I love my horses. When Blade was alive I loved him even on the days when he could get frustrating. I loved him when I could no longer ride him at the level I wanted to ride. At his very worst I made the decision and I vowed to keep him until the day he died…and I honored that vow.
There are other people, friends of mine, who work differently. They have a goal in mind and they find a horse to suit their needs. If it isn’t working out, they find the horse a new home and choose a horse that works better for the job.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
The $900 Facebook Pony wrote a marvelous article not too long ago and described something I’d love to touch upon today.
The $900 Facebook Pony wrote an article in July of this year and that’s where I first read the words I’ve been looking for this whole time.
So what are these? Amanda describes them well so please take a momentary detour (or visit after) and check out her post.
“buys the horse and if necessary adjusts their dreams/goals in accordance to what that horse needs/wants”-The $900 Facebook Pony
I have always been horse-centric. I never saw myself going to the Olympics and I’ve never competed at a show in my life. I used to be the horseless child standing by the fence-line watching the horses in the pasture graze. They’d visit with me and I’d treat them to the grass that’s always greener on the other side of the fence. I never rode them but I spent hours with them.
As a teen I woke myself at 4AM and biked the 3 miles to a local farm so I could be the FIRST ONE to hear the horses nicker when I opened the barn doors for morning feed. I would often stay there until 9PM doing chores, often never having a chance to ride.
I grew up horse-oriented and I imagine I will always BE horse-oriented. I like finding new adventures and I like finding what ignites my horse’s interests. I am so lucky that Tiger finds so much joy in hunter paces because I love them too. He is incredibly athletic and he’s happy and forward galloping away in a field. Nahe so far has shown his love of trail riding and seeing the views. When I am more mobile I look forward to what else my horses may enjoy.
In accommodating my horses I give up (potentially) the opportunity to be a high level rider in any one discipline. I’ve made my peace with that and my internal compass points me towards having happy animals and strong relationships.
“has very specific goals for themselves and buys/sells the horses that will or won’t get them to said goals”The $900 Facebook Pony
Top level riders are the best of the best. They have the best trainers, they have the superior skills and ride top level horses…horses that are not only capable of performing at a high level but also that enjoy their jobs. If a show jumper purchased a barrel horse PERHAPS the barrel horse will find it enjoys its new vocation but there’s a good chance it won’t. A horse that enjoys what it does tries harder and puts more heart into its job.
If that show jumper found his/her horse was not thriving does that mean he/she should keep it? Absolutely not.
If a trainer has a lesson horse that is getting bored or showing signs that it’s no longer enjoying it’s job should the horse then retire completely or should the trainer find a job that will help the horse will once again thrive?
When someone is goal-oriented it means they need a horse that suits their needs. It would be unfair to the horse to sit around doing nothing or doing something it doesn’t enjoy. It would also be unfair to expect someone to end their career because they didn’t find the right fit.
Goal oriented people often find themselves (more often than horse-oriented people) the subject of ridicule on Facebook groups. I’m sure “keep the horse” is something they hear a lot.
Selling horses is not a crime and it doesn’t make you a bad owner. Keeping a horse that isn’t working out doesn’t make you a good owner, either.
What makes someone a a great horse person is being honest about themselves and their needs. I am happy to sacrifice a hope of high level equitation and in return I get to explore my horse’s talents and interests. I try new things….a jack of all trades and a master of none. Even as a horse-oriented person if I felt that my relationship with my horses was toxic and not improving it would be upon me to fix it, even if that meant finding the horse a home that would be better suited.
Goal oriented people work hard to reach the top. They choose a horse that will get them there. Horses that cannot are not “thrown away” but they are re-homed into new jobs better suited for them.
Figuring out who you are and what you want from horses will bring you peace; and it’s important to understand that others have different goals and to give others their peace.