PDA

View Full Version : Where you are, versus where you thought you'd be?



Heinz 57
Jul. 18, 2012, 04:55 PM
I don't mean the "Olympic Dream", necessarily, but those more realistic plans or goals we have - making it to a certain level, becoming a successful trainer, bringing up your own star horse, etc.

Where are you now, and where did you think you'd be at this point in your (riding) life? Are you jealous or envious of others that were, at one point, at the same level (or lower) as you, and have surpassed you? How do you deal with those feelings?

I'm interested to hear others responses to these questions, as I'm trying to come to terms with my own lack of progress (or, as much progress as I thought I'd have made by this time in my life).

PrinceSheik325
Jul. 18, 2012, 05:07 PM
Well, I'm 28, and I'm currently eventing at training level while working a demanding job that requires 70-80 hours a week, which basically means I ride when it's dark out!

Before this year, I had been eventing at novice level for 14+ years without moving up mainly because I had no means of my own to travel to events. I board at a hunter/jumper barn (I could never leave - they are like family to me), and no one, except for me, is interested in eventing. Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a job in the equine field, but I recognized long ago that in order to continue with horses, I was going to need a job that could fund my horse habit.

This year, everything changed. I finally saved up enough to buy a truck and trailer! On top of that, I started leasing a younger horse, and I've been taking dressage and eventing lessons, and trailering regularly to rated shows. I feel like I'm finally moving up to do what I was ready to do about 12 years ago. If it makes you feel any better, I used to frequently compete against (and beat) a current Olympian. It's crazy to think about where I might be now had I only had the means...

JP60
Jul. 18, 2012, 05:17 PM
I had to chuckle when I read this "Are you jealous or envious of others" for I'd say I'm envious towards almost everyone on this forum for it seems y'all have way more experience then I. I'll be in heaven before I can say the phrase "I took my green bean out for a spin on BN".

The zen in me would say I am right where I need to be....I like tell that side to shut up for I feel like I have been dragging along, barely making way.

Yet...

When I look at a triple two stride combination I set up at home with heights at 2'9, when I look at the BN jumps I made and routinely clear (at home) I begin to see that I really am where I need to be. I tried to rush once and had the poop scared out of me by a horse. Set me way back and it took a year of work just to gain trust of new my guy, not even thinking of trying to jump more then a cross rail. Before that I lost a year+ after my first horse fell and retired from eventing (still loves dressage) so out of the 6 total years I've ridden,

one year to learn how to ride (safely) and help my rescued horse heal
Two years to work her and I up to BN height (then she fell)
One and a half years of looking for a horse and limited lessons
One year learning trust after getting my new horse
and just this year getting back to BN levels (and having a blast).

There are moments when I feel like I'm not going forward at all then I have my trainer run me through some lesson that would have floored me two months ago....so I am growing :-) and I feel better. With Mercedes i felt this pressure to match the pace of other students. That rush, that push created some angst that I am not proud of looking back. With Sterling I accepted the pace we got. Sometimes I think maybe my trainer is holding me back, then we go to a show and I discover that she in fact has brought me right to the level I need to be to keep what I do safe and fun.

My surface goal is to run in a long format BN event, then make AEC at BN, and grow to N. I don't care that others pass me by, I do care that they see I am doing my best along the way. I came into the horse life later in my life (started riding at 46), but have not only loved the "dark side", but love it all. Working a full time job will always hold me back more then I like, but I've come to accept that what I do is not measured against others progress, but my own.

deltawave
Jul. 18, 2012, 05:31 PM
Pretty much where I expected: a lot of Novice, Training when I can get my act together. :lol: Thanks to my wonderful Gwennie, I had a good couple of years there where I was able to compete reasonably successfully and competently at Preliminary, which was NEVER EVER on my radar until she came along. :) :)

My lifelong horse dream was basically to have my own farm and to keep a few horses here and go to horse shows whenever I could. "Whenever" winds up being perhaps slightly less than I'd like, but I made the farm happen at age 40 and I've found that just having horses around every day is enough to keep me happy, and going to shows is like dessert: something wonderful that doesn't need to happen constantly. ;)

Am I jealous or envious of others? No way--they don't have what I have. :D I do envy people their courage and natural talent, which is the only part of the equation that just can't be gotten by working on it when one finds the time. But I wouldn't swap places (or horses) with anybody, I don't think.

The only parts of the horse dream that still haven't happened are taking a couple of horses to Florida and competing all winter (even the H/J circuit would be fun--I just want to run away with my horses for a few months and go do stuff) and doing some Combined Driving. Still plenty of time. ;)

ACMEeventing
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:30 PM
What a great thread!

I think I'm where I hoped I would be. Of course I'm sidelined currently with the broken foot, but my goal was to find the nerve to show Training. After taking 3 horses to that level the Prelim courses started calling my name. I never thought I'd have the guts, but now with a couple runs under my belt I have been bitten by the bug again. Can't wait to finish healing so we can pick up where we left off. Knowing me, those Int. jumps will probably start looking good ;)

Like Archflies is discussing in another thread, having kids and splitting time between home and job makes all of this a little tough. Sometimes I do envy those 1% types that have endless disposable income and can buy 3* horses just to get experience on (if I'm being honest), but that isn't my reality. I'm mid 40's working a good full time job that supports my horse habit. I gave up the little kid "I want to go to the Olympics" dream a loooong time ago.

lmlacross
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:47 PM
I envy DeltaWave. All of my aspirations are exactly what she has achieved.

It's amazing how life--unsoundness, finances, marriage, an infant, work--can delay (not derail) one's plan's. I have been mostly out of the tack since retiring my old jumper a few years ago, and now, with a 4 1/2-month old son (and the hope to add another child in the coming years), it sometimes seems that my attainment of personal riding and horsekeeping goals are advancing ever-further into the future. My time will come, as will the little farm we hope to have, but I miss the view from the saddle.

eventerchick517
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:51 PM
Right now? I want to be showing Prelim. Intermediate and Advanced are looking more fun all the time. I want to be showing Second or Third Level Dressage. I'd love to be getting my Pony Club A.

At the moment I'm 18, headed off to an out of state school in the fall and not bringing my horse with me. I'm a C-3 Pony Clubber and schooling Training Dressage with my horse. I feel like I'm behind the curve a bit.

But then I stop and think about it.

I just sold my pony that I had owned for 9 years that I trained from the very beginning. We were intending on taking my Pony Club B this summer and moving up to recognized Training with the goal of a long format right before I went to school. My other horse is a hot, sensitive, 6 year old mare that was only on and off sound for two years when I bought her as a three year old. Now she is sound(knock on wood) and we are starting from scratch. Having her doing Training Dressage happily is great! Sure I'm only a C-3 in Pony Club and my best friend is going for her A in August. But I've only been in Pony Club for 3 years. She has been in it for 10.

So I guess I'm not where I mean to be. But I'll get there eventually. I have a fantastic baby who just needs some miles and will be really nice when she grows up. Getting my A is totally achieveable, I just need a little more time. Overall, I don't think I'm as behind as I seem to be. :)

JER
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:53 PM
I'm in Canada.

That was never part of the plan. Never.

KateMcCall
Jul. 18, 2012, 06:55 PM
Mine is kind of a long one.....

When I was 14 I dropped out of Highschool (got my GED) to be a full time working student. I had a really nice 4 year old warmblood gelding who I was getting ready to event on, but in the mean time was riding a Quarter horse. I spend many hours at the barn cleaning stalls and riding 3-4 horses a day, I was in really good shape. I was competing at Beginner Nov.

Just after I turned 16 (When my warmblood was ready to start eventing) I got sick with a still currently unknown illness. I was tired all the time and felt like I couldn't keep up anymore. When I finally went to the doctor I found out that my blood pressure was averaging around 160/130. I was absolutely shocked. The doctor was too. We couldn't figure out how a healthy 16 year old had stage 2 hypertension.
I was put on blood pressure meds and they made me really sick and really depressed. I pretty much quit doing any physical activity all together.
I ended up gaining a lot of weight and had no energy to ride my horse anymore, so he pretty much became a pasture ornament.
At this point I had lost interest in living at all and just didn't care about my health.

When I was 18 I tried getting back into riding though it was hard because I had gained 30ish pounds and had lost SO much muscle mass. There was one day when I went out and tried to ride and I did ok, just walk trot stuff and felt pretty good, and just took it easy. When I had gotten inside I started to feel woozy. Next thing I knew I was on the ground face down in my own vomit :( I was rushed to the hospital with a blood pressure of 180/160 (not even kidding). The doctors put me on a saline drip for about an hour and said "its not abnormal for teenagers to pass out in the summer" and sent me home.
Now days the only thing doctors will tell me is that the reason I have high blood pressure is because I am over weight. And yes... that is why NOW. but no one will listen to me or help me when I try to explain how I was before all this started.

I am 19 this year and I have decided to put all this behind me and try to work this out on my own.... since no doctor is willing to help me. and only wants to put me on BP meds which make me sick and have manic depression. I still struggle with this every day. One of the last riding lessons I had, I passed out on the pack of my horse.
My goal is to be doing Beginner Novice again next spring. I am on no medications, but am trying my best to regulate blood pressure with diet and exercise.

I feel like had this not happened I would still have my old Horse (I sold him because he wasn't getting ridden) And I would probably be going either training or prelim this year.
I still cry all the time because of what happened, and because I feel like I had a lot going for me. And it is sad to see my friends that i grew up riding with pass me by, but I am trying not to let it get me down. I know I have a talent for riding so I'm just hoping I will be able to catch up. I am still young so I have a chance to ride and get good while I am still in my prime time. I hope that one day I will find out what happened to make me so sick.... but I will feel really accomplished if hard work and diet can help me get better on my own. Right now I am my own obstacle, so I just gotta keep my head up and hope for the best.

Blugal
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:13 PM
Kate,
Sorry to hear about your health. I don't think you should give up on finding a solution however. Of course I don't know your insurance situation or anything like that - but it doesn't sound like your medical professionals have exhausted the investigations/diagnostics for you. As well, there must be someone you could talk to about your depression, this is really important to address.

Feel free to PM me anytime.
(Hugs)

Mtn trails
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:17 PM
I'm a little behind where I thought I'd be, figured I'd be at least doing Prelim by now and just starting at novice. I would love to be able to board or have an arena at my house because I have to haul out to ride so riding is limited. However, I do have the opportunity to trail ride a lot and have a lot of friends to ride with. I don't know, I'm pretty happy where I am.

Am I jealous? Yes. I'd like to have the money to buy the horse to take training level and be able to keep it someplace where I can actually ride more than once or twice a week but have to be content with what I have right now.

geog272
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:46 PM
I don't compete, but can totally relate to feeling like you're not making progress compared to your personal goals or your friends' progress.

One thing that helped me was realizing I have a penchant for choosing sensitive hard to ride mares. I seem to need to choose the hard route! And I am a perfectionist!

Also, I think it is helpful to remember that we are lucky that our sport is generally a lifelong sport. Just imagine if you were a figure skater or something where most people are "all used up" at age 18!

The two times I've had the hardest spells of discontentment, I started doing a lot of research. The first time brought me to Mary Wanless books and coaching and I am still benefitting from that today. The second time I ended up finding the COTH forums and found what I call "voodoo" solutions to my horse's anxiety under saddle (don't ask me why the combination of U7 and a Back on Track blanket changed her completely!?).

Good luck, keep your chin up.

ACMEeventing
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:50 PM
I'm in Canada.

That was never part of the plan. Never.

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

CobJockey
Jul. 18, 2012, 08:48 PM
I didn't expect to own a horse now, and never thought I'd have a barn/trainer this awesome in my life, so I'm just sort of happy to be where I am, with the people I'm with, on the horse I'm on, and progressing with each ride. My level of competition is an afterthought as long as I'm happy and we're both improving steadily.

mkevent
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:03 PM
I actually thought I wanted to show the Quarter Horse Circuit when I was in my 20s. I grew up riding western and just showing 4H and local shows. So I bought a Quarter Horse.

Somehow I ended up doing dressage and then I thought I wanted to ride Grand Prix dressage. I sold the Quarter Horse and bought a yearling WB/TB filly.

Started out doing dressage and my instructor suggested we also jump the mare so she would learn to be more forward.
Next thing I know I'm doing my first Novice event.

My friend, an eventer, kept asking me that day if I was having a good time. I was so scared that I didn't decide that I liked it until 3 days later! I think a lot of people start eventing when they are young and brave and then switch to other disciplines later in life. I did it the opposite and started eventing in my 30s after I had kids.

Got my mare to Prelim and had a goal to do my first 3 day at Essex on my 40th birthday. Never happened. Kept the mare and bred her twice. Kept one of the babies as a competition horse.

My next event horse I also got to Prelim and planned to do my first 3 day in the fall of 2002. We did qualify and a week before the event we withdrew because of soundness issues. I felt like I was holding my horse together with duct tape and WD40.

Took my homebred through Prelim/Training. Could go Prelim with him but he really didn't want to be an event horse. He is now leased out to a junior rider doing equitation on him and he's doing very well and happy in his new career.

Just got an OTTB last fall and hoping to do Novice on him this fall and see how far we go. I don't want to compete above Prelim-that's hard enough and I'm 52!

While things didn't go exactly as planned, I'm thrilled with how they've gone! I have a horse farm that I love, I do retirement boarding (no longer in pharmaceutical sales) and I think I've gotten a little better every year. My horses have all taught me so much and I thank them for that.

I know there are lots of riders more athletic, talented,focused and wealthier than I am and that's ok. I never envisioned I'd be doing this sport or loving it as much as I do.

It's all good...

deltawave
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:05 PM
Kate, you need to go see a doctor who takes pleasure in figuring out oddball cases of hypertension. A nephrologist with an interest in hypertension, maybe. Chances are you have something off the beaten path that requires treatment that is also off the beaten path! Good luck. :)

deltawave
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:09 PM
I like the reality of this thread. I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of us out here just doing it when and how we can. :yes:

Judysmom
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:12 PM
Great thread!

I NEVER would have anticipated the twists and turns my life took to get me where I'm at now- in all aspects of my life. Never would have believed you! But that's how life works, doesn't run according to MY plan. LOL.

Competition wise, no. I am not as far along as I would have anticipated when I was 14. Nor did I reach any of the competition goals that I set back then. Honestly, my entire life plan didn't go any farther than Young Riders.

I don't think I'm envious of others who are better riders than I am, or are equal riders with nicer horses, but I would say that I am occasionally wistful for what could have been if "life plan A" happened.

I do a good job at what I do now. My current young horse is going to have a really good foundation and he will be able to move up the levels without major holes in his training, because of all the ones that came before him. I do hope that this will finally be my "get beyond Prelim" horse, but who knows. So much of life, and horse training is the journey.

ss3777
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:21 PM
I thought I would have done a T3DE by now but I cannot complain. First T3DE hopeful just was not sound enough, 2nd T3DE wanted to be a hunter princess instead. In the mean time my son has become a better and better rider. I never dreamed that I would be helping my 12 year old son prepare for his first schooling 3 phase! Totally trumps the T3DE dream and I have not given up on that one, just taking the long road ;) My son and I just finished a little gallop session in the "back forty", popped over a couple of BN fences and headed home...........my version of nirvana!

Mouse&Bay
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:35 PM
I'm living the dream. Seriously. :D

BF I adore even when he is a grump sidelined with unexpected broken foot (somehow each injury continues to be a surprise). Awesome, awesome eventing coach at an awesome barn with awesome people 20 minutes from home. Home is 5 min from work so I am loving my decision to stay in a smaller city and not do the big city commute (pat on back for this human in resisting the rat race known as Bay St).

New resident 'dressage queen' coach - no 'queen' attitude, tons of knowledge and someone who has a wealth of information and gladly shares. She's is a real dressage person so in my head she is a DQ to distinguish from the wannabes like me.

