Building A Better Relationship: Should I Sell My Horse?

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Question Category: Building a Better Relationship

Question: Hi Julie,

I met you at the 4 day clinic at the Winding River Resort in June 2004. I have the sorrel with a wide blaze and 3 white socks. He had some problems with bridling and using clippers. Also you showed me how the saddle I had did not fit him and was causing the white spots on his withers. We had lots of rain and mud to play in. I am hoping that this will jog your memory of that clinic. It truly was the best time I’ve spent in learning and relaxing more with Tucker and he with me.

About two weeks ago I was riding in a park here in Colorado Springs with a friend. We’d been out on the trail for about two hours and were about 20 minutes away from my trailer. That’s when we saw a beautiful young doe standing in the grass and scrub oak next to the trail. I was leading and we almost had passed the deer when I noticed her. She was standing still and we had stopped to watch her. As I had turned slightly to the right, looking back over my right shoulder, I was beginning to turn Tucker toward the doe. What I think happened was that the doe flicked her tail and Tucker saw it out of the corner of his right eye and took off. I was (stupidly) off balanced and ended up falling off hitting my head. According to my friend, I got up and told her that I would ride Tucker to the trailer. I do not remember anything from the time I saw the deer until we had gotten back to the trailer and Frances called the paramedics.

I am getting pressure to sell Tucker. Two days after the accident and after I got out of the hospital, I was able to spend some time riding with Martin Black (of Idaho) at Tee Cross Ranch. I had asked if I should use a different bit on him. He found Tucker’s neck real pliable to both directions, giving really well to the one way stop. He’s not the problem… it’s me. Tucker just needs to be ridden long hours most every day. I was able to take Tucker to a friend’s ranch over the weekend and we rode several hours mostly loping along the grasslands. Tucker never tired out. He thoroughly enjoyed it out there. I believe that I am finally getting a clearer picture of what this horse needs and what I am able to do or not to do.

I have made this longer than I needed to and I’m sorry. At this time I am not sure where and what to do. I’m sort of lying low to let the fury of my family’s feelings about this horse calms down. I am limited to a small space at home to work him. I have a 60 foot round pen and can trailer him to an indoor arena that charges $10 to use it if not already booked. I need help setting up a plan and schedule to work Tucker and possibly test the waters out there to sell him, even though I don’t want to.

So now my question is with this little bit of information, what comes to mind in a game plan to work this horse and for me not to get hurt!! :)? Thank you for taking time to read through this and I am anxiously awaiting your reply.

Sincerely,

Vicky

Answer: Vicky,

I remember you and your delightful young horse well and I am sure sorry to hear of your accident. I would agree that the horse did nothing wrong and is not a “dangerous” horse, but he is young and does need some miles and life experience on him before he is a reliable mount. Your family only has your best interest in mind and they are frightened of losing you. You can’t blame them and perhaps should consider every one’s best interest.

It will take a few years of solid riding to get your horse as seasoned as you and your family would like him to be. Selling him is certainly an option and may not be the worst thing. You can afford to be particular about who you sell him to and there are many people that can give him a good home.

Another idea would be to lease him out to someone that will put the miles on him. You may be able to find a rancher that would take him to use as a ranch horse for a year or two. Or, you might be able to find a competent rider that would take him for sometime. In either situation, you would probably have to offer a free lease and in order to find the situation you want, you may even have to pay the horse’s board and upkeep.

He is a great horse, although young and flighty, and I can understand your reluctance to part with him. But life is too short to get hurt when you can avoid it and lord knows, we don’t heal like we used to.

If you do sell him, look for a horse that is 12 years old or older and has “been there and done that.” My personal horse is 24 and she is an awesome ride and it is wonderful to have a horse that can stand in the pasture for a year and you can walk in, saddle up and go like you rode every day. Age and experience is not only nice, it is invaluable.

This is a tough decision for you to make and I am confident you’ll make the right one. Good luck to you.

JG

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