Saturday, June 18, 2016

Down the Wormhole

Much like blogger Emma, who posted about the non-linear progression (and regression) that is horses, I too share a very uncertain future with horses. Not necessarily in the sense that I will sell what I own and vanish - but more along the lines of "where do I go from here"?

The future in showing and participating in active riding is perpetually non-existant once Finn returns home from my lease.

This isn't a shock. Finn's lease was meant to be temporary, with him returning home this Fall, after show season.

And when he returns home, that leaves me with one broken mare and an ever-tempermental mini. Not that it is a bad thing - I'd much rather a broken mare than no mare at all. But it still puts a large halt on my competitive riding career.

So that leaves me with the ability to day-dream about endless possibilities.

My thoughts have gone all the way from purchasing a fancy new show horse, to pulling a viable embryo out of Suzie and putting it in a recipient mare. I seriously put more thought into the latter than I am proud to admit. But I digress.

I love my red mare and if she weren't old and broken, I may have something to work with. But, by this point I'm sure her ovaries have dried up into nothing and even-moreso, I don't have an excessive amount of money to pour into old ovaries, recipient mares, petri dishes, and whatever else lab equipment I'd require. It'd be a mad science experiment for sure, and if I had thousands of dollars to play around, I would.

 But such is life.
And much like the game of Life, it likes to fuck you when you aren't looking.

And boy does it fuck you hard.

In truth, I've delved down into this pit of self-induced sadness with the cards I've recently been dealt. Suzie being diagnosed with navicular was just the tip of the metaphorical ice-berg. I haven't made it public knowledge on this blog, but I've been unemployed since late March due to lack of work. The construction industry is a fickle thing and quite literally, you will work yourself out of a job. It's the nature of the beast - things get made and once they are made, the project is over.

The unfortunate reality is that the bills keep coming, the pets seem to get injured during the worst of times, things break and need replacing, etc etc. Things that were frivolous desires (read: not a necessity) were no longer optional and having Suzie be diagnosed and retired to a life of leisure was just a kick in the teeth. I could take losing my income; losing the freedom of riding was just unbearable. And while I still have Finn to ride, it really isn't the same. And while I still have Spud to drive, it really isn't the same.

Nothing will ever be the same as riding my red mare.

Although I was still unemployed when I started to look for a lease horse, the essential staple to the conditions of the lease were that it'd be a free lease. No money was outgoing and it was do-able considering I had purchased a shit ton of hay prior to the job loss. I'm sure I could've gotten along just fine without riding this year, but it was more of my own selfish-fueled desires than anything.

So I've been doing some soul-searching and tossing around a multitude of ideas. The idea of a horse that is already made is seriously appealing, but it will come with a price-tag that I will not be able to afford for a while, especially due to the whole unemployment thing. Saving up for a new show pony was not in the plans for the last few years and even since Suzie's diagnosis, I haven't put a penny into my "New Horse Fund".

I've had friends tell me to just look for a cheap project horse. But in reality, I don't WANT a project. I want something made - I don't want an 8 year old Morgan that is green-broke or a 6 OTTB that just came off the track. My "want" list is very specific and I have only been able to find two horses that would have literally fit the bill - ironically enough, they came with a large "bill" (ha ha ha). The other horses I know of that would fit the bill are not even for sale.... And why? Because the kind of horse I want is the kind people keep for themselves.

It's the kind of horse that people dream about - the kind of horse that is some kind of mystical unicorn. They do exist, trust me on this.

She is one of these unicorns.

But am I willing to fork over a large amount of change?

Or, do I MAKE my own?

And then there is the property to consider - I don't want to board forever. Do I hold off on purchasing for the next two - three years just for the sake of saving and building a barn?

Or do I take on one of the largest projects there is in horse ownership and purchase a weanling?

Before you void my thoughts as being completely erratic and nonsensical, think about it for just one second.

Say I purchased a weanling and whilst it grew up and became a respectable equine citizen, I built my barn and spent that non-existant extra time I have on the property? In addition, the weanling will inevitably become a 5K+ investment but the difference is that it'll be over the period of quite a few years vs an initial purchase price. Plus, any showing and such would be beneficial in the sense of getting the foal out and about, but it wouldn't be the end of the world to miss a show here and there.

The irony in all of this is that one of my favorite breeders in the area JUST SO HAPPENS to have one mare due this year. And that mare JUST SO HAPPENS to be my very favorite of her entire broodie gang.

Stallion - 2007 Dunalino APHA.
I've personally met him and he is one of the sweetest
studs you'll ever meet.

Mare - far left liver chestnut. APHA

Resulting foal from the exact same cross last year - foal on
the far right. Solid dun filly.
 The foal is due in July and provided it is a solid (no paints, pls), it will be something I may have to strongly consider.

