Have you ever had your heart set on something so badly and somewhere along the line realized that It was not gonna work out?
I have with several horses over the years. My most recent case has been my horse Cash. Cash is the hardest horse to place. Will he make a great Eventer? I surely hope so, but I also know that not all his talents lie on the Eventing field. He absolutely LOVES show jumping! I think he loves the challenge that the jumps provide. He’s that kinda horse and he loves speed. He has very little patience so dressage is his worst subject. He’s learning to be brave on the cross country course but hasn’t quite conquered that either. He has the sweetest heart and will baby sit a beginner on a lounge lesson or play with a new born foal through the fence just to have fun.
I will continue to train him for all three disciplines but when is it time to throw in the white flag? I believe its when a horse obviously hates their job or has such low drive it’s extremely hard to work them through a particular area. I’m not talking about the lazy horse. I mean the horse that you look at it becomes lifeless when you work. Theres no presence or excitement. Theres no happiness. They do it because they have to and theres no other choice. (Or in Cash’s case he’ll probably put his hoof down and adamantly refuse or fight about it. He’s an opinionated sort!)
I mean really, who wants to stay in a job they hate? If it turns out he just doesn’t like the other two aspects of eventing I have no problem showing him as a jumper. Thankfully we are not currently at the point where eventing becomes more hassle then its worth with him, and he may come to love it. Sometimes though its better to decide when enough is enough and change plans.
I’m in to horses for their companionship. Yes I compete (albeit not as much as I probably should) But thats not what I’m in it for. I want my horses to be happy. When my horses are happy I am happy. Training horses is a individual challenge for me to bring the full potential of each horse out, and finding what truly makes them tick! If it turned out that Cash just loved to walk down the trail then walk down the trail we would!
Horses are as much individuals as we are. Sometimes what we think they will excel at turns out to be the exact opposite. It doesn’t matter if the horse has perfect conformation and sits 16 hh. If the horse has no drive or heart for his job it will just be a constant heartache and headache for the rider, the trainer and especially the horse. When a horse has heart, it doesn’t matter if their conformation isn’t perfect or how tall they are or even what breed. Heart can make up for qualities lacking in other areas!
If you’ve seen a horse that absolutely loves his/her job then you know what I’m talking about. They have this presence about them, a twinkle in their eye and a set to their ears that just lets you know that they can’t wait to do it all over again. To ride a horse like that is truly intoxicating. Theres nothing more enjoyable in the world!
Sometimes we have to enact Plan B and I really do think everyone should have one. It’s not fair to the horse just to throw it away because it didn’t follow our plans, and sadly I have seen it done. If worse comes to worse try to re-home the horse to a good home and not throw it on the auction block! The horse deserves that much!
Don’t be afraid of a Plan B or to even try something new with your horse. Ya never know both you and the horse might have a blast!