Finding the perfect horse is similar to dating. You may have to try out a few different ones before you find the perfect match, or you may stumble upon the right one the first time. Nevertheless, if you are having second thoughts about you and your horse’s compatibility revisit your wants and goals to make sure you have the right partner.
The Right Match
If you are reconsidering if your horse is right for you ask yourself a few questions. Figure out what details about a horse are important.
- Too short or tall?
- Lazy or energetic?
- Has the conformation required of your chosen sport?
- Scares or frustrates you?
- Do you look forward to going to the barn and spending time with your horse, or do you make excuses and avoid going as much as possible?
- Do you make excuses for your horse’s behavior?
- Do you have enough time for him or are his talents left unused in the pasture?
If any of these thoughts are reoccurring it may be time to look for a new equine partner. Lack of enjoyment and fear are pivotal reasons to find a new horse you will be happier and safer with. If you avoid working with your horse because of fear the horse most likely has issues that cause these feelings. Your avoidance of the horse’s problems will only make them worse if not dealt with by yourself or a trainer. Feeling unsafe is a red flag to stop riding and get a professional to help you before you or your horse becomes mentally or physically injured. When problems start popping up during your rides get your horse checked out by a vet first. If you are committed to fixing your horse’s problems give your horse a goal of six months to a year to solve the issue or find something new.
Playing for the Same Team
You must decide what it is that you really want to do with your horse. Are you interested in reining, dressage, show jumping, or western pleasure? Are you doing the kind of riding you want at the level you want? Is your horse more suitable for another discipline? Your horse’s talents need to match your own. It is not fair to mold a horse into a discipline he can’t physically do well. A horse built for western pleasure will not become a grand prix show jumper no matter how much training you put into him. The hardest part is setting honest goals for yourself. If you cannot meet those goals with your current horse then you know it’s time to move on. Sometimes you have to let your head overrule your heart.
Choosing the Correct Horse
Take a realistic look at how much time you can spend with a horse. If you can only spend an hour a week with him, look for a horse who is well trained, calm, and has a been-there-done that attitude. Do not get a green horse or one with bad habits so you can enjoy the time you do have to spend together instead of fixing his problems. Also, evaluate your own skill level; if you are a novice get an experienced, older horse. If you are a more advanced rider a green horse may be just the challenge you need. Timid horses usually do well with confident riders and vice versa. Most importantly don’t get a horse for the wrong reasons. Just like the old saying goes “There isn’t a good horse of a bad color.”
Re-homing your horse sounds like an overwhelming task filled with doubts of how well another person will love and care for your horse. All of this is normal, your job is to do the proper research and marketing to find your horse his perfect rider. Advertise your horse on reputable websites that specialize in selling horses. Make sure you are honest about your horse’s temperament and talents. Fill the ad with quality pictures and a video of him being ridden. Interview each perspective owner and let them ride your horse to make sure they are going to work well together. There are so many horse loving people out there you are bound to find a perfect match for your horse; someone who will love him as much or more than you did. Remember you are not giving up, you are doing the right thing for the both of you.