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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2008
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
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    1,455

    Default Winter blues, or facing reality?

    This is kind of a ramble, just sort of seeking opinions. My sister tells me I go through this every year in winter, but I don't know. It feels different this year. Circumstances are different.

    I have two lovely horses. I have an 8 year old quarter horse mare that is 15.1 hands, well muscled/strong back/good conformation, easy keeper, intelligent and sane, developing nice hunter movement with a natural frame as she learns to use her hind, a smooth as silk canter, and even a hidden jog in there that I am not encouraging. She loves to jump - can free jump 4' nicely without even blinking, thinks 2' is a joke and will rollback and jump it again nearly from a standstill when on her own. She has good feet, not too small, and has been barefoot since I got her, though I've considered shoes if she's going to jump. She trail rides like a dream, has speed if asked for it. Ties for hours if needed, loads and trailers well, backs out, good for farrier, easy to catch. Downside: she's greener than she should be at her age. I got her at 5, unhandled. She's unregistered, though she could be - but her dam needs to be DNA tested even though she was registered and they sent me clipped hair instead of pulled *sigh*. First summer was ground work and about 60 days riding. Second summer we spent in Tennessee and she was boarded away from me and due to problems with the people I was staying with I only got to see her about once per week - and she ended up only ridden maybe 20 times that year. Last year also only about 20 rides, due to treating a sarcoid on her girth line. She is an alpha mare - not mean to other horses - but will test riders regularly. She has a "buck" though it's more of a kick out - when she does it her riders usually ask "what is she doing" because it feels like a large canter stride or going over a jump. So not really a buck... but she's not as "dead broke" as a normal 8 year old quarter horse around here should be.

    I also have a 4 year old Morgan gelding who is coming along wonderfully and honestly, is the one I want to focus on. He has a ton of potential as a dressage horse ... which is my preferred discipline. He's 15.2 hh and growing, and a joy to ride. I'm not going to talk much about him, because my dilemna is about my mare.

    I'm at a loss what to do about my mare. I adore her. She makes me smile and relax when I ride her ... but so does my gelding. My sister wants to event, and I admit to a slight desire to do so, and I think my mare would love it ... but it's not my passion. I don't really want to sell her ... but I also feel like she should be ridden more. I'm not a huge hunt seat fan, either, and I've had a couple of bad experiences in the show ring with her (she's better alone in the ring, though she's gotten much better as she's more confident). I just don't jump, and she loves to jump. I *have* jumped, but I don't love it, and I feel you need to love what you are doing. She's great on trails ... but so is my Morgan, and honestly, we only trail ride a couple of times a year. We do renaissance reinactment (SCA) and she loves the games ... but again, that's a 1-2 times a year thing ... and my Morgan would be good at that too.

    Yes, I can afford both of them. I work hard to be able to, and she's my "cheap" horse as she's happier on pasture, requires no extra feed, etc. But part of the problem is because I work off my board, I have less time to ride. If I sold or leased her, I could do less chores and have more time to ride. One of my instructors (hunt/jump) has said she'd be an easy sell. Her new farrier last week said if she was a gelding (he doesn't like mares) he'd offer money for her (I had mentioned I wasn't sure what to do with her), because she's the type that is, again, "easy to sell" - a nice looking, easy keeping, sane, strong, healthy young quarter horse mare with a good work ethic.

    The thought of loading her on to someone else's trailer and watching her drive away breaks my heart - I adore this mare. She's the only mare I've ever really liked LOL. I run a rescue, so it's not that I can't rehome horses - I do it all the time, even ones that I get attached to. She's different. I'm not sure if she's leasable since she's green and would require an intermediate rider ... and most of the people looking to lease in my area (that I know of, maybe I'm in the wrong circles) are looking for the older, dead broke, beginner type horses. None of the people I know that are looking to lease would be suitable for her. I'm a huge giver type - I'd "lease" her for help with my barn chores ... I really just want her to have more attention and a job.

