The Maybe-Not-Forever Home

I’m about to share what seems to be a rather unpopular opinion: I don’t reeeeally believe in the idea of a “forever home.” When I signed the sale papers to make Frankie mine, I did not promise him that he would be with me forever.

What I did promise him was this: I will always endeavor to make the best choices for your health and happiness.

Now, these two things are not mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible that the best possible outcome for Frankie is to grow old in my care, and that would be a lovely thing. The best choice for him could be a forever home with me.

But there are so many things that could happen differently.

If I hit on hard times financially and could no longer feed myself while paying board: Frankie would go to a home who can feed both themselves and him. There is much I will sacrifice, but I will not sacrifice my basic needs. The better option for him in this case would be to go to a home that could offer more stability in care.

If Frankie gets injured and is no longer sound to jump: he would go to a home that would appreciate his easy-going temperament and trainability for dressage, hunter paces, trails, or other flatwork. The better choice for him would be to go somewhere where he would be appreciated for all he could still offer.

If Frankie tells me that 1.10m is about as high as he wants to go, and I decide that I have 1.20m goals: he would go be the perfect division move-up partner for a timid junior or ammy who needs a confidence-booster of a horse. The better choice for him would be to stay at a height where he is happy and comfortable competing.

These are worst case scenarios- I have a steady career and Frankie is sound and scopy. But they are worth considering.

And these situations hinge on the fact that Frankie is my athletic partner, not my pet. I love him so so so much and always want what is best for him- but I have competitive goals too, and he was purchased as a partner to help pursue those goals.

This is not the case for everyone- I know many people who have switched disciplines and changed their focus in order to pursue the career that is right for their mount. They adjust their goals to meet the abilities and willingness of their horse, and this changes over the years. I am not knocking this in the least- I admire and respect this.

That’s just not how things are for me right now. I love competing in the jumpers, and I want to go be competitive at the bigger shows. I want to jack the jumps up. And up. And up. And while it may be inflexible of me, I’m not willing to change those goals. Nor do I have the wallet to support two horses- I can only pay for one, so that one has to be a mount that can take me where I want to go.

Let me be clear here: Frankie is not for sale. I hope to have many happy years to compete and grow with him.

But I will also put the work into him to increase his value- put on show miles, build his USEF record, install those lateral-work buttons. He is the type of horse that will always make someone very happy. I’m thrilled that person is me, but I’m not morally opposed to it being someone else if circumstances change.

As long as that is the best choice for a safe and happy future for my horse.

What are your thoughts on “forever homes?”