Between BF and I two fabulous greenies that are teaching me as much as I attempt to teach them. The big one tries his heart out and has dressage skills out of this world despite being under saddle 6mths (22 in first event!); the punky princess (4 year old) gives lots of attitude but is a blast to ride and becoming so clever and fun! We did our first mini coffin yesterday and she figured it out .so. quickly. :D

Yup. Despite the nutty job that takes up way too much time but allows all of this to happen... I am content. Life is good - even if we are in Canada :winkgrin:

quietann
Jul. 18, 2012, 09:43 PM
I set out, early in my re-riding career, to be a low-level eventer, one of those folks who never goes beyond Novice. I don't know why I chose eventing, except it was closest to what I'd learned as a kid, from an instructor who taught general huntseat and jumping, but was an avid foxhunter and thought all riders should be able to gallop across country, taking in stride whatever obstacles they found. Also, my chief "enablers" as a re-rider were a friend and her daughter who are eventers; they loaned me horses, gave me instruction, and helped me pick my first horse.

Fast-forward 5 years or so... I never became an eventer. Did one horse trials, on a horse borrowed from my friends, and had a blast, and then less than two weeks later had the accident that nearly stopped me from riding at all. Kept my first horse, who would have been all wrong for me if we'd stayed in eventing, and concentrated on dressage because it seemed the safest thing to do. But I also wanted to ride outside an arena, so I very slowly started doing so, mostly on my own. My trainer thought I was nuts, taking a spooky and not 100% reliable horse out on the road, but I discovered that I was much more brave than I ever thought, while also respecting my own limits for safety.

I have a... fraught relationship with dressage. I am not talented, and I have physical limitations from the accident as well as just from being, well, me. Horse had a suspensory problem that necessitated a long layoff and rehab period. We started over from zero (as in, horse was exhausted after 10 minutes being ridden at a walk) and are back doing Training Level dressage, maybe considering First, but I don't feel good enough really to move up. Horse is way more talented than I am, but for the sake of her soundness, it is probably better that she's owned by someone who isn't going to push her up the levels. We do a lot of hacking out (weather and bugs allowing), and a few tiny crossrails, and have a lot of fun. She's turned out to be way saner and safer than I thought she was; she's a good, willing horse who isn't terribly brave... sort of like me.

I do greatly envy those riders who can event and enjoy it. I "keep my hand in" by volunteering at local horse trials and CTs.

runNjump86
Jul. 18, 2012, 10:02 PM
Heinz, this is REALLY starting to freak me out. I swear we are twins from different parents, with twin horses...:lol:

I'm also going through a "what if..." phase in my life, and feeling guilty about it. Since I was in my teens all I wanted to do was ride and train horses and get paid to do it. Oh, how naive....

During college I *thought* I had landed the dream job managing a boarding facility, riding 4-5 horses a day, and being on the equestrian team. However, due to my pitiful grades and lack of direction, I dropped out of school. BO turned out to be a PITAx10, so I moved Horse to a friend's barn to get away from all the drama. It ended badly, and I should have handled it better, but there were SO many things going on that all I could think was "leave, and leave NOW!".

The summer before all the sh!t hit the fan was when I really started seriously looking into eventing. It had always been something I'd wanted to do, but with no resources anywhere close, I didn't think it would be possible. This is where my "what ifs" of today fit in. If I had known about being a WS, I'm pretty sure I'd be way farther ahead of where I am today. Even back then I had dreams of going to Rolex!

However. I have a DH I love and adore and who is currently supporting me and my horse habit because I can't find a paying job. I am living in Southern California, where I always wanted to live. I lived for six months in Horse Central, aka Virginia, and met the most amazing people and horses and gained invaluable experience riding a retired 3* horse in my first actual events, even if they were schooling CT and at BN level. :D

The horse I have had for 8 years is sound, sane, and game beyond his size. He puts bigger horses to shame by his sheer will and drive. We have completed our first schooling CT at BN, and have steadily improved at dressage schooling shows in the past several months. We are schooling Novice confidently and preparing for our first H/J schooling show on Sunday. We have yet to enter our first rated event, but that will be in September come hell or high water. The biggest issue I'm having is funding this dream because I feel guilty as hell not being able to pay for it myself.

Am I envious of others? Yes. One girl in particular who I went to school with who was handed a great deal and wasn't all that talented. She worked hard though, but it just seems (from green-colored glasses) that things just kept happening for her. I know this is going to make me sound like a horrible person, but I can't help but wonder if I'd had a door opened for me like the way it had for her, where I would be in my riding career.

But on the other hand, I wouldn't have DH and everything else I love about my life right now. It is hard, and I feel guilty and selfish for wanting more/wondering what might have happened, but I'm also human.

I have to remind myself that I'm only 26, and that there is still A LOT of time to accomplish my goals, which are pretty big. I. WANT. to compete at Rolex. But I also worry about not achieving my goals. DH wants a family; I do too, but not anytime soon. I feel selfish about that, but I also realize that if I had a baby right now I would NOT be a happy momma. I feel I want to accomplish a few more things before I take a year off. After all, my horse and I are literally just getting started in this craziness!

Damn, that was a novel...

slp2
Jul. 18, 2012, 10:59 PM
Well, envy doesn't happen much when we keep our sights low! I was the horse-crazy kid who never had a horse. Read about them a_lot, but my only "contact" with them was to ride my bike for miles to hang out and clean stalls (for free). I took some lessons when I had a job in high school to pay for them.

Fast forward to being an adult. After college I was able to lease a horse and then bought my OWN (finally!) Board costs were much cheaper then, but still overwhelming when I had a crappy paying job and hubby was in grad school and working in a university lab. I was in awe of the fancy horses at my barn, people who showed, had trailers, etc. I tagged along with a fellow boarder to my first event and was completely hooked. My first horse was an Arabian so I wasn't sure how keen he would be about eventing. But what a trooper he was! We did a baby event (2'6" division) and we won our first event. Ok, even more hooked now. We had fun doing BN stuff and I remember the first time we showed at KY horse park. I had visited there as a kid and I was ridiculously giddy because I was actually SHOWING there. Never thought I'd ever get to do that. Major thrill.

Fast forward to now. Several horses later (my first horse--still alive and in his 30's giving rides to little kids!) I have 2 horses at a relatively pricey boarding facility, but now we have decent incomes so it's easily affordable. Moved up from hauling a little 2 horse with a small SUV to a full-sized truck and 2 horse trailer with a dressing room. Get to compete at a number of events a year. Qualified and rode in the AEC's twice. Now show at KY horse Park a couple times a year (no more emotional, giddy moments, but still love to show there).

I work more hours at my job than I would like, but I do enjoy my work and it pays for my money sucking hobby. My young horse is braver than me on x-c (which is exactly what I need) so I seemed to have lucked out with her. :D My older, semi-retired event mare (who owes me nothing) is still sound and happy to be ridden or cart beginners around. I LOVE that I could afford to give her a "forever home" with ME! That makes me happy every day!

Would love to be 10 years younger and have all this, but that's not really an option. However, from where I started with horses, it definitely feels like I am living the dream!

NeverTime
Jul. 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
I accomplished more than I ever set out to or could have dreamed of with my current horse, and while I am so thrilled to have done it, I am really ... melancholy, I guess ... about it now.
After competing (not very well) in Pony Club and up to prelim in high school, I quit riding during college. A few years out of college, I was working as a newspaper reporter in a Colorado ski town, desperate to start riding again, when I was given a 4 yo OTTB. We started taking lessons with the local folks and, because eventing was what I knew, borrowed a rickety old truck/trailer to haul to clinics and such. I remember pulling into that first clinic and seeing a prelim Weldon's Wall in their cross-country field and thinking, Gawd, I'd love to get there again.
Over the next two years, using the borrowed rig to travel 2-4 hours to shows & clinics. Would trade work shifts so I could do a 2-day event on Sat/Sun, sleep on the bench seat of my pickup, drive 4 hrs home Sunday afternoon and skid into my desk (still in dirty breeches & boots) to work a night shift. With the help of the local dressage & H/J instructor, this track baby and I bumbled our way up to training. I knew I needed serious help to reach my goal of prelim, so ended up taking a sabbatical from journalism to go be a WS for 6 months.
Drove across the country w/tiny trailer (by that point I'd purchased an old 2H trailer for $1000 and a pickup truck), made ends meet and spent winter with Denny Emerson. Did 4 prelims and a long format CCI*. Took magazine job in Pennsylvania so I could keep eventing.
Neither job nor eventing was progressing particularly well, so I "gave up" and moved back to Colorado to return to newspaper job. Met new people and trainers and moved up to intermediate, then advanced (neither of which had been in my original "plan" but the horse seemed capable of both, so why not?). Competing at those levels required driving 18-22 hours (one way) to get to shows but I met great friends to do the hauls with. Did first advanced with one of those friends -- it was the first advanced for both of us -- and no trainer, just talked out the course with each other and eavesdropped on professional's course walks at the combinations.
Came back East for a work promotion and competed through CIC***, despite setbacks along the way and still being poor to mediocre at it all.
I am so proud of what I accomplished as an adult amateur, and today I truly do enjoy trail riding that same horse in his retirement.
But ... Today, despite having a bigger bank account and fewer hours to work, I can't imagine doing the work shifts, the DAYS of cross-country driving, everything that went into getting to that level, plus working FT-plus.

I guess I feel a bit blue because I don't think I'm quite as motivated of a person now as I was then. I don't think it has anything to do with what level I'm riding (none at the moment!), it's more that I think I've gotten old and lazy in many ways, and that makes me disappointed in myself. It makes me sad that I can't imagine jumping in my truck tomorrow to do all that again. It just seems too hard to today's lazier version of me!

Outyougo
Jul. 18, 2012, 11:37 PM
a "former" shoer asked me where I expected to spend Eternity.

Sunny day

In my own Barn

Nice bay gelding getting shoes

Right here Right now This can be forever.


I fired that shoer when he offered to cast the demons out of my 29 year old Welsh Pony.

I will spend eternity with that pony heaven!

leahandpie
Jul. 19, 2012, 12:02 AM
This thread is a fun read.
I have never really had any intense goals related to riding. I guess it has always been more about having fun with my horse. Honestly, I just enjoy owning them...and mostly, taking care of them. I am not very good at applying structure to my riding so that I can achieve specific goals... i.e. some days I just want to trot around the field. Other days I just want to pull his mane. :) This has resulted in slow progress, and I definitely get frustrated with myself. I have to be sure to take regular lessons so at least my trainer can keep me on track.

I'm blessed to have an incredibly talented horse. I was told by an BNR that he is 'special' and that he has what it takes to go 'all the way'. I feel like I am holding him back. He would probably be skipping around Training with a better rider, moving to Prelim in the fall.... if it weren't for my lack of skillz, confidence, commitment, determination...etc.

However, I don't feel bad because I realize that he is a horse, with no goals :) Perfectly content to eat grass all day, every day!

Our 'goal' is to do a recognized BN event at the end of September. Do a few more BN events this fall, and then move up to Novice by the spring. We'll see if I can maintain the 6 day a week riding schedule which will be necessary to achieve this goal!!! :)

technopony
Jul. 19, 2012, 12:15 AM
Well, 3 years ago I was getting ready to move up to prelim and 3 years later I consider myself a professional training level rider... having had the ride on a few horses who were supposed to get me there but soundness wise just couldn't make the move up. Now I have a foxhunter who does well at novice but won't go training, and a young horse who has done a few novices.

But, 3 years ago I never would have guessed I'd have more than 1 horse, and that they would live at my house :) So in that regard I'm ahead of where I thought I'd be. And if I go back even farther, as a kid I dreamed of just having my own horse... forget showing or foxhunting or any of the fun stuff I get to do now. Coming from a non-horsey family, I would have been happy with ANY horse. So I have to remind myself of that when I see my friends get the ride on fabulous horses and win at 2*'s... and I feel like I'm pretty lucky.

SaddleFitterVA
Jul. 19, 2012, 06:58 AM
Well, I've accepted that I will never ride at Rolex Kentucky:lol:.

I mostly show in dressage these days, although I do hit a few combined tests. I've found I prefer my jumps to fall if I mess up...and to be honest, my vest doesn't fit that well, so rather than buy a new one, I just don't ride XC much. And, since I'm not a member of USEA, that is a major stopping point every time I consider entering. Yet another association fee of overhead. It is just easier to go to the local H/J shows and CTs.

But, I just earned my final score for my USDF Bronze medal, on my mare who I bought as a yearling! That is satisfying. Of course she is partially responsible for my loss of desire to jump.

I have a lovely farm, a couple of boarders, a grown son, and have readjusted my goals to someday earning a USDF Gold medal...which will take me years, since I am still doing it the hard way....learning while I train my horses.

I have a new 2 year old, who I'm waiting to see what he'll like. He's jumper bred, so perhaps he'll give me confidence to go back to more jumping, or maybe he'll just be athletic enough to do tempis and will get to Grand Prix level dressage. Time will tell. It is less about the shows than the satisfaction of every good ride!

Tucked_Away
Jul. 19, 2012, 06:59 AM
I thought when I got back into horses after a couple-year break in high school/early college that I'd just take some lessons, maybe do a show here and there.

I thought when I bought my horse that we'd put a lead change on him and eventually resell him as a nice local 3' hunter.

I thought when I moved him to my current barn that we'd learn to play with the eventers over little stuff, only _little_ stuff, but I swore up and down that I was never ever ever competing again.

Fast forward a few years and here I am reading COTH over breakfast before heading off to the Area 1 championships with my "nice local 3' hunter" who ran a T3D last year and who I'm hoping to move up to Prelim aboard next seasion...LOL

I've never been one to make big pie-in-the-sky goals. I just kind of go along and see what possibilities become available and what paths open up. And I've been really lucky -- knock wood, no major catastrophes have thus far derailed our progress along the way -- and I've done a lot of hard work to leverage that luck and to make the most of the items I can check off in the "pros" column of my life.

Horse still doesn't have a lead change, though! :-p

Beam Me Up
Jul. 19, 2012, 08:20 AM
I am not as far along as I thought I would be, say, when I graduated high school (15 yrs ago, going prelim, figured it'd be easy to get something off the track after college and continue . . . I think my goal was a CCI* at 25 which I qualified for but didn't ride in) but further along than maybe I expected 3 years ago, when after 4-5 failed prospects (not sound, not willing, etc.) I was questioning whether I'd ever get something going beyond mediocre attempts at novice.

Right now I have a really nice horse I bought at the track that completed a great season at T, another N horse to sell, and a retiree. Fingers crossed 24/7 for health and soundness as I know anything can happen to horses at any time. I also bought a farm a couple years ago which I never thought I would do--I was shopping for a townhouse.

I used to feel a lot of jealousy toward those more successful, esp when I was out of riding in school or just getting back in afterward--some of my fellow YRs were able to hang onto their horses and do the ULs and that really stung. Now, after "starting over" so many times I'm a lot more zen about it though. There are always going to be people with more talent/luck/money/horse than me, but as a human being in 2012 if my biggest worries involve horse shows, I'm really incredibly lucky.

I DO still feel that "what-if" though. I've spent a lot of time and money on this sport, and made a lot of life decisions (career, home) based upon it. I love it, but at the same time there are a lot of interesting things I could have done with that same time/money (life, really) had I gone a different route. I think I would probably feel this way no matter what path I'd chosen though--there are just so many things I want to do in life and it's hard to find the resources to do all of them.

Auburn
Jul. 19, 2012, 09:07 AM
OP,
This is a great thread. Thank you for starting it. :)

I grew up in Pony Club and achieved my "B" rating. I have owned many horses throughout my lifetime. When I was young, I could ride a 3'9" course without blinking. Now, I do not want to ride over any fences any higher than 2'7" -2'11".

There were many years, when my DH (retired FBI agent)and I were transferred alot, that we could not afford for me to own a horse.

We were transferred to Cleveland in '90. We bought a small farm and I bought an OTTB for $800. Belle was the beginning of my road back to "the dark side".

I have owned my current horse, Tess, for 10 years. She is my once in a lifetime horse.

When I was in Pony Club, I was jealous of some of my team members, because they were good enough to be picked to go to Nationals. I was not.

