Friday, July 19, 2013

Wasting Horses

A fellow Horsaii, writer, blogger and friend just got her first horse in many, many years.

First off, lets give a huge Damn Straight! shout out for her and her endless pursuit of the horsaii dream.

This lovely, kind, people oriented gelding turned out to be heavily influenced with Iberian breeding (maybe all). He has an incredible topline, a huge, gorgeous trot and just may be veeeerrrrrry fancy-schmancy. 

This is easy to see, in spite of being in a pasture kept, essentially unused condition. He's the equivalent of a classically trained ballet dancer who's been hanging out on the couch, eating Cheetos, drinking Dr. Pepper and watching MASH reruns for the past few years. 

He is 16.2hh, only 8-years-old, sound, has beautiful bones and a healthy attitude.

So, second, let's give a huge Yeah, Whatever... mutter and get over being envious. Admit it, you are. It's impossible not to be.

There is one teeny, tiny hole in our friends bubble of equine ecstasy. She is freaking out.

You see, all this cool, amazingness is just now becoming reality for her.

She has been in complete denial.

This is what I've been watching, well, reading, unfold.

"I'm being given a horse by a family member."

"Wow, which one?"

"That gray you liked."

"You mean the one I saw a photo of and said, 'What horse is that? Show me more pictures, my goodness, he's awesome,' you're talking about that one?"

"Yeah, that one, at least he's gentle, he'll be good with the kids."

"Wait, that big moving, has training you can feel, but don't understand, beautiful gelding?"

"He has some blindness in one eye.

"He's huge, probably way too big for what I need.

"It's hard to put down my dream horse and just accept this one."


 (That's me, silently screaming).

Slowy, I have gotten to watch her awareness of this horse's awesomeness come alive. In reality, it has always been there, but she has been smashing it waaaaay down. Because somewhere, deep inside, she doesn't believe she deserves to have a dream this big come true.

She's afraid the universe will conspire to wreck it if she's the teeniest bit excited, or happy, or blown away, because she's sure, there was a mistake made somewhere, and she can't have a princess horse. 

Now that he's here, in her care, she's seeing what could possibly unfold.

So, what do I hear?

"What am I going to do with a horse this fancy?
Other than waste it."

There it is. I've heard this one and felt it, so many times.

The horse deserves to be shown, trained, raced, jumped, kept in a stall, blanketed, loved by a ________ (child, woman, rescue, hoarding freak).

This is my reply. 

"I'm going to say this as many times as you want to hear it.
You (as in this person) can't waste a horse. I don't care if he is a $50,000 wonder and he becomes your pasture pet.
All he needs and wants is sunshine, quality feed, room to roam with his horse buddies and regular interactions with you.
He deserves being kept up on proper behavior with people.
My personal list --
Doesn't nudge, rub, or crowd.
Leads quietly and well.
Easy and safe to catch, halter, bridle and saddle.
Allows feet to be handled.
Loads well.
Not reactive to children, dogs, or idiots.

This is our responsibility to prepare them for a life away from us.
Just in case.
Other than that, there is no waste.
The rest is icecream.
You have a lovely horse. 

He's yours Becky, all yours. You get to make friends with him, be silly with him, trail ride, don't ride, whatever you want.
You have the opportunity to learn so much!
It can be dressage, a complicated enough discipline that you need a horse who can teach you, and you have it.
It can be endurance, cattle work, jumping, the Mexican dressage/reining thing, anything you want with this kind, beautiful horse.
In return, give him sunshine, food, equine companionship and attention. It's all he wants, everything he needs and you have the ability and desire to provide it.



KD said...

Oh Hell Yeah !!!!!! Have fun Becky!

KD said...

PS - I am definitely jealous !

Happy Pony said...

Love it! Have fun with him, Becky

sammy said...

I have a gorgeous six year old tb, that I am currently 'wasting'. He lives in a huge paddock with two others, gets daily visits, brushing, treats, and gallops to the gate to see me. I haven't been riding as much as I 'should' due to various circumstances, and almost no jumping, because there are no jumps at the farm! When I do ride, it is usually a nice long hack down the country road, and not 'training' in the ring. I think my horse is the happiest he has ever been!! He loves being 'wasted'!

Clancy said...

:) For once I am absolutely in agreement with you Mugs. Have fun Becky, he is beautiful.

mugwump said...

Ah Clancy, we probably agree way more than you think.

maryka said...

Your dream has come true Becky grab it with both hands & enjoy. If you never rode him you'd still have the delight of looking at him & touching him, grooming him & saying he's yours. Horses have no dreams of glory & just need someone to love & look after them, making him polite & personable is the only thing you need to do

Peanut said...

Awesome post!

An Image of Grace said...

