imo.

What are your goals in dressage - outline those and you will have your answer as far as what to do. A good coach is also worth more than any horse! Good luck!
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 08:30 PM
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Concentrate on your husband, gawd woman!!!
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 08:50 PM
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I would vet check as well Anebel, but OP, if you love dressage, it might just be time to find a good home for your gelding and get this mare. It will be hard, but if your goals don't match, then you will both be happier with someone else.

I had to reach that realization with my anglo arab this year. He wanted to be a trail/endurance horse. I wanted to run barrels. I loved him, I learned so much on him and he showed well for me, but now he is happier with a little five year old girl doing 25 mile rides and I could focus on my mare who is getting faster every run.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. :) I am absolutely vet checking this horse no matter what, especially considering her intention would be dressage for many years to come. The owner offered a lease on-property prior to purchase, which is something I would almost certainly do.

Focusing on my hubby is a good thing, but you can only do it for so long before you drive the both of you crazy. ;) I think he's happy when I take a break from running around him offering him meds and food and peptalks and the like, and he gets to go back to his video games...
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-27-2013, 09:44 PM
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Waht is perhaps heartbreaking to a certain extent is that horses in general, I think anyway, don't have the issues that we have when they are rehomed..they don't think about, why did they sell me etc. They may have an adjustment period to a different location, rider, tack etc but they do rebond to others. We are the one's who lay awake at night feeling guilty as hades and worrying half to death until some time passes. When I made the decision to give up a horse that was too much for me I was a basket case...he stayed at the same barn with the new owner so I saw him fairly regularly. As he bonded more to his new owner he would recognize me but I could tell he was not "remembering" who I was..I was just another human walking through the barn...I was kind of insulted actually but he would still take a carrot from me but in the same lackadaisical way any horse takes a carrot from someone who isn't their owner.

If you've outgrown your gelding in abilities then move on. The suggestions here are good....find him a good home (obviously) or work a lease where you can keep an eye on him. If he is quiet enough than a younger rider may like a horse they can learn on that can help them come up through the to long as he likes newer riders..:)
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 12:09 AM
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By the sound of him, I'd love your gelding!
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-28-2013, 12:19 AM
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I wouldn't even consider trying to sell and/or buy any horses right now. In a few years, or when your husband is in remission and you're not needing money for medical issues, THEN it's your turn and time to think of doing something else with horses. For now, a holding pattern and putting money in savings is what is called for.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-29-2013, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Are you referring to the market for horses, or my particular situation? We have a very healthy savings account that gets automatic payments every month. When I talk about money being tight, I am referring to our "free" money being tight. I appreciate the concern, though. :) My financial situation isn't the limiting factor for the purchase, it's the reason why I wouldn't add the burden of another horse without selling mine first.
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