For the past five years, I have qualified for and gone to the AEC's. Tess has placed in the top 12, three times. The AEC's have been my end goal, to compensate for not making PC Nationals. I have qualified to go again this year.

Even though Tess is a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, who never wanted to gait, she is the best event horse that I have ever owned. This year, we moved out of BNR division to the OBN division. I attempted Novice two years ago, but had a bad fall. I turned 60 on July 4th. My bucket list goals for eventing have long been met. I will happily stay put in OBN, until I cannot swing a leg over the saddle. :cool:

For those of you who are only 19 - 26 years old, you have a lifetime to achieve your goals. I was 54 when I started to achieve mine. Keep dreaming and spending as much time in the tack as you can afford. Riding is a lifelong sport. You just might find that life will surprise you when you least expect it.

bambam
Jul. 19, 2012, 09:55 AM
I am not where I thought I would be 10 years ago when I bought the horse I thought would be my first real event horse, but I am mostly okay with that and right now am enjoying the journey.
About 10 years ago, I bought my first gelding who was supposed to be the event horse that would take me up through the levels, hopefully to prelim. However, he has been chronically unsound/injured since month 3 after buying him.
I spent a year or 2 trying to see if he would come sound enough to event and when that did not seem to be happening, I leased a greenish mare to play with in the meantime and was able to take her BN and N before her owners sold her.
Then I bought my mare who was the next horse that was supposed to take me prelim :). Learned a ton from her and we made it up through training and the T3DE and while we schooled prelim, she did not seem to want to do that level (at least with me) although she was certainly capable of it. I was considering selling her when she must have found out ;), so she went and tweaked a ligament. It took more than a year for her to come back from that and then another year to find her her new home.
Bought my new guy last November and am hoping he will make a good event horse. Other than the 2 months I missed because I broke my arm this spring, I am having fun with him but he is green and we have a lot to learn.
Still hoping to make it to a one star someday.
The main reason I am sorry I have been derailed in getting to prelim (other than the vet bills :lol:) is that my original "ultimate" goal was a long format one star- I wish I had been able to do one.
Right now, I am hoping to take the new guy to some horse trials this fall and see how it goes.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 19, 2012, 10:05 AM
Honestly... I am in an entirely different place. In 2008/2009, I was riding at the ** level on a fabulous horse who had all the makings and talent of a world beating horse and we were aiming at this years olympics. So this is a tough year for me. We had an bit of a spill that was a major confidence breaker for us both and we had trouble getting going again. We were also dealing with some personal issues that had cropped up with my trainer and put a difficult strain on my training. At the same time, I graduated school, got a job that forced me to move away from any decent training facilities and I didn't have the money to train and compete. I've done four shows since then. Three at training and one at prelim. Now I'm married, just bought a house and barely have any money to keep my horse! I still own said fabulous horse however. I ride casually once or twice a week, and he is partboarded to a young woman who loves him dearly and is learning tons on him. I love him dearly and think he's just as happy today, living the good life at 14.

I am a bit envious of those who are able to keep going, training all the time and doing what they love. I love my husband, love my horse and love my job, but I miss riding competitively so badly. Thankfully, I do remember that I am only 28 and have years ahead of me where I can start riding with a baby horse again someday. My Olympic dreams have been put on a shelf, but maybe, if all the stars align, I can have them back one day.

I know you said not to put the olympic dream on there, but that was a firm and realistic goal that my eventing trainer, my dressage trainer and myself were all pushing for.

tle
Jul. 19, 2012, 10:09 AM
The fact of the matter is... I don't know. Somewhere all my goals (riding and otherwise) kind of got jumbled and lost... and I'm working now on figuring out what they are (again).

All I wanted to do when I was growing up was ride. Have a ranch (lived in Utah, who knew what english riding really was?) and ride. Every bike was a horse. Every walk turned into a canter on an imaginary horse. Every birthday and Christmas wish was for a horse. Didn't get my first until I graduated from college. 8 months later I attended my first Rolex and was completely hooked on eventing. 3 months later I was at my first event (no business being there, mind you, but we did it). Back then... I wanted to do a real 3-day. Managed to get about halfway around XC at one before she stopped jumping due to issues I knew she had. We never did another, but we did do another training 3-day (our 3rd by that point).

When I bought Frankie, I still had Char. I'd tried to breed her and that didn't work and figured at the time I'd keep going with Char as long as she could while bringing Frankie along. 6 months later, I put Char down. I knew Frankie had talent but I needed a break -- financially as much as emotionally. I LOVE watching Frankie go now and I'm thrilled to have been part of her life and that Suzie keeps me up to date and lets me be involved when I can (I'm grooming at Richland for her).

Since then I've been playing here and there on school horses and babies that my friend Jen picks up. She's been EXTREMELY generous in letting me ride and show whenever I want for the most part. I always thought it would be wonderful to have my own farm, run small schooling shows or host clinics. So when we bought the farm with an option to add land (to be able to do that), I was excited. But, as someone said, life doesn't always run by my plans and now I have a 3.788 acre farm with enough equity/cash to pick up 7 more acres BUT a landowner that doesn't want to split the 33 acre parcel in such a way that I can afford it. So I have a farm that isn't quite what I wanted AND I'm on my own. Thus the whole revamping of what my goals are.

I started looking for a horse of my own again, but realized that right now, the timing isn't quite right (I would make it work for that dream horse, but not going to force the issue). I have a horse that I'm riding at the local hunter shows. Plus it's kind of silly how giddy I am about a new ride... a 6yo TB/QH gelding that I've known all his life. Taking him to a dressage show on Sunday with the aim of a mini trial in KY in September. So maybe riding goals will start to solidify again. I hope so. Floating is not all its cracked up to be.

gr8fulrider
Jul. 19, 2012, 11:33 AM
Oh, boy. My user name should be re-un-re-un-re-un-re-un rider.

I'm 40 years old.

Where I am and where I thought I would be have shifted many times.

Crappy circumstances have interrupted blissful periods of riding. Family, illness, work, you name it-- it jumped between me and riding. Terrible illness two weeks before my planned 4th level debut. Work/family/horse responsibilities and the baby event horse was the only "optional" thing.

In December I realized that come hell or high water, NOTHING would get in the way of getting back to horses. It's taken months to clear the decks. Getting healthy. Finding a mommy track part-time job. Budgeting. Finding the courage to believe this wouldn't be taken away again.

I just bought THE horse. The one I would have bought five years ago because she had so much potential the sky was the limit. The one I bought this summer because I loved her at first sight and riding her is magical.

I know that for many people, trading ambition for patient hope is an unacceptable compromise, and believing that there are decades of riding ahead is impossible. That's how I felt.

But I'm grateful that I've gotten to where I want to be and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Heinz 57
Jul. 19, 2012, 12:18 PM
I know you said not to put the olympic dream on there, but that was a firm and realistic goal that my eventing trainer, my dressage trainer and myself were all pushing for.

Oh, I only meant that I wasn't talking about the "when I was 15, practicing up-down, up-down, on the half-dead old lesson string schoolie, I thought I'd be at the Olympics on my self-made UL-horse by age 19" type story. The dream most horsey little girls have, even if they have no talent or means (or time) to achieve it. ;)

I suppose I should answer my own questions.

Frankly, I thought I'd be competitive and successfully climbing up the levels by now, at least accomplished at Prelim and with a few 3DE's under my belt, and I'd have my Bronze medal. I also thought I'd be an up-and-coming, successful local trainer. In retrospect, while those goals weren't too unrealistic to achieve, I didn't do that well at creating an actual workable multi-year plan to achieve them. That, and some of my other life "goals" got in the way - getting married, for one. I've also been at the same job for the last five years, with only ONE raise instead of FIVE, thanks to the economy and wage freezes. Job security became more important than higher pay, and that stunted my ability to compete.

Where am I? Instead, I'm still bringing up greenies to First/Second level, solid 3'-3'6" horses, competing at events once or twice a year in between the handful of GMO dressage shows I can afford, and then selling them on to trade up to something with a little more talent than the last. Except this time, the two horses I've decided to keep (and take a break from bringing up greenies) aren't young, aren't green, but aren't really finished, either. Neither is ready to compete BN, flatwork is Training/First level, and both are just getting comfortable jumping 2'6". I feel like I'm running against the clock with the gelding turning 14 this year. Both horses would be more than capable of getting me to Prelim, if I could afford it and figure out how to get out of this Lower Level Horse/Rider rut I'm stuck in. I'm great at bringing up greenies - but it's time to move beyond that and improve myself.

I'm admittedly envious of those that can afford (or, in particular cases, whose parents choose to fund) to compete every month at recognized events and dressage shows, and whose horses can go from BN to T practically overnight. And I'm envious of the girl whose first lesson I taught as a WS ~10 years ago, who is now competing 4th/PSG on her self-trained horse and doing quite well. I'm at essentially the same competitive level I was at that point.

BUT...I really love riding the two horses I have. Down the road, down the trail, down the beach at a pace that makes your eyes water, or down the centerline to X. It doesn't really matter. I thought I'd be Somebody, and I am...I'm just not who I thought I'd be.

foxhavenfarm
Jul. 19, 2012, 01:35 PM
I started eventing again in 2004 after nearly 20 years away from horses. Had some really nice young OTTB's that I took BN/N then sold on, and then in 2006 we acquired our stallion off the track and I started eventing him. 2007 was our first year competing together, and we had some great experiences and learned a lot. I had dreams of competing him Prelim one day and we'd schooled a lot of Training/Prelim cross country questions while steadily working on our dressage with Andrew Harbison. We'd been doing well at Novice, and I'd planned to move up to Training with him in the Fall of 2008 - until I had a freak spill from a young horse in May of '08 and was out of commission for six months with a hip injury that required surgery.

I just haven't gotten everything back together since then. Up until that point, I did the farm and horses full-time, but since then some life changes forced me to go back to a full-time office job. Since we breed as well, that has taken priority over riding.

I'm hoping that this fall I'll be able to get back at it. I've got a couple of nice youngsters that have been started under saddle and I'd love to get them out. So, baby steps are in order. I may not have aspirations to do Prelim any more (although it's not totally out of the question) but I would love to get out there and compete again.

Mukluk
Jul. 19, 2012, 01:47 PM
Had my first ex-rental string horse from age 13-17. Total shoestring budget, did not know what eventing was, did schooling shows and never jumped higher than 3' max, more typically 2'6". Sold horse to go to college. Graduated worked a few years, went to Grad School out of state on "slow boat to China plan." Out of horses for 20+ years. Took a year of 1x per week lessons at a HJ barn. Relocated to my home state bought my OTTB almost 4 years ago (first horse I looked at and not planning to buy a horse for another 6 mos to 2 years). She had only been ridden 13x since leaving the track and I have done all the work myself. She has turned out to be a wonderful horse for me. I can't remember when I first heard of eventing or wanted to do it, but that is what I always wanted to do with this mare. Money and horse health issues kept us from eventing until this past spring when I started taking lessons from an eventing trainer. So I'm a year or two "behind" in that regard. However, I am so excited to be doing this. We did our very first one day horse trial on July 1st and are planning to do our first 3 day BN in September. Definitely want to do Novice, and maybe Training. If I am brave enough and horse is capable perhaps Prelim. She's 8 right now so I feel we have a decent amount of time to accomplish things before she is "too old." But I am most of all thrilled to be finally doing this. Regardless of whether we stay at BN/N or go further, I think it will be FUN. So I am happy!!! And my girl LOVES xc.

hightide
Jul. 19, 2012, 02:14 PM
I'm still a junior, and I am so, so grateful that I have so many more years to grow as a rider and horse person. I'm trying to keep these years as fun as possible!

I thought I'd be bouncing around BN by now, since getting my first 'real' event horse last year. Last year, I wanted to have fun at CTs and unrecognized events, but my horse was off with a list of back/hip/mouth/ulcer/etc ailments so he had most of last summer off. I was lucky enough to board over the winter and really progress, so this spring we went right out and went XC schooling many times and gained a lot of confidence as far as jumping goes. Some family things have pulled a lot of the horsey $$ available out of the question, so showing every other weekend isn't a priority anymore. My horse and I also had a disastrous (it wasn't unsafe, but both of us were off our game, didn't have any fun and I started to question why I was trying so hard to do this) at a schooling trial at BN a month ago, so we'll be trying a few more Elementary runs before we think about BN again.

I thought maybe we'd be trying some Novice things, too, but now I realize I'm the type of person who wants to be 110% solid at something before making it more difficult, so we're just not ready. I also don't have tons of show experience right now, and they stress me out. Before I throw in bigger jumps and more complicated questions, I'd like to remember to breathe at the lower levels. :)

I used to beat myself up about not getting my horse out to the levels he can take me since he's 12 now, but I've stopped worrying about that. He has Prelim experience, and whether or not he'll take me there isn't a problem. He's my first event horse, so I'm going to take my time learning and having fun and if I get to Prelim with him, great! And if I did, I have all of the experience he gave me to give it a go with the next horse who comes in my life.

purplnurpl
Jul. 20, 2012, 09:28 AM
ugggh.
I thought I'd be married to a rich doctor and livin it up by now! Figured I'd be able to have some awesome horse/s to pack me around Rolex.

But here I am--single, broke, and riding a cow pony.

Jealoushe
Jul. 20, 2012, 01:22 PM
Definitely not where I thought I would be, but hopefully making the plans to get myself where I DO want to be.

I was just starting out at Prelim when my horse had to be retired due to a floating bone chip. I was only 15. I tried to find a replacement for him for many years but sadly I only ever made it back to Training level. I travelled to Scotland and Ireland and worked and evented over there and got a tonne of experience. Sadly I got homesick after a year in Scotland and came home, probably one of my biggest regrets. It was upon my return that I found my guy and bought him from only seeing him in a stall.

After bringing him home I left him in a field for about 3 years until I got my life sorted. Figured out a career, quit the partying, and focused on getting back into riding and competing some day. It's been a long haul with him but I wasn't sure if he would ever be able to handle going eventing mentally, but he has really grown in the last 2 years and we are currently going PT and will most likely upgrade to Training in the fall. Whether he will go higher is still unknown, but I am out doing what I love again.

I am lucky to have just bought a cute little farm picked up 2 great prospects that I work with on the side. One that I feel will be a real force someday. I go to work, come home and ride,do the barn, rinse, repeat. I am hoping to go Advanced some day, and I will do whatever it takes to get there.

Heinz 57
Jul. 20, 2012, 01:23 PM
ugggh.
I thought I'd be married to a rich doctor and livin it up by now! Figured I'd be able to have some awesome horse/s to pack me around Rolex.

But here I am--single, broke, and riding a cow pony.

Wish I'd got the memo that I was supposed to marry a rich doctor! Damn. Maybe that was the flaw that ultimately caused my dreams to crumble. :lol: Instead, I married a poor, disabled veteran and will continue to ride my Bargain Bin Clearance ponies. :lol:

SwampYankee
Jul. 20, 2012, 01:51 PM
I like the reality of this thread. I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of us out here just doing it when and how we can. :yes:

I'm with you. Riding should be a source of delight in our lives, the frosting as it were and not necessarily the entire cake or one runs the risk of becoming very one-dimensional. There are tons of "horse-people" who are incapable of talking or thinking about anything else, and frankly they bore me senseless!

In 1993, I was struggling along in a niche paralegal-services business that I'd started 17 years before a few years out of school. It was beginning to sink, due to unforseen market conditions. My one horse, whom I'd taken from spooking at x-rails to competitive at Training, had popped a check ligament and I'd just retired him from competition since he was 21. No second horse was on my horizon, and I felt fortunate to be able to afford to keep my old guy. We'd just had a major breakthrough right before the lameness, working with Jean-Claude Racinet, and the frustration of not being able to ride him for those 6 months was enormous.

I guessed the business would recover, my old horse would get sound enough to go on with dressage, maybe some day I'd be able to afford to start over with a younger mount. On and off for years I'd taught some lessons, house-sat barns, and wound up managing most of the (small) places I boarded him. I supposed that was the way it would be . . .

