Granted it has been a rough couple of years and my success rate with boarding facilities and trainers has not been great, not even close to being good, and consequently I find myself in a somewhat different dilema. Where horses have been my passion and purpose for the last several years, (more then I care to count) I now find myself having lost that sense of passion and purpose that horses used to provide to me.
I have been wondering if maybe its time to change hobbies and find something else that ignites a sense of passion or that maybe my passion for horses will return if given enough time? Has anyone else gone through this stage or transistion and did the passion for horses return or was another passion discovered? I would love to hear your thoughts
I've been there. After I sold my last horse I started riding a few others here and there. Some were alright, others not so much. It just wasn't the same as having my own. I had to sell that horse due to back problems I had and upcoming finance situations with going to school. Plus I was just burnt out from competing, boarding barns, horse people, etc. So when his half-leaser (who is wonderful!) offered to buy him we agreed on a price and that was that. Like I said I rode a few here and there for a few months after and then I just stopped. I had some negative experiences and just didn't ride for about 2 years.
After those 2 years I started getting that passion back and I NEEDED to be around horses again. I started riding at an Arab barn that did some huntseat and saddleseat. I loved saddleseat but I had to leave that barn after lessons costs were high and they only really had 1 or 2 school horses and were more structured toward those who have their horses boarded their in full training.
I ride now at a fellow COTH member's place and she had great horses and provides great instruction. I have no complaints about that but sometimes I feel myself losing passion a little over the matter because I don't have my own horse. Hers are great, but they're not mine. You know?
What I'm saying is that it is alright to step away and follow another path for awhile. It really may come back for you in a couple of months, years, or whatever. If not you might find something else to be passionate about. There is nothing wrong with leaving something behind that just no longer does it for you. Life is too short to force yourself into something you feel you "should" be doing.
My passion returned after those few years but isn't what it once was. I think it will be once I get my own horse someday. But step away if you have to, you might not realize what you are missing until you are away from it and your passion will reignite.
Definitely been there! I worked in the horse industry full time for too many years. I came to loath everything about horses that had been my life blood for so long. That fact alone; that something that I had loved my entire life was now something I hated was incredibly upsetting. Horses defined who I was, what would I be without them?
Well, I made a career change and stepped away from riding. Got rested, got happy. A friend took me to Rolex a year after leaving horses and I realized I wanted to ride again. Fast forward, I just bought a new young horse to play with. No fancy barn, no hard and fast goals. Today I got on him in his blankets and went for a ride around the field through the fresh foot of snow that just fell. . .heaven!
Get away from horses if that's what you want, you'll come back if you need to. Wishing you the best for the New Year!!
Been there, but only took a two month break. Really got burnt out with the frustration of dealing with a horse with Wobbler's Syndrome, it had taken a lot of fun out of riding. It was also nice to be able to go straight home from work for a change. Might have taken a longer break, but my husband saw an ad for an Icelandic farm that was going out of business and selling cheap, so I ended up buying one (wanted an Icelandic for years but couldn't afford them).
By all means, take a break. If you start to feel the passion come back, try looking at different breeds/disciplines. The horse world is large and something different might spark your interest.
I am so sorry to read your post. There are times that we all get burned out. For those of us that own horses and have kids with horses, it is not so easy to walk away and take a break. I know that I will own and care for horses the rest of my adult life. I have a commitment to my horses. Fortunately, I love every aspect of having horses. They are my solace.
If you lease, etc. and can easily take a break, then by all means do so. It is too expensive and time consuming of a hobby/passion/way of life to maintain if you are not really enjoying it. Good luck finding your way!
I have lost my passion and was going through lots of questions. My Friesian got hurt and now is basically retired I may be able to ride him again but only doodle riding. I fought long and hard to ride and you get tired of beating your head against the wall.
I started competing my dog in agility and am having a blast doing that. I sometimes can not believe I am not riding but I do not want to ride just anything I want to ride my Friesian and that portion of the story is over. I am enjoying my new journey with my dog.
I have taken two breaks from horses and don't regret either one. I grew up with horses and showing. But after years of struggling to afford my horses by working off board, I needed a break financially, emotionally, and physically. After 15+ years of owning horses, I sold off my last horse just before getting married.