    My sister is encouraging me to just get through the cold winter and see where we are this spring. She's probably right - I do go through this every year. But in the past, I didn't have two young, sound, green horses. Fall 2011, when I went through this, I brought my blind, arthritic gelding home and retired him during this slump, which was the right thing for him, even though he was only 14. I focused on my mare and a younger horse that is now leased instead. Three years ago I retired my then -15 year old QH gelding with wobbles to my parents where he has been a very happy trail horse, and at 18 now, is slowing down. I bought my mare instead, and had my last year with the blind gelding. For the first time in a long time I'm facing a year with two young, sound, healthy horses without disabilities and I'm worried I won't do justice to either of them.

    I don't know. I don't even know what advice I'm looking for, other than maybe something I've missed? Give it a few months, see if when the weather warms up my feelings change? It is hard to do anything much with the horses right now, and that could be part of it. Both my horses are on a winter schedule right now of trying to lunge at least once a week, and the only real riding I'm doing is cool out work, maybe some transition work. I'm considering sending her to a trainer for 30 days in April for a refresher and then deciding what to do. I think ideally I'd like to find a lease for her, even a partial, just someone who will ride her. Maybe someone who will explore her love of jumping (she's been started over cross rails and 2' jumps). Maybe someone who'll see if she has any interest in gaming? I don't know. I just know that my focus is on the Morgan, he's more suited for my personal goals ... and I don't know what to do with my mare.

    *sigh*
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    ~ Maya Angelou



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Default

    This is my mare, Nya:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...4&l=9727a09757

    Should be a public link.

    I should also probably mention that I lost my "heart horse" in September and have struggled with that loss. It's hard to have any inspiration or drive with the horses at all without him. BUT my drive is coming back .. and as it is my thoughts are that my focus is on the Morgan ... and I don't know what to do with my mare. *sigh*
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    ~ Maya Angelou



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2010
    Location
    Orygun
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    2,890

    Default

    I'm not being a smart-@ss, with my ADHD, I can't follow this post that well, what are you trying to say?? You don't know whether to keep the mare or not?

    If you are saying what I think you're saying, don't do anything till you know WHAT you want to do.

    If that's not what you're saying, then...never mind. I can't follow it, someone else will have better advice.
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2011
    Posts
    262

    Default

    I'm guessing she is at a loss on what to do with the mare...it is hard to follow.

    No one is making you ride or use the horses. If they make you happy, keep them both.

    How many hours a week are you working off board that you don't have time to ride? Can you ride or spend time with the horses before you do barn chores?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Default

    I'm sorry I know it is hard to follow, and that's probably why I'm at such a loss with what to do. It's probably something I shouldn't even worry about right now, but it's eating me up. I do about 10 hours a week of chores at my boarding barn right now. I usually work them both Friday mornings after I do the morning turnout chores. Right now, it's very cold and we have very short days in South Dakota. I go to work M-Th at 5:30 am and get home at 6:00 p.m., and it's already dark. In the summer I have sunlight until 10:00 p.m. and there just seems to be so much more time! I've also been working overtime for the past 3-4 weeks AND we have a newborn foal in the rescue which means our home chores are taking 1-1.5 hours instead of the usual half hour or so. I've just been so overwhelmingly busy between the rescue, overtime, chores, holidays, etc ... that I feel like there's no way I can devote enough time to two horses to keep them both happy!

    I don't know - maybe my sister is right and I just need to wait the winter out and see where things are in April/May. At that point, maybe with the longer daylight hours, the better temperatures, no overtime, etc., it won't seem so overwhelming and I'll find it's a moot point. And I really don't know how much the loss of my heart horse is affecting this - I still miss him every single day.

    I guess my question is more do I listen to that internal voice that's saying I should find her a better person, or do I give it some time and chalk it up to winter/grief blues and see where things are in a few months? And how to find balance between two horses so differently suited - if they were both lovely dressage horses it would help because they could go to the same shows, etc. What would YOU do?
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    ~ Maya Angelou



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2001
    Location
    Cambridge, IA
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    1,677

    Default

    The thing that jumped out at me was that your sister said you go through this every year. Look into seasonal affective disorder and see if that makes sense to you. Maybe some light therapy or vitamin D can help you. Then the decision-making will be much easier.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
    Location
    East of Dog River
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    5,683

    Default

    Tif_Ann - wait it out. I know how you are feeling. We have had winter here since October and by our version of distances, you are not all that far away. It has been brutally cold, loads of snow and the worst is the darkness from the constant cloud cover; seems we are getting maybe three days of sun per month and this also has been since October. For me, just getting across the yard to the barn is a huge chore.

