I'm decided. Wilbur will be listed for sale with a lease option.
When I tell this to my horsey friends I get a sympathetic pat on the arm and a look that says, "it's time."
Non-horse friends have asked the same question- "isn't selling your horse like selling a pet, like a member of your family?" Yes and no. Horses are not a commodity purchase- they're meant to do a job and when they can't do that job their value then has to be taken into consideration. Wilbur is costing me about the same as raising a whole kennel of pet dogs.....dogs that I don't have time to walk so I pay someone else to do it.
Would it be different if he was at the same barn as Ellie? Would it be different if I made just a little more money? Would it be different if there were 5 additional hours in the day? Maybe.
But I think he can have more of a purpose to his life than he has with me right now. I could see him being a great husband horse, going out on the trails. I could see him as a fun project for a younger rider. Heck, I could see him enjoying life as a lesson horse.
I would love to find a lease option. Something to ease the financial burden while still allowing him to remain under my watch. But I'm also happy to find him a new owner and a new job, knowing that he has that "forever" home with me should he need it.
At the end of the day I think I've done right by him. He's had two years of R&R living the pasture life, been in a training program for four months getting back into shape and assessing his soundness (and of course full disclosure to any potential buyer), and I think it's time we found a good home for him.
Refer me back to this post when the bill of sale is signed please.