Just before getting married DH suggested we get a Labrador. And thus began my journey into competing with dogs: obedience, agility, conformation, hunt tests, rally obedience, etc. Competing with my dogs gave me a similar experience to working with horses (but obviously not the same nor in any way a replacement for) but at an easier cost and effort to maintain. I have a bond with my dogs different in many ways than what I ever had with my horses, perhaps in large part due to the fact they live with me whereas my horses were always boarded out. I ADORE my dogs and love having them in my life. I especially enjoy training and competing with them in the performance events. Through the training process we really develop a bond and rapport.
For about 10 years I left the horse world completely, no responsibilities of ownership, no lessons, etc. and really didn't miss it all that much. Then, I started getting the urge to ride again. So, I found a dressage/event trainer with school horses who advertised on Craig's List and started taking lessons again in the middle of winter (not exactly the smartest thing in MI!) and realized I NEEDED to be riding. Up until then, I didn't have that need and got by just fine without horses in my life. Trainer and I were a GREAT match and I really got close with her.
My trainer had plenty of options of horses to ride so I wasn't in the market to purchase my own. I had been lessoning with her for 7 or 8 months when I decided to go to a dispersal sale for some Welsh ponies. At the urging of a friend with me at the auction and my trainer (via phone), I purchased a 6 year old unbroke pony mare! I had gone to the sale to try and get some brushes and odds and ends tack to use with my trainer's schoolies and left with an unbroken mare! To top it off, I had recently lost my job. DH was less than pleased with that! But, being as I then had plenty of time and enough skill (along with my trainer's assistance) to break out the pony, I embraced the opportunity to try something I had never done before.
I had the pony just over a year and she began making it clear that she preferred H/J over dressage/eventing and I am not a H/J rider. Additionally, I was getting closer to securing a job and my trainer was planning on relocating out of state. So the time came to sell pony. Busy with a new job and still pursuing competitions with my dogs, I went back to being horseless.
Fast forward two years and I now have a wonderful OTTB from JudyBigRedPony. I had been ~casually~ looking for an OTTB for about a year before my mare came to me. I knew I wanted to get back into horses but the timing hadn't been quite right nor had the right horse or right trainer been available. For the first time ever as a horse owner, I now have a job that allows me to afford my horse habit without having to bust butt working off board. Don't get me wrong, I still have to penny pinch elsewhere, but I am in a better position financially than I have ever been previously. I'll tell you--it feels really good knowing I can afford it and not have to fret about working off board or wonder where I'll get the money to pay my shoeing bill. That has been a HUGE weight lifted off me and has made this round of horse ownership feel far different than the other times I owned horses.
I'm not saying I regret my past horse ownership experiences at all. It's just now I'm able to relax and enjoy my horse in a way I never could before. Right now, I am simply enjoying the journey with my mare and taking my time. I have not put a deadline on our progress so I take each day as it comes and we will perhaps make it to a dressage schooling show or a local horse trial next summer. But, if that doesn't happen, that's a-ok too.
I guess what I'm saying in all this long-windedness is that only you know when the time is or isn't right to have horses in your life and to what degree they should be in your life. Sometimes owning your own is what's right and sometimes borrowing other people's is what's right. Sometimes, taking that break entirely is what you need at that time. I keep coming back to horses whereas many of my fellow dog-show friends left horses and never went back. My mom (not a horse person) always said I had horses in my blood and she knew I'd find a way to keep them in my life one way or another.
Wow - its 6am and I've been up since 2am with this exact concern rolling around in my head.
I've had horses involved in my life for the last 30 years (so since I was 10) sometimes I took a break when I was younger, but for the last 15 years now there has been no break.
My old mount was a bombproof clyde I had since he was a yearling. I broke him and showed him for the last 10 years. But then wanted something younger, more competitive as I was getting addicted to the jumping. So I bought my current baby as a two year old.
He has incrediable talent, but has also had me in the hospital twice in the last 2 months. He is a handful, I don't think he's over horses for me, and at this point neither does my trainer - but with his age, a trainer dispute, a couple of barn moves, and now each time I'm on the verge of being strong and solid enough to start showing something came up - as far as my injuries.
So now I sit here, and suddenly the passion seems to be fading... I have a solid paying job for this town, but when I incorporate in a mortgage payment, food, and then my horse costs - there's little left after. So those rose colored glasses have come off.
I know right now if I was to get out of it now, the chances, at my age, of getting back into it - is just simply not going to happen. While I was in the hospital this last time, I had kinda thought maybe its time to sell him and move on. Hubby is not a horse person, but he is very emotionally supportive. But I wondered maybe its time to get another pup, do something else with the new pup and that might fill that void. But I just wonder as the passion isn't completely gone yet, will I regret my decision.
