The Emotional Truth About Selling Your Horse

Photo © Blue Ribbon photography by Kayla Cardinal


Today, I’m sitting in the middle of my horse’s possible sale. To be honest, this is not the side I’m used to sitting on. If you had asked me three years ago if I would be about to send my horse out for a week trial, I would have laughed at you. I had great dreams of buying my own property and moving my horses there to live with me full time. That dream will not be coming true.

Like many people do, I met someone who does not share the dream or love for wanting horses on his own property. I think if he could have his way, the “H” word wouldn’t even be brought up at all, but I don’t blame him for changing my plans. In all reality, he helped me refocus a dream I had on the backburner for years because I didn’t know how to believe in myself—showing at the World Championship shows as an adult amateur. It was something I dreamed of as a kid when I wanted that huge ribbon and trophy, but now it’s a reality with his support. 

Photo © Blue Ribbon photography by Kayla Cardinal

But I can’t reach that dream with the expense of two horses. It’s just not possible for a full time secretary and part time student. Yeah, you heard correct, I’m chasing other dreams too and am going back to school. I know in the long term, if I can build my career I can build my horse addicted future for even more possibilities. 

The decision to sell my second horse wasn’t easy, because I’ve been with him for almost ten years now. I’ve been putting a lot of time in with my younger horse, and he got put on the back burner. He’s happiest when he gets a lot of attention, and deserves to do more than sit around. He should be someone’s everything, and so with one small moment of bravery, I wrote the ad and posted it. 

Photo courtesy of Jamie Skubal

This horse saw me through all 4 years of college and the  crazy years since. He built up my confidence after a bad fall, and saw me through the heartbreak of bad boyfriends, job disappointments, and lost family members. 

The emotional side of my brain says “how could you do this to your friend?” and the waterworks start again. This has been happening off and on for weeks.

But the logical side says the time has come. He can give the confidence and love he gave me to someone else who will love him as much as I do. After putting my horse’s needs first, I invited someone to come try him and started the sales process. 

Photo courtesy of Jamie Skubal

Now he’s about to leave on a trial, and he might not come home again. It could possibly be my last goodbye before he loads onto the trailer to this possible new family. Around the barn, I’m trying to keep things normal but I catch myself on the brink of tears when he sees me and nickers. I spend lots of time grooming and taking 100,000 photos of him—even at the worst angles—just so I have one more moment. I know it will break my heart for a long time not to see him in the barn. 

Emotionally, of course this is a hard choice but I also know his sale will help my dreams of going to the World Show. Still, part of me will always go back and forth wondering if his sale was really worth continuing the future with my other horse in this way. I will probably second guess myself until I see he’s happy in his new life. 

Photo © Blue Ribbon Photography

Of course, I can’t say for sure that he will sell, but if you are sitting in a similar position or struggling to make a decision like this, you are not alone. The emotions range from sad to angry to desperate to find another option, but know that making the right choice for your horses and your dreams shows an inner strength. 

Stand strong as you say goodbye, and know that your beloved horse is giving someone else what they gave you. It’s okay to cry and weep as they drive off, or even as you look at the empty stall. I know one thing for certain: he will always be a part of me, and our bond will always be special.

Jamie is a horse obsessed girl who is taking on the world with her youngster. Follow along with her on her journey in chasing the world show on Instagram.