Hard time letting go of my training horses

Hey guys, not sure if this post is just going be a rant or if I’m actually looking for advice.
This past summer I was hired by a nice woman to work with any of her 10 horses. She has two Belgian Warmbloods, 2 Oldenburgs, 3 Friesian Sports, and 3 Tennessee Walkers. I know, quite the menagerie. She told me I could work any of them doing whatever I wanted basically.
I started with one of the Belgian Warmblood (mare) and Oldenburg (mare). I made great progress, they hadn’t been ridden in over 5-7 years and we did great. I showed the Warmblood at a schooling show and made off like a bandit with ribbons. The owner told me that if there was one that I kinda wanted that I could let her know and she would keep them for me. (I own one horse at the moment and can’t afford two). Without meaning to I fell in love with the Belgian Warmblood mare. Took me some time but I eventually told the owner. I should mention at this time that she wishes to sell some of these horses as they’re too much work for her. She put preference on selling the friesians, and wanted to keep the three Tennessee walkers as they used to be her trusty trail horses. When I told her I wanted the Warmblood she was taken off the sale ad.
I never really grew an attachment to the Oldenburg mare. The other Oldenburg and Belgian Warmblood are the existing mare’s children, both of them geldings. So the horse I’m going to buy has a son there as well.
I’m frustrated with myself as I have grown attached to him as well. He is just like a mini-me except he’s actually taller than her. I didn’t think I would as I didn’t work with him all that much but he just has that charm.
I had a client interested in one of the friesians (and I don’t care for the friesians, like at all, so I was super happy) and she has been coming out to work with her for a while now (I am now back at uni) because she has some issues she’s working out (herd bound and the like). Anyway, apparently she’s taken a liking to the young Belgian Warmblood gelding (who I so annoyingly got attached to). She has been sending pictures/videos to her other trainers. She wants a dressage horse. The trainers are also wanting to make him a dressage horse. I have nothing against dressage but this horse has FEI level potential in showjumping. Is it a terrible thing that I don’t want him to go with one of them? Like I’m sure he would make a great dressage horse but he could be an amazing jumper.
I also have already placed a hold on the mare (who stole my heart) but I feel it would be too selfish to bring up my feelings to the owner. Because I know the horse needs a home, but I just really wanted to play with him you know? When does that kind of potential ever come around?
I don’t know. Tell me something that will make me feel better :joy::cry:

You can’t ride every horse.


You certainly can’t keep every horse. This is part of being a professional and all of us go through it at some point.


It sounds like you’ve gotten really attached. But at this moment in your life, would you really want three horses? (your own current horse plus the two warmbloods)?

I know you’ve said that the current owner would hold them, but that’s a lot to ask of someone, especially since she only said, if I read correctly, that she’d hold one.

The idea that you don’t want the gelding to go to a dressage home because he’d make a great jumper is probably beside the point. If the dressage rider clicks with him and would put some good training into him, he might have an excellent long-term home. That’s a good thing.

You should just be proud of doing such a good job of training the horses. And you should be happy that you have such a good relationship with the horses’ owner.


Here if you win in Showjumping you have to go up. Win again and up again, win again and up again. It can be too fast for the horses and they get over faced. The can be scared off.

In dressage it doesn’t matter how much you win, you are still faced with the 20 x 60m arena and you want that to be their happy place.

You know that dressage riders can involve jumping and cavelletti in their training.


Trainers (and breeders) need to get into the mindset of being happy they have made a difference and found a good life for a horse. Like kindergarten teachers. You let them move on and start a new class in September.

Trainers, resellers, and breeders who can’t do this turn into hoarders at some level with a field of horses losing value year over year.

I’d question whether you even can manage 2 horses while in university. I couldn’t even do one, I retired mine. Three horses is getting into a crazy amount of time and money. Do you still have the high level jumper you had big hopes for earlier this year?

You just can’t have All The Horses, and it’s really important to keep in mind when you are riding other people’s horses, as lease or pro, that they are not your horses.

You have really helped out this woman get her quality horses back to a point where they can be sold and live good lives. That’s a very very admirable achievement and you should be proud of being able to pair up horses and riders. Just because you don’t love dressage doesn’t mean that’s a bad outcome for the Gelding. He may love it.

The owner is being incredibly generous giving you first dibs on the mare you like. Don’t get greedy.

I say all this realizing it is very hard to not want All The Horses, and that evrn as an ammie I feel an emotional attachment to all the horses I’ve ridden lease or lesson, or done caretaking and ground work.

But if you give into the collecting impulse you end up in the same place as your employer with too many horses not enough time, benign neglect and the beginning of a problem.

One of the young trainers I know who made the most personal progress decided at the start she would not own her own horse. She had free choice of horses owned by her mentor and later took on longterm training and resale projects to get her rides. I think even her current horse is really a project horse. This got her so much experience.


Here’s a blunt question… you mentioned you have a horse already and you’re back at uni… do you honestly have the time and money for all 3? It seems like you haven’t even paid for mare yet and you’re covetting her offspring. It’s not your bills that are coming due every month, so it’s not fair to make her hold onto something you’re emotionally, but not financially attached to.

It’s ok to tell the owner that you have really grown to love that one and wherever it goes, that you’d love follow-up contact details and to pass along that if the horse ever becomes available, that you’d like first right of refusal or to be contacted, as you never know how life goes and what may come in the future.

This owner has been very fair and kind to you. Don’t get too greedy and help them cull the herd if they’re looking to get some of them off the daily ledger. They’ll appreciate you much more and likely give you more future opportunities, should they arise.


I train reining horses….however I would be silly to not sell one to a person that wanted to do say, mounted shooting. Mounted shooting isn’t my discipline or what I think the horse should be trained in but if the buyer is happy with the horse and has success, it’s a moot point. Especially if she’s down sizing and not breeding (so the success of a mares offspring likely won’t mean much to her as far as future babies are concerned.)

You can’t keep them all, I got dreadfully attached the first few years. It was a storm of tears when my favorites got sold.

I learned if I was going to work for a breeder that I needed to get attached to the ones that weren’t likely to sell…for me, that’s well bred mares that my boss plans to retain for his breeding program.

Let the gelding go to a home where his owners will appreciate him, even if that’s dressage.

PS. How kind of the owner to allow you to pick one out for yourself that she won’t market to sell, you are very lucky to have found such a kind person to work for.