I'm a on and off rider.. for about 10 years now. I've switched disciplines a couple of times.. when I was younger I was obsessed with horses (still am!) and went from volunteering for small lessons to a tough dressage barn to a laid back show jumping barn. I've found over the years college has taken up most of my time (and work, among other things) but, my question is if your a true horse person, will you always be? How do you make time for horses, if you don't live on the property and own your own? What do you do to stay around them?
It is okay to be less passionate about childhood interests as you get older and your life changes. Don't be hard on yourself. It is perfectly normal to change tastes and interests, even an interest in horses.
I didn't own a horse between the ages of 18 and 42. I sold my horse before going to college and didn't get another one until I was well into middle age. I did some horse stuff inbetween, sometimes more actively than others, but trail rides, lessons, watching shows, and doing horse related stuff. I was perfectly happy.
I decided to return more actively to horses, knowing full well what that meant, because Mr. IF was interested and supportive of the endeavor. He may wonder about that fork in the road now we own 135 acres and have 22 horses on it, but I would never have gone there without him.
So you can't tell how things are going to end up. Don't feel guilty about making your choice to do something else for a while. I traveled a good bit, saw lots of theatre and art, and advanced professionally in my career. I have no regrets.
Although my love of horses has never waned, per se, there have been layers of interest, coming and going. When I showed, I lived for that stuff. But I was pretty young too. Now, due to age and other things, I'm just happy to have my Mr. Leo and watch him hold the pasture down. Through all the things I've done in my life, I'm glad I expanded a bit and looked over the horizon.
Just because you were passionate about horses as a girl, doesn't mean you have to have the same passion as an adult, and it doesn't mean you didn't really love them when you were younger!
It just means other things have come into your life, and THAT'S OKAY. I look at some horsewomen (sorry, they're all women) and they have nothing in their life beyond their horse/s. Every dollar they earn goes to supporting their horse and their habit. Again that's OKAY, IF you have SOMETHING else in your life. Otherwise you become 'barn blind', unable to relate to people for whom kids, dogs, jobs are more important than your horse.
If you're lucky enough to find someone to share your life with, they may have to understand that 'the horse comes first' and that can be very hard for a man to accept. By the same token, you may find that you love your SO more than you love your horse and THAT'S OKAY TOO.
~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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I think college can be a busy time, where you are overwhelmed and also exploring other interests.
I WANTED to be involved with horses in college, but I wanted to do other things even more. I leased my horse out my freshman year and then sold him right before my sophomore year started. I rode some while in college.
When I got out of college, I got back into horses. But you'll do whatever is right for you... interests change throughout life. And sometimes circumstances force temporary changes...
Although i have never lost my love of horses I did lose my desire to actually ride my horse.
I found out that I have been depressed! I have major family issues that I just can't get a hold on.
So I bought another horse then moved them to a new barn and am slowly getting my desire back.
Sometimes life issues affect you more than you would think. My boys are still my life and I never lost the need to be with them, grooming, hand grazing or just hanging at the barn. But I just couldn't bring myself to actually get on them.
up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
What RR said. I'm still on hiatus after selling my first horse. We weren't a good match, I let myself be taken advantage of by first trainer, and I had a lot of things to learn how to deal with quickly ... owning her was a stressful experience, and it made me really leery of jumping back into ownership.
But it also showed me really clearly what I wanted and didn't want in a horse, and it clarified my goals a little. I want to become a better rider, but above all, it needs to be fun more often than not. When it isn't, it's time to make some changes.
Taking time off has let me explore some other things (got back into running, picked up yoga again), fix up my yard and plant a bunch of flowers, do some creative projects, travel, etc. Horses are expensive and can be really time-consuming, and I think sometimes we don't realize how much of our lives we devote to them until they're gone, and suddenly we have all this free time and money!
I'm pretty sure I'll get back into it, but I don't want to buy anything immediately. I'd like to lease something kind and quiet with a good brain who will ease me back into it, and then when I know I'm ready to take the plunge again, I will ... but this time with the right horse, not just the horse the trainer has in for training/sale that she thinks is a "perfect" match.
You have lots of ways to be involved without owning/riding. You can go spectate at shows, volunteer at a horse trials/dressage show, audit clinics, hang out on COTH (my favorite), learn about a specific topic (what a proper trim looks like), watch friends ride in lessons, volunteer with a reputable rescue, etc. You'll find your way.
I had horses all through middle and high school. It was my #1 activity and I spent a lot of time practicing and showing. I had to quit when I went to college and I was ready to do other things then. I still rode all through my 20s and 30s - just took lessons, trail rides at public stables, random stuff. Got married, started showing again, got pregnant with twins, so that was the end of horses for me for a while. Now, 24 years after the twins were born, I'm back into it and really enjoying it.
While I didn't much think of it at the time, I now am very appreciative that I did other things besides horses, like having kids, having a profession, and traveling. I am pretty darn satisfied with the way my life has turned out. At the same time, I am extremely thankful that I have this great interest that gives me something fun to do and adds some spice to my life at a time when some people get a lot less interesting, believe me.
If you don't have professional aspirations surrounding horses, go out and live life a little. Travel, meet new people, ride horses in new locales (I used to visit farms and talk to new folks when I was on business trips - a fun way to see the world!) Your interest in horses may take new shapes but it will probably never go away - and when the time is right, I'll bet you'll be riding once again.
Our childhood loves and interests can change, wane or dissapear completly..and that is OK.
as a kid, I ate, breathed and dreamed horses..that was ALL I did..outside of chorus in school..and horse stuff even took precedence over THAT if it came down to it. I showed, I rode, I worked..horses were LIFE.
as I "grew up"..got married, had my son..horses were still a big part of my life..my husband rides and competes and our son enjoys riding.
