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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have been talking about how we want 2020 and quite frankly the next 5 years to look and feel it may be best to sell the horses. We've only been horse owners since April so it almost feels like a failure to even think about but you never know until you try.

We only have a small property, 2 acres. Between the house and our dog yard, it's a very small plot for our QH and mini, about 1.5 acres. Managing the property to make sure it supports them is time consuming on top of our jobs and kids and other pets. We rarely have time to ride. We ride maybe twice a month.

I feel I would actually get to ride more if we sold Red and I started lessons at a barn. We can't afford lessons + horse ownership so it's an either/or situation.

I'd also really like space for gardening, which isn't an option if we keep the horses.

My thought is we keep Misty (our mini who is likely in foal) and either keep her baby if she is pregnant or get a friend for her. But will this really cut back on work for us and free up enough space? Would it cut down on expenses significantly enough?

We both had the same thought - we are doing all the work but not getting any of the enjoyment out of horse ownership.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

To add - I have clinical depression and right now is a bad time for me mentally, so I may be viewing our situation more pessimistically right now than I would a month from now. I feel like I can't make any decisions until I am over this hump, but wanted to dialogue with other horse people about it and see what you all think.

Happy New Year, everyone!
 

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The reality of keeping a horse and all the care involved is just not how many people want to live. Others think it is heaven.

So long as you and your DH are both in agreement, there shouldn't be a problem.

Will you miss this horse, himself, if he is no longer with you? Are you still going to be tied down to daily care with the mini? Do you want to board a horse so you can ride with and talk to friends?

These and other questions are what you must ask yourself.

When I was married, we would have a family friend stay at our place with their family and care for all the critters so we could get away for a week or so.

The husband one time said he felt our place was fine for a vacation, but he thought it would be hell to live on a farm full time.

I was shocked. It had been a lifelong dream of mine, and brought me great joy and happiness to tend to our farm. Turned out, my ex felt the same way as our friend, but just never said so. One day he told me how much he hated the farm life. That was the beginning of the end for us...this life just isn't for everyone.
 

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I applaud you for really looking hard at horse ownership. Horse care on a small property - regardless of your location, is hard. And if you are getting little to no enjoyment or reward from that horse ownership it is OK to find a home for your QH and possibly your mini and rethink horse ownership in general. That does not mean you have to give up your horsey dreams - just think of them in different ways. You can take riding lessons, volunteer at a local rescue or therapeutic riding place.

You are not the only ones who sit down this time of year and think ahead to goals and dreams. Many people find that animals in general are a lot of work.
 

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So sorry about your depression. Maybe it would help thinking about different options. You said "I feel I would actually get to ride more if we sold Red and I started lessons at a barn" made me think of something. If their is a barn where you can ride that you know of perhaps they would take your horses.
Horses are like lots of things, years ago we used to drag race. It takes lots of time and money.
Wife and I together going on 48 years now. In the 70s my wife had to get rid of her horse and foal. No place to keep her and expensive. She found a good home but always regretted it.
Then a few years later my Dad (rip) and I built a barn, he got horses. After that I bought our place here 1980. It was all timing, things didn't work out.
Recently we had a stable built here, and found a super nice horse we have now and she was free. It's all timing.
If I were younger and knew of a riding place that would take a couple horses I would give them the horses, to me a win-win. I would get to see and ride my horse.
Wife and I always thought animals were an anti depressant. If I get upset they calm me down.

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Deep topic and sure to get more & many varied responses....

For me and from my mindset cause I too have those same thoughts...
My horses are a lot of work and expense.
I love having them, but much of "it" falls on me to do daily.
I have sold off some horses, now having 2 left...

So...to me....for you who has only just started the road of ownership, consider if boarding your horse might offer a solution.
You would still have a expense but would gain your yard back and not have the time-consuming daily chores, maintenance and upkeep of the yard.
Your "grunt work" would be of the more enjoyable kind.
You go to the barn, get the horse, clean the horse, tack-up and ride...you will actually spend more time, enjoyable riding time boarding than you do now because the daily chores are no longer yours to do.
I would keep the horse if made to choose myself.
Minis, they're cute, period.
They are often more expensive to feed because of diet requirements being so specialized their food is costly.
Farrier, whether a horse, pony or mini...same cost. Actually my farrier charges more for mini cause unless you built "stocks" it is harder on him and his back, so no $ having small versus average sized horses.
Vet is a vet and same thing...it costs regardless of size of client.

