Saying No To Your Dream Horse

I’ve hemmed and hawed about even writing this post. You see, I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all, and now that it’s all said and done I wasn’t sure I even needed to write about it. But, I will. Mostly because it will be cathartic to put it out into bloggerland and close this chapter.

When I let people know Georgie was injured and no longer competing with me, I got a lot of very sweet emails and lots of people reached out letting me know about possible horses for me.

What I didn’t expect, was for the folks in Ireland who I had ridden with, to contact me and see if it would be possible for me to purchase Buttons, the horse I had absolutely fallen in love with over there. (you can read about him here) At first I was like “yeah, right.” But the more we talked, the more I realized this could actually, amazingly, possibly, happen. They were being incredibly kind and generous and wanted Buttons in a good home, so were willing to work with me to see how we could make it happen. I started to freak out a little and imagined Buttons being here with me. OMG it would be a dream come true!!!


Buttons. Look how happy I look!

What it all came down to was the cost of shipping him to the States. They agreed to look into it and they mentioned that without an agent, shipping costs could be drastically reduced.

I know nothing about the cost of shipping horses overseas, except that it wasn’t cheap. I decided to set a budget for myself so that I wouldn’t get carried away with getting Buttons if I really couldn’t afford it. At the top end of my budget, I could have the horse, and pay his board, but I wouldn’t have any money to compete or really take regular lessons for about a year. But, at that moment in time I didn’t care, because THIS WAS MY DREAM HORSE.


More Buttons and I looking very happy together

So, we began working on looking into shipping costs. Unfortunately, the Shannon to Chicago route, which EN teased us with this past fall, never really took off. That would have been the far cheaper option, as Shannon was about 40 minutes from the barn Buttons was located at.  So, we’d have to haul the horse to Dublin and fly him to Chicago. Then, 3 days of quarantine. Then, I could drive 23 hours to go pick him up, and drive 23 hours home. This all sounded like it was NOT going to fit into my budget.

And it didn’t. Despite the folks at Dartfield working their pants off to get me a reasonable price, it was still far above my budget. The top end of my budget. Shipping horses can cost anywhere between $10-$20k I learned.

Yup. Let me break some of the steps down for you:

  1. Health cert, passport, blood work
  2. Transport to the airport
  3. Groom
  4. A shipping pallet is about 15k, and fits 3 horses. So, just to sit on the plane costs 5k per horse.
  5. Quarantine
  6. Transportation from airport home

Even with the most economical option we could find, and with people being incredibly generous, it would cost me $10k to get Buttons home.

I was now $7k over my stretched budget.

There was no way I could make this work, even with both the shipper and the seller offering to take payments.  I’d be paying this horse off for over a year, and literally doing nothing but paying off the horse. Like, I would be sweating every single payment and trying to make it work. Yeah. No. Can’t justify that.


So, I called Sarah just to make sure I was making the right decision and she agreed. Goodbye Buttons.

The folks at Dartfield  were so amazingly nice and tried so hard to make this work out. I felt horrible having to tell them no, after how much work they put into it.

So, the last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. From EXCITED to sad to EXCITED to sad. I almost felt a sense of relief when I sent the final “I’m sorry I can’t make it work” email. As sad as I was, I knew I could move on and not set my hopes on this horse any longer.


Maybe one day I’ll get my dream Irish horse. Maybe not. I can’t live in the “maybe” and it’s so not my personality to dwell.

With Buttons behind me, I’m ready to move on to the next option. I’m really, really, excited about a baby I am going to check out next week. She’s not Irish, but she has a great pedigree and I think she could be a great fit for me. As I said to Sarah when I was weighing the options of Buttons or this baby horse , neither is a bad option. I’d be lucky to have either, despite how different they are. So, even though I am down to the one option, instead of two, I think this one can make me equally as happy and make it much easier for me financially. And if baby horse is the option I go with, I’m also looking into options to keep riding and even competing this season, as that has been the hardest part for me- not having something to consistently hop on.

So many options! I’ll keep you posted as they go from options to decisions.


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25 thoughts on “Saying No To Your Dream Horse

  1. Oh man, what a roller coaster!
    I fully understand. Painful, but a sound decision. So sorry he couldn’t become your dream partner.
    Now, next dream!!!!


  2. Emma says:

    Ahhh so hard to have to be responsible and sensible in those situations. It seriously isn’t fair 😦 but as crappy as that is, the shaky unstable financials would have ended up feeling crappier….. Sigh. Budgets suck sometimes. But I have no doubt there’s another Buttons out there for you! Maybe a few! And maybe you’re right in saying that it’s useful to go through this experience of having to pass on something so exciting, so that now you know you can be clear minded in your shopping. Good luck and can’t wait to see what all you find!!


  3. Lauren says:

    Ugh. Why do horses have to be so dang expensive?!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sucks to be an adult, and money is such a personal thing… but when I was looking I knew that the right horse would have to fit into the budget because being financially insecure wouldn’t make me happy… and that meant it wouldn’t be the right fit for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. draftmare says:

    Adulting sucks. 😦

    But I am sure the perfect horse will come along for you soon!


  6. Avery says:

    So hard to make that right decision, but life is too short and you never know what can happen. The worst thing would be for him to get here and then to have to sell him because of money. It would be better for Buttons to go to someone that could easily afford him. If only money were no object. You will find the right thing, at the right time!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry you had to make such a hard decision, but it sounds like you made the right one. Keep us updated on the baby!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been in the same situation where I’ve seen owners drop the price drastically on a horse worth 10x the current list and think I can pull all these strings to make it happen in my budget but when in reality I don’t have the money. You made the right decision and another horse will come along!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • nadsnovik says:

      Right? That’s kinda what it comes down to. It doesn’t matter how much they’ve reduced the price if it is still out of your price range, lol


      • I know exactly what you mean. Your brain says “well if I get another job, if I sell a bunch of this, if I schedule more this” that you’ll make it happen but what I use to pull me back to reality is what if they get hurt or sick and your bank account is at 0, what do you do? Oh if I could only win the lottery, or horses were 5$ lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • nadsnovik says:

        Yup! The old saying that the cheapest part of owning a horse is buying it is true!


  9. carey says:

    I was thinking about those horses you rode in Ireland when you shared the news about Georgie. What if one of those could come be your horse??
    I can imagine how excited and then sad you must have been with the possibility of Buttons being yours and the adult realization that it just can’t happen. So hard. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. But I am also excited to hear more about this baby you are going to look at!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Karen M says:

    Oh, wow, what a crazy situation to go through! I am glad you did post about this, though–even shipping cross-country domestic can be thousands of dollars. Shipping a horse overseas is on another level. I can’t wait to hear about the young horse you plan to look at.


  11. L. Williams says:

    It can be really tough to do the responsible thing, but you did it. I hope the baby horse pans out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Liz says:

    It’s so hard to do the right thing sometimes, but I even sighed relief when you noted that you had to send final word saying “no”. Horses are great, but they strap our budgets enough as is, to have to pay one off for so long without getting to enjoy doing what you love most? Wowza, that’s just a little bit too much sacrifice.

    I hope the baby horse works out for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I couldn’t handle the financial stress of payments on a horse like that–horses are so fragile. Glad it was an option, glad you explored it, and glad you’re happy with the decision you made. Here’s to plan B (or C or D or whatever we’re on now).


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