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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
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    Default What holds you back?

    So I've had a rough decade when it comes to horses, and I keep wondering WHY. Some of it has to be my fault... the choices I've made, the risks I have or have not taken.

    I've spent the last 10 years attempting to give it up, keeping one foot in and one out, not really committing to a horse or a lesson program or anything longterm. Because I feel guilty for still wanting to ride, even though I'm an adult. I should have grown up and grown out of it by now! Or so I've heard.

    Anyway last night I was sat in a rather intense meeting regarding a family member who has significant addiction/psychiatric issues. The entire time all I could think was "OMG I would kill to be at the barn right now away from this hot mess!" Considering we were talking about coping mechanisms (or lack thereof) I suddenly realized that the horses are definitely my coping mechanism, and that is why I am completely unable to let it go no matter how hard I try. I also realized there are far worse coping strategies out there!

    So I'm gonna STOP feeling guilty. I'm a productive member of society, and if 2 hours a week on horseback are what keep me sane...... well then why should I feel bad about that?

    I had no idea how badly I've been inhibiting myself, for really no good reason. Anyway the last 24 hours have been enlightening and I had to share with people who would get it...
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  2. #2
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    Jan. 31, 2003
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    Default

    So...Ii guess this means I should be expecting the red one to arrive soon? I think you are meant for redheads, but what do I know.

    XO.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  3. #3
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    Feb. 8, 2004
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    Rolling hills of Virginny
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    Default

    Bravo Flash, and welcome back to the fold!

    Hey, there are worse coping mechanisms than horses, and I consider it a healthy one. At least, as long as we're not getting smushed, stepped on, thrown off, kicked, or just falling off by our own clumsiness...

    Do tell about this new redhead. My redhead is doing very well, and I recommend a nice redheaded TB to everyone!
    The plural of anecdote is not data.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 10, 2006
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    Default

    Yeah I dunno it's funny... my best friend (non-horsey) once told me she thinks I handled my interesting childhood better than my siblings because I had horses in my life. I think she is right.

    So why fight it?! Seriously I feel like a new person after realizing I do not have to feel badly about wanting to do this. Providing I am safe and reasonable about it there is no reason why I should not.

    EqT I do like that red horse. It is hard to think about another big red gelding though. As much as I like his big goofy face. Still pondering that one...

    Arabhorse I need to see some new pics of yours! And details please. Everytime I see your name pop up I think of you both and hope you are doing well.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    Default

    Yep. I am currently out of state dealing with a family medical emergency and I've found a nearby H/J barn to bop around at - I do feel guilty because I am not holding a vigil at the bedside but the doctor actually discouraged that - taking a lesson or two each week is giving me a chance to just not fret and worry and mope around the house, it gives me some structure in my week and it's waaay better than having a double shot every night to cope.

    I do understand

    ETA but I don't think I'll be buying a horse to keep here real soon, LOL!
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2003
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    The Shake and Bake State
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    Default

    **LIKE***

    I never feel guilty. Never. I ride 6 days a week too. It is therapy. It is my passion and I DO have a goal in mind. Aside from that, I can't imagine how empty my life would feel if I did not have my horse.
    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
    My Facebook



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    8,675

    Default

    What holds me back? Money.

    But seriously, I don't feel bad about riding at all, I sit in a horrible cubicle all day long 5 days a week, I will not feel guilty about doing something for me. Life is way too short to be stressed about doing something that you love. To heck with what anyone else thinks.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
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    18,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugs-n-Frodo View Post
    **LIKE***

    I never feel guilty. Never. I ride 6 days a week too. It is therapy. It is my passion and I DO have a goal in mind. Aside from that, I can't imagine how empty my life would feel if I did not have my horse.
    Me either!!! No guilt!

    FG, I find that shoulder irresistable. The face is goofy enough tho so there is little resemblance to the Man.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 8, 2004
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    Rolling hills of Virginny
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    Default

    I need to get some new pics of all my boys. They're fat, sleek and shiny, even my 25 y/o. Who, according to some, should be a rack of bones just because he's 'old'

    I'm taking the redheaded one up to Indiana via Pennsylvania for a weekend get together with some friends in October, so I'm hoping for some decent picture ops then.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.



