Monday, March 29, 2010

Where do we go from here?

At some point in our life with horses, we each face a point where we ask ourselves just what have I been doing? Where do I want to go and how am I ever going to get there? I have been having a lot of those thoughts lately.

Where JR is concerned, he has hit that point all ready and only wants to cut. That's it. He has no real interest in anything else. The Quarter Horses are his and I'm fine with that. Where I enjoy pretty much all things horse related, I have run into a few crossroads lately.

After losing Tess, I really have no jumper in the barn anymore. I have the horses, the ways and means to create more, but it would take a few years to get there if I did. Around 5-6 years or so. A year for the foal to 'arrive', 3 more years before we start under saddle work and another year or more before we start over fences. That's if I breed the horses this year, which the season is getting near the end already. So I am considering selling my jumps. Three sets of standards, several cups and the rails or poles to go with them. I can always buy or build more later on...

Then there is the pony stallion. He wins at halter every time we go to a show. He takes to everything quickly and once he figures out what you want, has the attitude of "Sit back and watch THIS!" giving you everything, exceeding the limits of what you asked for or expected.

In being so disenchanted with a lot of local horse people lately, their wishy-washy ways, noncommittal thoughts and changing their minds on a whim, I have not offered him as a breeding prospect for a few reasons. One of them being, I have no say over where the foals end up and he has one really nice filly out there at the moment that is unaccounted for.

Then this morning I found an ad from a person seeking a pony with his coloring, his talent and temperament, as an addition to their breeding operation. I hadn't thought of selling him and I hadn't thought of offering him to the public either, but there it is. The ad has been up for quite a while and was renewed just last Wednesday. I contacted them and was blunt and brutally honest about it. I have not entertained the thought of selling him, but it is not out of the question either and I am open to negotiations. (I may even throw in the meadowbrook to sweeten the deal.)

There is a lot going on with all of this and should the pony be leaving I will retain a few breeding's, but I would also like to see him go on to bigger and better things. I like driving and I love my pony, but which way it all goes from here is something to seriously consider.

Then there is the other question of another horse on the horizon. It's a gelding, by a stallion I want to breed my TB mare to, a breed I love and he's awaiting a new home in a good place... But he too has a small issue that would keep him from jumping. If the pony sells, I can breed my mare and get a future jumper. Then the wait begins and I am grounded for a while. Or at least back to doing only flat work.

So how many of us have come to the point of crunch time, serious thoughts and decision making? Which horses stay, which ones do we let go of, which direction do we want to go and how do we go about getting there? I know a couple of other people who each have a number of horses and no clear focus on what they wish to do in the industry. A few of them have been advised to sell off the majority of their herds and buy a select few really nice horses, bred and trained to take them to the top and enjoy the ride.

When you narrow down your focus and zoom in on what you truly want, it becomes a lot easier to find and get what you need to get there. There are always sacrifices to be made and it seems like I may have a bit of deep thought processing to do for a little while. Of course I will let everyone know how things turn out. Sheesh. Did anyone think I wouldn't?


  1. Well said , and kinda where I was over the issue with Classy .Realisticly as nice as she is ,I am not the gal to take her where she needs to go .I can show at halter but that is all I am really up to anymore .The goal was and has been to raise a couple really good quality horses a year and market them. I have my good saddle horse ans an up an comer or two , that are so nice I will really have to crawl out from under my mushroom to get them seen.Beyond that I want to enjoy my horses and ride.I would love to see pics of your Pony stud just to see him ,not in the market.

  2. I faced that decision a few years ago. I will never have another team. Sold two sets of harness, wagon, collars, bits, pads. All of it. I had a serious problem heaving leather harnes over the 17 handers. I downsized to 15 hands and nylon. That was what I said good-bye to--that and the dream. As sad as it is to see your stallion go, maybe that is what he needs to do. Nothing says you may not have him back in a few years!! Bout the time your littles will be yelling for a pony, maybe.

  3. I've always had the "too many fantasies" problem...I get interested in so much stuff, then I get frazzled trying to do them all, none too well.
    Actually, I think it's why I like the "market garden" farming thing. I don't just grow one, two or even 3 crops - I grow over 200 varieties of veggies!
    It seems to be working for me in farming, but not always in other parts of my life. My current fantasy is to get back to playing polo. Since I #1 Don't have the time, #2 Don't have the money and #3 Am no longer a college student...this is probably a ridiculous fantasy. I'm give it up yet, however. We shall see. I told my husband I'm on a "5 year plan" to play polo. By which time I will have regained my riding schools and lost another 65 lbs (I've lost almost 20 so far!), acquired the appropriate tack and a trailer w/ a truck that can pull it, and acquired 2 horses I could play on and THIS IS THE BIG ONE...somehow found the time to actually play...
    My other fantasy is to get draft horses for the farm. Since I have never driven in my life, and, somewhere deep down I have to be REALISTIC that I can't just pull out a team 2x a year when I feel like plowing a field and expect them not to kill me, this might best a fantasy never fulfilled. Unless, of course, big oil implodes like we keep hearing it will! Then bye-bye tractors hello big horseys! A girl can dream, afterall...

