"Let's be realistic; leasing, purchasing, and even just catch-riding horses is much like marriage. It either works, or it doesn't. You are either in it for the long haul, or you the pull the plug when things get rough. It all comes down to an individual rider and what they are willing (or not willing) to put up with.
A deal-breaker could be something as simple as color, breed, or gender. But what about the things that don't show up in the For Sale ad, the test ride, or the vet check? Instead of saying "I wouldn't touch that one with a 10ft pole", let's look at this as a broader topic.
What if you already did touch that horse with a 10ft pole and find out later on that he/she is; a cribber? a pawer? horribly accident prone? developing navicular/lameness? older than described in the ad? shorter than described in the ad? What if, you bought a horse, are tickled pink with him and you find out that he requires expensive medication for his upkeep? Or what if she is becoming blind in one eye, or has become a notorious rearer?
It ranges from health problems to temperament problems to training problems. Which category would you say is grounds for a divorce? And are there specifics in your reasoning?"
I love this question and it's actually something I've thought a lot about because of rehoming Faran (he's doing great by the way, even loading happily in her trailer!!).
For me it all really comes down to one thing. The bond. If I haven't bonded with a horse yet or just flat out never will because our personalities just do not mesh I am a lot more likely to throw in the towel than I am with a horse I've bonded with. I never bonded with Faran. We were too much alike probably. Really sensitive, shy, jumpy, anxious, etc. Having that personality of a human trying to work with a horse with that personality just does not work! He was a really sweet horse and absolutely gorgeous (heck he looked more like my dream horse than Chrome does!), but that wasn't enough to convince me to keep him.
I mean come on how gorgeous is he??
Now I have to admit something for the sake of being completely honest. I tell myself one of the biggest reasons I gave up Faran is because I couldn't afford to keep him, but to be perfectly honest I could afford to provide him with basic care. This is hard to explain, but I'll try. It sounds really selfish! I felt like I could afford to either provide two horses with basic care or provide one horse with above average care. All of the money and time that went into Faran's care was taking away from Chrome's. Yes I chose favorites. After rehoming Faran I was able to finish my house. I was able to buy better, more expensive food and other products for Chrome. I was able to buy Chrome a blanket, a halter, a bit and many other things I needed/wanted for him. I was able buy the materials to fix my horse trailer (now if only I had the time and good weather to actually work on it). I will be able to take dressage lessons on Chrome when the weather improves. I was able to get gravel put in the barn. I was able to buy enough hay to last the whole winter instead of scrambling to find a new bale every time we ran out. So many things are possible now that wasn't when I had two horses (and a donkey).
So those were my reasons for "divorcing" Faran. With a horse I have not bonded with there are a lot of reasons I will rehome him/her. Finances, health, training problems, etc. Horses are expensive and dangerous and I have no desire to struggle to make it work with a horse I don't get along with.
On the other hand, with a horse I've bonded with I would walk through fire to make it work. If there is a training problem I will figure out what is causing it and then either fix it or find someone with more experience to fix it for me. If it's a health problem I will do anything it takes to make him better (heck you guys have seen how much I agonize over his hooves, his sweet itch, his stifles, lol). If it's a vice like pawing or cribbing I will retrain him or prevent it.
I really think if the sh*t hit the fan I would live on the street (not really likely to happen considering both my family and my hubby's family would take us in, but it's a figure of speech that explains how I feel) before I would give up Chrome. I am very committed to those I love. Writing all of this makes me feel really sad that I didn't have that bond with Faran, but I tried for several years and you just can't force a bond. He is happy and well taken care of and I still know where he is, so that's the best I can do.
My heart belongs to this guy.
If anyone else wants to share their opinions please comment or leave a link to your post because I would love to read what you have to say. :D Thanks for the thought provoking question Cathryn!