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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2012
    Posts
    210

    Default Is there life without riding??

    So, due to college, career, and financial demands I had to put my horse out on lease. The lease is going wonderfully, my girl is super spoiled and loved at a great barn with a very awesome trainer and two AA's working on 1st/2nd level with her. Really quite happy with how a crappy situation turned out.

    But now I've hit a weird spot in life... I have discovered that there is in fact some weird form of a lifestyle that doesn't heavily involve horses Since I can remember my life has been about riding, working to ride, taking care of horses, or working to pay for my horse. And now I'm not doing any of that and it is just a bizarre experience! I can't believe how simple life is... Although I miss the stress-relieving aspect terribly, and the simple love of being with horses as you all understand.

    Of course I miss riding, too, and can't wait until I'm at a better spot in my life to work on it. But has anyone else on here taken a break? This will probably last another year for me until I'm settled at a job and whatnot. How did you make it through? How was it to go back to riding?

    Any other "break" experiences? Please share and make me feel better! It's all so strange to me!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    203

    Default

    Even though it must have been really painful, it sounds like you made a wise choice for where you are in your life just now. I took a two-year break from riding so we could afford daycare for my son. I was leasing horses at the time. Honestly, though, I never stopped missing riding. I'd see my saddle on its rack and get all sad. I always knew I'd find a way to start riding again, though, and that kept me going. Is there a barn nearby where you could go hang out, or a therapeutic riding program where you could volunteer?
    Also, I wasnt't able to ride much this winter thanks to the weather, and checking these forums helped a lot.

    Just keep in mind that your situation is temporary



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2010
    Location
    Lancashire UK, formerly Region 8
    Posts
    662

    Default

    I suspect it's only a minority of riders who make it through all of life's ups and downs without taking a break or two! I've had two major breaks myself, once in my 20s when I went to university and once a little over a decade ago when I went BACK to university for my PhD. In the 20-ish years in-between I had ditched academia to be a working student, trainer and teacher. When not riding I always pined for it, but I found that life could be effectively filled up with other hobbies and interests. It's only hard when you meet up with someone who DOES have horses or rides regularly, because then you remember what you're missing.

    I don't think there's ever a cure for it once you've got the bug.... at 50+ when I should be enjoying a relatively secure lifestyle I instead bought myself a 2 year old prospect to bring on myself, just for one last hurrah. So its back to early mornings and late evenings, feeding, mucking out, riding in the rain and the mud, and loving every second. OP, never fear - you can ALWAYS get back to it!
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    507

    Default

    I've taken a few year long breaks - I always miss it, and always wind up back! It takes some time to get your confidence and muscles back unfortunately.

    I think you're doing the right thing though for your life, and you're making sure your horse is taken care of and there for you when you are ready to go back.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2006
    Posts
    2,525

    Default

    My most recent break was in 2002. I sent my senior gelding out on a free lease for a year. It worked out really well. I was recovering from thyroid surgery and really needed the physical and financial break. The woman who leased him had been on a 20 year break. She had wonderful horse property, wanted to see if keeping a horse worked for her and thought leasing was the way to dip her toes back into the water.

    I was surprised to discover that I could fill my time with other activities and it was so very, very nice to free up that much money. It was a huge positive experience for me and when I did get him back a year later, I did so wholeheartedly and with much appreciation.

    Before the break in 2002 I took a 10 year break starting in my mid-20's. I had to sell the mare I owned due to finances and the demands of raising my first child. I hated everything about that break, maybe because I went into not knowing if I would ever make it back.
    Sheilah



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2000
    Location
    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
    Posts
    14,008

    Default

    Took a break after losing an upper level horse. I was just sad and frustrated. I took some time off and focused on an office job. Got some promotions and had more cash than ever before. Also took some expensive trips. But I got out if shape for riding and that was really frustrating when I finally got another horse. I probably should have kept more students so I could hop on something, but focusing on the job that hard sucked up most of my time and energy. (If you're super driven in the horse world I think you can do a good job at other things, but you can't divide yourself and really do both as well as you can if one is a true priority--as I discovered during my break.)