I don't consider it a failure to recognize that horse-ownership and having horses home is maybe not for you...
No matter what day it is, where you want to go or what you want to do you have to get home cause there is a horse waiting to be fed and cared for...not just anyone is comfortable stopping in to feed the 800 -1000 pound "big dog"....not happening.
It is also lonely to not have companionship to ride and think that may be part of the scenario although you not recognize that part yet.

I would save hundreds, many many hundreds of dollars a month if no horses anymore.
I would also lose my hearts desire and love of looking out the back window and seeing them, listening to them greet me when home from work does make all the work worthwhile.
There is a peace and joy, a contentment I derive from just watching, co-existing with my animals in my yard.

It is hard to give up a total dream you've had forever...maybe consider a tweaking of that dream instead.
I myself am miserable when no horse is in my life, but recognize the work and expense, the great commitment you give to have home in the yard...all your responsibility 24/7.

I would look to see if there is a middle ground before just doing away with all that dream...take away the home work load and see if that makes it workable. Try boarding...
Consider if you love to ride, ride by taking lessons, spend the money and get hubby to go trail ride with you possibly in a vacation destination seeing beautiful countryside.
Consider a partial lease so you have the ability to ride when you want but not the many expenses and the horse is in a location not your backyard and needing your constant labor to maintain.
Once though you give up the dream, it is not easy to regain it...life gets in the way to easily.

Make sure you can live with your decision, no matter which way you choose to go...you too need happiness in your life.

:runninghorse2:...
 

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Now, this next bit may be a little off subject, but...tell us about this horse of yours, Red.

Is he a good boy? Is he friendly? Is he easy to ride? Do you bond with him?

I just wanted to give you an opportunity to discover if it is the particular horse that is the issue, or horse ownership in general. Would you prefer boarding him? Or is he just not what you expected?

Have heard of people who sold their horse(s) and never looked back, and people who sold theirs and regretted it for a lifetime.

Never good to make any decisions when depressed. :hug:


(btw red horses are my absolute favorite. If I wasn't so far away...he looks like one I would enjoy owning and riding so I may not be totally impartial)
 

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I have 2 horses on my two acres (they have about 1 1/4). Yes, it's s lot of work to pick poop, seed, feed, vet, trim, groom, buck bales, etc. I'm almost 62 and have to do most of that work alone. And yes, sometimes I wonder if or when I will have the time and energy to ride.

But I've had horses most of my life and just can't imagine a life without them.
 

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I would not make any decisions now about selling you're horses. Not when you are having issues with depression.

I also struggle with depression and know my ability ,to make rational decisions isn't good. I've in past gotten rid of things I later regreted.

Just make sure it's truely what you want. Maybe lease red out off property for 6 months. See how you like being without a horse. If all is good then maybe you could at the end ,of the 6 month lease sell him.

My horses are what keep me going it's a reason to get up every day. Yes it's a lot of work but I enjoy taking care of them.

I have kids a husband and house hold duties. I have learned something's can wait like vacuuming an dusting. I've also have taught my older two kids to help.

They are able to do laundry vacuum house. Clean bathrooms, wash dishes. They do these things 3 times a week to lessen my load. It's part of learning to be a grown-up they need to learn life skills. Do they whine moan about it ,you bet they sometimes do.

But if they don't do what's expected they loose privileges. Older girls fist thing to go is electronics iPads and phones become mine for a week.

You just can't do everything plus work full time. Even my youngest two help with chores house and barn. My mom taught me when young ,same things I'm teaching my kids.

Bless her heart I'm so thankful for it. My mom is passed away now 💔. Wish she was here she'd be so proud of her grandkids.

Sounds like you an husband are on same page though. Just some things I've done to help,something's to think about also.
 

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We loved drag racing and 20 years ago it was a blast...that few seconds blast down the track! But it got to be so much work say nothing of the huge expense and time wrenching.
We sold them when work outweighed the fun.
The OP brought up a fascinating subject, so many things in life...one person's heaven can be another's hell.
I enjoy different experiences and I love hard work. My idea of hell would be playing video games or watching TV all day.
Sounds crazy but I enjoy mucking out a stall. Good exercise and takes me 15 minutes. I can be way away from the house cutting trees, working on something, stop to rest and there's a horse grazing beside me. Pure heaven.
To me animals are different than many hobbies because they appreciate what you do for them.

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I don't think you should make any concrete decisions while you're depressed.

We don't have the same setup you do but my minis create more work and cost more money to keep than my paints & quarter horses. If it was necessary I could let the big guys fend for themselves for a couple of days because they have plenty of pasture 8 - 9 months out of the year and have round bales of hay the rest of the time. The minis are kept on a dry lot plus need limited food so they have to have hay doled out to them a couple of times a day year round and a smaller lot means it needs to be cleaned more often.
 

