Today I talked to the Morgan's owner. She is no longer interested in a trade, as she would like to reduce her total number of horses (she has two old horses and a herd of miniature horses besides Ritz) rather than maintaining the number. She would consider selling Ritz, but her price is more than I can afford and probably more than the current market would bear.
So I proceeded with Plan B. I called a woman who I think would appreciate Russell and give him a wonderful home for the rest of his life. She owned the stable where Russell was boarded most of his life before I got him, and helped Russell's owner train and show him in OHSET (Oregon High School Equestrian Team). She is now a grandma with an old equine partner who isn't really sound but is safe for her and her baby granddaughter to putz around on. Russell is ten years her horse's junior, more sound, and every bit as safe; a match made in heaven? She seemed pleasantly surprised by my call and offer, and will get back to me after some consideration.
Being poised to rehome Russell with no future dressage partner in sight gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don't want to be horseless; the other three equines here aren't mine, or what I want to work with. And when Brian heard that Russell may be leaving, he actually cried; that didn't help. He's like his dad; he may not USE something, but he can't bear to part with it. I had hoped that Russell might become Brian's mount, but Brian doesn't choose to ride more than once or twice a year. I'm of a mind that horses should be used for optimum mental and physical health. They take considerable resources to keep as well, an investment we can't make lightly.
As long as I have him, Russell and I will continue our daily walks. When I have time I tack him up, as I think a rider's weight is more comfortably distributed by a well-fitted saddle than concentrated on two human seat bones.