Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Straw + Camel's Back = ???

Don't get me wrong: I'm really glad I traded the mares Char and Scylla for the new group of sheep. I think it was a true example of the best of bartering: two people offering the best of what they had in exchange for something they wanted or needed more.

And I know that Char and Scylla are going to have a great life in their new home. David has already sent me several batches of pictures, showing them happily exploring and eating hay in their new pasture. They are going to be well loved and taken care of, so I have no regrets about letting them go there.

But even though it was a good choice that needed to be made, all the same, parting with Char took something out of me. It left a hole. It changed the way I feel about our horse operation.

Even though I've cut down our herd from 15 horses to 9 in the past month---no mean feat in the current horse market---we're still floundering in our financial crisis. No matter what I do, it's never enough to keep up with the hay bills and vet bills and so on. So Ken and I have been discussing our farm's future.

We're both so tired of the stress and worry. And after parting with Char, I just don't have the heart to continue struggling to keep the whole horse enterprise together, so we've decided to sell all the horses except for Senter and the two Art Deco fillies.

That means Torchsong, Callista, and Callisto will go on the sales list now, as well as Maggie, Andromeda, Penny, and Libby. They are wonderful horses, and I love them all, but I just don't have the heart for it anymore. I never wanted the horse operation to overwhelm the rest of the farm. I wanted to have a more balanced mix of livestock. And I definitely want a more sustainable lifestyle.

I'm tired of being on the brink of crisis all the time. I'm tired of watching my husband killing himself worrying over money. I'm tired of watching every penny I make siphoned away to pay for hay and still not be enough.

If the horses are not giving us any joy, then what's the point of all the struggle? Time to get the farm back on track. Maybe once we've thinned the herd down to just the two Art Deco fillies (and Senter, when he comes back from training), we'll be able to recapture some of the enthusiasm, on a smaller scale.

Meanwhile, I have seven more horses to sell. I wish it were over already, so we could just get on with our lives!


Anonymous said...

Nancy, I am so sorry. The words of your blog made it clear how much Char and the rest of those beautiful animals meant to you, but you're right that it just isn't worth the heartache sometimes. Hard as it is right now, I hope this leads to you finding more peace and joy in your operation.

Farming is so full of hard (or should I say heart) decisions.

Anonymous said...

It seems like only yesterday when you were getting your first sheep and your desire to own horses was just a wistful desire. I too am sorry that you had to trade Char away when you had such a strong bond. You've got such an excellent enterprise started there Nancy. I'm still waiting for you to start your writers' colony in your outbuildings.

FullCircleEquine said...

Nancy, I just dont know what to say.
Right now I am borrowing money from my mother to pay for my one horses board and upkeep. I cant work right now since I am facing heart surgery. And my husband cant carry all the house bills AND my horse.
It isnt easy and I am so very sorry. Best wishes to both you and Ken.