How long do you plan to keep your horse?Now that may sound like a silly question. Many people would answer, "For the rest of his life!"
The reason I ask it is because how long you plan to keep one is going to make a world of difference in the horse you need to choose.
There are two mindsets on buying a horse:
- Buy a horse you will love and keep for the rest of his life
- Buy a horse that suits your level of experience. When you become more experienced or your type of riding interests change, you sell him and buy your second horse.
- Actually, there's a third option - keep that first one and get a new one!
As long as someone was feeding him, they are his favorite human for the day. So if you sell a horse, he won't be lonesome for you and it won't take him months to readjust to his new owner and new home.
You really can pick up your love for your existing horse and transfer it to the next one. I've seen it happen time and time again with people who swore it could never happen.
Here's a little story for you:
The Horse Who Didn't Miss Me
Some years ago, I had a
broodmare give birth to a very premature foal, a filly. This
filly had serious health problems and should have died. But I
really wanted to save her because she was out of an AQHA Champion mare
and her daddy was Rugged Lark. This filly was from his first
foal crop after he had won his first 'Superhorse' title at the AQHA
World Championship Show.
So, I raised her by hand, (literally, as she liked to drink her goat milk by sucking on my finger in the bucket), spent a ton of money on vet bills (she actually had a waterbed for a while) and continually tended to her until she was 3 months old. She was convinced I was her mother and wanted to nurse on my fingers until she was 6 months old when I 'weaned' her. I used to leave her loose while cleaning the stalls and she followed me everywhere. Her name was Rugged Stephie, aka 'Stephie the Brat'.
When she turned two, I started her under saddle and sold her as a 3 year old. I went by her new home a couple of months later to see how she was doing for her new owners. She was turned out in a little paddock and so busy eating grass, she wouldn't even look at me let alone come over to see me.
If ever there was a horse who I thought would miss me, she would have been the one. I was her 'mother' until she was 6 months old and spent over a year on her riding training (she was smart too). It did hurt my feelings that she ignored me that day, but hey, that's just the way horses are.