During that time, I took a few schooling catch-rides on a horse that my first teacher, a distant cousin, still had. A very old man, he still liked to keep a nice prospect or two about. His son lived in a distant state and he was more or less alone, so I'd go hang out and ride, then we'd talk over old times. He made me swear I'd put down the 44-year old pony I'd learned to ride and jump on, in the event the pony outlived him. I never expected that to happen. . .

I was at work when I got the call. N. had dropped dead on the barn floor on the way to get a load of hay. Was there anyone who could take responsibility for caring for the horses?
Yes. There was and I did. Wound up house-sitting month-to-month over that first long, hard winter, and talked his son into letting me bring in some boarders I knew so there would be enough revenue coming in . . . and I convinced him not to close the place up or to sell it, which had always been planned.

Well, I ran the place for the next 9 years! Never got a chance to return to eventing seriously, and never found another horse with the combination of guts, cattiness, and common sense that made my old guy such a joy, though it isn't for lack of trying. After a time the son returned home and took up his patrimony in that place, but I had in the interim come into life-use of a much larger property N. had up the road that at that time resembled the Howling Boonies--a couple of falling-down "shotgun shacks" and fenced with rusty barbed wire. There's a reason I call myself "Swamp Yankee"--this land had not been touched since the 1950's. I got out there with the loppers, the chainsaw and the hammer and Started. Had a nerve even charging people board! Took on a collection of bottom feeders, hard-luck cases and God's Waiting Room types those first few years . . . and persevered.

Well, 19 years later the place is quite civilized indeed, and under a land conservancy after I got tired of whacking snotty land speculators on the nose with a stick. :D The business I'd had when N. died, I folded in '99; and I'll never have another amateur card. 20 or so retired and pleasure horses, all of which live out on grass, provide a good income, so I've basically become the horse bum my father always feared. ;) Altogether, I'm immensely grateful for the way things have turned out . . .

These days I've got a young mare who's bred like my old guy; and if I close my eyes and bridge my reins I could be riding his ghost. But because of a conformational weakness she has I'll never ask her to do the things he did; like a hawk with clipped wings, she'll live a quiet life of pasture and trail rides. And so will I. I'm past the age now where I go out seeking man-made ordeals with that fire in the belly of something to prove; I've found Nature sends you plenty to deal with as it is! Rising to THOSE occasions is now the measure of experience.

My great old horse, born in 1973, stuck around until 2005!

VicariousRider
Jul. 20, 2012, 02:32 PM
I love this thread. And Deltawave is so right: riding for ammies is not always going to be the kind of hobby that Denny envisions. AND THAT'S OK.

I'm only 27 so I really can't say that I am or am not where I expected to be. I do know that I gave up on the "professional rider" dream somewhere back in high school when pragmatism set in. And somewhere along the way I realized that horses are about a lot more than competition for me.

One of the greatest compliments that I have ever gotten is from some old family friends (with whom I started riding in New Hampshire at age 4). They went on to have one of the most impressive pony hunter resale programs of the late nineties and early 2000's and the youngest daughter has set records starting as the youngest rider to win Pony Finals to now being a Grand Prix show jumper living and training in Europe - and not because they have loads of cash. A year or so ago I was visiting them in Wellington and we were talking about horse care and the horse industry. I gave my opinion and then said something about not knowing what I was talking about as a non-pro and hardly ever competitor. They said "Don't belittle yourself like that. You are one of the most incredible horsewomen we know. You've done almost every discipline and you have so much knowledge from it."

And THAT is what this is about for me. Horsemanship. Partnership. Learning. Riding became so much more fulfilling for me when I realized that.

Sure, I wish I had more money and time. I'd ride every day. Probably have a farm and a few horses. But I'm working towards that - Bar exam on Monday!

I'm also incredibly lucky to be able to live in Unionville (where I announced to my parents at age 11 that I would live when I grew up) and to have found a wonderful boyfriend who not only encourages me to ride but whose grandfather was a legendary steeplechase trainer - needless to say, he gets the horse thing.

And I'm so lucky to have my wonderful mare, Lulu. I never imagined when I (ahem... my parents) bought her for me when I was 13 and she was coming 4 that I would have her 13 years later. We had moments of sheer brilliance as AA-circuit hunters, learned basic dressage, foxhunted and even tried our hand at Beginner Novice. These days we are enjoying long hacks and the incredible friendship that comes from so many years together.

All-in-all I don't care where I thought I'd be. I'm pretty darn lucky to be just where I am.

Mukluk
Jul. 20, 2012, 03:09 PM
Instead of marrying a doctor, it is better to win the lottery. That way the money is all yours and you don't have to answer to anybody. I suppose I should start buying some tickets!!!

deltawave
Jul. 20, 2012, 03:33 PM
Marrying a doctor is not all it's cracked up to be, or so I'm told. :D :D

Why anyone would want to make that a goal is beyond me . . . ugh. :dead: Make your OWN money, set your OWN terms, and forget about luck--I know it's in jest, but that's so not a productive mindset.

I only play the Lottery when it's > $100 million; just the mental exercise of spending it all is worth paying a dollar a couple of times a year. :lol:

fargaloo
Jul. 20, 2012, 03:59 PM
Love reading your stories.

Honestly, it's hard to remember what my goals have been over the years as I never intended to make this my profession (after it became apparent at about age 11 that I was probably going to outgrow jockey-size...). There were times when things were going great and I thought I'd shoot for the stars and there were times when I thought I'll be jumping 2'3" for the rest of my life. If I had to name a single goal, my secret dream is to make it to Prelim at some point before my increasingly creaky joints give out, and I haven't given up yet....

This will probably sound cheezy beyond belief, but.... I just got some pictures back from our last HT at which we placed well out of the ribbons. In every single picture I have the most ridiculous crazed grin on my face. When I stop and think about the moments of sheer joy this sport can give me, I know I'm exactly where I want to be :)

RedxHandedxJill
Jul. 20, 2012, 04:00 PM
Honestly, I'm much farther than I ever expected or hoped to be. Coming from a lower middle class farming family I've never had the money/opportunity for great horses or great training. I trained myself all through my growing up years. I hoped I could always keep horses as a hobby but didn't think i would be able to afford it (c'mon I'm double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. Not a lot of money there!).

I find myself in my third year of college with a cheap OTTB I bought off the slaughter truck for a pittance. Everyday we cross boundaries I never, ever, ever expected to cross. I never thought he'd do more than walk trot, with someone leading us :P At this point we're doing flying changes, jumping courses and hacking out.

I work for the barn manager and exercise horses for other barns around my town. I'd say I went far and above expectations! Perhaps I should a bit bigger next time? :D

(Not to mention my five year old dream was to be the next Charmayne James. hehe)

Heinz 57
Jul. 20, 2012, 05:21 PM
Marrying a doctor is not all it's cracked up to be, or so I'm told. :D :D

Why anyone would want to make that a goal is beyond me . . . ugh. :dead: Make your OWN money, set your OWN terms, and forget about luck--I know it's in jest, but that's so not a productive mindset.


OH, deltawave. If you knew me (in real life, of course) you'd know that I am prisoner to no man. :lol: I don't know anyone who has a true, ultimate goal of marrying rich - but it would be a plus, I guess, if the monetary benefits were incidental to the more valid reasons for wanting to marry someone.

:lol:

Blugal
Jul. 20, 2012, 05:37 PM
I'm scared someone will try to marry me and coast on my coattails ;) I have a use for that (hypothetical, future) money!

The ATV Horse
Jul. 20, 2012, 08:18 PM
OH, deltawave. If you knew me (in real life, of course) you'd know that I am prisoner to no man. :lol: I don't know anyone who has a true, ultimate goal of marrying rich - but it would be a plus, I guess, if the monetary benefits were incidental to the more valid reasons for wanting to marry someone.

:lol:

At some [undergrad] institutions it was known as going to school for an M.R.S degree. ;)

Wee Dee Trrr
Jul. 20, 2012, 08:33 PM
In HS I was a C3 in PC going prelim on my mare and novice on my younger gelding. I was planning on doing a one star, and then Young Riders and was considering the thought of an intermediate in the not too distant future.

Then lots of stuff happened, horse related stuff, school/work related stuff, love related stuff...

Currently, I'm 25 (a graduate HA in PC) and I get to do a novice schooling HT once a year on my 8 yr old OTTB. I LOVE him. I just really enjoy owning him, riding him and keeping him at a friend's house. My love life and school/career life have been very enjoyable as well. I feel lucky that maybe in 2 years I'll be going training on my current horse. I'll have the income to go to a couple sanctioned shows a year.

Long term I'm still hoping to get back to prelim, maybe do a one star. I think my current horse has the ability to do intermediate one day, so that's in the back of my head... but that will depend on how long this journey will take. :D

So yeah, I'm not where I thought I'd be... But I'm not THAT far off and I'm really looking forward to my future.

runNjump86
Jul. 20, 2012, 09:05 PM
I love this thread. It's such an eye-opener!

I guess most of my "what ifs" come from wondering where I would be/how much farther along I would be if I had been in Pony Club, or in the Young Rider program, or even had eventing anywhere close to where I lived growing up.

I realize I was one of the few lucky kids who had a horse when I was ten and went to local open shows on a regular basis every summer, all thanks to my parents. I am more than grateful for that, and I have told them numerous times. :D

I had an amazing first trainer who instilled basic dressage, drilled horsemanship and etiquette, and gave me a rock solid foundation, and I could not have such an amazing self-trained horse without that. Sometimes I get caught up on "DAMN! We got a rail!" that I forget that everything this horse knows is because I taught him. Obviously I've taken lessons and learned from different horses and people along the way, but I never sent him to a trainer. That is one hell of an accomplishment, especially considering we're schooling Novice very solidly when his original purpose was to be a barrel racer! :lol:

I am grateful for where I am and for the abilities that I have. My jumping instructor paid me some huge compliments today that honestly humbled me. But I can't help wanting more, and wondering if I'll get the break I've been dreaming of, such as making connections and being able to learn from someone who can get me to the level I dream of. I've always been competitive, and I want to win, not just impress beginning riders who are moving up to crossrails. :winkgrin: Is Rolex a huge dream that I might not achieve? Quite possibly. But dammit, I'm still going to try!

gr8fulrider
Jul. 20, 2012, 10:28 PM
VicariousRider- good luck on the bar exam. As an eventer you've got an advantage because you know not to freak out at every little thing. The test is basically like a ditch. It actually doesn't take much talent to get over it- it's just a head game.

eventingismylife
Jul. 20, 2012, 11:01 PM
Five years ago I was planning to have atleast my B and H ratings in Pony Club, and starting to compete at Prelim.

Today I am 19, dropped out of HS at 16 to get my at 18 GED, due to health problems (at the time Drs thougth I had JRA, later diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, IBS, and went through 3 painful yrs to later find out my gallbladder was diseased). Still trying to find a happy medium with health issues, riding, and going to my first year of college in the fall.

In the last three years I have had four horses. My first horse was a wonderful little chestnut solid bred paint mare who I trained and brought along until I moved on skillwise. Sold her to a wonderful little girl and her mother do contiue to use her for PC. They would have had her 3 yrs the end of May, but she died in Martha McDowell's barn fire :'(.

My next two horses both ended up never being sound and getting sick. The first was Dover, a big grey TB mare that had internal melanomas that ruptured, and we were never able to get rid of them. That was after she went lame the first day I brought her home. I had her 6 months before she passed on. Addie was a big green ISH mare that I was bringing along. She was great, up until we had a big accident XC, causing me to loose all of my confidence. We later found out she had EPM. It caused her to be mentally and physically unsound and dangerous for anyone to be around, let alone herself.

My new mare, Tonks a 13yo Canadian TB, is exactly what I need right now. She sat for 6-7yrs before she came to me a little over a year ago. I took her to her first show in 6-7yrs at smurf last fall, and then to her 2nd ever and my first recgonized event at BN this spring. We are preparing for our first event (schooling event) at N together that is at the month, and our first recgonized N next month. I took my C1 on her last fall, and will be taking my C2 before I go off to school. HB test is at the end of this month!

So to anwser your question, no, I am not where I thought and planned to be. But I am where I need to be at the moment, getting my confidence back on a horse that is sane but makes me ride. At this rate I'll be hopefully doing a T level HT at the end of next summer and going for at least my C3 Dressage and H in Pony Club next year.

The plan is to still get my C3 and B classic ratings before I age out, so I still have plenty of time ;).

mkevent
Jul. 21, 2012, 09:22 AM
I just wanted to add a thought for all the younger riders...

I learned to jump "by the seat of my pants" as a teenager. I never had any formal lessons and just did it for fun. I didn't learned to count strides and I did everything on a budget.

I started eventing after I had my two daughters at the age of 32.

I'm not particularly athletic or talented and I've never paid more than $5000 for a horse. In fact, the two horses I went Prelim on were $1500 and $2500.

I am not a brave rider and never have been. I have a great instructor who keeps me safe and she is the reason I have been able to accomplish what I have.

I have bartered many of my lessons through work-housecleaning, painting, tack cleaning.

I don't spend hours in the saddle. I ride anywhere between 3-5 times weekly. Most days I ride 30 minutes or less, but I work up a sweat in that time amount!

I don't have an indoor arena and I don't go south for the winter. I don't compete as much as I used to (used to compete twice a month through the season) but I actually am more competitive now because I've learned to focus.

I guess my point is that it can be done even if you don't have a lot of bravery, money or talent. You just have to keep trying and be willing to learn.

IFG
Jul. 21, 2012, 10:31 AM
As a kid growing up in New York City, I just wanted to smell horses. I read every horse book that I could get my hands on. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven when I was able to start lessons at the only barn in Manhattan. Hung out there for years. I could not have conceived of living in the country with my horse at my house. Every time I feel like I haven't gone far enough horse-wise, I try to recapture the wonder of that little kid.

Did I get my now 20 year old OTTB to prelim as I had hoped? No, but he is happy traipsing around his paddock and going for trail rides. For loads of reasons we topped out at Novice. I have a great husband, a great career, two great kids, and I get to smell my horse (and lots of his poop) at least twice a day. Color me content.

deltawave
Jul. 21, 2012, 12:43 PM
It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop. :) :) :)

IFG
Jul. 21, 2012, 01:40 PM
It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop. :) :) :)

Always glad to make your day ;). Of course, I came back into the house to find that my husband has now moved down a notch from great, because he felt sorry for the dog and did not put his e-collar on. Dog has re-opened the hot spot wound again! Ugh!

Eleanor
Jul. 21, 2012, 02:36 PM
I started riding when I was 5, got my first pony at 8 and then my first horse at 13. went to PC and only tested for my D-3 but was a C-1 just didn't have a horse to test for it as the horse I was riding went lame the day before my riding test.

evented training level and did some perlim schooling events all back in the 80's when it was only $35-55. to enter in an event. Then I moved on to SJ and showed A 4'- 4'6". showed at Spruce once. Spent 6 months in Switzerland riding with Markus Fuchs.

Got married, had a kid, got divorced. keep my horses, started breeding sport horses. WB/TB crosses for the show ring.

Moved and started my training/lesson barn, moved again and got bigger. Moved once more to a bigger farm and had it all was making a living off the horses and barn.

Then I got burn out 6 yrs in. Didn't want to ride only did as I had horses in for training.

Then was in an auto accident and broke both collarbones. was out of the saddle for 4 months and was told that I should think about a new line of work. I went back to school at night. Found a new job for July 1, closed my barn Aug 30. One collarbone didn't heal and had to have surgery that fall.

I still had a few horses (8) sold a few mares and young stock, my older gelding was put down after breaking his leg in pasture. Found myself down to 4 horses.

Met my DH and got married move to BC away from family and to were it costs a ton to keep horses. Sent my two mares back to Alberta to my sisters farm. Have my two geldings here.

