I was blessed enough to spend the majority of my life with horses in one form or another. Growing up, I was the epitome of the “horse-obsessed kid” in school. If it wasn't horse related, I didn't want anything to do with it.
There were many horses and ponies over the years, and I could not ever imagine being without one. It is amazing how life dictates changes though, and now, almost 50 years into having horses around, the time has come that placing my last two geldings is upon me.
This is not an easy decision by any means. Many of us lifers in the horse world are committed to our horses for their entire lives. There are others who can more easily make the decision to sell and move from horse to horse. There is no judgment here on my part – in fact, I find your ability to make the decision and stick to it admirable. I also admire the skills you have in placing your horses and moving on to the next.
There is a multitude of things to consider as you reach this decision. Each one of us will face different circumstances, and every story will be different. I will share a bit of my story in making this decision, in hopes that it will make your decision easier, should you ever need to consider it.
First, I had to look at my health. Providing proper care and maintaining the fence, paddock and run in take a huge toll on me. Physically, even with the help of my teenage sons, providing manual labor is a tremendous amount of effort that all too often leaves me drained. (It sounds pathetic, right? I always saw myself as a tough nut cowgirl up, nothing going to stop me from my horses kind of person. Right up until a severe car accident in Nov 2017 left me seriously injured with permanent issues.) I had to ask myself: how long can I continue this battle and fight the physical pain? Is slacking on paddock cleaning and fence repair the best for Phatz and Tater’s safety?
Second, we had to examine our financial situation. I have recently been able to resume a job and had to accept a drastic cut in pay. A nearly debilitating cut in pay, and a reduction in what I can do both physically and mentally for a career, as I can not return to my former field. Coupled with my husband fighting cancer, feeding the above mentioned teenage boys, and the animals, money is at times frightfully tight. We had to ask, can we continue to provide proper feed, hay, health care, fly spray, etc at our reduced income? The answer was a solid, resounding, heart-breaking no.
This led us—as a joint decision between my husband and myself—to begin a journey that we will document here with you readers.
Thus far, what I have learned is it is ok to accept some limits to your abilities. Being stubborn and fighting the good fight to keep the horses was fine at first. But as time has moved forward, the negative has begun to outweigh the good.
Taking a step back to objectively and honestly assess the situation is critical. Do not gloss over small details, and place your financial future in jeopardy. By making the choice to be horse-less now may well enable you to rejoin the horse-owning ranks in the future. There are other options out there for your fix.
The next step is finding the right way to place Phatz and Tater. That will be the next chapter in this story, told as I attempt to rejoin the horse community and find answers. Wish us luck.