From My Saddle

Reflections on Horse Ownership

Reflections on Horse Ownership
Karen Pickering

How to Avoid Emotional Decisions

by Karen Pickering


Photo credit

Every year I write about New Year’s resolutions. It just seems fitting to start over in January, whether it’s a new diet, a resolve to ride more, or an entire laundry list of things to change. It seems fitting to pause and reflect. I’m writing this right after the Thanksgiving holiday, but am reminded to consider what I have in my life already.

We tend to look at what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed or improved upon instead of reflecting on the good things we have in our lives. In a time of instant messaging, instant gratification and an attitude that things are disposable, it’s common to think, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it get a new one!” Often our horses are treated in the same manner. In today’s marketplace the decision to breed or buy has become more difficult. The thought of owning a baby from that favorite mare of yours can be tempting, but have you carefully considered the cost of raising a foal? Perhaps this is best left in the hands of experienced breeders.

When purchasing a horse we still need to proceed carefully: What type of riding or activity will you be doing? Have you studied the pedigree for genetic concerns? Is the temperament suitable for you? Take your time and be cautious when adding to your herd.

In my experience (after raising several foals) it is far more expensive to raise a horse than buy one. It was fun and rewarding, but also heartbreaking. The last horse I purchased was a yearling and I still have her today. Though I wouldn’t trade her for the world the purchase was emotional, not carefully considered. What has your horse purchasing experience been like? Send me an email (; I’d love to hear about it. In the subject line put “my horse purchasing experience.”

Happy New Year!

Quote: “The main cause for failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment.”

~Author Unknown


Published January 2013 Issue

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From My Saddle
Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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