Monday, April 20, 2009

Venus and the Moon

I took these pictures on March 1st, 2009, but left them in my Drafts queue and forgot to publish them until now. So, they are not an accurate assessment of how my skies look at night at this point in time.

I didn't ride my horses this weekend since their mouths were sore from their teeth floats. I did groom and lunge them for exercise, though. Standing in the center of the round pen chasing my horses' tails gave me some time to reflect.

I've been perusing what's up for sale on Craig's List in my area, and was amazed by the number of Paint and Pinto horses being sold. I suspect that newcomers to horse ownership often pick flashy horses with interesting markings, or their kids pick out these pretty horses without really having any understanding of all that is involved in horse ownership. That's part of why I maintain this blog. I want to help others have a successful horse ownership experience, and I also want to be within a community of horse owners who can help me when I'm stuck.

People often talk about trading horses in order to get a horse more suitable for their needs. Though I understand that if you are switching riding disciplines you need a horse that has been trained in that discipline, I don't think I could ever sell any of my horses for any reason. I once tried to sell Lostine, but as the phone calls and emails started coming in I realized I couldn't do it. I didn't think anyone could take care of her as well as I can. I decided that all three of my horses are stuck with me for life.

There have been times when I've known that another horse would be more appropriate for my needs, but instead of changing the horse, I chose to change myself. I took equitation lessons to become a better rider. I read every horse training book and viewed every horse training video I could get my hands on. I started volunteering at horse shows and observing what others were doing. I started this blog to get a dialog going about how to solve problems that we all encounter with horses. Now I am in a position where I am shaping the horses I have into what I need them to be, as opposed to selling them and looking for a horse that someone else has trained to do what I want it to do.

I know that each person has a different amount of time to spare, so I'm not saying that everyone should do it my way, but I am saying that I have grown as a person because of the efforts I've made to take the longer route to meeting my needs as a horse enthusiast. The entire time that I have been training my horses, they have been training me. I can say that I like myself more now than the person I use to be when I began this journey of horse ownership.


Shirley said...

*** you just discovered the secret of horsemanship***
Good for you for your attitude towards horses. And lovely photos, by the way!

jen098 said...

You are right on that many horses can be retrained. I mean, my former cutting horse probably cannot become an eventing horse, but rather then selling her I decided she was more important than "an event". Don't get me wrong, I love cutting, but I love my horse more. Plus, starting over in a new discipline (trail) is really challenging and gets me to think of new ways to be with my horse. (Ever try to turn your horse in a 6 by 6 box? Or close and open a gate with precision? Or side pass over a specific object? I was pretty much thinking I was "all that and a bag of chips" until I found out it is harder than it looks!)Horses always teach me something, and it's usually humility...

Kate said...

The road you've taken is the harder one - but you're right - the thought, effort and learning involved and the bond you develop with your horses can definitely make it all worthwhile. Keep up the good work!

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I completely agree with you. My barn owner's neighbor recently traded one of their Fjords for a Haflinger. To me that would be like trading your child in for a different one, because you didn't like how they looked or how they performed in school.

My opinion -- if you don't want to develop a relationship with your horse, ride a bike instead!

Katie said...

I agree, a new discipline or change is not worth selling your beloved horse. I wouldn't do it. The photos are beautiful.

Leah Fry said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I could certainly have a horse better suited to my abilities than Poco, but I love him to pieces. I'm lucky to have Jaz to balance out our little equation.

Fantastic photos!

Paint Girl said...

I totally agree with you. I can't part with my horses either, I would never feel comfortable selling Brandy, due to some of her issues, it takes a special kind of person to handle her and I could never live with myself if she went to the wrong home. She is with me for life.
I just think alot of people out there treat their horses as "just an animal". I have never been that way and even though everyone has a right to do what they want with their horses, I don't have to agree with it.

jen098 said...

Katharine Swan's comment reminds me of an ad I saw on Craigslist...where someone did a spoof "selling" their children. They put something about their 7 year old being housebroken, and while they loved him, they were moving and just couldn't keep him anymore. I know some people have different circumstances, but it is sad how many 20 something horses people want to unload because the cost of care goes up. Horses, old horses, are expensive. After all their years of service, and mistakes I make, my horses deserve to retire in my pasture in the lap of luxury!

Andrea said...

I am sort of on the wagon with you here. I think it's okay to sell a horse if it goes to an approved home where the new owner will take care of it. I have sold many of my loved horses. My very first horse I sold while I was in college. I needed the money being a single mom. I was so sad, but it had to be done.

