|the wrong horse|
As I've chronicled ad nauseam, I went through this situation with a horse I owned when I first got back into riding as an adult. It was a dismal experience and it almost made me quit riding. But here's the thing: just because you have doubts about your horse doesn't mean you should sell. Look at it this way instead:
1) Do you look forward to riding YOUR HORSE each day?
2) Does seeing YOUR HORSE's face over the gate make your heart go pitter pat?
3) Are you happy and confident while riding YOUR HORSE?
4) Are you safe (both in your own estimation and that of relevant pros)?
5) Is your horse physically/mentally/emotionally capable of pursuing your realistic goals?
5b) If not, are you willing to change your goals to suit your horse?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, keep your horse. There is literally no reason to sell it. But wait! Go through this next set of questions too.
6) Has your horse put you in the ER/hospital?
7) More than once?
8) Do you sometimes think it would be ok if your horse had a tragic pasture accident?
9) Does the idea of doing your chosen sport with your horse make you nervous/upset/worried?
10) Do you keep your horse because you're afraid it might end up as hamburgers if you sell?
11) Have relevant professionals expressed apprehension about your ability to flourish in this partnership?
If you answered yes to questions 6-11, SELL THE HORSE NOW. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
|what dreams are made of|
It took a long process (and hospital visits) and a lot of money wasted and finally meeting the horse of my dreams to convince me to let go.
But it didn't have to be that hard. I wasn't safe. I was scared and miserable, but I didn't have the framework to understand that because for 3 years, the only horse I rode was that one horrible mare.
All partnerships have rough patches and many of those rough patches are worth seeing through. BUT. As adult ammies, we aren't in this to save the world or go to Rolex or whatever. We're here to have fun.
So if you find yourself on the fence about whether or not your partnership is working out, here's the #1 thing I recommend: (IMPORTANT)
1) Put a timeline on it.
Last fall, Courage and I hit a seriously rough patch. I wasn't having fun. He wasn't improving. Things were getting out of hand. I wasn't unsafe, but the rides were sapping my enjoyment of horses.
So I told Courage and several friends I trusted to hold me accountable that if I wasn't having fun by March of 2015, I would sell him and find something more suitable.
That doesn't mean I gave up on him--I did pro rides and lessons and changed barns and trainers and did some time off and explored every relevant avenue because I wanted to make things work.
There will be rough patches, but they have to stay patches. If they sprawl out and seep into our perceptions of "normal" life, we very quickly find ourselves with the wrong horse in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that makes no one happy.
And if no one's happy, you have the wrong horse.