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Would you be able to afford full livery? I work a lot and there are times when I don't see my horse for a month. But when I do have time, I ride every day.
So it's the best of both worlds - I get to have a horse and don't have to lift a finger if I don't have the time or the energy. The downside, of course, is the money. But depending on your area it might even be cheaper than keeping your horse at home. When I put everything down on paper, it actually works out cheaper for me to keep her in full livery but it might be different in other parts of the world.

You can even take lessons on your own horse, most yards cater to that arrangement.
 

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Depression, even mild, can be a major energy suck, so if you're trying to work, keep house, dance attendance on hubby and kids AND take care of horses, you just may be running out of gas both physically and mentally. I wouldn't make a major decision like selling off your horse until you've come out of your slump but if you do decide that it's just too much, then it's certainly not failure. In fact, I would applaud you for being pro-active and recognizing that BEFORE the horses are starving or not cared for in another way. Too many hang on way past the point when they should let go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh I definitely won't make a decision until I am feeling better. I just wanted to see what other people's thought were, because sometimes people on the outside see things more clearly. You guys have definitely given me lots to think on.

When DH and I bought the property, and especially before we bought the horses, we thought long and hard about what kind of life we want. We love to camp and to travel. We do weekend getaways a lot. We knew we would have to either stop, or hire a pet sitter. We've been hiring pet sitters, but the cost is truly astronomical - as I am sure you all know. If we want to take the kids to the beach for a week, I am looking at $200-300 extra just for pet sitting.
@AnitaAnne that is so interesting. I have a lot of friends who were downright disgusted when we said we were moving out to the country and getting animals. A lot of people couldn't why, at all. DH and I both grew up in the country and we knew we wanted land regardless of whether or not we ended up with animals. Of course, we didn't end up with as much land as we wanted, because we were severely constricted by the area we could move to due to sharing custody with my ex.

As far as Red guess, he is technically my husbands horse. He's def a bit aloof, very out of shape from not being ridden enough, and even though he is sweet and gentle, riding him is not very enjoyable. I think he would be great with consistency. He's just not getting it. Because we don't have a trailer and won't be able to get one for the foreseeable future, I ride mostly on the streets close to home. And I am constantly fearing for me life when I do :rofl:
@carshon thank you for those words. Volunteering is something I've been thinking about a lot. I used to spend quite a bit of time volunteering, and there is a horse rescue minutes from me that I want to go volunteer at, and I know they DESPERATELY need the help. But I can't find the time. With the money we would save on horse related expenses, both my kids could get weekly riding lessons. Or DH and I could.
@horselovinguy and those others who have suggested boarding: We COULD afford it. But then we would have to stop paying off our debt. I am still paying off my very expensive divorce as well as my recent wedding (june of 2019). And that's the other issue - we are still unsure if we want a child together or not, but we know baby + horses is not an option financially. At the moment I am working 3 jobs - and we have a good chunk of expendable income, but most of it goes to the horses because SOMETHING is always wrong, as you all know, and the rest goes to debt. I'd like to not work nights and weekend forever lol.

As far as mini's go you and @JCnGrace had excellent points - that was my thought as well. Farrier is a little cheaper, and so is teeth floating, but only by a few bucks. Everything else costs the same. And the management of minis - that is so true.

DH and I did discuss a partial lease. That may be the best option for us.

One thing I had never thought of was of leasing Red out. That may be a good option.
@Fuddyduddy1952 I normally agree with you on the farm work. Normally scooping poop is relaxing. I get away from 30 minutes to an hour, plug in my headphones and "relax". Lately it's just seemed so taxing, so either the charm is wearing off, I'm burned out from the winter season (it's a very busy season for me work wise), or it's simply depression and that weight will lift and I won't mind so much anymore.
@rambo99 I feel it's a catch 22 for me - I have let things go inside the house a lot, but if things aren't clean and organized to a certain extent, my anxiety etc gets much worse. The kids and my husband do help a lot, but I feel we are all just running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to manage the cats, dogs, horses, 4 jobs between us, extra curricular, homework, family and "me time".

DH would never complain... he's not the type... and he wants me to be happy and wants me to live the life I've always wanted... but I think he's been overworked and burned out as well.

Lots of great thoughts from you all here. I really appreciate it.
 