I almost wish their was like a nicotine patch but for horses - you wear the patch, and they just seem like an obscure animal to you - much like a giraffe or gazelle... interesting to watch but no interest in owning one.
This thread interested me because for some time I've been questioning my passion for horses. I've been in them in some/every capacity forever ~ since I was 5 years old, when the horse bug hit. I had my own, rode professionally for good barns, even raced in steeple chase competitions.
I'm now almost 60 years old, and do my own horse care for my three here at my farm.
In the warmer months, I don't mind the labor. I trailer out a lot for rides, and enjoy my boys. They are all sweet, well mannered individuals with funny, super personalities. They stand tied, don't spook or try to hurt me. Sure, they can get spunky, we don't always have great rides, but I do really love them, and care about their comfort.
However... in the winter, like now... I HATE the labor. I hate having to go get loads of hay. Fortunately my son is a great help there. It just seems there is always something more that is needed, I'll be low on feed, which requires planning to fit into my work schedule. It's always freezing wind or rain or icy when I can get the feed. I hate changing out blankets, from mid-weight to heavy, to none at all, depending on the weather. Standing out there at the barn when the farrier arrives to do all three.... brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I detest putting on layers and layers of sweaters, hoodies, scarves and coats, just to pop up to the barn to set out more hay nets. The mud - oh, I just want to scream slogging through the acres of mud every time there is a weather event, and the temps go up to the 50s the next day. I cannot bear the cold at my age, so I have to over dress just to get up there, and then I over heat and sweat like a pig doing the stalls and all else. Then I'm still hot getting back to the house, and strip off layers of wet clothes, only to have to put all back on in a few hours for evening stables. This goes on every day, year after year. I find myself thinking: Will I still be doing this when I'm 80 years old?????
But y'know? Every time I find myself cursing the cold, the mud, struggling to lift another blanket onto my friendly horse standing quietly in the cold wind in the pasture munching his hay happily, I marvel at how much these beasts trust and need me. I never have to put a halter on any of them to do anything, even give injections. Tube worming, picking their feet in the paddocks, inspecting boo-boos, dressing the boo-boos, they simply trust that I'm going to make their lives good.
So, long and short, I'm in it for the long haul. I just am. They trust that I will provide for them, and too bad if I find it a hassle at times. My reward is their trust. I'll keep it up as long as I physically can, and plan for the day when I'm no longer able to keep this level of care up to the standard they're used to.
I guess I'm getting there; it's been years since I was actually excited to go to the barn, but I usually think it's a good place to be. Lately I've been dragging myself there (Saturday was just spiffy: I was tired from a six hour drive on Friday, AND it was sleeting) but once I got there, and petted some horses and dogs, then got on a cranky old schoolie and, halfway thru the lesson, discovered the "canter" button that even my instructor couldn't get, things looked way up. . By all means, take a break if you need to.
Thank you for the courage it took for you to put this out there. This has been a very helpful thread. I lost the horsey passion as a young kid when i found myself with too much horse and darn near got killed. Stayed away for 20 years, was thrilled to get back in the game. Fast forward to 2012- It's been a less than stellar year and events have ofen caused me to wonder if I'd be happier without a horse in my life. Long story short, my kids ride as well and this horse thing has been a wonderful bonding experience for all of us, and has taught them so much. I also own my mare. She's older, and i feel it would be hard to find a good home for her. Plus, I also feel I made a commitment to her. She's done everything for me, I feel I owe her my care and support. But that's me. ( thanks for letting me share). For you, its about doing whats right for you in as graceful a way asossible. If you can extricate yourself from any equine obligations you might have (ownership of a horse or a lease) in a responsible way that leaves any equine affected assured of good care, then by all means, do what you need to do to be happy. People take up and put down hobbies all the time as time/ money/ interest permits. Sometimes they return to those hobbies, sometimes not. Forcing yourself to do something that you really don't want to do may be more harmful than you could anticipate. I'm no expert, but I'd say as long as any equines involved are ultimately well provided for if you leave the sport, then you gotta do what you need to do for your happiness and health. Good luck to you.
My motivation to ride waxes and wains. I usually take a break in the winter, when I'm the least motivated, and by spring I'm ready to go again. My advice is to take a short break (rest of the winter). Turn your horse(s) out and let them be. They'll be fine and probably just as glad of the break as you are. See how you feel in April or so.