  10. #10

    Default

    I am going through hell in my personal life. My horses are 14 hours away. I called the therapeutic riding center and tomorrow I will go hug on a big paint just because I need to. Who knows I will probably cry in her mane too. What holds me back is life, but what keeps me going is life too. My saddle is sitting in my living room on a stand. It gets ridden once a day by little PM who tells me "momma, I wanna ride your saddle." In that small way horses are still part of my life. I'll take it even if that's all I can get.
    "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here." ~ Desiderata by Max Ehrmann



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2004
    Location
    Catonsville, MD
    Posts
    6,894

    Default Just say no

    Just say no to guilt. I have never heard of anyone on their deathbed saying that they deeply regretted the time spent outside with big beautiful animals.

    More seriously, FG, I do get it. I had just dipped my toes into the water (was taking up-downer lessons at a big lesson barn) when my life was pretty much turned upside down by the unexpected death of my boyfriend in 2004. Going to the barn was the only thing I actually wanted to do, and the experience of my then honey's death just made me not care anymore what it was I was "supposed" to be doing.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. I think the horse guilt - family hassle factor is because when you go to the barn, you are placing your own interests in front of your kids, your husband, any other commitments you have to anyone else. And it feels naughty, doesn't it? Sounds like a good enough reason to go to the barn right there.

    To answer your question, right now it's my intermittently sound horse. But we may be coming back out of the woods AGAIN.

    (also, FG, check your e-mail)
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  12. #12
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Default

    I learned a really helpful definition of addiction that might help you (or anyone):

    Addiction is anything you do to escape the present that has negative consequences.

    So that's a broad definition of addiction. Polite, middle-class "looks good on the outside" folks can be addicts. It also means not everything anyone else says is nuts is an addiction. It has to screw up your life. But it has to screw up your life by your calculation. So you can wait for "living under a bridge" or you can make "Love smoking but my skin is wrinkly" your big fat wake up call.

    I also let horses help me get through a whack childhood. No apologies for that! In fact I'm really grateful. So now I don't question my need for horses in my life. But I do ask if they still do the job or let me not enlarge my life or set of coping mechanisms or list of pleasurable things.

    The one thing I don't do is ruin the horses-as-great-coping mechanism by "doing horses" but feeling bad about it while I'm there. Honey, that's taking something good and making it into Purgatory.

    I "do" horses the way that feels best now, keep tabs on what feels best for me and change what I need to as I go along.

    The key is to not ask horses to solve problems they can't. Horsemen know that for the actual beasts, but it's true for life, too. The other key is to do what works or not, but don't keep doing it half-assed until your *make it* not work anymore. It has really helped me to be firm with other people about horses being a part of my life. When I say out loud to them that they are important and non-negotiable, I remind myself of that truth, too. I can change how I do horses if I like, but standing up to other people reminds me that it's my call and that I get to decide what's working about horses for me and what's not. It's pretty good, I must say.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2010
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    5,816

    Default

    I never apologize for the time or money spent on horses, no matter how bad or expensive it's been. I've known for a long time that it does a LOT more for me than I could afford to do otherwise--gym, physical therapist, psychiatrist, vacations almost daily, meditation, etc.

    I work with 7th graders. During the school year I know I would end up hurting someone if I didn't have the horses to get away and recover with. There's nothing like a gallop over green hilltops with 1200 pounds of muscle under you.

    I have thought of giving it up because of a tragedy and huge betrayal of a psychotic person in horses. I almost did. I didn't. I have had pressures at home to stop it and "wasting" my money on shows. Then I could do what with it? Buy shoes? Waste it on something else?

    I know it keeps me going. However I "fail" in my goals of showing, I need the goals to keep me going and give me a purpose. I think people far underestimate the need for goals to reach for, no matter whether you can get there or not, and how much it gives you in life. Just the goal of "I have to go check on the horses" is so important.

