So I have a problem (duh).
Just to give some background, I lease a TB gelding named Hooch who we think is about 9 years old (ex-racer, illegible tattoo + no papers) and he is, to be frank, my best friend. He's a total sweetheart with an addiction to peppermints, and he never fails to put a smile on my face. I started leasing him back in the Spring after riding him for over two years now. He has an old stifle injury, so jumping is a no-go, and he has some problems with the left lead. He likes his head down near his feet and I ride him pretty much always on a long rein or else he gets very fussy and upset, but he tries his heart out. He is the smartest horse I have ever met and has a heart of gold. But it feels like I am the only one who can see it.
He's been "the dopey lesson horse" since he stopped jumping (I ride at a hunter barn/eventing barn even though I love dressage, sometimes it isn't great when the only barn around isn't your discipline but I roll with it) and I've never been taken seriously with him. I've seen him do amazing dressage, and so have other riders, but I get eye rolls and snarky laughter whenever I bring him up to my fellow riders my age at the barn.
Now, these girls are also usually snarky and stuck up, but my closest friends also look at my like I'm a joke.
I have been told more times than I care to admit that I should just find another horse to lease because Hooch will never be what I'm looking for.
And I just won't accept that. I know he can do anything with the right training and a little extra help, but I feel like nobody will listen to me.
I have another problem as well, on top of all of this negativity. He's constantly losing shoes in his right back foot (he has odd feet) and going lame, but that's only been occurring this past fall/winter. No one will listen to me when I try to solve the problem by suggesting supplements or different shoes. As stated above, all anyone ever tells me is to get rid of him and find another horse. On the other side, I also get yelled at by other people for even listening to this idea because apparently I'm running away from my problems!
I feel backed into a corner and it's getting to the point where I feel like riding just isn't worth it anymore. I am terrified because this horse is the best thing that's come into my life and I just don't want to lose him.
I feel so trapped and scared and utterly alone.
So THAT was a rant. I am so sorry that was so long, but I just needed to get that out there. He's my best friend, and I don't want to lose him. I made myself promise when my parents first told me I could lease a horse that I would stick to that horse until I physically couldn't.
All opinions welcome! I just don't know what do to...