Hello, my name is Ganymede and I miss horses, riding and hunting. I've been a lurker for a long time but now that I'm horseless I feel compelled to post for support.
I sold my project mare in August and am saving up as my husband and I are travelling for 4-6mths from mid March. For the first couple of months I didn't miss the horses, after all, hunt season was over and the spring weather wasn't the greatest. We tidied up the house, put it on the market, sold it and moved to my parent's place to housesit for the summer. But now it's summer, we're all settled and living in the city and I'm having major horse withdrawals!
So, what do other people do to prevent themselves going crazy? I can go and ride any number of friends horses, but because everyone is on the city outskirts it's mostly arena riding, and I don't want to impose on them so much as to say "yes, I'd love to ride your horse if you would like to trailer him to the beach/forest for me." All I really want to do is gallop down the beach, jump some good size fences, hack over a beautiful farm, and of course most of all I want to be out hunting!
Actually, thinking about it, I really miss the time with *my* horse. Not only the satisfaction of bringing on a greenie, but having a horse that I know inside and out and developing that relationship.
I am counting my blessings that this has been a self imposed break and that I will be able to have my own horse again in a year or so. And I didn't realise how much I loved just being able to decide "right, I feel like a forest or beach ride today" load my horse and go. Even when I first got the super green, fairly sharp, 4.5yo project mare we were out hacking in a couple of weeks. I've been totally spoilt!
It feels that my life is somewhat in limbo - it's not quite long enough to get involved in another sport before we go, but I really miss the structure and focus of riding. We go walking every night after work, and longer hikes in the weekends, but it's not the same. I have 3 days of annual leave I have to take after New Years that I normally I would have filled with riding - I have no idea what I'm going to do with it (my husband has to work). It's really weird having all this free time!
Anyway, I really enjoy coming on here and reading about everyone's hunting adventures and experiences. I've learnt so much here, there is a real wealth of knowledge. It's *almost* as good as being out myself
Hmmm. Well, I haven't been without a horse to call my own since 1965 so yeah, I don't know what I would do with the time. I guess, if arena riding doesn't appeal, any farms in hunt country that need horses exercised? Time to start legging up hunters yet? As for the hounds, help walking out? Go to you tube and google foxhunting and watch videos?
No other bright ideas at present, but you do have my sympathies, well, sort of. It sounds like you are working up to some grand adventure!
I sold my horse to attend university, and it ended up taking 10 years of working to get the degrees and back into owning horses. Being horseless suuuucked--you have my sympathy.
My recommendation is to network like crazy and find more interesting riding opportunities, and then be the perfectly-mannered catch rider (ride exactly how they want, clean tack after, etc.). Since you're comfortable on greenies, a lot of people are glad for help getting outside-the-arena mileage on young stock. I did a lot of that, and it's never boring! If you get connected with the hunt clubs, some people may be glad for help keeping horses legged up, greenies brought on and introduced to the hounds, and (as Beverly said) most hunts are thrilled to have help with the hounds and someone may provide an extra horse for it. Also, check with any polo clubs around--always LOTS of super-fun horses who need exercised and the owners tend to be pretty relaxed about a good gallop.
My sympathies! Although you are obviously an advanced rider, there can be a lot of joy in the baby steps. Perhaps you could find an opportunity to work with a horse who needs you. Perhaps rehab for an injury, or restarting one with trust issues or a bad reputation? (Do stay safe!) How about (finances permitting) lessons in a new discipline--have you always wanted to try driving or reining--even *GASP* dressage?
After my first marriage, I thought I could walk away from horses, at least for a while. 6 months after selling my last horse, I had adopted a lame Thoroughbred off the track and stashed him in a boarding stable. I remember the joy I would get during my day at the office, catching a faint whiff of leg paint lingering on my hands. Just being with him, grooming him and handwalking and grazing, was the best part of my day.
It sounds like you miss the bond of being with your own horse, but you really might find satisfaction in just being in the moment with any decent sort of horse. Best wishes!
I have been so surprised how much I've missed having my own horse, I thought I'd be fine just getting catch rides, but it's really not the same. Even having project horses that I know I'm going to sell I still love my time and getting to know them.
Haha, I'm not that advanced and I'm not that keen on other people's greenies. Plus it's a time thing - I could get out twice a week, whereas when I have a greenie I like to ride 5-6 days a week, or at least spend time with them.
I think I will approach the Huntsman after Christmas and see if I can help at the kennels, pretty sure he will be starting to walk them then. That way I should hopefully learn more about the hounds, definitely an area I could learn more in.
Thanks again, have a wonderful Christmas, happy hunting
Things will work out for you for the good. Keep a positive attitude about it.
If you can ride with friends on their horses it will fill in the emptiness. Then travel and keep your eyes on the future when you will be able to get back into the horses.
Have a great time traveling. I wish I had done so in former times and now I am too old to do what I wanted to do. Yeah I can still travel but not like I wanted to back then.
Lay out your plan and work with it. Ride when ever the opportunity comes about. When it all comes together and you get back on Home soil, then you can start putting back all your horse fun. I wish you a wonderful time and wish I could do it too.
Kindest regards, sadlmakr
Hotspur - wow! Those photos are stunning, so beautiful with the snow. And I loved the goofy ears on some of the hounds. Just out of curiosity, how come they wear collars?
Very, very different from my hunt - it's always green here.
Sadlmakr - don't worry, I'm staying positive, really looking forward to our trip. If we don't go now, we'll never go - as it is we'll be quite a bit older than the regular backpackers but that won't slow us down.
Our hounds go out with radio finder collars on each hunt. Much of our hunt territory is covered with heavy woods and brush with creeks, lakes, and the Flint river mixed in. County roads break this country into square miles and we are very active in assuring that all of our hounds are brought home safely and quickly at the end of each day.
We do hunt in snow cover on most of our winter hunts. Conditions that might keep us from hunting at this time of year would be ice that would make the roads dangerous to drive, or snow cover that is too deep, or snow that is crusty and likely to cut hounds feet. Right now we have no snow and turf conditions that are too soft to cross landowners property. We need a good freeze.