Now as to why I keep them. Maisie is a beautiful horse, bred to be a competition hunter. But she's not reliably sound - she needs regular chiropractic and she has long, low pasterns with weak suspensories - she's an accident waiting to happen - she's already had a low suspensory injury once. Because she's so pretty, if I sold her she'd end up back in the show ring, and she likely wouldn't last long from a soundness point of view, and you know where that leads. I've had her since 2002, and she deserves better than that - she is a sweet, kind horse. I would retire her before I would sell her. She's the horse of mine that I've had the hardest time developing a real connection with - she knows me and is mostly glad to see me (it took us a long time to get to this point), but the real bond is missing and we need to see if we can develop that. There are lots of things we can do besides riding that may help with this - I've always thought of her as my "riding horse" but perhaps my perspective needs to change.
Dawn is my younger daughter's horse, and is her "soul horse" - I could never sell Dawn as she has a special place in my family. We've had Dawn since 2001. My daughter, who's just started college, may never live in a place where she can have Dawn near her, so she's now "mine". I've also quickly begun to develop a strong bond with her, and I think she's very special - she has personality plus and great intelligence and determination. She also is a challenging horse to work with, and does not take well to coercion or rough handling - I can't imagine her being passed along to others. If I can keep working with her, I think she may develop into that special partner I am looking for. We've already made a lot of progress on her attention and relaxation, and that encourages me to think we can go a lot farther.
Neither horse is one I can just get on and ride, and I do miss that - Noble, and Promise, were horses like that, and those were the horses I needed then as I got back into riding as an adult. And Breathe had a very insightful comment yesterday: ". . . we pressure ourselves right out of Joy, sometimes . . ." I'm working every day now on learning to see where the joy is in my life, including my life with horses, and I think that "just get on and ride" may not be where the joy's going to be for me at this point in my horse life. While we're taking our winter break, I'll be thinking more about those things, trying to discern the right path for us to take.
Please enjoy your winter day! - the colors and light are lovely this time of year.