I sell foals all the time. Which I think is a bit iffy. I worry that they go to someone who knows what they are doing, and not just buying a foal because it's cute. That bothers me a lot.

But I do have two horses that I would never ever sell. Pearl, my old show horse and Peanut, my kids' new horse. Those two are perfect in my book. Neither of them are beautiful, but keepers. The rest, sad but true, if the right person with the right amount of money came could buy them. My husband and I own six horses.

I think sometimes it's good that beginners realize that their horse is way too much for them. And it's probably safer to sell the horse. But I never understood why someone would trade a perfectly well behaved horse for a untrained crazy horse? That doesn't sound like a deal to me at all!

I guess they could always send the horse to a trainer, but, I don't know. I don't get that attached to my horses. I love them, don't get me wrong, but I could sell them if I had to, or if I needed a horse to do something more specific.

Like right now I have my Ozzie boy that I love, but I just can't justify keeping him. I am too scared to ride him. I have sent him to a trainer and everything. I just can't get my guts up to ride him all the time. He is broke and everything. But I need to sell him to someone who will ride him and use him. He is a good boy and I have raised him from a baby. It will be sad to sell him but I am just wasting his time by not doing a thing with him. He deserves better than what I am doing with him.

So, there are two sides to this post. I see them both, because I have horses I would sell and I have two that I would never.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Very nice photos, NM!

It's been tempting for me to think about finding Baby Doll a different home, after what happened, but that thought doesn't stay in my head too long. What happened could have happened on any horse to any person. It was just one of those crazy accidents. gah!
In fact, my girl was more scared and upset to see me on the ground than I was actually being down there. lol!

Yes, she's not a beginner horse, but she's been a good teacher for me. Teaching me to be more pro-active, and in-the-moment, and not just a rider along for the ride.

She's taught me how to act around horses, and how a good horse should act around humans. She's been patient with my beginner horse-care techniques in hoof picking, grooming, trailer-loading, and clumsy mounting.

My horse has put up with my silly desensitization games and even seemed to enjoy herself. She's made me laugh at her..and at myself.

So even with the rough stuff and frustrations, I can't imagine tossing her off onto someone else.

But that doesn't mean that I won't consider borrowing or buying a 'beginner/dead broke/calmer/quieter, more appropriate-for-me-while-getting-past-my-fears-and-healing, horse
until I'm ready for her again.

Ironically, this heartfelt post of yours, NM, fits in so well with the award that I was recently given from Kacy over at All Horse Stuff.

I have decided to give the award to you, my friend. Come on over and check it out when you get a second.


allhorsestuff said...

Excellent writings and thoughts on the fact that it takes a very big heart to actually allow the lovley Equine to show you yourself. They have much to tell us if we listen.
I too have learned so much about me while trying to respect my mare and find the way to her abilities.(with me on her)
Trading horses..huh...that is so flat! I had someone sit on a saddle I was looking at today..and you should have seen my mares face..the look was so weird..her looking at me on the ground and wondering WHO is up!
Lisa choose well for the award!And I think YOU are what it describes!
Gorgeous captures of the moon and sky!

Glamour Girl said...

Those photos are AMAZING!!!

Katharine Swan said...

Jen, that's funny -- that spoof sounds like something I would do!

HorseOfCourse said...

Beautiful photos, NM.
It is an interesting theme, too.
If you have the possibility to keep all your horses - both economically and space wise - then of course it is a wonderful thing.
But if not?
We spend so much time and money on our horses, that I believe that the horse and owner should match, and enjoy each other.
If you see that your horse is not the right one for you, personally I do not believe it is such a bad thing to sell, provided you find a sensible new owner.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great photos,even if they are a little dated.

I'm with you, usually once we get a horse, it stays put for life. We always work with what the horse has to offer and go from there. Each one is different and it is always a lesson in humility to see what they have to teach us.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My goal in this post is not to lay a guilt trip on anyone who has sold or traded a horse. I was once in a situation where I had to sell my horses, because both my husband and I got laid off from our jobs at the same time and were not having any luck finding work. The money was running out and the horses were eating up a lot of it. I was heartbroken to have to consider selling them, but fortunately things worked out, we got jobs, and we were able to keep the horses. I suspect that because I came so close to losing them, I am more willing to do whatever it takes to keep them and work through our problems.

Of course, breeders make a living selling horses. They have to put up somewhat of an emotional wall so that they won't get attached to their horses, otherwise they wouldn't make any money. There are a lot of sides to this issue.

Callie said...

Sometimes, those decisions are tough. I've had to sell a couple that didn't work well for me. I know the one that was closest to my heart did go to a good home for me. Now the girls that I have will stay with me forever.