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Take a deep breath, sit down and do relax a bit with hubby and family...
Have a nice campfire in the backyard toasting marshmallows, hot dogs on a stick or just sit and enjoy the quiet of crackling fire and get lost in yourself for a bit...just unwind time.
Your family sounds great and supportive of the adventure called life you have taken on...
Give it some time...
Spring shall soon be coming, for some that is the best time if a decision to sell is made, people look to buy or lease or rent...
I would not do anything right this month though as needing to really think through all the choices takes some time and clear thought and input from family...and you need to be you.
You are just as important a part of this decision as any other member...and you work darn hard to have a dream...
Make a decision, when the timing is right for you...
Hugs and congratulations on your marriage and so much happiness and love that found you!! :smile:
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Take a deep breath, sit down and do relax a bit with hubby and family...
Have a nice campfire in the backyard toasting marshmallows, hot dogs on a stick or just sit and enjoy the quiet of crackling fire and get lost in yourself for a bit...just unwind time.
Your family sounds great and supportive of the adventure called life you have taken on...
Give it some time...
Spring shall soon be coming, for some that is the best time if a decision to sell is made, people look to buy or lease or rent...
I would not do anything right this month though as needing to really think through all the choices takes some time and clear thought and input from family...and you need to be you.
You are just as important a part of this decision as any other member...and you work darn hard to have a dream...
Make a decision, when the timing is right for you...
Hugs and congratulations on your marriage and so much happiness and love that found you!! :smile:
:runninghorse2:...
Thank you so much. I do feel blessed beyond measure for what I have.

It's crazy how quickly seasons change, isn't it? I am sure everything will be green and blooming in no time, and I may truly have a different outlook at that point.
 

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Another idea which may or may not be possible: around here riding schools will offer a deal on a private horse to participate in the riding school for reduced/free board. Maybe you could work out something like that with a local riding school. (Not sure if that's possible in your neck of woods. My country isn't big on liability for self-inflicted injuries - like horse riding)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another idea which may or may not be possible: around here riding schools will offer a deal on a private horse to participate in the riding school for reduced/free board. Maybe you could work out something like that with a local riding school. (Not sure if that's possible in your neck of woods. My country isn't big on liability for self-inflicted injuries - like horse riding)
I wondered that too. I haven't seen how he acts with consistent schooling, so I am not sure what his "normal" is, but I don't think he'd be ready to go into schooling at this time. I am open to leasing him and have been doing a bit of reading on that - but I'd have to send him out for that, and that's nerve wracking.
 

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I wondered that too. I haven't seen how he acts with consistent schooling, so I am not sure what his "normal" is, but I don't think he'd be ready to go into schooling at this time. I am open to leasing him and have been doing a bit of reading on that - but I'd have to send him out for that, and that's nerve wracking.
One thing is for sure, unless you sell him - you will still have to keep a sharp eye on his situation, whether you board him, lease him or put him in a riding school. I guess it is just one more thing on top of everything else and it might not be what you need with your health issues.

I hope your health improves soon. Best of luck.
 

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Depression is such a soul sucking thing to deal with. Everything seems 10x more draining and I know when I'm in the thick of it I just can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm glad you're not going to rush into a decision while your depression is screwing with you.



In 2012 I was given a horse. He was older and had a lot of special needs. But he was kind and generous and through a lot of time and effort we became great partners. Much like you, OP, I never had a trailer and was confined to riding on the roads around home. It was my big fear that he would die before I ever got the chance to take him off the property. In 2018 that's exactly what happened. I was a ball of mixed emotions. Devastated at the loss but happy to have provided him a retirement home and good death.



So then I was faced with figuring out what next. All along I'd planned on getting a new horse once he was gone. So I started horse shopping. I wasn't clicking with any horses and I got really discouraged. I started to second guess the whole thing because throughout those months I had so much more money and freedom. Beyond money and freedom though I realized I wasn't stressed anymore. Having my horse was a constant source of worry for me. What if something happens to him? What if there's a fire? (We had to evacuate once and leave him behind due to not having a trailer). He was prone to illness and injury so I was constantly doing first aid and/or researching different feeds and therapies for him. Taking care of him was a labor of love and it weighed heavily on my mind 24/7 for the six years I had him.


I finally found a new horse 10 months later. I paid too much for him and he hasn't turned out to be quite as advertised. But he is fun and healthy and I am 75% sure I made the right choice to get another horse. But that 25% nags at me a lot and I do know that financially I'd be in a much better place if I never got another horse. Then I go out and pet his nose, give him a carrot, and once a month or so I have time to ride and for those minutes I am so happy.



So.... right choice? Wrong choice? I really don't know. Your post just struck a nerve with how I have been feeling. I wish you the best with whatever you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@tinaev thank you for sharing. That does sound similar to my situation. I worry about what I’d be saying no to if I say yes to horses. No to goats, no to gardening, no to a baby with my husband, no to quitting my day job and taking my art business full time.

The YES has to be be strong enough to justify all that.
 
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