Considering what to do

I’m considering getting out of horses. I rode h/j for quite a while, switched to just dressage 5 or 6 years ago. Mare is 14 year old WB, limited show experience due to no fault of her own. She can be quirky but is pretty straightforward to ride. Scores in T3 and F1 (high 60s to about 70) are respectable from the few schooling shows with R judges. She is sound with a well managed shoeing routine, but has an old injury (DDFT) that flares up from time to time, she gets a few days off and is fine again.

In the past two years I have been widowed, daughter left for college, etc. I find myself not having time to ride often, and honestly the money seems wasted to keep her. I haven’t been doing lessons for about a year because the one at my barn left and I don’t have a trailer to haul out. I am also considering a career change in the next couple of years, so examining a lot of aspects of my life. Things I should consider? I don’t have a trainer to work with. There are no riders at my barn who would be a good fit. I know she’s not going to be worth big bucks, but a good home is more important.


It is important to do and invest in what makes you happy and that you have time for. Horses are expensive and if it doesn’t bring you absolute joy, sell her to a home who will find joy with her…but stipulate that you’d like to stay in touch with her. Good luck with your decision and I wish you great and exciting endeavors!


If you really want to keep hold of her future you could do a free care lease. Lots of people would be interested.


If she is registered and has good bloodlines and type, she could also be leased as a broodmare prospect if you wanted to retain ownership but find a different situation.


Don’t forget that there are ways to stay in the horse world without owning a horse or even riding. Volunteers are much needed everywhere! With your background, you would be invaluable.


I’d spend a little while trying to find someone to do a half/full lease first. I’m not the type to send elsewhere on a “care lease” as I have personally seen too many horses come back psychologically and physically damaged, injured, starved etc as well as many that have been sold or moved without the owners permission or knowledge.

For the right person, a lease on this horse would be great. This way you retain ownership, decision making authority, you can control where the mare is boarded etc…


Have you considered online coaching? I’m just finishing a year-long instructor certification course on in hand dressage training. There is a lot available out there. Technology like the Pivo ( black Friday sale is literally 100 bucks). Make it very easy to video yourself or even do live stream lessons


You can likely find a good owner in this market.

My friend just sold her ~15 year old Lusitano that she hasn’t really ridden for years but WANTED to go to a good home to someone who got along well with her horse on visit. She used to ride and show alot, but life has gotten in the way and she just doesn’t have time to ride any more. It’s great that she sold her hose to someone who wanted a horse.

Consider giving your horse away to the right ownerl If she’s 14, only at training/first, and has DDFT, consider having her to go to a trail riding horse or companion horse.

Definitely consider a free lease option but only if she’s medically up to being ridden regularly in her discipline and can progress. Work with your trainer to find the right leasee and consider who will pay for her maintenance costs if she has them.

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I went through a similar phase a few years ago. Was in a new job, divorced after 26 years, daughter off to college, etc etc. Sold my horse, thinking I was done. Got rid of a lot of horse stuff.
A few months later, I was looking for a horse. I bought the wrong one, but then I bought a right one. I have a horse to this day. I am past “normal” retirement age, but keep working to support horse board, lessons…And it all keeps me going.

I realize you don’t have the same barn situation that I do, but the horse brings me joy and the folks at the barn are friends. I hope you can find peace whatever your decision.


I do think part of it is that my barn is a very, very quiet barn. In years past, the barn was also my major friend group. As with all things, stuff changes. So that’s not a draw to me now.

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Given this reply, maybe it makes sense to find a new barn and try out a new situation for a while before you make the big decision to sell and get out of horses completely.

Go to a barn that has a dressage trainer (if that’s what you want to do), or that has miles of trails available if you find that more appealing.

At a new barn you might make some horsey friends, and if you decide to sell later, those friends or the trainer may have connections or clients/students who’d lease or buy or your horse.

I know it’s a hassle to find a new barn, but it’s also a hassle to sell a horse and vet all the people who respond to ads. So it’s sort of “pick your own adventure”!

Good luck in whatever you decide.


It’s so true that in life, change is inevitable. And you’ve certainly had some major changes in the last few years.

Been through similar things myself, and as a result, my riding goals went through changes: hunters to trail riding to western dressage and now, showing on the Paint breed circuit.

Along the way, I had to sell my cute little mare because I couldn’t afford a horse on the show circuit plus a trail horse. Though she was sound, she had slightly wonky conformation that precluded any kind of intense work. I advertised her for a reasonable price, and described her truthfully with photos and videos. I had to deal with an assortment of people but fortunately, I was able to weed out the non-starters over the phone.

Finally, the right person came along, and I was happy to negotiate on the price because in the end, the mare got a perfect home, suited to her talents.

I hope wherever your journey takes you, that you find what makes you happy today. Just be open to riding again, even if it’s just occasionally or at a recreational level. Once horses come into your life, it’s difficult to walk away from them forever.


I would not quit riding all together. I would definitely stay open to taking lessons, etc.


When life throws me a curveball, i’ve always been counseled to not make any big changes. To give it a year and consider (the BIG things…like moving, marriage, divorce…i don’t know if selling a horse would qualify to you as a big thing or not?!). My impulse is to do big changing things. It’s always that…to ‘get away from’ whatever the lifechanging bad thing is.


LH passed May of 2021, so that’s well past the 1 year mark. DD is in her junior year, so that’s not all that recent either. Just a new season of life, and I feel that being a lesson rider would be a better fit.


In my own personal experience, horses are quite easy to come by, and impossible not to love once you have them. Sell that horse, free yourself -if that is what’s in your mind. Should you change later on, you can get another horse.

I am just going to say that i have never sold a horse. For me, they are lifetime friends and a lifetime commitment. I know i am different from many horse owners in this respect though. And i don’t judge. A person who feels something might make them happier owes it to themself to try for that. ‘you do you’ is more than just a meangirl thing to say, it’s a reality!