    I do like that I had a break. It helped me feel like I had a better understanding of what I was giving up when I got another horse. It also showed me that I needed to remember that there can be life outside horses--if I ever do not have one for some reason. I actually took on some more artistic endeavors and found that I liked them and was able to continue with them even after my break.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2012
    Posts
    1,302

    Default

    I've taken two long breaks as well: about 6 years each time. I'm now 50. I'm kind of an out of sight out of mind type so when I'm out I'm out. I don't watch horse things or think horsey thoughts. There are plenty of other things out there to keep my attention. When I come back I'm all the wayyyy in. Was harder to get back as a 50yo than it was as a 26yo but I'm back nonetheless. The passion and love stays even if it sits below the surface.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2002
    Location
    Midwesterner in Yankeeland
    Posts
    1,608

    Default

    If you have to ask if there's life without riding, I absolutely think that means it's time to take a break or at least do some rearranging. It's fine to say yes and it's fine to say no -- but it's good to know why you're doing what you're choosing to do!

    I had a break from 15 to 18 and then another of a year when I moved cross-country and left the horse at home until I got myself sorted out. Came back both times stronger than ever, but was (and am!) very glad to know I was doing horses because I wanted to rather than because I didn't know what else to do, and it helped me understand how many options I have and that it is okay to change things up.
    http://longestformat.blogspot.com/

    "The present tense of regret is indecision."
    - Welcome to Night Vale


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2004
    Location
    Still here ~ not yet there
    Posts
    6,315

    Default

    Yeah -- I have a "break" experience. Almost 17 yrs ago I started having physical issues that made riding very painful.

    So I started breeding.

    I do NOT advise this road....


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 5, 2013
    Posts
    60

    Default

    A terrible thought

    like morning without coffee


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2000
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    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post

    So I started breeding.

    I do NOT advise this road....
    Sounds like a personal issue!
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2012
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    239

    Default

    I have no doubt there is life after riding and I have arrived at the point where I am ready to explore. I have had at least one horse since I was in 8th grade. I am now 57.

    I have decided that IF something catastrophic happens to the current horse (as in she dies). I'm done. I certainly don't wish that to happen. She is just 11 and could live another 20 years...and I hope she does. I have devoted all that time (40 plus years) to horses and have done little besides. There are other interests I have that simply do not fit in with the horse so I know I could find something I would like if it came to that.

    Besides that, I too have a physical pain issue I have not been able to resolve that makes riding no longer very enjoyable. I have been chasing a resolution to the problem (chronic tailbone pain) for about a year and a half. 1 surgery has so far not resolved it but it is still on the short side of when I might see relief so I will suck it up for awhile longer but I hate to see my beautiful mare just sit. If I can't find relief for the problem, I have to decide if I'm going to sell her or not. I hate to but she is too nice to just stand in her pen at the boarding barn. I will either need to find a retirement arrangement for her which is silly to think about for a very sound, very healthy "young" mare. Perhaps a lease? I don't know. I guess I will give my body some more time to heal and worry about that later.

    Me, I will probably get a dog and start agility training. That looks like a blast. I had to give up dogs when I had to turn to boarding as I am simply not home enough between work and the horse.
    I miss my dogs too. There is always some trade off I guess.

    Susan



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2012
    Posts
    210

    Default

    It's so helpful to hear everyone else's experiences, thanks for sharing! I had many ups and downs coming to the conclusion that I really didn't have a choice to take this break and hey, life happens. (for once it wasn't "hay, life happens").

    I can't wait to get back full swing, but it was getting to a point that I was so bogged down trying to get everything done and done well I was really struggling. It's an eye-opening experience.. I have definitely discovered other interests, including sleep, a social life, and exercising muscles that riding/barn work doesn't exercise (LOL who would have thought there were any)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    5,635

    Default

    I went something like 8 years without really riding. It was always there, and I always wanted to get back to it, but money was an issue. I knew I was going to have to support my mom in her retirement and I knew when I got back in I would want to do so seriously. I was completely unable to do the affordable thing of 1 lesson per week - it tore me up! Since I started at 6, my break from riding which started after college was my first time ever actually having free time. I helped start a political organization, I mentored a kid, I help promote music festivals and bands. I learned I have a passion for concert photography, too. I loved all of it, and still do - but the entire time I knew I would willingly give it all up for horses if it ever came down to making that decision.

