So I still get weepy when I think that I'll never ride Kaswyn down the centerline again at the upper levels, but now that I've finally made a decision that I'm not going to try to get him back to where he was I'm much better. In fact, I'm considering buying that young horse. Seriously considering it.
Here is the thing - I like to show. I've been showing other people's horses for the past few years while Kaswyn has been off, and it's nice and all but it comes with certain issues. I can't always do what I want to do with a horse that is not mine. And since my horse will never be fit for me to show again, I really would like to have another horse. A horse that I can train how I want to, ride when I want to, and show how and when I want.
The idea is tearing me up though. I can't just dump Kaswyn, but I can't afford to board two horses. I want Kaswyn to be where I can see him - maybe not every day but at least a few times a week. I have thought through several options, and I think what is going to work out right now is to lease Kaswyn out for someone to lightly ride him 3 times a week. That will keep him fit and moving and will offset some of the cost of having two horses. And I'll still be able to see him every time I come to the barn, and I will probably be able to ride him also.
I've leased out Kaswyn before when I've had financial problems, and it wasn't always the best thing for him, and hasn't always ended well. But right now my friend is considering leasing him so she can get more experience riding. She's what I'd call and advanced beginner and really just needs miles in the saddle. This might sound bad, but she doesn't know enough to do anything to screw him up. Just walk trot and canter, and try to get him on the bit. Easy for him, and practice for her. And Kaswyn stays at the barn where I can see him, and watch her ride him, so I know what is going on.
I do feel terrible, like I'm cheating on Kaswyn. I wasn't looking for another horse. Not even considering it. But this horse came to the barn, for sale, and I thought he was neat so I got a chance to ride him. And then I thought he was something special. Smart, willing, eager to please, and really nice gaits. He's a six year old purebred Arabian gelding who has shown three times in the Arabian Hunter Pleasure ring, where he won some classes. But he's not going to be a National contender and his owners have too many horses so he has to go.
For a dressage horse he's very nice though, and I thought he had potential. So I had my trainer come and give me a lesson on him to get her opinion. Not only did she say "You're not crazy for liking this horse.", she said "This horse reminds me of Kaswyn as a six year old." And after she mentioned it, I could see the similarities. Long neck, sweet face, tall and narrow, smart and willing. But then she said "This horse has better gaits than your horse."
The price is right, and my blacksmith also thinks he's nice and that I should buy him. So I have an appointment for a pre-purchase exam on August 18th. I'll make my final decision based on what my vet says, but I really do like this horse.
Today my friend come out and rode Kaswyn, and I rode the young horse. I watched Kaswyn go and he really did look good. And for a little bit I was scared that I was making the wrong decision. That maybe I shouldn't buy this new horse, and that I should stick with Kaswyn and try to make it work. But I tried for SIX YEARS to make that work, and he's 20 years-old now. Sure he looked good. All she was doing was getting him on the bit to walk, trot and canter him. That doesn't mean he can go do a fourth level test, today or any day in the future.
So, I think it is time to let the dream go, but hold onto the horse. Eventually I will retire him completely and let him live out his life in a pasture someplace. He's not there yet, but I need to stop trying to push him into something that I want, and that he will do if I ask, but something that is beyond his physical ability. That's setting us both up for failure.
He has already given me things that some people only dream about - three National Championships, three Reserve National Championships, multiple Regional titles, and the chance to ride at the FEI dressage levels. I think I'm making the best decision for him, and for me. I still doubt myself, and at times I feel really terrible about the whole thing.
I think I'm doing the right thing, but I'm still scared that I'm not. I guess the only way I'll know for sure is if it turns out ok or if it goes horribly wrong. I'll letcha know.
Our New Girl
17 hours ago