I don't really want to start a whole big thread about all my issues and waffling and health problems and blahblahblah, but I could really use some help from someone with a more horsey mindset. Anyone feel like playing adviser via email/PM?
The short version is:
I spent 10 years in England, didn't finish college/uni there for health reasons, got married, he died unexpectedly, moved back to the US (where I grew up) to go back to college and get a degree. Decided to do a film degree because that was what I wanted to do when I finished high school, and it's interesting, and honestly I wanted to see if I COULD do it, creatively. Haven't been riding regularly much during that time, but did take dressage lessons very seriously way back before moving to England. Unless something goes terribly wrong, I'm graduating college in a couple of months and I really cannot decide what to do with myself.
Where the horse mindset comes in is that one of the real issues is that I miss horses, I miss having time and money to ride regularly, and I would dearly love one of my own. (As most of us would, I suspect.) If I was perfectly healthy, well, some people don't have time or money for a horse until they're close to retirement age, or retired, and that's just how it works out. (I mean, I do actually really enjoy producing films. It's a heck of a lot of fun.)
But I'm not - I have an autoimmune form of arthritis and while there are treatments currently that improve things, realistically it's degenerative and while it's not likely to kill me, at some point it's going to be bad enough that the horse thing might be a serious up hill battle - particularly if I haven't BEEN riding and doing horse stuff regularly. So there's a big part of me that's going "but if you wait, what if you just CAN'T DO IT later?!?!" and that's pretty scary.
So. Anyone feel like they can be useful and help me sort through my brain?
(And yes, that is the short version.)
(Also, for clarification - I have no ambition to work in the hands-on horse industry. If I won the lottery I might buy a stable and then hire help to manage it, but hands-on every day stable management or training or professional riding? No way. Even if I had the skill set, I don't think my joints could handle that much extra wear and tear day in, day out.)
What about leasing a horse that is boarded. That way you'd get to do the fun stuff-riding. If that works out you could then go on to the next step. In this economy there are many horses that need help. Good luck.
I have RA, and what I did when I got back into horses was to do weekly rental trail rides until I felt I was able to care for a horse again. I was riding the same horse every week and ended up buying him. That didn't work out so well (my own fault), but I was smarter with choosing my current horses, and we all do fine together. But I couldn't have them at home if my husband didn't do 99% of the work. If I didn't have him available to care for them, I would either own a horse and pay for full care board, or lease with full care board.
I know this is going to sound scary. Have you thought about putting a ad on craigslist? Tell them you are looking for a horse to ride x number of days. Be clear about what kind of riding you do and what level of rider you are. Have them respond to you by email. Now your going to have to shift through a few crazies, but really in this economy I bet you find people who are willing to let you ride their horse for free or for very little dollars. Heck if you where closer Id let you ride my 5 yr any time. Good luck
I agree with the previous suggestions...if you have some money and time to spend on horses, take a few lessons to brush up and then look for a part lease. There are LOTS of nice horses available for part lease right now because many people are having trouble affording their horses, yet don't want to sell them. That's the approach I took. I'm healthy (knocking on wood!), but I'm in my late 40s and have plenty of obligations (family and work) that could blow up at any time, so I can't take on the long term commitment of owning a horse. If my health goes south (not so unlikely at my age) or my spouse's does or my elderly mother's does...I can bail out of the lease with 30 days notice. Meanwhile, I get to ride a horse a few times a week and spend as much time with him as I can find in my schedule.
If money is too tight to afford a part lease, take some affordable lessons to brush up and then look around for some free rides. I see ads on a local bulletin board from people looking for someone to exercise a horse they don't have time for...there are some posts here to that effect too.
I always moved around a lot and so couldn't keep my own horse. during that time I lived in 5 different States. I always found a free horse to ride. Sometimes I paid for shoes but usually found a free lease. i did this by visiting local tack shops and stables or now wuld post on local equine forums. There is always a women who loves her horse but just had a baby or a new job or to many kids. They want to keep their horse but hate that he is not been ridden. I'm not a great ridder but some of the best horses i ever rode were these free leases.
Since these horse are "keepers" i never had behavioral problems they were well mannered and well trained beloved for life horses.Now that I'm writing this I wonder why I ever bought my own! LOL
So do some networking, show people you are responsible and will care for their horse and you will find a horse to ride.Once people learn about you they will be calling you to ride their horses. I did this for 10 years till i bought my first horse.
There are great suggestions here. I would say try any of the above. I have an autoimmune connective tissue disease which I have had for 18 years. I used to ride & jump a ton, but after college, had to work, so I rode less, then I got married and had 2 kids and didn't ride for about 4 years, and as I have gotten older, the stiffness and pain has gotten worse. So, I would definitely suggest not putting it off. Go to local barns, try to find a horse share, where someone is working alot and can't exercise their horse as much as they should...keep at it, the more you do it now, I think it will help you physically but also mentally.