    Today, back to cloud and I feel like crap and my energy level is down the crapper and I have to finish cleaning the last dump from my yard - probably another 10 hours of parking my ass on the tractor seat and bouncing around. BUT they say MORE whiteshit today and to make it worse, above freezing which make snow removal difficult at best and impossible at worst.

    Hang in there, kiddo, and when the horned larks sing, it is just about over.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tif_Ann View Post
    I'm sorry I know it is hard to follow, and that's probably why I'm at such a loss with what to do. It's probably something I shouldn't even worry about right now, but it's eating me up. I do about 10 hours a week of chores at my boarding barn right now. I usually work them both Friday mornings after I do the morning turnout chores. Right now, it's very cold and we have very short days in South Dakota. I go to work M-Th at 5:30 am and get home at 6:00 p.m., and it's already dark. In the summer I have sunlight until 10:00 p.m. and there just seems to be so much more time! I've also been working overtime for the past 3-4 weeks AND we have a newborn foal in the rescue which means our home chores are taking 1-1.5 hours instead of the usual half hour or so. I've just been so overwhelmingly busy between the rescue, overtime, chores, holidays, etc ... that I feel like there's no way I can devote enough time to two horses to keep them both happy!

    I don't know - maybe my sister is right and I just need to wait the winter out and see where things are in April/May. At that point, maybe with the longer daylight hours, the better temperatures, no overtime, etc., it won't seem so overwhelming and I'll find it's a moot point. And I really don't know how much the loss of my heart horse is affecting this - I still miss him every single day.

    I guess my question is more do I listen to that internal voice that's saying I should find her a better person, or do I give it some time and chalk it up to winter/grief blues and see where things are in a few months? And how to find balance between two horses so differently suited - if they were both lovely dressage horses it would help because they could go to the same shows, etc. What would YOU do?

    You are feeling guilty because you do not ride her enough and tend to spend more time with your other horse? That as nice as she is, what you like most, and what she does best do not completely suit?

    I would say that once the SADD has passed, if you still feel this way, start to try and find her the perfect match


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    3,076

    Default

    I think the issue she has is:

    - She adores both of her horses.
    - She does not want to get rid of her QH mare because she is a very nice horse.
    - Her Morgan gelding can do almost everything this mare can do, and is more aligned with what she enjoys.
    - She does not have a lot of free cash laying around. She has to work off board in order to keep the horses. This is the biggie.

    Tiff-Ann, I think you are strained from financial point of view. If you want to keep the mare, it is perfectly fine - no one say you have to ride any horses. But, we all have to face the demand of daily life. You won't get younger like a sixteen years old, and to have to work off board is getting tougher as you get older. Your mare sounds lovely. I am sure someone who loves to jump will adore her and love her and give her a very nice home. Somehow I think you will sigh a relief when you no longer need to feed two expensive mouths.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2011
    Posts
    262

    Default

    Thanks for the clairification and I'm feeling for you and can't imaging the long cold nights you are experiencing right now.

    I'd wait it out till spring, then try to make a decision. Sounds like a rough patch partially related to the season, and partially to the rescue foal.

    Is half leasing your horses out an option?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,134

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    I vote for "winter blues" being the cause of your problems.

    You can afford both, right?

    And gosh darn that mare is cute. Put together a nice mover, athleticism that sausagey, strong back and kind, bright eye and I think you are nuts to get rid of her.....especially if you are talking about her 'deserving a better person.'

    I'm a "cup is half empty" kinda gal, and when anything goes wrong, I feel shame. So I "get" your question. But I have studied the happier folk and I think any of them would speak to your question this way:

    If you have a negative story that folds lots of PITA things together as yours does.... and you don't have a pressing, official reason to cut bait and sell a horse, then you are Feeding the Dragon of Negativity, so to speak. Those happy people would *assume* that the answer to your question as temporary Winter in the Dakotas-type insanity and not reality. To them, the "real" story is the one that has a goal, a hope, a person doing their best with what they have and trying to appreciate/make the most of every opportunity.

