As the title suggests, this discussion about breeding sport horses, or buying those already bred, is about to become less comfortable. If you are, let`s say, a golfer, you will have a set of golf clubs. A skiier will have skis, a tennis player, a racquet. As new and improved clubs, skis, racquets are developed, the competitive athletes in these kinds of sports will probably upgrade to the equipment that will be more likely to give them that “edge” we all talk about.
In professional sports, players are constantly being traded or sold, as the managers and officials of the various teams are also constantly trying to upgrade. We are used to seeing headlines like: “Bosox trade Miller for new shortstop Lorenzen.”
If emotion could be left out of the equation, the upwardly mobile riders would be continually attempting to get better strings of horses, and that`s exactly what many of them do. There are horses being bought and sold across the competitive spectrum, every day, across all sectors of the riding world, for all kinds of reasons. In many cases, a rider will sell one horse to make room for another horse which she believes is a better horse for the discipline in which she is trying to excel.
Many of the competitively top riders think of horses, in a way, as items of sports equipment. This does NOT mean these people are callous, or hard hearted, or don`t love animals. It does mean that their goals and priorities are different from those who buy a horse “til death do us part”, like a kitten or a puppy.
Is one way “right”, and the other way “wrong?” It depends upon your goals and beliefs, I think. The competitive riders can`t be competitive on the big stage unless they think like the General Manager of the Red Sox. If the New York Yankees have a superior pitching staff, and if the Sox want to make the playoffs, the Sox better buy or trade for some better pitching.
If the whole idea of selling Dobbin makes you cringe and cry, don`t sell Dobbin. Accept the tradeoff, that you will have less success than with a better (mover-galloper-jumper-whatever), but the emotional price of the tradeoff is too high. It has to be the answer that is right for YOU.
This whole dilemma is a big reason that it`s so important to think so carefully of the breeding or buying ramifications BEFORE you breed or buy, especially if you`re pretty sure you won`t be emotionally capable of divesting yourself of the foal or purchase if things don`t work out as hoped or planned. Because the question that nobody wants to answer, so very often, is this: Why don`t you sell that horse and get a better one?”
There`s only one person who has the answer to that question, of course, and it`s the person who is being asked the question.