With me wanting an exact type of horse, it may be "cheaper" to start off with a weanling vs a made horse. Because to have a made horse sitting in a pasture isn't as appealing as it is to have a weanling sitting and growing up, experiencing life. And perhaps during the time I spend "making" this foal into what I want, Spud could be shown properly and more seriously during that time.

So am I crazy? The boyfriend is supportive of the idea so far, altho he is less enthused about the idea of me paying more board money for a horse I cannot ride (it would ironically bring the tally up to 3 horses I can't ride... boo).

So do I wait 2-3 years until I've built my barn and such to get the horse? Should I save up for that "made" horse? Do I "make" THAT horse I want with shelling out money throughout it's career vs the initial purchase price?

Heads - foal
Tails - foal
The thoughts keep swirling and they don't make much sense. Maybe I'll just flip a coin.


  1. I don't have any advice. I personally don't like owning babies. But that's me. Plenty of people like them. That stud is a cutie though. Good luck with the decision.

  2. Baby personality is kinda a wild-card until they are 3 or so (if the Momma is a sweetie your odds are good!)....and a good trainer to start them is a good chunk of change...but the plus is that you can get something you would never have been able to afford initially! Can you gather some intel on full sister? Might help tip the decision either of luck!!

    1. These babies usually get sold as weanlings and are pretty much never sold again... haha. Everyone who buys these babies keep 'em!

  3. It's not an easy decision, no matter which way you slice it. I bought a yearling and raised him and I loved it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. There's also the thought of buying, say a 2 year old, and then the wait is not long at all.

    1. True - the thought of being able to ride IS appealing.

  4. Basically, you want a horse to show and have fun on, but don't have the resources? Thats the angle I'd to finance that unicorn. Babies are fun, but it's a LONG $$$$ process and you don't know what you've really got until you've spent a lot of money and time. Ask me how I know 😊 I'm sorry things are a little tough right now, hoping things improve soon.

    1. Gah, I know right?!
      It sounds like it could be a fun chapter in my life, if nothing else.

  5. I think this is a decision you'll have to make for yourself. You know what you are capable of and what you really want and are probably leaning more towards one option than the others.

    In the meantime maybe look into getting a different sort of job that is available in your area. It's easier to make decisions when there are some funds coming in. Even though you don't want an OTTB I've had two and they were very nice horses and very trainable. There are also many rescue associations that have some nice horses you might want to explore. There are always options the trick is to find something that fits you. Good luck.

    1. 100%. I don't intend to really make a move until I get a job again and am working more full-time and have some savings lined up. It's fun to fantasize tho!

  6. All I can tell you is my own personal experience -- obviously I don't know you, and I don't want to speak out of turn. After I lost my heart horse unexpectedly I leased for 2 years before saving up enough to buy myself a new horse. I chose the made horse route, and paid for it both in time waiting and saving and money outright.

    and it's been 110% worth it. I don't regret writing the check and I'm glad I decided to buy something finished that I could show and have fun on.

    1. Actually, your comment made me really think about it more and more... and I realized that maybe I don't *want* to wait to ride... I mean, it's possible I'll change my mind AGAIN haha, but for now I'm just kind of sitting in limbo, happy to have a lease horse and waiting to see if there something I want to pounce on.

  7. Oof, I am so sorry about the job. That is extra rough.

    When I lost Booger, I decided that I wanted a baby. I can't even remember why, but I think the fact that it gave me more options and the thought of raising my own creature was exciting for a teenager just out of high school. And it was awesome. Until I had to wait for her to grow so I could ride her. That was a little rough, but I got to work with her and train her up until then, and when I handed her off to the cowboy for 30 days, he was so impressed (and happy!) with how well she took it all.

    In that case, it really depends on how long you are ok with waiting to ride. If you think you can wait it out, then have fun with that baby option! Whatever you choose, it will certainly be an adventure.

    1. Thanks <3

      Makes sense - I am sure I would go stir-crazy with not being able to ride! It's something to really think about and decide if it's an avenue I really want to go down.

  8. I'm sorry about the job situation, that is really hard. Lots of exciting options tho!! I like how you have both short term and long term goals - like showing with a made horse now and saving for your barn. I hope the right choices and opportunities arise for you!!

    1. Thanks, Emma!

      I think I need to prioritize a bit more tho... the barn IS most important despite how much I want a show pony.

  9. I think there is nothing wrong in waiting, and waiting may bear more fruit than jumping on something now. My only concern with buying a weanling is that a lot can go wrong between weaning and riding. But everything is uncertain and if you feel its the right decision for you than go for it.

    1. This is true - there is no reason to just jump right into it! I have a lease horse to ride right now, so there isnt' a huge reason for me to be antsy to ride.