  4. Fern I will get some pictures off to you. Thing is, when I went to look at him, I almost walked away. He just wasn't much to look at but he shot me a look at the last moment, from across the womans yard and I was had. That was about 11 years ago. He was a little weanling, in with a raunchy pony stud and wearing a halter because he couldn't be caught. He has never been an issue to catch and has been known to leave food, just to come say "Hi!"

    Looking further into things, it seems the 'interested party' has a handful of ads out, searching for specific Kewl Kolor producing ponies, as well as a number of other horses for sale or sold. Either they are changing the focus/breed of their program... Or dare I say it sounds like it could be a trader. The first one- understandable. The second? Not a prayers chance in hell of getting my pony or his frozen fishsticks.

    Pha- If he were to go (on to bigger and better things) I would be retaining breedings to use on the TB mare for the girls pony hunters. I already have their names picked out. They would be fillies, full siblings and have spots.

    PF- he's my little plow puller. I recently whacked down the weeds and found an arena drag I had built for him. I am itching to put it to use. I am hoping to take him to a local show in May, in harmess. If we miss that one though, there's another in September. One of the women on the show staff- is the neighbor that was interested in the cart before and failed to committ to a purchase. Tough luck for her. I am also looking at the driving clubs. May find a buyer there.... We shall see.

  5. CnJ -I've got the perfect solution! You and JR move to the PacNW, you can give your pony a job plowing my fields while you wait for your new jumpers to grow up on our lush green pastures. Phaedra can come out and show us how it is done with the big guys and then I'll have somebody to teach me how to drive without killing myself and I'll be so inspired by all your horseyness I'll get off my rear and get the polo thing in gear. Hey! That rhymed!
    (Oh, and let's buy some of FV's nice saddle horses because they would be so nice to have around on a daily basis...).
    Ta-Da! Problems solved!

  6. Oh, and my girls can babysit your girl! ( a few years!).

  7. PF, sounds like you have it all worked out!
    CNJ, "interested PArty" sounds like a no go , but it opened a door , sdso maybe if the right buyer came along ?

  8. Well, it's only taken me 20 years to get where I want to be horse wise, time wise and financially. I'm hunkering down this year and getting some horses rode, shown and rodeoed on.

    The kiddo is also focusing mainly on reining, roping and running barrels this year. I'm sure her little show pony is going to feel left out, but the nice thing about him is that if she does decide she wants to hit a show or two, he's easily prepped.

  9. PF- Hell, Fern can come on down, (like they say on the game show The Price is Right) and thaw out for a bit. Bring her horses too and we can all hit the trails.

    Just to stir the pot a bit for you- I seen the Heydon Polo team trailer leaving the other day for a match or practice on the other side of town. They are the people who live a few blocks away and we helped the vet when he treated their horses.

    You're a bit scary when you get to thinking and have things all planned out.

    BEC- Maybe one of these days, we can all grow up, figure out what we want and go after it. A few of us have. The rest of us? It may take a while but we will get there.

    FV there is pictures in the inbox.

  10. You know the old saying "Life is what happens when you're making other plans"?

    Heh..... that's how our daughter happened ("What? I'm at 20 weeks??"), and then last fall someone e-mailed me and said "you want this horse?"

    Sometimes we're "waiting for the right time" when, actually, that could be NOW.

    This is a lesson I'm barely starting to learn.

    I had a dream this week that I was at a BIG show, like Congress, with Chip, who was going to be in HUS and Leadline. It was a Big Deal, anyway.
    But something came up, and we just up & left, with no sense of the disappointment you'd expect.

    (Why I was at an AQHA show I have no idea, but hey, it was a dream)

  11. CnJ -
    This cracked me up -
    "You're a bit scary when you get to thinking and have things all planned out."
    You outed me! I'm a big "idea" person. Actually getting the big idea done, well that usually involves a frantic all night session of insanity. Or two...Or three...
    Off to get kids to school now. Go-go-go!

  12. I am at a crossroads too. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do. My life has changed drastically since mid-December. I think I'm going to give up training and lessons. I just don't have the time I once did.

    I'm pretty disillusioned with the horse world, and most 'horse people'. I've been riding and showing for over 40 years now. I can't believe I'm the hell did that happen?

    With the schedule I have now I don't get to my horses at all. Yeah, they are fed, feet are done, current on vaccines, wormed etc... I haven't ridden my horses since December. So, I have to make a choice...ride mine or continue to ride students' horses and give lessons. I'm opting to keep and ride my horses. I will keep three of the students at this time. One is leaving for graduate school in a year, and then I'll be down to the two little girls. It wont be formal lessons and will be I'm more of a "I'm hauling to the arena (beach, trails etc..) to ride, do you want to go?" I'm having footing hauled into my place as soon as the weather cuts me a break to have a good place to ride at home. It will work out. Right?