I am not doing as much as I would like but I am happy to just enjoy my horses and get out to play. I don't want to event anymore, just school x-country, go on trail rides and have fun plaing with my boys. I find it very hard to find a coach that doesn't want to push me to do more then I want to do. I don't care to jump the big jumps anymore. I just want to have fun and enjoy myself and make sure my horses are enjoying theirselfs.

I have been lucky to do all the things I have wanted to do and then some. I went up and now I am back at the beginning starting all over but don't want to go back up. I have been there and now I just want to enjoy my horses and the other things that life has to offer.

Hollywood
Jul. 21, 2012, 02:51 PM
My goal has always been to complete a T3D - and it seems to get further and further away from my reality.

I thought I would have done that by now. But everytime it seemed like it might be a realistic goal, something would happen with the horse I was riding - first horse I took Novice was not an easy ride and did not like cross country.

The second horse had already completed and won a 1* with his previous owner, and I spent our savings to buy him. I thought for sure he was going to take me there! By the time I got comfortable at Novice with him, with a goal to move to training, he then he went lame and had to be retired.

After him and his vet bills, I had no money to buy another made horse. So the dream to do a T3D has faded and I hope it's still in my future...but who knows.

I've had three OTTB's - first one was too much horse for me and we never made it to a competition - but today he is getting ready to go Advanced with his current rider. The 2nd one has been my heart horse, took a long time to get to BN with him due to uveitis and losing sight in one eye, I had plans to move him to Novice this season, but he has an injury and due to his eyes, his eventing career is now over. So now I am starting over again, and focusing on another OTTB but we are not even schooling solid at BN for x/c:-(. By no fault of his, I struggle with confidence issues.

With all of these horses I've had on-going large vet bills, it's been on issue after another.

I am at times envious of those who have the made horses, and the riders that start the young/green ones that are brave/fearless, don't worry and over analyze everything!

I get frustrated that my journey has been a constant of starts and stops - but I try to remind myself that 10 years go I said I would never jump or own a TB - and now I have jumped, owned 4 TB's, and restarted 3 OTTB's (with the help of a good trainer)!

So nope, I am not where I thought I would be! But I am pretty lucky to have had horses in my life!

purplnurpl
Jul. 21, 2012, 03:32 PM
I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening.

thank you for vocalizing this. It drives me NUTS!

I did the Denny way of life for 5 years.
You know what I was left with? No money, no horse, no friends and a broken heart...basically no life.

*I bought an unbroke 3 year old--broke it with a little help but basically alone (because I have no money)
*Rode every odd horse I could for extra cash or free lessons.
*Moved to a facility [that I could afford] to take care of the horse in a more "sport horse" like manner. (this means--horse gets proper amount of food/turn out and isnt' skimped on hay)
*Rode odd jobs after work everyday.
*Rode 5-8 horses all year long on the weekends (even in 110* texas heat)
*Got overly talented horse to prelim and then kaboom (pardon the pun) he broke.
Yay life is awesome.
There goes 15K rehabbing said horse.

I'd rather not put myself through that type of heart break ever again.

I'm thankful to those who have made it all work because we have a great bunch of riders for the Team.

And to answer the thread in a more serious manner--I expected to be loping around some Advanced courses on a lovely grey TB who is now livin it up in a show hunter barn down south.
and yup, I know it's pathetic but I sit around weekly and dream about a horse who is no longer mine.

thankfully I have a lovely white snipped nosed filly in my yard to smooch on every day.
http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p189/xckaboom/IMG_8560.jpg

maybe the greatest things come later in life. Though I feel like I've missed my prime. : /

VicariousRider
Jul. 21, 2012, 03:42 PM
It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop. :) :) :)

I totally agree! I LOFF the horse poop (even though that makes me sound deranged!!!).

At law school in fancy-schmancy Back Bay Boston I had a law student pal over to my apartment. She said I should consider collecting some artwork with more diverse subject matter. Not just... **ahem**... horses.

My mother told me I needed to find a new friend. :D:lol::D

west5
Jul. 21, 2012, 04:26 PM
Such an interesting thread.

I just said to somebody on Tuesday who asked me how my ride was, "I'm sitting on a horse. It is a good day."

Honestly that is how I feel. I had so many days where I thought I may never be able to ride again that just being able to ride is a blessing.

I'm thankful that after a craptastic divorce, I can still afford to pay for my beloved old guy's retirement many states away from where I live. I had to retire him before I was ready because it was the only way I knew to keep him safe and afford his care. He's happy and I'm sure he will be one of those cantankerous old horses who live to be a million years old. I never get to see him but I look at his photo on the table next to my bed every night before I go to sleep.

I didn't ride for years after I retired him. No horse, no money and no time.

I just started up again. I ride once every two weeks. I searched and found the most qualified instructor with the best schoolmasters with in an hour and half of where I live.
Heaven.

My goal is to have horses in my life.
Go for a good gallop occasionally.
Jump some fences and maybe if the stars align head out to an event or be invited out with the hounds.
All the rest is gravy.

elizabeth Callahan
Jul. 21, 2012, 05:14 PM
Great thread!
Started taking riding lessons at age 6 like every other girl and was lucky enough that my parents bought me a green $500 pony when I was 10. Fell off that pony every time I rode for the next six months and because lessons were no longer in the works, took several years to learn to canter again . outgrew her, and we sold her for the same $500 and got a mare from a dealer who turned out to be pregnant.
Broke and trained that filly to four , sold her and then moved my way up to an $800 2 yr old that I broke and trained and did lower level pony club with. Never got beyond a C because I was had something that was three or four or younger to ride. Did some local hunter shows, but never jumped over 3 ft.

Primary goal for me was always vet school .Was my dream since I was about 10 and that was what I always worked for. During college and vet school, didn't ride much but was able to lease my horse out until I got done.
Got out of vet school and started again with another youngster and then started breeding because I could I could now afford to do my own vet work and then started raising and training my own homebreds.

Took 5 of them through training, three of him up through prelim ,one through 2 long format CCI*'and even up to intermediate .(terrifying stuff, that Intermediate). Never , ever thought that I would be able to do that in my wildest dreams

Horses got injured, I got scared (can i say how really high Intermediate is again?)and here I am again with another set of homebred youngsters .
( 5,4,3,2 yr olds). I enjoy bringing them up through novice and training and don't know if I'll ever go prelim again .That's okay - I'm 53 now and just had my hip replaced last week and I'm okay with it. I'd like to get my bronze medal next year and hopefully my mare will stay sound enough to do so.

I wouldn't trade the journey for anything

AnEnglishRider
Jul. 22, 2012, 01:14 AM
I never expected anything... No real plans or dreams or whatever. I'm only 21 though :lol: I started to have plans and dreams when my thoroughbred started doing really well but when he had his big liver issues I put those dreams on hold so really at the moment I still have no expectations.

Actually, I always had one dream, which was to train a horse from scratch, from teaching it to lunge on up, with no help, and I've actually done that now. Started a fantastic 3yo Percheron cross for the owners of my thoroughbred. 7 walk only rides on Christmas break, 3 w/t/c rides on spring break (she was more than ready, hadn't forgotten anything, and we did do a little trotting on Christmas break, so we cantered a few strides on spring break), she lunges quite nicely and responds to voice commands, stops off just a verbal whoa, and since she's only 3 I'm really only riding her 1-2x a week lightly, and she'll go back out in the field til I graduate (with maybe the occasional ride on breaks). Her owners want her to be a trail horse, and I think she will be a nice one once she's older. I've ridden her on the roads twice now and she's done well.

So... Expectations met, trying to figure out where to go from here? Ideally I'll graduate, get a real job, the thoroughbred will make a full recovery and go back into training, and once I have gotten as far as I know how without help, getting lessons from a real trainer. These are ideals. I could just as easily be jobless, with a horse whose internal organs won't stand up to heavy work, and not riding at all (ok, that won't happen if I can help it, even if I'm just riding draft cross trail horses).

So for my senior year of college it'll be riding iHSA, twiddling my thumbs hoping the year off is good for my poor 8yo OTTB, and hoping he really does recover because he's the biggest hearted horse I've ever sat on. He even comes trotting in from the field when I call him, when I visit him in his retirement pasture (ok, he's out with the percheron filly, who is happy because she is THE BOSS of her little herd). Not that that has anything to do with his dressage, showjumping, or eventing potential, but he's seriously attached to me, poor guy. I like him too.

Catie79
Jul. 22, 2012, 04:19 PM
I can't look back too far, since I changed disciplines and my old dreams involved making it into the working hunters. These days, my dreams have a bit more speed in them.

As to my plans with Fiona? We're right on track. We're doing very well at Novice and enjoying ourselves immensely. We're starting to school the Training questions and I'm hopeful that next year we'll be ready for our next move up.

More holistically, I'm exactly where I wanted to be. I own my own horse, we get to compete in a variety of things, we trail ride, and I'm completely comfortable riding her. That's what I wanted as a kid, and that's where I am right now.

My long term dream is to do a Training 3-Day or, if I've had a bit of wine, a Preliminary 3-Day. I consider myself to be heading toward that goal at a nice, safe speed and it feels achievable. When I'm not panicking over triple bars, climbing up my mare's neck, and making her hit rails. Ugh.

SwampYankee
Jul. 22, 2012, 08:21 PM
The monomaniacal focus on riding as espoused by Denny Emerson, which several people have mentioned in this thread, I've seen plenty of; as well as the fallout one person mentioned when it becomes an equally epic "fail," as it does sooner or later for most people who go that route. If you put all your eggs in that basket, you better have some deep pockets backing you because otherwise you are more than likely to end up in mid-life with nothing but a box of dusty ribbons.

I see even more of this attitude in my other passion, which is martial arts. "Desperate Effort" and utterly severely disciplined commitment is the watchword, and people frequently seem to compete in going to extremes, as though that guarantees the greatest return; it is routine to drop out of school, drop out of American society, and fly out to the far side of the earth to live on ramen noodles in an unheated 3-mat apartment somewhere in Japan, teaching English to pay for dorm-like subsistence and lessons with the "Master" of their choice. Little do they know 99% of them will accomplish something with meaning only within their own minds. Like riders, a few injuries and dashed expectations later, they're back at 35 years old and have officially done nothing that anyone not as monomaniacally involved with it as them can even understand.

All things being equal, it's better to have one's chosen "self-perfection" discipline in balance with the rest of one's life. I think long-term sustainability is going to bear greater fruit that way in the long run, whatever the Dennys of this world may think. It's the difference between a guy I know who spent 30 years out in Asia doing Kendo, who can really swing a Kendo stick, and that's about it; vs. another guy who swings a kendo stick with the best in the world, and at the same time worked his way up to owning a large piece of lower Manhattan.

Just my 2000 yen. :D

Neigh-Neigh
Jul. 23, 2012, 01:18 AM
I'm starting over at the beginning, literally.

By this time I should have been sailing thru TL with my previous horse. Our size differences changed all that.

My new boy will be a pasture puff/jogging partner for me for the next two years until I can back him and start our dressage career. Jump school will follow a year or so later...

LaraNSpeedy
Jul. 23, 2012, 09:12 AM
Those who are doing it and criticise others that arent and wish they could - as if they are not dedicated...... truth is - we CAN dedicate ourselves and succeed but to succeed where some do - BESIDES the talent and the good horse(s) - there is a level of being in the right place - right time - knowing the right people - a point at which they are blessed with Heaven's kiss and just like top actors and athletes sometimes say - they need to say Thank You God for I am Blessed.

Hard work + talent doesnt automatically mean the Olympics.

But without that - forget it! =) I think we have to enjoy our personal journey just like in life.

For me, I have to battle that - during a time when I worked for some big trainers - I wanted to be in control more and so I worked on the side training exracers and then became the trainer for an exracehorse group and was on their board and on staff etc etc. And I spent a lot of time training OTTBs that other trainers thought were not worth the amount of work they would need. I got good working with the ones that needed out of the box thinking and patience. It was very gratifying but I learned a lot of bad habits - defensive riding and working for a rehab - made no money at all and now have a fixation for the rescue horse.

In the meantime I got married and have two small kids. At one point we moved and I have 10K to go buy a young prospect and train to compete again - but that was when I got pregnant and a bunch of local kids talked me into taking them in - boarding their horses and giving them lessons. Now I fight for the time to ride my horses between kids, life, house, husband and riding lessons - oh and feeding and cleaning up after 14 horses.

But its my journey and I have learned a lot and am pretty sure I will continue to ride for 30-40 years! =) I just need to be a bit of a pitt bull and bite down hard on disciplining myself to make the time to advance because if I am not growing - I am not happy.

I would be much happier competing at a higher level but I think as long as I see progress, even if it is small, I feel happy. Just life - having kids in particular, gives priority check.

When I was a kid - I wanted to do GP jumping. As an adult, I want to be able to do high level dressage and mid level eventing.

monstrpony
Jul. 23, 2012, 09:59 AM
I was never allowed, in the context of my family, to devote myself to anything that was not academic. Even though I would have liked to become steeped in things equestrian (tho I was nowhere near mature enough to do it well), it was just never an option, and I was raised not to question that. My bad, I guess.

Anyhow, I did the academic thing and kept the horse stuff on the side. When my then-husband, also an academic, and I landed at a small, somewhat rural state-affiliated school in NC, I told my mother I'd be happy with him being the breadwinner and me having a farm. Mom said no, I'd never be happy with that, must keep the academic side fueled, that's what's important and satisfying.

Fast forward many years, after the inheritance from Mom, divorce from the academic guy, and me still in the small rural town ... living on the small farm and having a somewhat marginal academic job to support it.

I should have followed my bliss all of those years ago, family be damned, but I also see that it would have been difficult. I was one of those thick-headed types who would not have learned well and would have been hard pressed to admit how much I didn't know. It would have been ugly.

But over the years, the horses have taught me well, in spite of myself (and the ghost of Mom). I'm working with an older horse now who has a plethora of emotional and physical issues--why I'm spending my time on this fellow is another story, but ... BUT--it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done, giving this good horse back a decent life and a chance to honor his good work ethic in comfort and my best effort at correctness. I'm learning with every ride, and find it deeply satisfying. I just wish I had the 25-year-old body back (and I would *love* to have met this horse as a youngster), absent the arrogance and resistance to learn, and could do it right this time.

As the saying goes, we are too soon old, and too late smart.

shea'smom
Jul. 23, 2012, 10:12 AM
My take on the Denny Attitude
I worked with Denny. I bought a 2 year old and a 5 year old TB. I got a job I never liked that paid well and had very good benefits. I rode with the likes of Denny and others. I was successful enough, and had money and friends.
If you choose to do the horses and can't afford it, that is your decision. I don't really get what you are trying to say there.
Denny believes if you are going to event, or other serious sports, you should be fit and cross train. The end. He is not telling people they can't have a life.
WHF did that come from.
Signing my name to this one,
Kathi Hines

magnolia73
Jul. 23, 2012, 10:54 AM
I don't let other people's beliefs dictate what I enjoy. I enjoy my horse, and have no goals. My goals are to have fun. I don't care what other people think at all. LOL, lately I toodle around the ring listening to my ipod. My horse is happy and well fed.

I'm not a Denny rider. But then I think the people Denny is speaking to are people who have competitive and professional goals in a tough, dangerous sport. You can't ride like me and aim to get your OTTB to prelim. You'd die. I don't need crazy jumping skills to get my horse packaged to step over a cross rail or log. If that log is 3'6 around, you sure as hell do.

Anyone who wants to be at the top of anything needs very sharp discipline and focus and at times, that might mean you are very one minded. Watching my brother train for an Ironman- his life was programmed, his diet was strict, he was no fun. Heck, when I trained for a marathon, I was in bed by 9pm every Saturday to get up early for my long run.

I think the young pro wannabes need Denny's message. I know of several who want to be big time riders that "need horses to ride" yet have zero interest in helping with mine. LOL. They seem to have little interest in learning around the barn..... I think they are Denny's targets.

Making a good living off of horses is hard work. Competing at the upper levels of eventing is hard work. IMO, the people doing prelim and up need the dedication to riding that Ironman participants have. It must be really rewarding.

