Well, I made several miscalculations with a new horse purchase—both before, during, and in the days after bringing the horse home—and it’s catching up with me. First, I thought the horse was a lot less green than she is. Second, I thought I was a lot less green than I am. And third, I didn’t give the horse time to settle and re-establish the basics in her new living situation. I thought I had a responsibility to keep her performing at the level she was at when I tried her, and not miss a beat.
Also, fourth (maybe the worst miscalculation?) …I’m moving out of state. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but recently learned it’s happening in a matter of weeks. The good news is that it’s a part of the country where you can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a hunter/jumper farm. The bad news is that it’s a very high COL area, and it’s not clear to me that the affordably-priced barn I’d originally planned on moving to is set up to provide full-training. Training rides, yes, but I think I may be at least 3-6 months away from the point where a once-weekly training ride is going to cut it.
There is virtually no under $10k horse market in this area, which is why I thought I was being wise to buy before moving. At the time, however, I believed I had a solid 6 months to stay here and work with my trainer, who helped me find the horse. Now I’m facing the possibility of paying $1-1.5k to ship a horse I can’t safely ride outside of private lessons, to a part of the country where full training is going to cost an arm and a leg.
I have a few options, but I’m looking for input about what to do next. One knowledgeable friend recommended paying to ship her to the high COL area, then marketing her as a project, and selling her at a high enough price that I may break even on shipping and board. My trainer recommended sending her to a colt starter for 30 days and then seeing if I can transition to weekly pro rides (fwiw, she can ride the horse fine, she just sees there are some holes in her basics). She also said I could leave the horse with her—either to consign her, or sell her to her, but both would be at a loss. The knowledgeable friend also said that we aren’t hopelessly far from making it work (that she’s not too much horse per se, just too much project than I bargained for), and that if I commit to daily ground work, rack up as many training rides and private lessons as possible before moving, and address some underlying vet issues (teeth need floating), I may be surprised by how quickly the horse comes around—or, maybe not. It’s a gamble.
As for me, I’m conflicted. I’m paying for daily training rides to get her back to the level she was before she moved and I’m planning a private lesson this weekend. I’ve been doing groundwork daily. But I haven’t ridden in a week, and I hate that the move introduces so many variables. It could potentially be very good, if the average quality of horsemanship is just better. Or it could be bad, because I don’t have a preexisting relationship with a trainer I know and trust—just someone I spoke with on the phone a few times—and I may not be able to afford the high-quality training up there, even if there’s an abundance of it. She’s very marketable as a small hunter project, well-bred, very cute. But if I let her training deteriorate while I’m there, I might be in a big pickle.
Anyway, apologies in advance for being such a disaster. Of course I would love to be able to make it work out with this horse. I feel like with the right trainer, and the right supervision, she could be amazing, and I could learn to actually ride. But I also realize that I don’t know what I don’t know—that it’s actually what got me into this situation in the first place. So I’m wondering what others would do in my shoes.