Figuring out whether to sell a horse or not is usually not an easy decision. When you mention selling a horse to other riders many of them will express strong opinions on when and if you should do this. However you need to make up your own mind and do the best thing for you and your horse.
For the purpose of this article we are not referring to selling a horse because they are too old or lame. That is a completely different decision process and a topic for another day.
Selling a horse should not be your first thought when going to rough patch of riding. There are lots of things you should try before thinking about selling. However the truth is that not every problem can be fixed with more work and practice. Sometimes you and the horse are just mismatched, have different needs, and will both benefit from going your separate ways.
Having a horse and horse riding can be an expensive hobby. In my own opinion there is no point in wasting a significant portion of your own hard earned money if you are consistently not enjoying it as your horse may not be a good fit for you for whatever reason. Life is too short!
In the list below we look at the most at some common scenarios where it may be time to sell your horse.
1. Physically Outgrown Your Horse
Ok this is an easy one. Often people select horse when they are young and their body has not yet fully grown. A Teenagers bodies can change significantly in a couple of months and they may quickly outgrow a small horse or a pony. Likewise many people continue to grow into their early and mid twenties. Others may simply put on or lose a significant amount of weight as life goes on.
When this happens they may simply no longer feel comfortable in the saddle. If this is the case for you then selling your horse should be an obvious decision.
2. Time to move up a level
The more time you spend practicing the better you get. As your skills as a rider develop you may begin the feel like it is time to move move up a level. However sometimes our horse may not be capable of making the jump up the next level with you. When this is the case you need to decide whether you can still develop your skills with your current horse or whether it is time to sell and get a new horse with more potential.
This decision can be tricky so it may be a good idea to ask an experienced rider or your own teacher for their opinion.
3. Not a good Personality Fit
Sometimes a rider and horse just don’t click for whatever reason. Horses have their own personality and so do we and just like with other humans perhaps the two are just not a good match.
A good match can be described as a partnership based on comparability. This means good interaction, cooperation, and an overall positive experience for rider and horse when riding. A good match is more likely to be better for rider safety, performance, and the welfare of the horse overall. If you are not a good match it is better to sell the horse so that they can find another rider that is a better fit for them.
Often it can be hard to tell if you are simply not a good match or if their is a particular skill or set of skills that either the horse or rider is lacking. However if you have experience of riding other horses you should have a good idea of what a good mach feels like and similarly will know what it feels like when it is the opposite case.
4. New Discipline
As we develop our skill as a rider we may at some stage like to try new things. Perhaps you want to try Barrel racing, show jumping, or something completely different again such as dressage. However the problem is that your current horse is not suited to this new discipline. Their limitations in terms of performing this new discipline may be multi faceted and include age, physicality or maybe its just a personality issue.
If this is the case and you are truly committed to taking up this new discipline then selling your horse is likely the best option for you.
5. Regain Confidence or Passion
Falling out of love with horse riding happens to many of us, especially if you ride long enough. Another thing that can happen to many riders is that their confidence can wain. This often happens after a bad fall or a series of bad experiences.
A lack of passion or confidence is usually not directly the horses fault and selling them for this reason may seem harsh. However when this happens there is a risk that a rider may stop riding altogether or maybe just ride very infrequently. As time goes on they may be more likely to completely fall out of love with horses and sell the horse without buying a new one. To avoid this situation you may be better off selling your horse now and looking for a new one. This new horse could be a better match for you and may quickly rekindle your passion for horse riding.
6. Too Much Horse to Handle
Sometimes people end up with a horse that is too much to handle for them. This means the horse is big, stroppy, and very often unpredictable. They may get frustrated regularly and try to buck you off. If you have enough experience and skill you can usually overcome this problem with some training and improving your overall bond with the horse.
The longer this issue persists the more you are putting your own health at risk. As time goes on you are more likely to have a bad fall or an accident if you are consistently riding a horse that you cannot control