I think you can totally enjoy horses as a hobby and not have it consume you, but the more you want to acheive, the more you will sacrifice in other aspects of life.

JP60
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:01 AM
My take on the Denny Attitude
I worked with Denny. I bought a 2 year old and a 5 year old TB. I got a job I never liked that paid well and had very good benefits. I rode with the likes of Denny and others. I was successful enough, and had money and friends.
If you choose to do the horses and can't afford it, that is your decision. I don't really get what you are trying to say there.
Denny believes if you are going to event, or other serious sports, you should be fit and cross train. The end. He is not telling people they can't have a life.
WHF did that come from.
Signing my name to this one,
Kathi Hines
I don't want to de-rail a fantastic thread (it has really helped me see that I am not alone in my life balances), but The last part of that comment stuck in my craw.

I really respect Denny Emerson. From his overall riding experience, to his overcoming recent physical trauma and riding again, this guy has got it!!

He also speaks his mind and sometimes those thoughts, on the surface, seem to belittle or reduce the effort of many who call themselves Eventers. I've read posts where he made it seem that anything below training was not really eventing. He's been very blunt about fitness and cross training. It may be that he has valid points, but they are lost in the dismissive attitude wrapped around them. You may be correct that Denny is saying "have a life", but life is not wrapped completely around one thing.

By your own statement you accomplished this by having deep pockets. Good for you. Many others, many I read about here do not and yet the joy they express, the hopes and dreams shared, without out all the money and time, are priceless. They reflect what is best about horses, about eventing. They may be out of shape, they may not be able to cross train as they struggle to train for even one sport, but as to taking it seriously? I doubt any one who has posted on this thread takes lightly the moment they sit in the saddle and consider going over any solid jump. I know I do.

Denny, like Jimmy, gnep are a boon to Eventing. We need more of these guys to help push us to grow and achieve more then we thought. I've just learned to put Denny in context to his history, the people he's trained, and his vision of Eventing (which, conceptually, is not far from mine).

If Denny does not want me in eventing; a 51 yo software developer who sits in a cube too many hours of the day, who has less time to ride then desired, and less money then able to really go to shows....if he doesn't want a guy so dedicated to horses that he bought a farm just so he could keep his retired eventer and his new eventer even as it sucks his social life away...if he doesn't want a Rider who sets up lights in the winter to keep riding/training, gets up at 6 am to ride to beat the heat before going to a 9 hour cube , who trailers 1 hour each week to get lessons from a trainer that has taken this guy from nothing to BN on a broken horse and a green horse (after a bad fall)...If Denny doesn't understand that I have dreams, desires, and hopes as an eventer, no matter what level....

Then I don't want him in my Eventing world. However, I bet he understands all that and more. His comment to me would be, ya got game kid, stop typing, start riding...Go Eventing!

(If I did have time, and money, and experience I would be first in line for his 3DBN long format show in VT.

SwampYankee
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:18 AM
THREE CHEEERS for this post!!! You've got the true Eventing Spirit! :)

mbm
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:22 AM
I think this thread meshes well with something I have been pondering lately and that is:

Which world view to have as my base line starting point....

A) "Things Happen for a reason"

OR

B) "Do what it takes to get where you want to go?"

I have been coasting along with the first as my motto - but I think that now I am changing my goal plan to be more of the second.

The question is though: how do you calculate when it is time to change your "plan” if something is difficult to attain?

Back to the OP: no, I am not where I thought I would be! Sometimes I am sad about that, but mostly it pisses me off and that has motivated me to change my world view/method/etc to a more determined mind set! ~ lol!

My goal was to show my lovely WB mare PSG by the time she was 10....
The reality is that she is standing in a field percolating a baby and I am riding a 4 yo PONY for Pete’s sake! ;)

gotta love life lol!

mbm
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:49 AM
lol! i just want to add after reading a lot of posts i missed, that a lot of my inspiration comes from Denny Emmerson!

Anyone who can ride as he does at 70 has my respect - and admiration. We need MORE educated, knowledgeable, outspoken people in the horse world, not less.

And he is right: if you want to ride well: Ride more! Be dedicated! work on your seat! only a very few can do well with inborn talent - the rest of us need to work hard to get good.

and that my friends, is what i struggle with every day as i get "older" (altho if i use Denny as an example i have at least 20 more years to perfect my riding!) .... my inborn talent (whatever small amount i had) no longer works as it used to and NOW i have to learn to ride - and it is difficult after 40 years of "just being able to do it"

shea'smom
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:49 AM
Deep pockets?Where did you get that? My job was decent, that's all. And I hated it and went every day for 5 years to pay to event.
In the second part of my life, after I pulverized my leg in an accident, I also worked with Denny, as do many low level riders. i have only been BN since then. I don't know why someone would think Denny only works with upper levels because that is not true at all and I've never heard him say anything like that.

IFG
Jul. 23, 2012, 12:09 PM
As a LL eventer, I have always found Denny VERY supportive. He teaches many of us (I have only been lucky enough to ride with him once). He runs camps for many AAs. I have always considered him one of the greatest champions of the Adult Lower Level (now to be called the ALL) rider.

PhoenixFarm
Jul. 23, 2012, 12:33 PM
Fascinating thread.

I can honestly say that my horse life has simultaneously fallen short and way exceeded any and all expectations I have ever had.

On the one hand, competitvely speaking, I have yet to achieve all my goals. I was going to go to NAYRC, and instead represented my area at a prelim horse trials YR challnege thingy (back in the dark ages kids, YR was only the two star) AND was the drop score, LOL. But I finished dammit. I was going to go to Rolex. I was going to be "a star". :winkgrin: On the other hand, I'm a professional trainer, with an amazing life and farm. Wowzers!

I've gotten to prelim on several horses (all but one of them made from scratch--and when I bought that one, I was told he was "dangerous"), only to have something befall either them or me which prevented continuing forward. One of the "somethings" was a very serious injury to me, which has in it's own way ended up shaping the rest of my horse career.

I was schooling XC in prep for an upcoming prelim horse trials, and my horse slipped on take off at a large corner, chesting it, and somersaulting with me. As we rolled, he stepped on the back of my neck, crushing my helmet. He also stepped on my knee, and the studs punctured through my patella and in to the joint.

Very long story very short, I ended up not being able to ride for two years, and having to put myself back together physically and emotionally (with the help of my wonderful husband, and the aforementioned genius and general superhero, Sharon White). I had to really evaluate how important riding and horses was to me, and if I could live with the limitations the permanent physical defecits I'd acquired were going to put on me. I will never, physically, be the rider I once was. Somedays, I'm in constant pain.

But the process of coming back. Of being so scared to get on that your hands are shaking. Of feeling like throwing up because a horse throws a buck in the corner. Of working through that and finding my way back to myself, has made me in to the person I am today. A lot of my students have come to me because they are dealing with fear issues. And I can help them because I've been there. I can sympathize, and know when to go easy, and when to push them through it. And helping these folks find their joy again with horses has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I also have discovered that one of my talents with the horses is really being able to evaluate each individual and figure out what they need. Mr. PF and I have a rep for the quirky ones. I think that's because I've learned how to really evaluate each individual and hear what they tell us. And that came from two years of not being able to do anything but watch them.

So competitively, I'm still behind my bell curve, LOL.

But the rest of it?

I have a beautiful farm, and some of the best horses I've ever owned (and I bred most of them, how cool is that??). I've got a wonderful barn full of students and their horses, and I'm am so enjoying being on the journey with them.

I've filled almost every role in this sport: competitor, groom, coach, trainer, volunteer, even UL horse owner. The only thing I haven't done is officiate, and I'd love to get there someday. I've been on the front side and back side of Rolex, Fair Hill, Olympic Games, WEG's and PanAm's.

I know the best of this sport, and the worst of this sport. Most days the former outweighs the latter. But not every day. THose are the tough ones.

I don't know what my future holds. Maybe I'll do a classic one star on one of my youngsters coming up. Maybe I won't. I find these days I'm less invested in the journey as a competitor, and more interested in the journey as a trainer. Though when I won a HT on a catch ride last fall, that was pretty damn fun. :lol:

I never dreamed I'd be my age and never have competed past prelim. I also never dreamed I'd be living the life I have right now. It's a trade off I've made peace with.:winkgrin:

Finally, re: Denny's comments. Here's the thing folks. If you want to ride at the top levels and contend for a team, he's absolutely 100% right. Have you folks honestly spent much time around the folks at that level? That single minded focus, to the exclusion of everything else IS what is required. I've had many close friends at that level, and I can tell you the one thing they all had in common was that they were generally unreliable dinner companions, LOL. (As in they were always late, or wouldn't make it at all, because something at the barn always caught them up.)

There is a choice to be made between having the things which encompass a normal life and having an upper level career. Sorry, but it's true. Where I think people misunderstand him is when they think he makes a judgement on those who don't chose the upper level career. I've found Denny to be one of the most humble, down to earth, and hard working folks in this sport. He doesn't judge anybody. He does tell it like it is. If you want a social life, and a family, and a regular paycheck, AND an upper level career, you better be planning on making the team for the Republic of Fairyland on a rare Rainbow Unicorn, because here in the real world it's not possible. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur, lower-level rider, and I KNOW he feels that way. But if you want to be a "contender" it will require you sacrificing all the trappings of normalcy.

I think he gets tired though of hearing people who aren't willing to make those sacrifices, saying that their struggles are only because of money. His point that if you want it bad enough, to the point of sacrificing everything else, it can be done. That is not the same as saying everybody who isn't willing to do that is a sucky whiny weenie pants. ;-)

Everyone's journey is their own. That's the beauty of it all.

gr8fulrider
Jul. 23, 2012, 12:36 PM
The question is though: how do you calculate when it is time to change your "plan” if something is difficult to attain?



As a recovered attorney turned soon-to-be-ex communications VP and soon-to-be part-time strategy adviser, I will posit that it's time to recalculate when you are not happy. As someone who could not stay healthy and be a parent, a rider bent on doing T3DE, and an ass-kicking lobbyist, I say that when riding feels like a chore and you feel tired but not invigorated when you're doing your cool-down walk, it's time to recalculate. When you are not pumped on your drive to the barn, it's time to start asking yourself why.

A difficult, uphill path on horseback can be wonderful and provide a sense of accomplishment we don't get beating our heads against the walls of Congress (for instance). A very good, tough dressage trainer of mine was fond of saying (a) shut up and ride; and (b) that's why they call it A SPORT!
When it feels like a challenge and you relish your next ride even if your last one did not end where you wanted it to, your path is worth walking (or galloping).

If you feel like it's a chore, like the losses and falls are heartbreaks and not challenges, it might be time to become friends with your horse and revisit goals when you feel happy again.

The question, for me, is not whether a ribbon is worth wanting. The question is whether the pursuit of a ribbon fills the place in your heart that riding is meant to fill.

Also, too-- you get to change your goals more than once. Enjoying today doesn't mean destroying your future.

mbm
Jul. 23, 2012, 12:49 PM
As a recovered attorney turned soon-to-be-ex communications VP and soon-to-be part-time strategy adviser, I will posit that it's time to recalculate when you are not happy. As someone who could not stay healthy and be a parent, a rider bent on doing T3DE, and an ass-kicking lobbyist, I say that when riding feels like a chore and you feel tired but not invigorated when you're doing your cool-down walk, it's time to recalculate. When you are not pumped on your drive to the barn, it's time to start asking yourself why.

A difficult, uphill path on horseback can be wonderful and provide a sense of accomplishment we don't get beating our heads against the walls of Congress (for instance). A very good, tough dressage trainer of mine was fond of saying (a) shut up and ride; and (b) that's why they call it A SPORT!
When it feels like a challenge and you relish your next ride even if your last one did not end where you wanted it to, your path is worth walking (or galloping).

If you feel like it's a chore, like the losses and falls are heartbreaks and not challenges, it might be time to become friends with your horse and revisit goals when you feel happy again.

The question, for me, is not whether a ribbon is worth wanting. The question is whether the pursuit of a ribbon fills the place in your heart that riding is meant to fill.

Also, too-- you get to change your goals more than once. Enjoying today doesn't mean destroying your future.

I love your post and the sentiment/wisdom behind it.

And I agree 100% - there needs to be some motivating factor behind the work/dedication otherwise it is a job like any other and I believe riding should be more than that.

And while my lack of meeting my assumed goals has pissed me off at my myself enough to take a good hard look at myself and my attitude and make some difficult changes (including revising my goals, changing my POV, etc) , riding my 4 yo PONY makes me so happy it isn't funny :)

No, he isn't Totilas, but darn it! He is fun and silly and he wants to work! I enjoy riding again and look forward to each moment I spend with him... He also gives me the opportunity to train something very different than I have ever ridden before.... (Always rode very hot/forward horses before him)

Hopefully by the time my mare’s baby is old enough to ride (4 years) I will be rejuvenated (and educated) enough to be able to do well by that one...

It remains to be seen but that is the goal…..

tle
Jul. 23, 2012, 01:21 PM
As a recovered attorney turned soon-to-be-ex communications VP and soon-to-be part-time strategy adviser, I will posit that it's time to recalculate when you are not happy. As someone who could not stay healthy and be a parent, a rider bent on doing T3DE, and an ass-kicking lobbyist, I say that when riding feels like a chore and you feel tired but not invigorated when you're doing your cool-down walk, it's time to recalculate. When you are not pumped on your drive to the barn, it's time to start asking yourself why.

A difficult, uphill path on horseback can be wonderful and provide a sense of accomplishment we don't get beating our heads against the walls of Congress (for instance). A very good, tough dressage trainer of mine was fond of saying (a) shut up and ride; and (b) that's why they call it A SPORT!
When it feels like a challenge and you relish your next ride even if your last one did not end where you wanted it to, your path is worth walking (or galloping).

If you feel like it's a chore, like the losses and falls are heartbreaks and not challenges, it might be time to become friends with your horse and revisit goals when you feel happy again.

The question, for me, is not whether a ribbon is worth wanting. The question is whether the pursuit of a ribbon fills the place in your heart that riding is meant to fill.

Also, too-- you get to change your goals more than once. Enjoying today doesn't mean destroying your future.

Wow. Great post!

I've already answered the OP question but wanted to respond to this post. I didn't REALLY know it then (or at least I wouldn't admit it to anyone, not even myself), but when I sold Frankie and became horseless for the first time in my adult life, it was because I needed to. After putting Char down that spring (followed 10 days later by my first dog, Reese), I had to take a break. I needed to re-evaluate ME and grieve for what I had lost. Yes, I took a break from the barn for a few weeks because it was that hard. But when I came back, I wasn't as there as I had been. I sold my trailer (and used the proceeds to get Lasik... something I will never regret), but Frankie still never got the attention that Char did. In the end I told myself it was a financial decision and I needed to regroup financially. That wasn't a lie -- it was extremely true (I wasn't all that smart with credit cards when I had char), but it was FAR more than that. It was the emotional sorting out that I needed to do.

I still don't have a horse of my own but I have several that I can ride any time and a new 6yo that I've watched grow up who I took to our first show together yesterday (a dressage show where, after only 3 rides on him, we did Training 1 to a respectable 59.583%). I'm looking to enter a mini trail in September with him and am formulating training plans with him in my head. I'm excited again. Still trying to figure out me, but I know this part of me is coming back and I'm welcoming it.... if that makes sense.

jackalini
Jul. 23, 2012, 01:49 PM
Well, I guess I can say I have a Training Level glass ceiling.

I started riding as a wee thing, and in junior high, came to eventing. I had a talented enough horse to get to prelim and that was the goal (back in the days of more gallop fences and less technicality). I was entered in my 7th event and my first training level event when my gelding's soundness ran out. I treated him and kept riding, at a lower level of intensity, through college. Once I graduated, I thought I was finally *there* - had a job and income to start showing again (prelim, here we come!), and it all turned upside down and backwards fast when I had to euth him due to cancer less than 6 months after graduation. That high level dream passed on with him.