I had a similar meltdown dilemma several years ago before I moved my mare home. She was a show horse that had lived in a barn for 5 years. I often treated her like she was made of glass. The woman I bought her from as a 3 year old always told me that I would "ruin" the mare. I needed a break from showing and was looking to trail riding and other disciplines so I could enjoy riding again. I consider selling my beloved mare because I thought she needed to be in the show ring. Luckily I was surrounded my smart horse people that told me to take the mare home and do whatever I wanted with her. Turned out she loved the trails, rides on the beach, parades, rodeo drill team,barrel racing and just about anything I threw at her. A few years ago we returned to the show ring and I found that everything else we did only made us a stronger team. Riding in parades and shooting a gun off her back for cowboy mounted shooting made her a better show horse. Grace is one horse that will never go to waste - I will also own her until the day she dies!

Anonymous said...

He is beautiful, you are lucky, and maybe you found each other for a reason :)

summersmom said...

A loved and cared for horse is not a wasted horse. Listen to Mugs Becky! Just enjoy things and take it one day at a time. You deserve this and he deserves you!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Mugs- Being enjoyed is the very best use for a high quality horse. WyoFaith

redhorse said...

Oh yeah, having a totally awesome, beautiful horse thrown in your lap just sucks.

I've had it happen twice. The first was shown in hunter/jumper and trained in dressage. He was retired at 16 and spent the next 10 years with his own little herd of mares. I also trail rode him regularly and every time I did people admired him, he had that star quality. People also thought he was a warmblood or TWH, but he was all TB. He was 16.2.

Now I have a goofy paint gelding who is 16 hands, still too tall, and at least as athletic as my old TB was. He's 7 now, lovable, laid back (usually) and totally wasted because I'm never going to show again, although he has all kinds of awesomeness being wasted on me.

I believe the main thing you can do for your horse nowadays is to make sure they have good manners and can be handled and ridden by as many people as possible. Then, if there's an unplanned problem, like Becky's parents had, someone will want to give him a good home.

I really can't wait to hear what happened today, and what happens at the clinic. Sammy's right, horses love being wasted. And it's thrilling just to watch them play, and think, he just did a perfect pirouette at the canter, now he just did something I can't even spell, let alone pronounce. And then when you're on a trail doing an accidental passage, you'll be so proud.

Anonymous said...

It's so nice to see people agreeing with this because I've been thinking the same about my horse and beating myself up because he isn't in the show ring. I totally lost my nerve last year and I think part of it was being convinced I'm not good enough for a horse like him (honestly I've lost count of the number of people who have come up to me and told me he is stunning, someone once called him 'magnificent', even the vet raves about his fantastic conformation). Anyway I've decided I'm not giving up because if I sell him I will always regret it, so I'm back riding but taking baby steps (hacked out today and didn't cry or beg to get off - yay!) . Now when people say how lovely he is I just smile and say 'thank you' (and think 'lucky me'). This summer we hope to learn to jump together and if we get round a 1ft clear round course by the end of it we will consider it a job well done and never mind what anyone else thinks!

Jamethiel Crabb said...

You're not wasting him if you can say with a straight face, "I have a princess horse. I have a HEALTHY, HAPPY, TRAINED princess horse."
After all the years of riding here a bit, not riding a ton, and not even being near horses even aren't wasting him :)

Snipe said...

Many horses couldn't care less about the show ring or the racetrack, and pressing them into intensive activities can result in illness, injury, and stress. Have fun and enjoy your nice horse, Becky. I'm sure he'll appreciate good care more than ribbons.

Heidi the Hick said...


I have a similar problem... not specifically with the horses, just life. That the good parts of my life are SO AWESOME that it balances out the crap situations, and that leads to a fear that if the crap gets solved, the good stuff will go bad. You know what? We never know what will happen. Don't we deserve to be happy in the meantime?

So go enjoy that horse!

Reddunappy said...

I love this Mugs!!! Sometimes I feel like I am "wasting" my horse, not riding enough, etc. They are fed, brushed,stalls cleaned every day, feet done, and fat and happy! (not to mention masks, and fly spray and spraying tansy, LOL LOL)

I take those words to heart, "A horse that is loved and taken care of is not wasted! :O) You made my heart happy

Whywudyabreedit said...

This is very exciting and long awaited Becky, Enjoy it!! This is not a time to feel bad, but if you must get it over with and then enjoy your fabulous horse!

RuckusButt said...

I bought my first horse of my adult life last November. I didn't realize it until recently but this was/is me to a "T". I got to choose my own horse, and I get Becky's feelings on missing out on this at first, but I still didn't realize what a fancy thing I'd brought home. That took many months, truth be told. Because clearly I didn't deserve a horse that nice (and within my budget??).

