Monday, October 13, 2008

How to Sell Your Horse? I mean Pain-Wise

So I am thinking about selling my OTTB Montana. In fact I've been thinking about it for exactly four months and he has been listed as for sale for 2 months.

Now there is an interested party. She will be taking him tomorrow for a 2-week trial at her nearby boarding barn, where I know the trainer and the trainer has ridden my horse several times and also given me dressage lessons on him. I do trust the arrangement, and we have a contract protecting him and us.

But: Selling him has given me horrific nightmares. I am being visited in the night by every bad scenario I've ever dreamt about, from the paperless exam in grade school to the pants-free or topless lecture in a university classroom, to the drowning tidal wave, the falling off a roof, the evil object in the beer glass. You get the idea.

I have loved this horse with all my heart, wept on his neck through a heartbreaking divorce. He is kind and sweet and in his own way, fond of me. A horse is not a family member, but in some ways he is closer than family: he has seen me at my abject most scared (dressage shows) and most happy (extended trot, lofty canter, happy walks down the road on moonlit nights).

I have explored his most intimate parts for hygienic reasons, and he has explored the most intimate parts of my psyche through his challenges, needs, beauty, kindness, and love for peanut butter sandwiches.

It is really a bit like cutting off a limb. But I am not interested in dressage anymore except in the old sense as "training", and that I can do with Johnny. And Montana needs work to keep from getting arthritic and stiff.

The potential buyer is very loving and adores thoroughbreds, has a daughter who also rides an OTTB, and is a delightful person. It's all good except for what's bad, if you know what I mean.

And it's only a trial after all. He may be back to tug my heart strings for the rest of my or his life. But such a wrenching set of experiences lies ahead for both him and me. His nickname just between him and me has always been 'Baby'.

I'm hoping I can make the transfer to her a pleasant experience, even if it's just for the 2 weeks. When I bought him, the seller (who had owned him for a whopping 2 months, compared to my 8 years of ownership) was in floods of anxious tears and this was so upsetting to all of us that it was a miserable hour of pain. I want to start him out on a happy footing. Wish I had some of those happy drugs that Helen gave Menelaus and Telemachus in the Odyssey to stop them thinking sad thoughts.

She threw a drug into the wine bowl
They were drinking from, a drug
That stilled all pain, quieted all anger
And brought forgetfulness of every ill.
Whoever drank wine laced with this drug
Would not be sad or shed a tear that day,
Not even if his own mother and father
Should lie there dead, or if someone killed
His brother, or son, before his eyes.

(Stanley Lombardo's translation, book 4 ll.231-242)

Helen is so creepy with her drugs, and her minxiness; and I need to be alert anyway to make sure Montana gets settled and the trial-buyer gets reliable info about his habits. Gads what an experience this is going to be.


Grey Horse Matters said...

If you really want to sell him I hope it goes well. If you really want to keep him I hope that goes well too.
I hope it all goes the way you really want it to.

Flying Lily said...

Thank you my dear friend. You have hit on the ambiguity of the entire thing.

c2b said...

Have you ever read this version of how to clean boys bits?

I so feel for you. I know I couldn't deal with those emotions.
On the other side of the coin I am so pleased Zoe's previous owner was able to do just that and allowed me to have her.
I don't envy you.

OnTheBit said...

You just never know. My trainers horse came to us from a loving owner that just didn't get him, which made them both upset and riding very scary for him. She cried when she signed him over to my trainer. The horse LOVES my trainer and they get along so well. His old owner said that selling him was one of the scariest things that she has ever done, but she is so glad she did it because her horse found the perfect forever home. Not all sales stories end up badly. It sounds like you have hit the jackpot as far as the next owner goes...they are at a barn you like, with a trainer you like, and it is close enough that you can go over and visit from time to time. You said the new owner understands how OTTBs are. I would let fate take the lead on this...if he sells then he was supposed to be her horse, if not then you can figure out if you really want to say good-bye to him.

3pennyjane said...

"I will not say, 'do not weep,' for not all tears are an evil." Or, to be more prosaic, change is scary. I have no very good advice, but I wish everyone involved the best.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

As we all know, it is a tough market these days. But good people are still looking for good horses. Both seem few and far between. I suspect that Montana will enjoy getting back to a regular routine and the potential buyer will enjoy having a nicely trained horse to work with.

Flying Lily said...

Thanks everyone. Your sage advice has been very calming to me.

c2b: hilarious.
OntheBit: I hope for this outcome.
3PJ: There were tears but they were off-stage so to speak.
BEC: He did seem happy at the new busier barn.