Monday, April 22, 2013
Saturday, I watched one of my horses drive away in someone elses trailer. He is going to school. He is going to see what he would like to be good at. This is his shot to learn skills that will help him in his new home. At 13 he is my most"at risk" horse. What does that mean? Well, he is a horse I have loved from the beginning and had no expectations from. We dinked around with this and that but had no real agenda on developing his potential as he wasn't very sound. When he became sound 4 years later, I decided to try to develop him only to realize he surpassed my rusty riding skills. So one big fall later I made the very heart breaking decision to re-home him. Sounds like a bail doesn't it? Well I did beat myself up with that word and those feelings for about two months then I gave myself a break. Part of being a good trainer is to know when you are over faced. Be that emotionally or physically. Its happened with other peoples horses, and I gracefully took my leave with out a backward thought. When its your own horse it makes it a little more complicated to separate the truth from the emotional fiction. A wise friend once said to me "Just because you don't have the answer for him doesn't mean someone else doesn't..." We never say die types don't like harsh truths like that but its that exact truth that has freed me from the guilt I was using to not be "solutional" I had to examine my motives. Why was this lovely little horse any different than a horse I would not take in training? Being mine was not a good enough reason. Allowing him to be a pasture pet was selfish and unrealistic. Why? Well, being a good steward to our pets is about thinking down the road for them. If some thing happened to me could all my horses be re-homed on their own merits? Could my friends and family find them a new forever home with out the added stress that they would simply be a fantastic pasture ornament? Not in this current financial climate. Its a big commitment to take on a horse for its natural life time. People want to enjoy their investment. Even if the horse is free, riding him, using him for therapy purposes, etc etc, make that monthly investment easier to bear. So off he went to someone who will help show him a life outside of the cloistered life he has lived for 5 years. I was asked by more than a few people, why I was paying to have him trained just to sell him? Well, that's all part of it too isn't it? What chance would he have in the real world with limited skills? A 13 year old, green horse can end up in many horrible places. This is his ticket to ride, it puts him on an even playing field with the rest of the hard working ponies out there where his looks and his wonderful personality will give him an edge, I believe. Its still no guarantee, look at the crisis in Spain where centuries of carefully bred Andalusians are ending up on the meat wagon from simple want of funds to feed them and buyers to buy them. Not 5 years ago, these same horses fetched tens of thousands of dollars all over the world and now the sad fates for them. Its heartbreaking and its a truth that every horse owner and breeder should consider before buying that project horse, breeding that brood mare and "rescuing" that 22 year old unsound gelding from the auction block. Will you still be willing to pay for that colt, that old horse who deserves a chance, in three years? In ten? Will you be able too? Will you burden your friends and family with your "collection" of living , breathing, eating, feeling charges? Many people can rationalize their way around these very hard to think about topics. I am one of them. For the sake of my current and future critters I wanted to get real. My fingers are crossed for my little guy and Im banking on the fact that he will rise to the occasion. As for me and the remaining herd? We will continue on together, with luck, for the rest of our natural lives.