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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I currently am leasing a beautiful bay Dutch Warmblood named Marco from my barn, but I have a problem. I have just recently switched from Dressage to Hunter and started half leaseing a beginner hunter horse last christmas and I absolutely love him and I think he's my heart horse. I love him so much, but I think I'm starting to get too high leaveled for him, I personaly don't care and I would buy him in a second, but I'm still a kid and I don't have the time or money to own a horse. Additionaly he is starting to get close to retirement and I would like to keep riding in shows. I have gone through loss of a horse before and I don't think I could take it again (I still can't look at photos the sweet chesnut mare I used to ride without sobbing like a baby). Please help, what should I do, should I drop the lease right now and cut my losses, or should I hang on until either my parents or my trainer say I have to stop.
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Hey, Ratwoman!123. As a fellow equestrian I feel your pain and dilemma. I don't know how old you are but I didn't purchase my own horse Magic until I was 22(that was over 21 years ago) and I started out by full-leasing him. I started riding at age 8 by begging to ride my friends horses and by working around barns to earn precious riding time. I still have my first horse Magic, and he's about to turn 32 and has been retired for many years living on my farm. I have rescued several horses and learned many lessons along the way. Most importantly that you can not expect a horse to perform beyond his capabilities. I know you love Marco but if you have advanced beyond his athletic abilities then it's not fair to push him to keep up with you, nor is it fair to you or your trainer for you to hold yourself back. Especially if he's due to retire and it sounds like he's earned his golden pasture years. If he still has a lot to give then it might be time for you to move on to a more advanced horse and allow a less experienced novice rider to have their time with him and learn and benefit from his experience. A gentle schooling horse is worth their weight in gold!!!! It sounds like this horse has done so much for you! So much so that you have progressed beyond his capabilities. You in turn could learn so much more with the right more advanced mount. This is why outgrown experienced show ponies are worth so much. It's hard to let them go but it's only fair to allow younger riders a turn rather than retire a healthy, sound, experienced show pony to keep as a pet. I keep all my animals for their lifetime, but I'm 43, am a registered Veterinary technician, own my own farm, no longer show, and just ride for fun. Honestly, I have only ever sought out and bought 1 of my horses and that is Magic. The others were given to me or rescued from neglectful situations. I keep them because I fear where they would end up. And I'll tell you that a horse that can not be ridden costs just as much to keep as a good reliable sane mount. One of my horses Antonio was abused. I spent years and thousands of dollars working with some very experienced Natural Horsemanship trainers (some even well known) and a retired Mounted Police Horse Trainer, trying to turn this beautiful palomino into a reliable trail horse. We made a lot of progress, Antonio even passed a 3 day Mounted Police Horse training clinic, we literally walked through fire and smoke bombs!!! But it was finally Brent Graef who told me flat out, while tears poured down my face, that Antonio would end up killing me if I continued riding him. Antonio, sadly is just way too mentally damaged, unpredictable and can be flat out dangerous at times to ride in unfamiliar locations. So, he's an expensive pasture ornament who only listens to and respects me because I'm the herd leader. Anyways, your situation is very different, but my point is that you can't make a horse into what you want or need just because you love him so much. You are holding yourself back by hanging onto Marco. And he could help another kid just like he helped you. If you no longer lease him will you still be able to see him at the barn? Or will he be moved to another location? Just because you're not leasing and riding him does it mean that you can't spend time with him? I'm sure his owner would still allow you to help care for him and groom him if you asked. They obviously trust you with Marco. Even if someone else takes over your half lease this doesn't give them full control of him, not unless they purchase him. Most barns are more than happy to accept help from a trusted riding student with grooming and chores. I would discuss your options with Marco's owner and the barn manager. And listen to your trainer. Work with them to find a new mount that will help you advance your riding skills, especially if you want to continue showing in the Hunter ring. It sounds like you have a great foundation since you started with dressage. This is a huge benefit since you have a good, balanced seat already. I feel for you. I know how deeply you can love a horse. And I know how much it can hurt too. But just because you stop leasing Marco shouldn't mean you'll no longer see him. Good luck! You should also check out Horse Forum. I'm sure there are many riders on there who can give you excellent advice and guidance.
 

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Thank you so much for replying to this, I did post this on the Horse Forum, not many replies. I know people who have leased Marco before me (he is a lesson horse and I lease him from the barn owner) and are still absaloutely in love with him. Although my trainer has not brought up the subject of switching horses yet, I feel it will come before too long. It is VERY hard to imagine a time when I'm not wakeing up early to make the HOUR (yes hour long drive, all of the barns near me are western) long drive and see his adorable little parrot mouthed face begging for his morning bannana, but I think that you are right and I need to prepeare myself emotionaly, he is the horse that pretty much toook me from ground poles to 18 inches and I hope he can do that for another rider one day (I am crying sho hard I think I may fry my computar circit right now), I'm not sure what his cutoff for jump height is (I belive 2 ft, but that may just be my barns cutoff for all horses) bit I think it's fast approching, he is an amazing horse and he will always have a special place in my heart, right next to my old dressage lessons horse and the (gone but never forrgotten) camp pony that got me into horses. Thank you so much for the advice
 
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