What I have found though..is I enjoy riding for RIDING..my goals are my own, not for showing per say..as I don't show much anymore..I do alot of stuff with my dogs in agility and herding..my son is heavily involved in soccer and sheep showing..my priorities have changed..and that is OK..my horses live on our place and they are eager and willing to go for a ride when Im able too..and when Im busy that I cant..well, they are OK with that too! My perfect ride used to be a clean cross country round..now its a saturday riding the trails with friends.
What everyone else said... I rode as a tween/teen, quit when I was 17 1/2, and spent 25 years away from horses, other than a few riding lessons in college and one or two trail rides. Went to the occasional show, followed the racing scene somewhat, and my grandmother kept paying for my _Arabian Horse World_ subscription until I was in my mid-20s and told her to stop. (She was my most avid supporter, when it came to horse stuff, as she'd had her own pony as a small girl and even 70+ years later really missed having a horse.)
When I was getting my PhD at UC Irvine, I was living in grad student apartments and there was a huge, ramshackle boarding facility right next door. I could have walked in any time and gotten back into it, but I knew it was expensive and feared that it could take up too much time. I regret, now, not hooking up with the horse scene there.
I don't think it was *great*, being away for 25 years, and it took a couple of horsey friends to drag me back into it, but I picked things up again, now have my own horse, and don't have the money worries I would have had if I'd tried to stay in it, or get back into it earlier.
What you are describing is why we have a group that calls themselves 're-riders.' Life and other interests take you away from horses. Sometimes later on you find your way back. Sometimes you find something else that captures your interest more. Nothing at all wrong with it. If you want you can always find lessons and horses to ride without committing yourself to horse ownership. A Saturday at a horse how can be a great way to enjoy horses.
It is sad to say, finally had my life long dream of having horses in my backyard, and the passion just burned so bright the last three years it's fizzled, popped and is a slow burning dim ember at the moment. Too much going on. BUT I'm still around them every day tending to their needs, riding when the mood strikes. Fortunately I have a small army of friends/acquaintances with passion still going full blaze so any major 'fiending' for a horse fix I can get through them.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say....and it's true. The less strain I'm putting on myself to 'Enjoy or die! Get better or be forever doooomed" the more I'm starting to enjoy it again.
Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
RIP Scoutin' For Trouble ~ 2011 at 10
RIP Tasha's Last Tango ~ 2010 at ~23
RIP In Sha' Allah ~ 2009 too young at 5
Im in a similar situation. My heart horse was put down 2 months ago, and i have lost interest. Dont wanna go to the barn, dont want to go look at new horses. I think i should lease....then I decide i dont want to. I know time will heal, but i have lost it as well.
Don't squat with yer spurs on
Skip's Passionate Gal "Hannah"- 2003 AQHA Mare
Port of Call "Cruise" 3/4 Thoroughbred -1/4 Clyde 4/15/98-3/1/12 RIP my handsome boY
We change and evolve throughout life in ways we never imagined. I was a working student in a H/J riding school in my teens; graduated to dressage, then eventing in my twenties; tried French-school dressage, sidesaddle and even reining in my 30's and 40's, because it was the right fit for horses I happened to have; and today, in my 50's, with the responsibility of running a busy farm and other outside interests, I'm happy to get out a couple of times a week patrolling the trail system for downed trees and other hazards on a 14.3 h. Tennessee Walking Horse!
Just remember--you don't have anything to "prove" to anyone. Ride if you want to. For me, at this point in my life, it's about the horses themselves.
I think that if you love horses, the love will always be there somehow. And the best thing about horses is you can come and go into it-it doesn't have to be an all in or nothing type of deal. I ride with plenty of people who have come back to horses in their late 40's, or started riding in their 30's. Heck, one of the women I ride with is 70!
So I would say right now it doesn't sound like you've lost your passion, its just dormant. You're busy getting other life experiences which is great. You'll probably find your way back to horses eventually and make it work, however you can if thats what you want.
OP, can I just thank you for having the guts to post this question? I've been struggling with this recently too. I got my first pony when I was 7, showed heavily in my teens, and then went to college and kept the horses, but didn't ride (show horses were retired). About 7 years ago, I got back into it, got Alex (the talented prospect)and then Bodie (the reliable 1st level schooler).
Two years ago -- well, let's say there was a lot of drama in my life and suddenly, horses were the last thing I wanted. I still have them, but I am trying to find homes for Alex and Bodie, have 6 that are pasture pets, and have no interest in riding anymore. Does it feel "weird?" Absolutely. I feel like I waited my entire life for Alex and now I'm "wasting" him. I feel guilty, too. BUT . . .
My friend (who hates horses) explained it to me this way: people evolve, grow, change. What was important to you ten years ago may not be today, and what's important to you today may not be ten years from now. I'm focused on my career, going back to grad school, and writing my novels. Still love the horses, but right now, they don't really fit into my life. Maybe in ten years, they will again, who knows?
So, OP -- horses may always be part of your life, and they may not. But like everyone else has said, there's nothing at all wrong with having other interests. When/if the time is right for you to get back into it, you'll know.
Wow, I am here too. And I have been riding for 55 years. After my heart horses (mother and daughter) died of old age in 2005, I just never felt a connection with the next 6 horses I owned and tried to bond with. Several were way too hot for someone at my age and consequently, I have lost my mojo. I worry too much about being hurt, at my age.
I am up for selling my last two and spending my time traveling around the world, without the worry of farm sitters and vet emergencies. I can't believe I feel this way. Horses have always been who I am.
I am actually looking at homes near the Florida beach, my other passion (the beach, not necessarily FL.) although I hate snow and ice.
I can't believe I am thinking this.
There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.