Anyone done a significant time with no horse contact? (Year+)
I recently graduated college. I grew up as a once a week lesson kid and came into college w/t/c & jumping cross rails. Had no significant concept of leads, distances, etc. Over the last couple years I've been able to take lessons multiple times a week and my riding has improved exponentially. People are now paying me to condition or care for their horses. My goal is to buy my very first horse in 2014. Basically, I'm on a real upswing in my horse career...
Well today I was offered a nice job (I'm currently working temp or p/t jobs). It's with a great company and I think I would really enjoy the job and the people. The catch? It's in Costa Rica.
So who has spent a year or more away from horses when they didn't really want to? The big problem is, I don't know what I want to do for my career. Recently some things have pointed me to pursuing horses, and I feel like this would throw a real hitch in that. On the other hand, it's f***in' Costa Rica and I feel like I would be crazy to give it up!
Go. I gave up horses for much longer than that to go to University in the middle of a city (still rode once in a blue moon but couldn't afford it for extended periods) and then intern in South Africa followed by au pairing in Paris. The lessons I learned doing all of those things were invaluable, and none would have happened if I'd let horses tie me down. I'm now back home & leasing an awesome QHx who I'm having a lot of fun with. I've actually found my riding has improved because of the break - I get way more out of lessons now than I did when I was younger, and my rides in between lessons are way more effective. I don't know if its because I'm more able to take what the trainer says and apply it, or more willing because now I'm paying for everything...whatever the reason, it's working.
You'll never regret doing something, but you could regret not. The lessons you'll learn and experiences you'll have working and living in other countries are invaluable. I had the most challenging 6 months of my life in Paris, yet I'm still so glad I went.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Go go go! I've given up horses more than once to travel and go live in other places. Yea, I get a little horse-crazy and end up riding in my head often, BUT it is definitely worth it for the opportunity. Horses you can always come back to.
I basically stopped when I was in college and for about a year after while I got established in a job, etc. I would stop by the barn once every few months and visit or go on a trail ride, but that was pretty much all. You can always come back later. Horses aren't going anywhere.
I would say go. I've taken multiple 1-2+ year breaks for work reasons, plus like a 5-year break in college and immediately after. It's usually into the second or third year where I start to go nutty from lack of horse. You can absolutely make it through a year or two, ESPECIALLY when you're having an amazing experience like you'd have in Costa Rica. The opportunity to live overseas and to really envelop yourself in a culture outside the US is really a gift and a blessing.
Also, as others mention, the horses will still be here when you come back. Dedicated, hard-working, genuine people always end up with opportunities to ride.
Costa Rica is really awesome, btw. And I'd imagine they have some riding opportunities so you can get your "horse fix." ETA: Just googled "equestrian costa rica." Stuff comes up. You'll find something, even if it is occasional weekend trail riding.
I gave up horses for about 10 years for college, grad school, and startng my career. No regrets, iI picked it up again stringer than ever. And there are things I learned and did during that time that I would not have done had I been riding regularly.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
It sounds like a great adventure. Go and take advantage of it while you're at a juncture in your life where it's easier to do so. I'm sure you will be able to at least find some casual riding opportunities there.
I've been in no contact with horses for just over a year and I'm reaching the end of my endurance, but it's been a great non horsey time! Moved, got a job, got married, had a baby....there was just never a chance to find a barn and get back around to it (plus I'm in a lesson barn deprived area). And I will continue to be without horses for the time being, because there aren't really lesson resources that I can take advantage of given my house and commute to work every day and DH and I don't have the finances yet to lease or purchase. Like I said, great year, but there are some days I really miss it. If nothing else, it's giving me an appreciation for how much I love it and how good it is for my soul. When I do start riding again I'll enjoy it that much more, and I would definitely not change any of the last year-ish!
Having said all that (and not read any other responses) I'd say go. Have an adventure! Now is the time to do it, and you'll be getting paid! Plus there are definitely horses in Costa Rica. If nothing else, you can find a tourist place that offers beach rides from time to time.
I would not miss the chance to go to Costa Rica. I gave up horses for eight years for two reasons. First, I had to choose between them and my ice skating competitions because it was too expensive to do both. Secondly, I had to get thru my last year of college with little time for outside activities because I was graduating ahead of schedule. Then I started working and without parents paying for anything, horses were a luxury that I couldn't afford. Eight years later, after my skating days were over and I was well established in my career, I got back into horses and have owned them ever since, for 25+ years now. A year is nothing - go and make the most of it.
Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.
Costa Rica is amazing. Go. And there are a lot of horses there. I went two years without riding between college and grad school. I was busy but I still missed it. I used to pull into random barn parking lots and I admit I cried a little. But I lived and I was doing really cool, fun jobs that got me to where I am now and now I do have horses. Never pass up an opportunity for adventure!
My trainer is FROM Costa Rica and rides GP here. There are TONS of show jumping opportunities there, just like in other South American countries. It is actually quite the popular sport! Go to Costa Rica AND ride!
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
Thanks everyone! I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it, although I am going to mull it over for a couple more days to make sure.
It's hard, because I applied for a job with them in November. I got really excited, went through their VERY lengthy interview process and got even more excited. Anxiously waited for a week while they made their choice... and then they didn't choose me. So I had to be ok with that and change my focus to my opportunities here. JUST as some things here began falling into place, they called and said "we want to offer you this position that you would be even better for than the one you applied for."
So it's been an emotional roller coaster to say the least.
BEARCAT, would you mind passing along the names of the barn or barns your trainer goes to? I'll be living in the middle of nowhere, so consistent lessons won't be possible, but if I could get in touch with a "real" barn that will even allow me to groom and walk a horse once in a while I would be very happy!
I'm also thinking about trying to stay for a few months after contract ends and see if I can get a job as an assistant for a trainer down there. I'm thinking that might give me some valuable experience plus something very unique on my resume if I do pursue horses.
Thank you so much for the encouragement. I really needed the extra push!
I think you should go for it! However, take some time for yourself and try to find a barn or some way to get in a few rides.
In my case I followed a career that lead me far away from horses. For many years I was miserable; until one day, out of the blue, my trainer called. I have not been away since, and find myself thriving in a new career path. Like Event4Life said, I have improved exponentially. Sometimes, a break is good, but don't let it all go just for a silly career!