    I think a lot of people who have had messed up childhoods or are in tough people relationships somehow innately know how healing animals can be. They don't have the ability to manipulate and use you like people do, and they somehow give us a compass of what is right, so we always have something there we know we can trust. Horses are cheaper than therapy.



  14. #14
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    Nov. 18, 2004
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    Catonsville, MD
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    Default

    I don't kid myself that horses are cheaper than anything except for maybe a BMW collection frosted with cocaine and driven for me by law firm partners at their usual billable rate. I'm just sayin'.

    But it's ok to do something because you want to. If you can pay the freight, it's your life, and you get exactly 1. Don't spend it trying to be someone that you think you are supposed to be.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
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    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
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    Default

    FG, is this the same red horse I'm thinking of?

    Living 1.5 hours from my trainer is what's holding me back right now; this creates a lack of time, because I can't do the 3-hour triangle between work/barn/home with my current job's hours. And I don't have the money to be a weekend warrior and have the horse in training during the week. We need to move, and get this house sold, and then I will have both time and money to start up again.

    But the other thing holding me back is me, because my first horse-ownership experience wasn't overall a super pleasant one, and I'm reluctant to take on all that expense and potential drama/stress/sadness again, even if I am older and wiser this go-round.
    Full-time bargain hunter.



  16. #16
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    Apr. 10, 2006
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    Yeah MVP that is exactly what I did... made horses Purgatory.... it was like I NEED it to keep my head straight, but, I was forever making myself feel guilty about it.

    That has not been fun. And I have been doing it for a lot of years now.

    Lori you are right about why I feel guilty. But I realized last night that going to the barn for a few hours a week is No Big Deal, because I am 100% invested in my kids and my family and my job the rest of the time.

    Unlike person last night, who has caused much suffering and irreparable damage to immediate family by being a disaster 100% of the time.

    So sh!t if the worst I do is go ride once in awhile I think I'm doing ok. If that is what will keep me sane and happy then I'm gonna do it and not feel crappy about it. My family has had a hell of a year and I'm pretty sure there are worse things I could be doing than sitting on a horse.

    Also.... along the same lines... This year I've realized just how much of life is about "coping." For animals and people. If you can cope in a healthy way, you will be fine! If you have never had good coping mechanisms installed in you, or have been programmed by environment or genetics to cope in an unhealthy way.... you're up the creek.

    So now my goal is to make sure my kids and my animals can deal with whatever is thrown at them. This has always been my intention, but I'm on it now more than ever.....
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    I don't kid myself that horses are cheaper than anything except for maybe a BMW collection frosted with cocaine and driven for me by law firm partners at their usual billable rate. I'm just sayin'.

    But it's ok to do something because you want to. If you can pay the freight, it's your life, and you get exactly 1. Don't spend it trying to be someone that you think you are supposed to be.
    HA Lori I love you. I got your e-mail, shall respond tonight!! Thank you!!

    OLR this is a different red gelding, similar bloodline though, at the same track even I think?
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashGordon View Post
    Yeah MVP that is exactly what I did... made horses Purgatory.... it was like I NEED it to keep my head straight, but, I was forever making myself feel guilty about it.

    That has not been fun. And I have been doing it for a lot of years now.....

    Lori you are right about why I feel guilty. But I realized last night that going to the barn for a few hours a week is No Big Deal, because I am 100% invested in my kids and my family and my job the rest of the time.

    Unlike person last night, who has caused much suffering and irreparable damage to immediate family by being a disaster 100% of the time....

    Also.... along the same lines... This year I've realized just how much of life is about "coping." For animals and people. If you can cope in a healthy way, you will be fine! If you have never had good coping mechanisms installed in you, or have been programmed by environment or genetics to cope in an unhealthy way.... you're up the creek.

    So now my goal is to make sure my kids and my animals can deal with whatever is thrown at them. This has always been my intention, but I'm on it now more than ever.....
    You probably learned more from horses about how to "cope" or even succeed with your life and making great kids than you think you did.

    Horses teach it all:

    "Live in the moment"

    "Enjoy it, but don't ignore the bad fencing/wreck waiting to happen"

    "Planning and prevention is great.... but you will rise to the occasion when the horse creates a disaster and you have to do triage on that situation."

