…is a question I get every now and again from friends and students.
What they all refer to is the fact that Nazir cannot be “used” like other horses. Due to his past and also his physical condition, he simply cannot be trained like a healthy horse. He has better and worse days, sometimes weeks and months, and winter time, when he has to spend a lot of time in a box, is always very hard on him.
(Unfortunately the wonderful open stable that I found for him had to close, so now we are back at a “normal” stable with small paddocks and boxes, but that’s a story for another time.)
I do train him. However, the progress is very slow to non-existing at times. I’m happy with it anyway, because I love spending time with him. Over the years, we figured out better and better ways to communicate and I’m quite sure that I wouldn’t be were I am now as a trainer if it weren’t for Nazir.
So the question why I don’t sell him or find him a different home so I can buy an easier, younger and more talented horse always makes me sad. Nazir is part of our family. He is my friend. I know that sounds cheesy, but that’s just how it is for me. Would I exchange my sister for another one because she doesn’t meet my requirements? The way I see it I take on a responsibility when I buy a horse, for better or for worse. I can understand if someone has to sell a horse due to life circumstances or because of being a horse breeder. But because I just want a “better” one? Just like buying a better car? Mhm, I don’t know.
As a trainer, it certainly makes sense to buy another horse and develop my skills further. It’s how I earn my living after all. But as a human I cannot imagine to let Nazir’s fate go out of my hands.
I believe that this horse was send my way because of a reason. We had such a strong connection from the beginning; he felt like “my horse” from the first moment. Because of his, let’s say, interesting character, I had to study horse behaviour and learning theory, and due to his arthritis I had to learn more about healthy biomechanics and how to build up a horse’s education in a meaningful way. Of course I will buy more horses in the future (one can never have enough horses, right?), but it will be an addition and not an exchange.
I know that there are many horse owners out there who think the same way. For the others I wish that they will meet that one horse one day, the one that they love so deeply that it changes their thinking about how they use horses.
Picture by Anita W. Hopcia Equine Photography & Design
Wait…I can trade my sister for a better one? hmmm. A horse? Never. So glad you are committed.
I could not agree with you more. I had an off the track thoroughbred for 12 years—he was not perfect, but our personalities clicked. I had the same misgivings about selling him that you expressed, so I never did. When he was 18, sadly enough, he broke his leg playing in the paddock and had to be put down. But at least I never had to worry about his being mistreated once he was out of my hands.