Being that losing a dearly loved animal can make you, well, a few cupcakes short of a bake sale, I went and bought myself a two year old filly. She was supposed to be big, slow and mild-mannered, and she is 15.3 with shoes on, and mostly levitates through life 2-4 feet at a time, happy as can be. Fast forward 8 years, and we're also aiming for training, but here comes the training level ceiling again. Things keep happening that keep us rocketing around novice, from soundness (fixed) to grad school (finally done) to money (thanks to student loans).

That said, I'm probably happier now than I ever have been because when I was bringing up baby horse, I focused on developing my whole life instead of just my horse life. I have a great, interesting job because of my master's degree, I have a ton of fabulous friends (horsey and non), I'm getting married in a month, and I still have a blast with my mare whether or not we win 3rd place at a schooling event (this year) or 3rd place at a big-time event (last year).

I'm not a 1* or 2* or any type of * rider like I had once hoped, but I wouldn't consider trading that for what I have now.

quietann
Jul. 23, 2012, 03:16 PM
As a LL eventer, I have always found Denny VERY supportive. He teaches many of us (I have only been lucky enough to ride with him once). He runs camps for many AAs. I have always considered him one of the greatest champions of the Adult Lower Level (now to be called the ALL) rider.

Agreed (in spite of my FB comment over there.) The only reason I haven't made it to Camp Denny is that I don't event anymore. Otherwise, I'd be turning my schedule inside-out every summer so I could get in a few days up there.

In fact, it was in my plans for the first summer I had my mare, but when it rolled around, I was in bed recovering from collarbone surgery (and a whole lot else) and already pretty sure I'd have to give up eventing, and praying I wouldn't have to give up riding entirely. Still makes me sad that I never did it...

SwampYankee
Jul. 23, 2012, 03:20 PM
Well, I guess I can say I have a Training Level glass ceiling.

I started riding as a wee thing, and in junior high, came to eventing. I had a talented enough horse to get to prelim and that was the goal (back in the days of more gallop fences and less technicality). I was entered in my 7th event and my first training level event when my gelding's soundness ran out. I treated him and kept riding, at a lower level of intensity, through college. Once I graduated, I thought I was finally *there* - had a job and income to start showing again (prelim, here we come!), and it all turned upside down and backwards fast when I had to euth him due to cancer less than 6 months after graduation. That high level dream passed on with him.

Being that losing a dearly loved animal can make you, well, a few cupcakes short of a bake sale, I went and bought myself a two year old filly. She was supposed to be big, slow and mild-mannered, and she is 15.3 with shoes on, and mostly levitates through life 2-4 feet at a time, happy as can be. Fast forward 8 years, and we're also aiming for training, but here comes the training level ceiling again. Things keep happening that keep us rocketing around novice, from soundness (fixed) to grad school (finally done) to money (thanks to student loans).

That said, I'm probably happier now than I ever have been because when I was bringing up baby horse, I focused on developing my whole life instead of just my horse life. I have a great, interesting job because of my master's degree, I have a ton of fabulous friends (horsey and non), I'm getting married in a month, and I still have a blast with my mare whether or not we win 3rd place at a schooling event (this year) or 3rd place at a big-time event (last year).

I'm not a 1* or 2* or any type of * rider like I had once hoped, but I wouldn't consider trading that for what I have now.

THIS!^ Pretty much exemplifies what I said about living a riding life in balance. Yes, Denny's right in that to go all the way to the top, you ARE going to have to sacrifice everything else; but where I question doing that is, for the 99.98% who don't make it that far, what have you got at the end of the day? Fact is, we all get old, we all need to eat, and yes the laws of physics DO apply to all riders--champions or not!

As for how you know it's time to change your path or your goals? "If it's not workin,' don't do more of it harder. Do something ELSE!" Or at least try doing it differently.

In my own life, I've found that incredible, remarkable, unthought-of things can be accomplished with nothing more than these:

(1) Show up.
(2) Give a damn.
(3) FOLLOW up.
(4) Keep your promises--even to yourself.
(5) Do ONE thing, EVERY day, to move toward your goal!
(6) ASK. Never assume the answer is "No!" This is the most important of all.

NeverTime
Jul. 23, 2012, 03:21 PM
I really appreciated two recent posts on this thread, by SwampYankee about the "monomaniacal focus" on a sport, and by gr8fulrider about recognizing when riding isn't giving you what you want from it.
As much as I love riding, I've always felt very fortunate that I could do it as an amateur. In part because having more than one "thing" in your life helps keep everything in perspective -- a bad day at the office can be set right by a good morning at the barn, or vice versa. Also because, as an amateur, it's much, much easier to step away, temporarily or permanently, when the time is right.
(I do want to say, in Denny's defense, while he sometimes comes off like a crotchety old man ... I went to him to be a working student, and I picked him over any number of other professional riders because he'd been a school teacher and had a non-horsey professional job himself. I thought he'd be more understanding of someone like me, who wanted to achieve certain goals with my horse but had no intentions of riding full-time. He was, 100%. And though he'd sometimes mention that I could get better if I took a horsey job, he also understood I never would, and it didn't stop him from helping me reach and exceed my goals. I think some of his crotchety-ness, as another poster mentioned, is directed more at the LEGIONS of riders he's dealt with who have "Olympic dreams" with stars in their eyes and a soft-focus image of galloping past the castle at Burghley, but zero hard-focus idea of the work it takes to get there.)
Although I didn't lose my horse like TLE did, I felt some of the same emotions after he suffered a career-ending injury. We were going advanced, trying to get our final qualifier for a CCI***, when he was badly injured in a jump school. What surprised me, though, was how "OK" I was -- more than OK, really -- with NOT competing. I'd drive by the gas station where all the horse trailers stop for snacks and fuel on Saturday mornings on their way to shows and be really glad that I wasn't about to spend a hot, dusty day at a horse trials. I'd gotten so focused on accomplishing this one last thing (NEVER had 4* aspirations, ever!) that I didn't realize I wasn't enjoying it as much anymore. People offered me horses to ride and I wasn't interested. I just wanted to nurse my boy back to health, and today I enjoy pleasure riding him ... or NOT riding him when it's hot or I'm tired or whatever.
Anyways, a very interesting discussion. I particularly agree with the pitfalls these two posters mention, both of which have to do with life getting out of balance, whatever balance is.

vali
Jul. 23, 2012, 05:25 PM
I am somewhat bemused to find myself back competing at Prelim, after dropping back to Novice/Training level for a decade or so after having kids. I'd like to improve our dressage scores, but I've been so pleased otherwise with my hot little Connemara cross mare. We just finished our third prelim on three fairly tough courses and she had no jumping penalties except for two rails in show jumping at our last event, where there was not a single clear round in the entire 23 horse prelim division. She jumped in the rain, she jumped in the hail, and she generally tried her heart out. Several people have commented that she could go higher, and I have no doubt that's true, but I don't think I want to at this stage in my life. I've had her since she was five and have done all her training myself, and it was nice to see that she was ready for the move up and to feel her gain confidence.

As far as ribbons go, I wish we would see eventing as more like the equestrian triathalon it truly is. Simply successfully completing all three phases at an event still feels like a major accomplishment to me, and I don't get upset that I'm not beating the professionals who do this all day long. Maybe having children and an outside career as a professional adds some perspective, I probably would feel differently if this was all I did.

barnworkbeatshousework
Jul. 23, 2012, 06:05 PM
I just wanted to add a thought for all the younger riders...

I learned to jump "by the seat of my pants" as a teenager. I never had any formal lessons and just did it for fun. I didn't learned to count strides and I did everything on a budget.

I started eventing after I had my two daughters at the age of 32.

I'm not particularly athletic or talented and I've never paid more than $5000 for a horse. In fact, the two horses I went Prelim on were $1500 and $2500.

I am not a brave rider and never have been. I have a great instructor who keeps me safe and she is the reason I have been able to accomplish what I have.

I have bartered many of my lessons through work-housecleaning, painting, tack cleaning.

I don't spend hours in the saddle. I ride anywhere between 3-5 times weekly. Most days I ride 30 minutes or less, but I work up a sweat in that time amount!

I don't have an indoor arena and I don't go south for the winter. I don't compete as much as I used to (used to compete twice a month through the season) but I actually am more competitive now because I've learned to focus.

I guess my point is that it can be done even if you don't have a lot of bravery, money or talent. You just have to keep trying and be willing to learn.

^This, completely agree...I'm still horseless at 45 after 20+ years of riding. I don't ride as often as I'd like, but when I do, I'm on cloud 9. I want to do a "real" recognized HT some day, but I don't have the horse, money or means for it at the moment. I'm working on that...But I don't care whether I ever go up levels, bring home colored receipts (ribbons), it is simply all about the thrill of doing it, and the journey of the experience for me it. I love what I learn along the way, I love the people I meet and have fun with, and I'm realistic to know what to expect when, and how to maintain balance between horses, riding, family, home, etc. It is all about balance, for me. Otherwise, it all falls apart.

deltawave
Jul. 23, 2012, 06:55 PM
It's the difference between a guy I know who spent 30 years out in Asia doing Kendo, who can really swing a Kendo stick, and that's about it; vs. another guy who swings a kendo stick with the best in the world, and at the same time worked his way up to owning a large piece of lower Manhattan.

LOVE this, Swampy. :)


I think some of his crotchety-ness, as another poster mentioned, is directed more at the LEGIONS of riders he's dealt with who have "Olympic dreams" with stars in their eyes and a soft-focus image of galloping past the castle at Burghley, but zero hard-focus idea of the work it takes to get there.

And I love this, too, NT. Those folks drive my bonkers, too. :p I would ride with Denny in a heartbeat, but probably never shall BECAUSE of the life choices I have willingly made that keep a couple of weeks at "event camp" on the "nearly impossible" list. COULD I make it happen? I could, for sure. But the sacrifices it would take do not add up in the "pro vs. con" column and that is my OWN decision, freely engaged in, without regrets. The only part that bugs me is the assumption that this is some sort of sell-out on my part. It isn't. Because the other parts of my life are as important to me as my avocation. It is possible to have more than one passion, after all. :)

Wellspotted
Jul. 23, 2012, 07:44 PM
I'm in Canada.

That was never part of the plan. Never.

More on this, please?

I would love to be in Canada!

How did you happen to get there?

As for where I am related to where I thought I'd be when I came back to riding 7 years ago after 25 years away ...

I'm not even riding these days. No money for lessons, no desire anymore to ride friend's greenie or other friend's basically bombproof OTTBxPP (ex polo pony). No fun to just get on and putz around. I want to do lessons, or at least some consistent schooling, but it's just too hot to bother. And I'm too poor.
I figured that by now I'd be doing at least Training Level or maybe schooling BN.
Yeah, right. :no: :cry::confused:

yellowbritches
Jul. 23, 2012, 08:08 PM
Where I am? Not where I'd like to be, and pondering some far different paths than I ever would have imagined, even a year ago, when it comes time to move on from this point in my life (at least I know there IS an end to this stop along the way....).

Where did I think I would be? I'm not really sure. I probably thought I would be at least starting to get a firm foothold at the ULs. Developing other horses. Either running my own barn, continuing on in partnership with my long time coach/boss/friend, or running someone else's nice barn.

Instead, after having high, high hopes for a new venture with a long time client, my heart got broken when the deal went sour. I moved onto another position that I am very good at but have zero passion for. I was also left for a deep distrust of horse people, and I'm now looking at options that may give me a little shelter from them (while maybe still allowing me to enjoy the world I love), when the time comes (the farm I manage is on the market, and I have agreed to stay until it sells).

Riding wise, I have the best horse of my life, but somehow I managed to kick my confidence in myself to smithereens recently. Now I'm left picking up the pieces and trying to regroup. My long time coach and friend, who, by far, got the worst of that sour deal, is off pursuing other dreams, so the biggest constant in my life for the better part of 10 years is trying to support from 2000 miles away. I am struggling with the next step, and I'm REALLY struggling with coming to terms with maybe I'm never going to be as good as I thought I might be.

Needless to say, I'm in a very melancholy mood. I still love riding and I love my horses. I'm not a fan of the people, despite having nice ones around me right now that are sweet and (mostly) harmless. I need a chance to regroup and reconsider my path (after being in Chicago with my sister for the last few days, I was actually perusing the Area 4 omnibus listings today...).

I could also just be hormonal. :winkgrin:

IFG
Jul. 23, 2012, 08:58 PM
What surprised me, though, was how "OK" I was -- more than OK, really -- with NOT competing. I'd drive by the gas station where all the horse trailers stop for snacks and fuel on Saturday mornings on their way to shows and be really glad that I wasn't about to spend a hot, dusty day at a horse trials. I'd gotten so focused on accomplishing this one last thing (NEVER had 4* aspirations, ever!) that I didn't realize I wasn't enjoying it as much anymore.

Isn't that the weirdest thing? I was only competing at Novice, but every week-end, me and one or the other of my daughters were hauling this place or that, spending the whole week-end competing or training. It was such a relief when my horse decided that he really had had enough. I probably could have injected, inspected, and done a million things to keep him going, but I couldn't afford it, and I didn't want to. I let him drop down a level with one of my kids for a few shows, and then we took to fox-hunting until he couldn't do that anymore. When my kids are out of college (two more years) I will probably get another young horse, but for now, we have fun. It had become such a rat race, trying to get to Training level, I didn't realize I wasn't having fun.

hequestrian
Jul. 23, 2012, 09:15 PM
Well I am not completely in the eventing club yet but I have slowly been easing my way in for about 2 years. Still haven't actually competed but I see it in my not to distant future. I don't have any real serious goals set at this time but I could see myself definitely getting out there and doing something with my new guy by the end of the year.

I started riding at 8 and didn't get more serious about it until was in high school. I really wanted to compete at the rated shows in the Hunters and Eq. I had a decent budget when horse shopping and what I thought was a great trainer. I ended up getting over mounted on a green horse that really didn't want to be what I wanted him to be and wasn't a good match for a more timid rider and after a few years of staying at the same place or actually going backwards and losing pretty much all confidence I stopped riding. My horse had my number.

About 2 years later (2 years ago) I decided I wanted to ride again and sent above mentioned horse off for training to get him restarted. I still didn't trust him though and after a year of trying to make it work I was miserable. I decided to sell him this past winter. I had already started shopping for other horses with a now much smaller budget and I found my new green bean in January and he became mine in February. It has been a long road but we have been having a blast. The trainer that I have been with for almost 2 years is an event trainer and she has really helped me gain my confidence in riding back.

I don't know exactly what I am going to do with my horse but I think that we will probably dabble in the LL eventing and see what we think. I am hoping to get out and maybe do a starter something with him this fall.

We did our first real cross country school yesterday and he was a total champion so who knows maybe my hunky BWP wants to be an eventer after all! For me I just want to have fun right now so if he likes it and were having fun it will be a success in my book.

IFG
Jul. 23, 2012, 09:27 PM
Forgot to ad, hugs to you YB. Things will look up for you, I am sure!

barnworkbeatshousework
Jul. 23, 2012, 09:33 PM
COULD I make it happen? I could, for sure. But the sacrifices it would take do not add up in the "pro vs. con" column and that is my OWN decision, freely engaged in, without regrets. The only part that bugs me is the assumption that this is some sort of sell-out on my part. It isn't. Because the other parts of my life are as important to me as my avocation. It is possible to have more than one passion, after all. :)

yes, DW, couldn't agree more...:yes:

jackalini
Jul. 23, 2012, 11:24 PM
This has been a really neat thread to read everyone's responses. From those who are more like me (desk jockeys instead of real jockeys) to those who are out working every day with the horses and those who fall in between, it takes all kinds. While like I said, I wouldn't change anything about how my life has turned out, don't think that I don't envy you horses-for-work crowd after a particularly tough briefing or long day of excel. And I'm sure there are occasional days when you wish you could be inside in the dry, non-muddy A/C or heat like I am, dealing with recalcitrant executives instead of bratty horses.