    So, along with the others, I think you should wait out the winter and then see how you feel.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Thanks everyone. Yes, I can afford them both. No, I don't have a lot of extra cash, and I do chores to pay off their board, but that's because it's not hard work, it gets me to the barn several days a week, and it's nice to pay $50/month for two horses - one of whom is in a stall on full care. I also live exactly one mile from my boarding barn so it's very convenient. If money was the problem, I'd move the Morgan to pasture to begin with ... or bring them home and let them take the places two rescue horses are currently using! (much cheaper at home to care for them). I think that's a big part of it - it's cold and miserable and chores take longer. Heck, just getting dressed to go outside takes 10 minutes!

    I'm sure everyone is right, including my sister. Even my barn owner told me I was nuts to think about giving up my mare, as she really likes her. Last night was the first night in 3-4 weeks that I did NOTHING. I got home from work at 6:00, my sister had nearly all the home horse chores done so all I had to do was fill the water tanks (and she yelled at me for that, told me she could do it and I needed a night off) ... and I made a frozen pizza, shut my computer off, and just caught up on a TV show on DVR. Went to bed at 9:00! Was really nice to not come home after working 10 hours, do 1-1.5 hours of chores, make/eat dinner, and then spend 2-3 hours on overtime work, getting to bed around 11:00 and up at 4:30 to start the day over again. Perhaps I am simply exhausted and need a break. I just know right now I feel like SOMETHING has to give and I look forward and think - when am I ever going to find time for TWO horses this summer? I originally thought I would take Nya to the local shows and show her hunt, and only take the Morgan to dressage shows; but we have to trailer 3+ hours to get to any dressage show so it would be really convenient to take him to the local shows for experience, which leaves my mare out in the cold again. I can't ride them both in the same class!

    I do think the thoughts have some validity, though. I would ideally like to find a horseless rider that could work with her, but as I said, she needs an intermediate rider and it seems like everyone that I know that wants to lease needs beginner safe horses. I don't think she'll ever be a beginner horse - she's very athletic and green enough she still needs a rider confident enough to not let her be in charge. I have a horse-loving friend who is always wanting to get back into horses, asking to ride, but she can't afford a horse. I've mentioned perhaps she could take over some of my chores to half-lease Nya; the problem is she has been unreliable in the past. But it might be worth it, and would also give my sister and I an additional trail riding friend, local show buddy, etc.

    I don't know. I think the last four weeks have been a wakeup call that something has to change. But I also think I say that every winter, when chores are taking forever and we can never get warmed up from the cold. I have clear goals and future plans for the Morgan - I can see exactly where I want to go with him. With her, I just don't know.
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    ~ Maya Angelou



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
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    Fern Creek, KY
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    I'm in the 'wait it out' group. Also second some Vit D or possibly B12. I would take the pressure off yourself by devoting this winter to figuring out what YOU need to help yourself through this slump then start fresh in the spring.

    I was really hard on myself because I thought that Herself should be so much further along than she is right now. Then I realized, that I was really just enjoying creating the horse that I wanted. I was enjoying putting the foundation on what will be (hopefully) a long lasting relationship with her. With horses, you are forever working on something, so take your time and enjoy it, instead of putting pressure on both of you to 'git it done'.

    Maybe even send her to a trainer for 30-60 days now. Then you can focus on your gelding for the time being and have a fairly solid horse to start fresh with in the spring. If you can afford it, that's what I'd do. Then the pressure isn't on you to do it all right now.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  14. #14
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    Dec. 2, 2009
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    I'm going to 15th "wait it out".

    I also suffer from SAD. About this time of year, but really in February, is when it starts to hit me bad bad bad and I want to run away...from everything. Usually I announce something like "I Quit!" and I want to sell all of my animals, sell my children, and move into a condo.

    My father has it so badly that in his retirement they now spend the entire winter in sunnier places.

