One thing that bugs me is reading posts or ads for horses that are for sale (or “looking for a new zip code”-as seems to be a popular way of saying things) it’s when I read that it’s because “I can’t do this horse justice “, or “this horse has too much potential. ”
Now, I realize those might be formulas to make the horse seem more attractive than it might be in order to attract more attention but I really don’t like the sentiment. (Does it even work?) I don’t like to think that some owner thinks that if their horses are not out competing then it is somewhat “wasted”.
Some even seem to apologize for the fact that horses would spend too much time in the pasture if they were to stay with them as they are short of time etc..
I can’t help but think of a few things every time I come across these formulas.
1.No horse was ever born with the ambition or desire to excel in the world of human sport.
I don’t think this needs much explanation. Horses have needs and want but winning ribbons and accolades is not one of them.
2.Not all gifts need to be exploited
I have friends that are incredibly gifted in music others in their ability to run, some are really good at making puns and are very funny. None of them has seen fit to pursue a career as a musician, an athlete, or a stand-up comedian.
I realize horses are not people but what I mean to say is that not all gifted horses need to go to the shows, the Olympics, or whatever competition is out there. The gifted one can certainly develop their skills privately to the immense enjoyment of their owners and riders.
However, I do think that if you are going to ride in a particular discipline, it’s a lot more fun to do it with a horse that is good at it. So I really don’t think a horse can be “too” gifted for a particular person. If someone told you that, ask yourself who’s goals they are really serving.
3.Horses should be a source of joy, companionship, and generally pleasant experiences. No matter what you do with them. And it should be mutual.
If you are not having fun with your horse then be honest enough to admit it and move on. Too many riders stay stuck in a bad relationship with their horses over a sense of guilt or obstinacy. Life is short: find something the horse and you can both enjoy. If there really is a conflict say the horse is clearly unhappy with the sport you enjoy or is so terrible at it that it robs you of any pleasure doing it with them then by all mean part ways. But the human being the more resourceful and really the one holding all the cards in the relationship it is up to us to adapt to them and make it work as much as possible. There is no “meeting halfway” here let’s be honest.
Another issue that also comes up. I had some of my past clients that seems to think that I might be disappointed if one of my horse was not shown in competition at some point in their career.
To be clear I never have and never will offer a special price to show homes- I don’t think the life of a show horse is a particularly great one. It can be done correctly, but it’s not ideal.
If you want to show and do the circuit, take clinics and get your bronze, silver, or gold medal good for you and I think that is wonderful.
For those of you that have bought horses from me in the past or plan to do so in the future, please know this (I can’t say it any plainer) :
1- care for the horse, tend to its physical and mental well being and ensure its lives in a healthy environment,
2- enjoy interacting with your horse in any way you see fit and it seems to be mutual,
3- train and maintain that training to ensure that if something was to happen to you the horse would be comfortable and desirable in another situation;
-you are enough!