Beka from The Owls Approve asks:
Defining the Relationship
Let’s be realistic. What’s the plan with your pony? Is it a five-year investment with a return, is it until you move up beyond the Kin’s abilities, or is it forever?
I like to think I am not stupid about my horses. I like to think that I am a practical professional and that I view horses not as kids or dogs or machines but as horses, nothing more, nothing less. I do know that I don’t view selling your horse as a cardinal sin and that in many situations selling horses is a viable and non-abusive business. I like to think that I have a good working relationship with my horses with a minimum of coochy-coo and that I keep in mind that they are huge flight animals, not kittens.
That said, I’m pretty stupid about my horses.
Obviously, I take the very best care I can of all the horses on the place, no matter who owns them, but my own horses just have a whole other emotional dimension. With clients’ horses, I make good, logical decisions for the horse’s benefit and do my level best to make it happy. With my horses, I become a total sap. If a client horse hurts itself I inject it happily with NSAIDs. If my horse hurts itself I have to grit my teeth and force myself to inject the poor thing and even then I feel the needle go in just as if it was my neck that was getting stabbed. Perhaps it’s because I have to deal with so many horses whose fates and, sometimes, care I have absolutely no control over, but I am very sentimental and deeply attached to my own creatures. Client horses come and go – they get sold, they get taken off my list, they get taken home, whatever. Of course I love them, but I prevent myself from getting attached because I know it is highly likely that I will lose them.
All this to say that despite seeing client horses leave without emotional scarring, I am deeply and extraordinarily attached to all of my horses and likely to cry my eyeballs out if I ever found myself in a situation so dire that I had to sell one of them.
Arwen would make logical sense to sell because I have Magic to compete on and she would be quite valuable now, but that’s just never going to happen. She’s my partner and the one who’s got my back no matter the escapade; I think she may have my trust more fully than any other horse in the world, barring Skye. I’ll compete her up to EV80 or EV90 and once we’re bored of that maybe a little higher-level dressage, and in between some showing. When/if I’ve competed her at the highest level we can go and I have a riding school, I’ll probably let her pack my better students around some shows. Eventually, I want to breed her again; purebred Nooitgedachters (because she is so typey) and perhaps find a nice sharkfin-withered thoroughbred stallion to breed another trustworthy little event horse for myself. Whatever happens, Arwie is home to stay.
I was actually supposed to sell Exavior. I thought I could make some money out of him if he grew up sound, given his breeding and looks. And then I couldn’t stop thinking of him as mine and… yeah. I actually do have a valid reason to keep him, though. He’s big. Not that I actually need a big horse to cart my 100lb frame around, but I have confidence problems with big horses, which is not helped by the fact that the big horses I deal with are mostly stallions with aggression issues. If I could have a big horse that I raised myself, a gentle-hearted gelding that I had control over and could train at my own pace, it would do absolute wonders for my confidence. So Exavior is going to be my next youngster to bring on. I might still sell him if he proves to be too big for me to handle, which with the Mutterer on my side is unlikely, but we shall see. What discipline we shall compete in, nobody knows; he’s bred to jump but moves well enough for dressage. We’ll see what he likes and go with that.
Magic is not going anywhere. His shenanigans did make me wonder a few times whether I wanted to keep him or not, but I’ve always really known the answer; he’s my dream horse and he is mine forever. The current plan is for us to go up the grades in showjumping, since he most certainly has the scope to go quite far. I do dream of eventing him someday but I think he might just not be an event horse. He’s not very resilient at this point in time. Either way, showjumping is what I bought him to do and currently his passion, so up the grades we go and see what happens. He will never be a schoolie because I would hate to see newbies bouncing around on dear sensitive Magic (Arwen doesn’t give a rat’s bottom), so him and I shall compete until he is old and creaky, God willing.
Thunder well, who would ever sell a Thunder if they had one? Even if I was in the most dire straits I would never be able to put a price on him. I would give him to the Mutterer because they deserve each other. But Lord willing, I will never have to be parted from Baby Thun, and he can be my pleasure pony for his entire life. He’s to be my personal pleasure horse and do whatever we feel like doing, be it outrides or competing. When he is older he’ll also be a lovely school horse, so I’ll probably use him now and then for the more panicky sort of beginners that need a gentle, loving horse to hold their hand for a while.
Skye will also never go anywhere, ever. She has had an adventurous life already, and her home with me is where she will have all the adventures – I pray God there will be many – that remain. She’s being a happy, semi-retired hack right now, but should her old legs not be able to carry on hacking, she’ll be a weanling mommy and the companion that keeps Magic’s daft head out of the clouds. She reminds him to do things like drink water and go under the shelter when it rains.
There will, of course, be other horses that come and go at some point. I’m buying a broodmare, who I love but who will also be going once her foals have raised me enough money to buy a better one. I would also like to start training and selling ponies at some point. But these horses are mine and if the Lord wills it they will be mine until their last breaths. Of course, His plan prevails above all. But right now, that’s the way it seems to be going.