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:
- Health cert, passport, blood work
- Transport to the airport
- A shipping pallet is about 15k, and fits 3 horses. So, just to sit on the plane costs 5k per horse.
- 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.