Maybe you aren't where you expected, but you can either adjust your life or adjust your goals to get centered again. Neither adjustment is the right answer for everyone, but one of them will be the right choice for you. :yes:

magnolia73
Jul. 24, 2012, 08:34 AM
The only part that bugs me is the assumption that this is some sort of sell-out on my part. It isn't. Because the other parts of my life are as important to me as my avocation. It is possible to have more than one passion, after all.

Don't let it bother you. I used to hate being "judged" and it bothered me when people "judged". Now I just don't give a shit what people think. If someone "tsks" because you skip a clinic to go drink wine or if you buy a made horse or if you do any number of things that make you a "less serious" rider, who cares? As long as you aren't complaining about a lack of progress, who cares?

It's your life, your time. You do have an obligation to your horse- 1. good care and 2. to be prepared for whatever you ask the horse to do. Good care= good food, safe stabling and turnout, proper vet and farrier care. I see very few adult amateurs skimp on those things. They are also normally very over prepared :) I would never apologize for riding at a level lower than your potential because you prefer a more rounded life.

The only thing that bothers me are people who neglect their horses and people who ride above where they should be, putting their horse at risk. That unfit person running prelim ill prepared to do so on the OTTB that they sacrifice everything for.... is the problem. Not the 40 something lawyer with a family doing Maiden for the 20th time on a semi retired 4**** horse.

As long as you are doing right by your horse, you have nothing to apologize for and no one has the right to criticize you.

deltawave
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:13 AM
Don't let it bother you. I used to hate being "judged" and it bothered me when people "judged". Now I just don't give a shit what people think. If someone "tsks" because you skip a clinic to go drink wine or if you buy a made horse or if you do any number of things that make you a "less serious" rider, who cares? As long as you aren't complaining about a lack of progress, who cares?


It bothers me considerably less the older I get. :lol:

And I figured out a LONG time ago that "making progress" is an insidious thing, capable of taking all the joy out of my horse life. So I decided not to make it one of my priorities. I'm capable enough, after all these years, of putting together 3 halfway decent phases at Novice or Training most of the time, and am comfortable staying in that orbit indefinitely. If I have a breakthrough, hooray! But mostly "progress" comes in tiny increments which are no less fulfilling for all their diminutive size. :D

fordtraktor
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:18 AM
As for balancing, I have come to realize that there is very little wrong in the world that can't be put right after spending an hour on the back of a horse. It is a constant reminder that consistency, focus, and calm will improve about any situation, horse or human.

Horses and work have a symbiotic relationship for me. Some people say they have all their best work ideas in the shower or while running or whatever. I have all my best ideas cooling out my horses. I even keep a notebook and pen in the barn so I can write them down before I forget them. :lol:

As for where I thought I would be -- I certainly never thought I would be eventing at all so at some point I need to rethink my horsey goals. For now I'm just having fun working with my ponies, we'll see where it goes from here. :D

deltawave
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:20 AM
I have all my best ideas cooling out my horses.

Picking up poo does it for me. :D

fordtraktor
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:25 AM
I should try that, DW. I listen to audiobooks while picking up poo and mowing. "Continuing education" for the farming lot.

tle
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:51 AM
I should try that, DW. I listen to audiobooks while picking up poo and mowing. "Continuing education" for the farming lot.

I need to try that. I usually just listen to music, but I really shoudl pick up more audio books.

Although my mowing is about to be cut down a LOT with the new fencing that's going in. :D

scubed
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:58 AM
I don't think I ever had plans to "be" anywhere in particular. I have discovered that I really love my OTTBs and ride them better than horses that are probably fancier or "more suitable" for someone at my level with my schedule. I'm showing less, though still hitting the south (although we'll see if that happens with the new job starting this fall), enjoying "sharing" some of my horses and riding the guy I have, who is super. I am enjoying his development and will see if I have the time, bravery, whatever to get back to preliminary or just hang out at the lower levels. I decided early in my life that riding would never be a profession. Maybe because I've always considered it a hobby, I've never been super ambitious about it. I've also really enjoyed being involved in other ways, especially volunteering.

Eventer55
Jul. 24, 2012, 10:19 AM
I like the reality of this thread. I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of us out here just doing it when and how we can. :yes:

I like this post because I feel like last year I worked my butt off and it paid off. I spent my childhood with alcoholic parents and nothing was great until I met my current husband. At age 56 my husband said "you can't go to the olympics, but you can do the best you can and lets do it this year. So, last year I started my first year of rec competition in BN, I rode a very talented but extremely difficult mare. I found the perfect instructor (thanks Marcia!!!:D) and we qualified for the Nationals and Regionals in our first few rides, we got a Silver and Gold medal and were almost never out of first or second place all year. At the end of the year I was thrilled, I can never go to the olympics, but I am out there with everyone else in the trenches and lovin' it.

My only regret is that we couldn't afford to go to the Nationals, but did get to the Regionals and did really well. I'm ahead of where I ever thought I would be, I would like to be younger though:lol::lol::lol:

To give you an update, I have a Tb mare OTTB that I am bringing along and you can look for us next year in BN!:D:D:D

KateMcCall
Jul. 24, 2012, 10:45 AM
This thread was a great one... I have read each and every post!

(sorry this is off track but...)

Kate, you need to go see a doctor who takes pleasure in figuring out oddball cases of hypertension. A nephrologist with an interest in hypertension, maybe. Chances are you have something off the beaten path that requires treatment that is also off the beaten path! Good luck. :)

Where do I find one of those :confused:
I am afraid to see doctors because I am tired of being thrown out the door without any answers, and no one wants to help me :cry:

SwampYankee
Jul. 24, 2012, 11:59 AM
Isn't that the weirdest thing? I was only competing at Novice, but every week-end, me and one or the other of my daughters were hauling this place or that, spending the whole week-end competing or training. It was such a relief when my horse decided that he really had had enough. I probably could have injected, inspected, and done a million things to keep him going, but I couldn't afford it, and I didn't want to. I let him drop down a level with one of my kids for a few shows, and then we took to fox-hunting until he couldn't do that anymore. When my kids are out of college (two more years) I will probably get another young horse, but for now, we have fun. It had become such a rat race, trying to get to Training level, I didn't realize I wasn't having fun.

THIS^ is just about what happened to me, too; I'd come home from an Event, dragging a trailer-load of filthy bandages and saddle pads and sweaty breeches behind me, and my Mom would say, "What makes you keep on doing this?" The answer I gave was, "I think maybe I don't know how to stop?" ;)

Looking back on it now from a far distance, I DO know why; I was trying to prove to myself that I wasn't a coward. I'd spent my lifetime up to that point confusing adrenaline with fear, and fear with cowardice. Knowing my horse was getting older, I was going in the start-box with that voice in the back of my mind that aging fighter-pilots hear when they know they've been too lucky for too long: "Is this our last mission? Will today be the day it all comes apart?" Then when we'd go clear, I'd sigh with relief, hose us off, and sign up for the next one . . . in part, because I had a couple of BNT's telling me why in the name of the Gods didn't I want to get a better, younger horse and go higher?

Mercifully, when the end came, it was just being "off," which was diagnosed as a check ligament. Vet said, "I can cut it and have you back on course in 6 weeks." Instead, I said "No, he's almost 21, let's call it a day and give him the 6 months off." Brought the horse back into light work after that, he hunted, did dressage, and hacked for another 12 years. At that point my relationship with HIM, and my gratitude for all we'd been able to do together, far outweighed any ego-need I had to press him further.

Were there other horses I could have stepped up with? Sure. But to be honest, the fire in my belly went out, then and there. Some part of me realized then that these were artificial challenges, and that life with horses didn't need to be so much work, worry, and constant self-doubt: Will I be good enough tomorrow? Will I let him down? Will I get him killed? And, after what happened to Chris Reeve, is my life set up so I'll be taken care of if we take an unlucky flip like that? Notwithstanding that statistically the most dangerous thing I did every day was back the car out of my driveway! :D

For me, it seemed the right move and the right time to let it go. And yes, when the dust cloud is rising and the ozone warning is on the radio, I'm pretty happy NOT to be in the temp. stable on top of Skiff Mountain, trying to stuff electrolytes into my horse! ;)

monstrpony
Jul. 24, 2012, 12:45 PM
Picking up poo does it for me. :D

Does it for me, too. Alas, I'm "of an age" that if I don't carry a pen and notebook with me, all of that great thinking is gone by the time I get to the office! :winkgrin::cool:

IFG
Jul. 24, 2012, 12:55 PM
Picking up poo does it for me. :D

We are TOO much alike. I have to say that it concerns me that it is while shoveling sh*t that I tend to clarify ideas regarding my research. I am secretly worried that I am flinging manure in more than one venue :lol:.

monstrpony
Jul. 24, 2012, 12:58 PM
... I am secretly worried that I am flinging manure in more than one venue :lol:.

This is a given. It's being able to admit it that keep us sane.

Well, perhaps "sane" is a relative term ...

deltawave
Jul. 24, 2012, 01:33 PM
This thread was a great one... I have read each and every post!

(sorry this is off track but...)


Where do I find one of those :confused:
I am afraid to see doctors because I am tired of being thrown out the door without any answers, and no one wants to help me :cry:

http://healthcare.utah.edu/internalMedicine/wasatchKidney/physicians.html

"Afraid" belongs to things that are genuinely dangerous. Not physicians. Intimidated, sure, that's understandable. Take an advocate with you if you feel like your questions are not being answered, but there is nothing inherently dangerous about a doctor. They're quite human. :)

Neigh-Neigh
Jul. 24, 2012, 03:32 PM
I'm with you. Riding should be a source of delight in our lives, the frosting as it were and not necessarily the entire cake or one runs the risk of becoming very one-dimensional. There are tons of "horse-people" who are incapable of talking or thinking about anything else, and frankly they bore me senseless!

In 1993, I was struggling along in a niche paralegal-services business that I'd started 17 years before a few years out of school. It was beginning to sink, due to unforseen market conditions. My one horse, whom I'd taken from spooking at x-rails to competitive at Training, had popped a check ligament and I'd just retired him from competition since he was 21. No second horse was on my horizon, and I felt fortunate to be able to afford to keep my old guy. We'd just had a major breakthrough right before the lameness, working with Jean-Claude Racinet, and the frustration of not being able to ride him for those 6 months was enormous.

I guessed the business would recover, my old horse would get sound enough to go on with dressage, maybe some day I'd be able to afford to start over with a younger mount. On and off for years I'd taught some lessons, house-sat barns, and wound up managing most of the (small) places I boarded him. I supposed that was the way it would be . . .

During that time, I took a few schooling catch-rides on a horse that my first teacher, a distant cousin, still had. A very old man, he still liked to keep a nice prospect or two about. His son lived in a distant state and he was more or less alone, so I'd go hang out and ride, then we'd talk over old times. He made me swear I'd put down the 44-year old pony I'd learned to ride and jump on, in the event the pony outlived him. I never expected that to happen. . .

I was at work when I got the call. N. had dropped dead on the barn floor on the way to get a load of hay. Was there anyone who could take responsibility for caring for the horses?
Yes. There was and I did. Wound up house-sitting month-to-month over that first long, hard winter, and talked his son into letting me bring in some boarders I knew so there would be enough revenue coming in . . . and I convinced him not to close the place up or to sell it, which had always been planned.

Well, I ran the place for the next 9 years! Never got a chance to return to eventing seriously, and never found another horse with the combination of guts, cattiness, and common sense that made my old guy such a joy, though it isn't for lack of trying. After a time the son returned home and took up his patrimony in that place, but I had in the interim come into life-use of a much larger property N. had up the road that at that time resembled the Howling Boonies--a couple of falling-down "shotgun shacks" and fenced with rusty barbed wire. There's a reason I call myself "Swamp Yankee"--this land had not been touched since the 1950's. I got out there with the loppers, the chainsaw and the hammer and Started. Had a nerve even charging people board! Took on a collection of bottom feeders, hard-luck cases and God's Waiting Room types those first few years . . . and persevered.

Well, 19 years later the place is quite civilized indeed, and under a land conservancy after I got tired of whacking snotty land speculators on the nose with a stick. :D The business I'd had when N. died, I folded in '99; and I'll never have another amateur card. 20 or so retired and pleasure horses, all of which live out on grass, provide a good income, so I've basically become the horse bum my father always feared. ;) Altogether, I'm immensely grateful for the way things have turned out . . .

These days I've got a young mare who's bred like my old guy; and if I close my eyes and bridge my reins I could be riding his ghost. But because of a conformational weakness she has I'll never ask her to do the things he did; like a hawk with clipped wings, she'll live a quiet life of pasture and trail rides. And so will I. I'm past the age now where I go out seeking man-made ordeals with that fire in the belly of something to prove; I've found Nature sends you plenty to deal with as it is! Rising to THOSE occasions is now the measure of experience.

My great old horse, born in 1973, stuck around until 2005!

Very moving post. Thank you.

SwampYankee
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:37 PM
http://healthcare.utah.edu/internalMedicine/wasatchKidney/physicians.html

"Afraid" belongs to things that are genuinely dangerous. Not physicians. Intimidated, sure, that's understandable. Take an advocate with you if you feel like your questions are not being answered, but there is nothing inherently dangerous about a doctor. They're quite human. :)

It's the very fact that they're (only) human, that makes them inherently dangerous! :lol: But when you need 'em, you need 'em. This lady should come to the East Coast if need be to get satisfaction.

deltawave
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:24 PM
True enough, but as I always say, talking can't really hurt anyone and all we ever do, really, is give advice . . . which can be (and often is) ignored at will. :lol:

If Kate wanted to come here I could introduce her to a dude who LOOOOVES oddball hypertension stuff. :yes:

KateMcCall
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:30 PM
True enough, but as I always say, talking can't really hurt anyone and all we ever do, really, is give advice . . . which can be (and often is) ignored at will. :lol:

If Kate wanted to come here I could introduce her to a dude who LOOOOVES oddball hypertension stuff. :yes:

My boyfriend has family in Detroit.... Next time we're in MI I'll let you know ha ha :D

JER
Jul. 24, 2012, 09:43 PM
"Afraid" belongs to things that are genuinely dangerous. ... Take an advocate with you if you feel like your questions are not being answered, but there is nothing inherently dangerous about a doctor. They're quite human. :)

And, as humans, prone to human error.

I know this is OT but I don't think KateMcCall is off base when she uses the word 'afraid.' There was that national study/report that came out about ten years ago that estimated that somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year as a result of human errors in medical treatment. Does that meet your definition of 'genuinely dangerous'?

(Car crashes kill about 35,000 per year, and that number has been on the decline for the last several years.)

ProPublica had an interesting report on this recently: Why Can't Medicine Seem to Fix Simple Mistakes? (http://www.propublica.org/article/why-cant-medicine-seem-to-fix-simple-mistakes)

No offense meant to doctors or to those who expected to marry one. Just citing some numbers. :)

deltawave
Jul. 24, 2012, 11:25 PM
I guess I was (over?)reacting to Kate's specific assertion that she was afraid of, specifically, being "thrown out the door without any answers", not so much a perception on my part that she was afraid of doctors making mistakes or some such.

Any further hair-splitting on my part sounds dumb, so I've deleted it. :lol: So, points well taken. Putting one's trust in another person is indeed "genuinely dangerous". :)

SwampYankee
Jul. 25, 2012, 09:41 AM
What JER said. Also, when you work closely with vets all the time, you have a greater appreciation of the guesswork going on, and how many unanticipated things can happen.

Perhaps opinions are also colored by early experiences; how much ya gonna trust the same people who pinned you down and stabbed you with needles as a baby, and then yelled at you for screaming? :D

DOGS are afraid of the vet. They know something! ;)

Heinz 57
Jul. 25, 2012, 10:53 AM
DOGS are afraid of the vet. They know something! ;)


Shoot, mine never got that message. We were at the vet earlier this week and both of them tried to maul him for COOKIES!!! :lol: Then again, the staff are always so impressed by how easily handled my dogs are - no crying, nipping, growling, squirming or anything but tail-wagging. Even for shots, my border collie was trying to play with the syringe. :eek: He hates nail clipping day and bath day WAY more. :lol: