Horse matters

(photos by Forrest)


Yesterday was spent working with the horses in a different sort of way.  Starting with grooming far better than is normally needed for a mountain mount.  Currying off the mud along the back and girth usually suffices. But we were gearing up for a photo shoot with Forrest of three of our best horses.  Later in the day, when the monsoons did there thing, I edited, deleted and organized the nearly five hundred photos he took.  The end result will be up later today on our ranch website ( on the new page “Sale Barn.”

Why the fuss over our four leggeds?  It’s time to sell a few more.  Downsizing.  Life is full of changes.  This one is harder than most.  Deciding who stays, who goes.  How do you decide which of your children to sacrifice?  Oh come now, it’s not going to be that bad.  (I have to remind myself.)  I will find the best of homes, new partners, and these horses will receive the care and attention they deserve – which will hopefully be even better than that which I give them.

Downsizing. It’s a down side of change.  Some plans get hurt in the process of building your dreams.  You can’t have everything, can you?  Somethings gotta give.  So, sometimes you gotta decide what matters most.  How on earth do I do that with my horses?  Except to look for truly wonderful new homes and partners… and trust….

Why can’t I keep them all, and find time (and money) to give them all I want to give?

On the practical level, there is the reality of us passing on our outfitting business and simply needing fewer horses around to complete the work we are continuing, like the ditch job.  In addition, the horse market is changing.   There seem to be more horses than horsepeople around. The cost of keeping horses and available land to keep them on is out of balance. Add that to the aging market and the change in our society as a whole, which is becoming increasingly less rural, more centralized.  As a result, we see the horse market nationwide becoming more elite.  I’m not big on elite.

But really, there is more to it than all that.  Something deeper. Consider the change of going from a small time breeder where every colt born was a celebration of life, and had a future on our ranch… to wondering if and how long he or she would live.  With the death of the first foal, everything changed.  And continued to change as foals continued to die.  Suddenly, birth was not the blessing I once considered it to be.  Life, or even the prospect there of, became tainted with a dreaded fear.  Birth became a time of trepidation, not elation.

“Only those who have can lose,” our vet told us in sympathy after one more loss a couple of years ago.  I intend to have.  But along the way, I know I’ll lose a few.  In the case of those I’ve chosen to sell, I comfort myself with the hope that I can and will find a perfect partnership for each horse.  Something I am unable to provide here for a dozen horses.

Practicality does have its downside…