I still struggle with the "wasting him" idea, even though I am showing. But Becky, Mugs is right, your boy doesn't care about all that. AND he will probably be better for it, if we're honest.

mugwump said...

Oh...Becky is under my evil influence now...there WILL be showing. Bwah ha ha ha.

strivingforsavvy said...

Well said. I am so happy for her and hope to meet her and her beautiful new boy sometime. We live pretty close to each other. I have a wonderful bunch of ladies that would love to be her support system.

s said...

I get where Becky is coming from. I know that my little gelding would undoubtedly have a one-handed neck rein and be well into lateral work if he'd been with a halfway competent trainer rather than me for the last several months. But, whenever I get discouraged, I remind myself that I was also the only person who was willing to take a chance on him back in October. And it doesn't matter to him if we aren't sidepassing yet.

RussianRoulette said...

I used to feel that way when I bought my rising three-year-old Thoroughbred. Then I realized that HE doesn't care and I continued doing what I like doing - hacking. I rarely school. He goes walk, trot, canter, over fences, he can do some lateral movements but it doesn't really matter to us. He loves hacking, as do I. It works for us. :)

battleshipdestroyer said...

Is this blogofbecky, Becky? That is so exciting! I hope so, she so deserves a horse again!! Yaayyyy! And he's so handsome, what a nicely-built guy. If I didn't love my lady so much, I would have jealousy oozing out of my ears. I might have a little, actually. :) Yay! Congrats congrats congrats!

prettyredhorses said...

So good to read this ... I have much the same guilt as Becky.

foffmom said...

Thanks Mugwump. I have a lovely horse, lucked into him. He is amazing, big, powerful, floating trot, nice precision for his size. He is a goof ball pasture puff. I will not show him, but have struggled with guilt feelings about "wasting" him. Horses don't care about ribbons, or even trophies. Neither do I.
I do recommend that Becky demand a muzzle kiss on a daily basis. Then he has a job, and is not wasted.

scsarah said...

Same boat I'm rowing, Becky. My horse was very easy on the pocket book. He was not trained, but that has been part of the grand trip we are on together.

I have a little Arab. Been schooling him and entering in dressage and western dressage schooling shows. He (notice I didn't see 'we' cleaned up on the ribbons. I was told twice on my score sheets he should be entered in Arab Nationals. Won't happen though, because I'm wasting him........we rather hack and camp and swim in the creek neckkid....*grins*. I'm just taking lessons to improve me. I was away from horses for 20 years and needed some tuning up.

Enjoy him and realize some, not all, dreams come true.

Realize he isn't being wasted as long as he is being taken care of and is part of your dreams coming true!

Heather said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - The horses that life finds for us always seem to be the special ones. Here's to hoping that the big grey is all that and then some.... Go Becky!

Judi (aka kabbage) said...

Beautiful horse!

I have similar concerns about "wasting" my dog. She was bred to work cattle, and my people and I have lived in town for several generations. I'm training her in herding, but it's hard to teach when the student/dog knows more than the teacher. She would easily have been capable of earning her Working Trial Championship (WTCH) given a competent handler, or of working cattle daily on a ranch.

I call her breeder regularly to tell her that I am well on my way to ruining my first stockdog. The breeder frequently reminds me that no one's first stockdog is as good as it might have been if trained and worked by an expert, but the journey is the important part. The dog is happy to be my nearly constant companion and sleep on the bed at night instead of in a barn. Her life is still good! And I am much enriched by her presence in my life!

Anonymous said...

He might not be the horse she wants, but I think he is the horse she needs.

MichelleL said...

I agree that a well loved, well mannered, well cared for horse is never wasted.

Horseredux said...

I'll bet you $10 bucks that horse has Irish Draught in him. I have a Irish Sporthorse (RID/TB) and she has a great mind and is athletic enough to do anything. Becky - enjoy!!!!!

Horseredux said...

I'll bet you $10 bucks that horse has Irish Draught in him. I have a Irish Sporthorse (RID/TB) and she has a great mind and is athletic enough to do anything. Becky - enjoy!!!!!

Gee said...

This is only semi-relevant but I can't stand it when people fawn over your horse like he sprang up from a warm rock somewhere fully formed and perfectly behaved.

It's like, how do you think he got like this? Months if not years of me being dragged around and pushed into and sprayed water on and charged at...

Please, for the love of god, fellow livery yard clients, follow up your, "he's SUCH a good boy, isn't he" with a, "you've done a good job with him."

Anyway, I have been reading both your blogs for many years and congratulations Becky - don't pay anyone mind as long as "Hodor" is happy and healthy :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooooooo...... So you're going to braid his hair and let it get really long and wavy right! Perfect prince charming horse! Prince charming not included and not necessary! Congrats!

Cheri said...


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