For the first time in 19 years, I am without a horse to ride. I have gone from consistently riding 5 to 6 times a week and competing frequently to hardly riding at all. I still have my guy, but he's currently on stall rest and likely to enjoy a life of retirement after that. There are horses I can catch ride at the barn where I board, but it's just not the same as having your own horse. Plus, with my work schedule, I can really only catch ride on the weekends. My trainer generally is not out and about during the wee hours of the morning when I typically ride during the week.
I'm currently shopping for my next horse, but I'm not having a whole lot of luck. Out of the many horses I've tried, the one I really liked turned out to have navicular changes and ringbone (not exactly a great combo for someone looking to do prelim + eventing). Also, not exactly a great combo to see in a 10 year old horse.
So, much of my horse time these days is spent grazing my guy, which I love to do, but I still find myself depressed as a result of no riding goals on the horizon. Have you ever experienced time "between" horses? How'd you cope?
I've become obsessed with finding another horse, but I just can't find any candidates that I seem to like as much as the one that didn't work out. Any advice?
Same thing happened to me - used to ride every day, horse got hurt, stall rest, retirement, POOF I don't ride much anymore. Trying to get back into a program, but its hard. I miss my dude, and I really struggle with the fact that I feel like i never got to have that "last ride" on him, and I still really only want MY HORSE. All other horses that I may happen to ride - they're nice enough but I only really feel "meh" about them.
I wish I had advice for you, but I do not. I do feel your struggle and pain, though.
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
It sucks, doesn't it?!? Thankfully, I know I can "move on" from my guy so to speak because I've been leasing another gelding this past year in an effort to make the transition easier. I started the lease prior to my guy's injury, but I knew at the time that my guy was approaching retirement age anyway. When he got injured, I was so lucky to have this other horse to ride.
Of course, leasing gets expensive, and this particular horse had a habit of getting himself hurt. I've never had a horse have more injuries than this guy did in a year!
So, anyway...around the beginning of November, he went home, and here I am. I was so excited about this horse that I thought I was going to buy, and now, I just can't get excited about anything else. I keep thinking...what if I vet another one and he/she fails?!? I don't want to settle for my second choice, and I'm trying not to be in a hurry, but man, I miss having a horse to ride.
Sending good vibes your way hoping you find another horse that will make you love riding again!!
I went through this as well – my horse had a horrific accident, and suddenly, after many years as a working student and showing, I found myself horseless. I was too busy with school (and later my job right out of school) to really own my own horse. So, instead I did “free leases” which basically amounted to free training on horse X – in exchange for saddle time, without a hard commitment, and no cost to me.
I also spent some time riding auction horses – hooked up with a lady that would buy them at the low end actions – I would be test pilot, and then retrain the sound / sane ones. It was super rewarding – got to see a lot of progress in the horses – and helped them move on to good homes.
Like you, I am eventer – and had been doing prelim before I became horseless – The auction horses were quite a change, but one I do not regret at all. Plus they gave me the skills to start youngsters etc.
Thanks for the great advice!! I would LOVE to ride greenbeans for fun while I try and find my next partner, but given my schedule, it may have to just be a weekend thing. How did you happen to come across the auction job?
There are also lots of rescue/OTTB rehab programs that need volunteers. You could also check to see if there is anything like this in your area that might need an experienced rider?
Definitely know how you feel. I've been horseless since '05 when I sold my Children's Hunter prior to going to college, then got a grown up job etc. I've been catch riding for over 7 years and I learned A TON! Totally made me a better rider! But I am definitely ready for some one on one time now.
Ask a trainer that you trust if they need any help around their barn? Do you have any friends who own tack shops who need weekend help? That would keep you 'in the loop' with regard to the local horse community and might help you to feel more connected. It might also give you a good lead to your next horse.
Same thing happened to me - used to ride every day, horse got hurt, stall rest, retirement, POOF I don't ride much anymore.
Same exact situation here. Then, after four years (two of rehab for horse, two searching for my next "Mr Perfect" after horse was retired), I finally acquired a new horse. Youngster, two more years of "basic" work. Finally get him to actually being able to jump around, and he puts his leg through wire fencing and is off for a year.
I like everyone's suggestions to keep up with it. But I actually found it to be a time to throw effort into the things I had been "neglecting" due to the horses. I put a lot of extra effort into my career, which turned out to be immensely beneficial thus far, so that when I found a new horse or said horse recovers from injury, I can afford to take some extra time to show. I got married and probably would've had kids during the time off if we'd been ready so I wouldn't have to schedule the pregnancy around show season. I still stay/ed involved in the barn, and rode friends' horses ("free leasing" like Appsolute mentioned) and took lessons on trainer's show horses, not to mention taking care of my old guys who were retired, and now youngster who is convalescing.
It has been kind of a relief to get away from it for a little bit. I was getting burned out and am now itching to get back in the show ring.