    I'm learning to temper it and to not make any big life decisions in Jan-Feb NO MATTER HOW IMPORTANT AND URGENT THEY MAY SEEM!!!

    Keep the mare, make a decision in the spring. Vitamin D helps. Be patient with yourself, and the mare. Maybe the right decision will appear. Maybe not. In any case, you'll be way better equipped (and it will be a better market) come spring.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2010
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    Orygun
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    I guess I'm having a bad day of ADHD or winter blues myself, but I have the gist of it now.

    I feel the same way almost. I'm looking for another horse to replace a horse I recently put down, to give my Sammy a friend too, and just can't quite get the rear in gear to do it.

    So, if you're feeling this way about the mare, maybe look into leasing her so you can change your mind and get her back??
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
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    NJ, USA
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    Another "wait it out" vote.

    We are mid way through January and February is a short month. March may still be cold but it will be getting lighter & lighter!

    So just hang in there however you can another 6 weeks! Then write up a plan including both horses, one including just the mare, one for just the gelding. Having the 3 schedules in front of you, with daylight to keep your mood bright, you'll be able to make the right decision.

    And know you aren't alone, those of us who can't flee to Florida and have to work most of the daylight hours these months are ALL suffering


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
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    Longing to be where I once was.....
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    If you love the mare and can afford it then keep her. I have an 8 year old mare and a 7 year old mule( home bred). I keep them at home but only seem to have the time to really ride 1. So my wonderful mule sits unused 90% of the time and I feel guilty about it because he is really nice and has loads of potential. He could care less if he is worked or not as long as he gets attention and food on time. Horses don't think like we do, they like spending their days hanging out and eating with no ambition in life.


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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
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    2,376

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    Your title is something of a false choice: I think you ARE indeed facing reality AND also in the grips of Winter Blues. So revisit in the spring when you feel better, but don't gloss over / ignore the fact that you have recurring stress about the work and cost that two horses entail.

    Sure, you could have some degree of SAD (most of us northerners do, it's just to what degree it limits our functioning. Or to what degree we drink wine ).
    Or it could be that the sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed keep coming back each year because the winter workload truly is too much for you to sustain. I keep my herd to a size that is manageable in the winter (both in terms of hay cost, hay storage, and amount of chores). The summers are always great and fun no matter how many you have. You need to base your capacity on the winters.

    So, wait it out, but I think only because you'll feel more confident in your decision if you make it while not sad-- you won't second guess yourself so much. And no matter what, I would not have your friend take on chores in exchange for riding. Just search this board for thread after thread after thread about how those informal arrangements fall apart and ruin friendships. Unless you can imagine putting a written lease contract in front of her to sign, and be prepared to enforce the contract, don't do it.
    Try to break down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures. It’s also helpful every now and then to stop, take stock of your situation, and really beat yourself up about it.The Onion


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2006
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    The other day was my first more than a walk ride after having DS2... I literally found myself thinking that if my mare did not behave I would quit or maybe get an old trail horse instead. My whole riding future... one ride. We all have those feelings, I would wait until spring and try to make room at your house for at least one of them.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
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    Another vote for wait it out... I have SAD issues too and things start feeling overwhelming. I've got two at home and one boarded at my trainer's so I get it when it comes to time spent doing work and commuting plus fitting in riding. It's a lot to manage and the depressing winter weather plus having to do all that work out in the freezing cold just plain sucks. Once spring comes around you might have a totally different outlook.

    If you do decide to do something don't put her up for sale. Do a half lease, a care lease where she's at now, or something very impermanent. Based on how you describe her and how much fun you have riding her I am positive you would regret it if you sold her.

    Also remember, horses don't give a crap about showing - that's something we do for us. You have things you want to do with her but she is absolutely as happy to get love, treats, and attention at home. At the end of the day that's what she will remember. She won't be in her 30's saying "my life was great but I reeeaaally wish we had gone to more horse trials". So don't let the logistics of showing inspire a decision. Have fun with your girl, do things you both love, and if there's time for shows that's great, if not don't worry about it


    3 members found this post helpful.

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