    I figure I need to find homes for one or two of mine. I don't think I can keep 6 horses legged up, and progressing with the schedule I have now. I also do not need a lesson horse. And that is the hard part. Who stays? Who goes?

  13. HP

    My crossroads are more a sense of disgust with what has happened to the horse industry as a whole. In the 80's and through most of the 90's and in the early 70's (when I started), the old school horsemen were still around. I learned to start colts in 1974, and the old man that taught me, taught me the things that I use today. He always told me that there are really onle a few things that you need to know to train a horse and do it well. The rest is a lot of crap.

    His horses were always soft and willing, they were all pus button, and the cutters that I rode that he trained were so much fun to ride. If there was ever one word to describe the way his horses moved, it would have to be effortless.(That is going to be my new blog post)

    That is how I like to train my horses. But that is not what they do to the horses today, and I am disgusted with it.

  14. Porn spam be gone! If we wanted to see it we would go looking for it, and obviously not here...

    I am for the most part looking into a lot of the stuff surrounding the little guy. Welara accepted him some time back, I just need to get off my duff, fill out the paperwork, send a few photo's in, pay the $45 farm membership for 3 years, and the $22 registration fee and we are in good standing.

    When bred to the TB mare, the foals are eligible under their sport pony division for a registration fee of $19 and it's all good.

    Then it will be on to more serious matters like the American Sport Pony Registry. That's where the checkbook begins to hemorrage for registration, inspection, performance testing and advertising, but breeding fees may come back in to help recoup the initial expense.

    UC Davis has responded and asked for pictures so they may better advise me of which tests should be performed to determine his true color and what he will pass on, should he be bred.

  15. PF- the funny part about getting the ideas rolling and putting it all into action- when you finally get around to doing it, it really isn't that hard, doesn't take much effort and sometimes things just fall into place making it seemingly inexpensive to execute the plan of attack.

    That's about the time when everyone stares at you wondering why it took you so long to get things done? You often end up thinking
    "That wasn't so tuff,
    wasn't so expensive,
    wasn't so time consuming,
    wasn't so difficult,
    wasn't so scary...
    (everyone feel free to ad in your own excuses here)

    What's Wrong with ME?

    CP- I was loading the trailer for 4H finals when JR mentions maybe I was preggers. I blew him off. I had a show to get to...

    When I got home and we knew for sure, we joked about it being twins... Yeah, we don't joke about such things anymore.

    The WB mare, I seen at the inspection- "Gotta love those bays." and a couple months later she's in the barn.

    I mention thinking about selling the little man and up pops an ad looking for a pony just like him... Maybe a nudge to get things going with him, but who knows. Strange chain of events that happens in our lives. Just gotta learn to roll with it I guess. That and keep my mouth shut, or at least watch what I say... lol

    Like that will happen. *eyeroll*

  16. PF--I like your thinking!! There are times I so want to just drive, but where is my team?? I do not even know anyone that has drafts to drive anymore. Not around here. I do miss them, alot. As for your little man, CNJ, I think maybe you have answered your own question. Keep him and make something of him. You are not ready to let him go.

  17. You all really have no clue about what was going on in that video. Linda P is as good a horseman as her husband. The seven games have helped me and my horse alot.

    I really doubt that JohnieRotten could even come close to bring able to do what Pat can do. I would love to see you even try.

  18. Nice try there fly. Did you bring your redundant copied and pasted post over here, because you didn't get a warm fuzzy welcome where it belongs? Care to take it back where it belongs?

  19. Fly, I'm waiting for the day your horse, that is so good at the 7 deadly Parelli sins, bounces your ass in the dirt where you belong. If God wanted horses to play games, Monopoly pieces would fly out of their ass instead of road apples.

    The old ways of training a horse are becoming a lost art. Now the word "horseman" is used to describe any ol' Joe Blow that thinks they know how to train a horse. There really are no real "horsemen" left in the world. They are a dying breed and their talents are a dying art.

    There are some who would be "horsemen", but they all too often get disillusioned with the world around them. They either quit completely or they hoard all their skills to themselves. It's pretty difficult to have enthusiasm while teaching a complete sod how they are supposed to train their horse and have them fully realize and understand that it will take longer than 60-90 days to have the partner of their dreams.

    Now, I'm no horseman nor am I a trainer. But I have a mare that I've had for over 13 years and she just recently (last 7 years) became that once in a lifetime horse that is soft and light and responsive. I got her when she was 5 and basically untouched. I don't think people realize the amount of training that goes into horses like this. It's a neverending process.

    Fly, go ride yhour carrot stick around the barn, cuz we all know you can't ride your "game" horse.