    So you talk about your addict family member being a problem 100% of the time and doing "irreparable damage." If you say so, I believe you. But remember that you'd describe almost no horse in those black-and-white terms. I bet you wouldn't even describe the worst horse crisis as doing "irreparable damage" to you (even when the horse does that to himself).

    Speaking for myself, I see stuff in my horse life in terms that are *surprisingly healthy* in comparison with the rest of my life and what I see other people doing. So one of the things I get out of "doing horse" is the chance to practice living well. If I can extrapolate from a "what would I do if in the equivalent horse situation" I usually make a great decision and I'm happy.

    Also, looking at bad habits of thought I have created in other sections of my life, I can tell you that it is habit. I'd say you need reverse the "make horses crappy purgatory" move ASAP. It was once a great habit. If you do it it "badly" for a long enough, you'll lose the thing that really did provide you with great life instruction. I'm telling you-- trying to undo something good you let yourself make to in Purgatory for a long time is a butt-load of work.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    So you talk about your addict family member being a problem 100% of the time and doing "irreparable damage." If you say so, I believe you. But remember that you'd describe almost no horse in those black-and-white terms. I bet you wouldn't even describe the worst horse crisis as doing "irreparable damage" to you (even when the horse does that to himself).
    Hmm interesting.... hadn't thought of it like that. I guess I am still coming from a place of hurt and not able to look at the situation from other angles. I am actually really glad you made this analogy as it is immensely helpful to me.

    Letting myself feel guilty or bad for wanting to ride, or have a horse, or do horses in any capacity is what made it purgatory. I'm not sure why I imposed it on myself. But I did.

    I've also realized that having a passion (or, um, coping mechanism) is a good thing. My daughter is a really intense kid and has difficulty coping. Granted she's been through a lot in her short life. But I spend all day every day trying to teach her good and healthy coping skills. In particular, I try hard to see what *her* passion is going to be and figure out how I can nudge her along without being an overbearing helicopter parent. I know if I can provide her an outlet and nurture her passion whatever it may be, (I don't suspect it will be horses) that she is going to be successful in life.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashGordon View Post
    Hmm interesting.... hadn't thought of it like that. I guess I am still coming from a place of hurt and not able to look at the situation from other angles. I am actually really glad you made this analogy as it is immensely helpful to me.

    Letting myself feel guilty or bad for wanting to ride, or have a horse, or do horses in any capacity is what made it purgatory. I'm not sure why I imposed it on myself. But I did.

    I've also realized that having a passion (or, um, coping mechanism) is a good thing. My daughter is a really intense kid and has difficulty coping. Granted she's been through a lot in her short life. But I spend all day every day trying to teach her good and healthy coping skills. In particular, I try hard to see what *her* passion is going to be and figure out how I can nudge her along without being an overbearing helicopter parent. I know if I can provide her an outlet and nurture her passion whatever it may be, (I don't suspect it will be horses) that she is going to be successful in life.
    Keep the horses!

    Why? Because the stuff you need in your life-- sandwiched between addict and kid who needs to learn how to deal with here own life's ups and downs-- is classic Al-Anon Stuff.

    Why? Because horses teach Classic Al-Anon better than Al-Anon.

    So the addict is a horse. You can be hurt, pissed, disappointed but your addicted family member is busy being a 1,000 animal (or his/her disease is that). Al-Anon tells you that you get to feel what you feel. But it's your bad if you keep showing up to get kicked again.

    You know this already. You'll feel what you feel but you'll make sure the horse doesn't hurt you.

    And the other big Al-Anon truth you know, too, in its horse form: If a horse gets so dangerous you need to duck under a fence to get away from him then you do it-- no questions, no apologies. That's because you know that no one wins if you get hurt. You also know that you can't be kind or objective about the horse if you are busy saving your own bacon. So, unlike co-dependent folks, there's no weirdness or guilt about drawing a boundary. And, as with the horses, you know you can "show up" the next day and the next if you know you don't always have to wonder if you'll have to die just then.

    Seriously.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



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