“Whether the horse goes on to be a pasture pet, an eventer, a barrel racer, a jumper, a trail horse or a pleasure horse, there is beauty in seeing a horse thrive. Knowing that you helped get it there is its own kind of reward.”
Selling horses can be fraught with ups and downs. From potential buyers who refuse to read the ad to the beginners who come to try the horse that was listed as being for advanced riders only, selling a horse takes the patience of a saint and an unusually thick skin.
Although there is a fair amount of relief once a horse is sold, there’s still the worry that you’ve done right by the horse, that the new owners will treat it well and that it’ll be loved and appreciated. Even my friends who acquire and train horses with the sole purpose of resale experience these same concerns. None of us ever wants to be the person responsible for passing off a horse to a bad situation.
I’m a novice horse seller. Not counting the pony my parents sold when I was five (and, as it left, I cried, “Just let me ride her one more time” repeatedly – clearly I am not cut out for selling horses), I’ve only had to sell two.
The first was a horse to which I was very attached, but was not well suited to what I wanted to do with her. When the buyers wrote the check, I burst into tears.
I was not well suited to the second horse. She was a big beautiful bay on which people commented when they saw her. She was athletic (when she felt like it) and could be a lot of horse. She was too much for me and I knew it. When I sold her, I heaved a huge sigh of relief.
No matter my level of attachment or feeling when the horse exchanged hands, the same worries plagued me. I never wanted to see a horse end up in a bad situation due to decisions I had made in its supposed best interest.
But here’s where the beauty of horse sales comes in. Despite the rollercoaster ride that comes with the selling process and the concerns that arise once the horse leaves your hands, when you know you’ve sold a horse to its person, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Receiving updates on horses who are flourishing with their new owners is gratifying beyond measure. Part of that gratification, I am sure, stems from knowing that you’ve done right by a horse, but I am quite sure it goes deeper than that.
For those of us who are passionate about horses (as most of you reading this likely are), we realize there’s something special about them. Whether it’s the way they respond to our energy, the way they calm our nerves, the way they somehow manage to be incredibly vulnerable despite their size, a combination of all of the above or something else entirely, having the privilege of horse care is an awesome responsibility.
Therefore, seeing that a horse you once owned is doing well, has bonded with its new owner and seems to have found its niche brings a level of peace that – at least for me – is nearly unparalleled. Whether the horse goes on to be a pasture pet, an eventer, a barrel racer, a jumper, a trail horse or a pleasure horse, there is beauty in seeing a horse thrive. Knowing that you helped get it there is its own kind of reward.
I am fortunate enough to be reminded of this regularly. The first horse I sold is doing wonderfully. Her owners love her and send me periodic updates. They were first-time horse owners, so there was the learning curve that comes with being responsible for one’s own horse for the first time, but the mare is thriving. The horse that was not the easiest keeper and did her best to keep me honest, is fat, sassy and loves having a teenage girl to spoil her.
Even though horse ownership is not circular, it still feels as though things have come full circle when you see a horse doing well in its new home. It’s as though all is right in the world, even if it’s that horse’s world at that moment.
Of course there are the horses of which we lose track. I got updates on the second horse I sold for a while, but when she changed hands again, I stopped seeing pictures that let me know she was doing well. That makes me a bit sad and I’m sure I’ll always wonder what she’s up to; I hope she’s healthy and loved by whomever has her now. There’s not the same sense of completion that I get every time I see updates on the first mare I sold, but that’s all part of horse ownership and sales.
There’s beauty in that, too. It reinforces the gratification that comes with seeing the one I’ve sold doing well; it lets me know that I tried to do right by my horses, which is the best each of us can do.