    I don't regret my time without horses, and it makes me appreciate the horses even more. One of my friends refers to me as "zen" about horses - and I don't feel that way, but there's so much love and appreciation for where I am now with the horses, I can definitely take things more in stride than I used to!


    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrabee View Post
    I have been chasing a resolution to the problem (chronic tailbone pain) for about a year and a half. 1 surgery has so far not resolved it but it is still on the short side of when I might see relief so I will suck it up for awhile longer but I hate to see my beautiful mare just sit. If I can't find relief for the problem, I have to decide if I'm going to sell her or not.
    Have you ever heard of/tried Feldenkrais? Kim Walnes told me that prior to her two times winning Rolex she had to pad her backside to be able to sit the trot due to tailbone pain, and it was Sally Swift's recommendation of Feldenkrais which helped her. I don't know if your problem is purely skeletal, in which case it won't help - but often there are muscular issues intertwined. Good luck figuring out a resolution!
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    17

    Default

    I was just in the position where I had to decide whether or not to take a break... The financial strain, the lack of time (and lack of social life), the work commitments and a lack of facilities were all adding up and making it very difficult to be able to keep riding.

    I wasn't quite ready to take that step though, the horse I have now is so talented and I know that if I did have a break and sold her, I'd never be able to afford something of her caliber again. SO I'm still battling, she's moved to a different property with the facilities I need to ride through winter, I've sold 2 horses and have one more that I will sell once I've finished breaking him in (if I can bear to part with him!).

    I did spend many an hour tossing up this decision - it WOULD be nice to be able to go out and not have to worry about being home to feed and work horses, to fix fences, wash gear and all that... but at the same time, in the forced breaks I have had, even with the horses still being 'in the picture' just not getting ridden, I haven't been able to give it up, even temporarily.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2012
    Posts
    149

    Default

    There is life without riding. I came back to riding as an adult about 8 years ago. What I've come around to realize the past year is that I actually enjoy care taking more than riding. I have two seniors I enjoy just grooming and walking and talking to. I've contemplated just selling my young horse.

    Horses tie you down not matter how much you enjoy them. Just have fun now and know horses aren't going anywhere, they'll be there when you decide to come back to the dark side.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2009
    Location
    Northernish WI
    Posts
    103

    Default

    I have had a couple of breaks in the past and have decided that since I don't want to live without them and am in a place in my life where other things need to take priority I need to not make as much progress with them as I would like. I have two small ponies and am working on possibly rehoming one of them. I just got a promotion/new job and have a dog and boyfriend who need attention as well. I have no issue juggling all these things but it is the reason that I am not as advanced as I would like to be. I've also had to make compromises as far as expenses and now I do both of their hooves, with supervision, can do shots and keep them at a place without an indoor arena.

    When it comes down to it though I really don't know what I would do without them :-)
    My little girl, Katai - 13.3 Haflinger/?
    and her blog



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2012
    Posts
    3,060

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kmmoran View Post
    So, due to college, career, and financial demands I had to put my horse out on lease. The lease is going wonderfully, my girl is super spoiled and loved at a great barn with a very awesome trainer and two AA's working on 1st/2nd level with her. Really quite happy with how a crappy situation turned out.

    But now I've hit a weird spot in life... I have discovered that there is in fact some weird form of a lifestyle that doesn't heavily involve horses Since I can remember my life has been about riding, working to ride, taking care of horses, or working to pay for my horse. And now I'm not doing any of that and it is just a bizarre experience! I can't believe how simple life is... Although I miss the stress-relieving aspect terribly, and the simple love of being with horses as you all understand.

    Of course I miss riding, too, and can't wait until I'm at a better spot in my life to work on it. But has anyone else on here taken a break? This will probably last another year for me until I'm settled at a job and whatnot. How did you make it through? How was it to go back to riding?

    Any other "break" experiences? Please share and make me feel better! It's all so strange to me!
    Horses are a terminal disease, trust me! So if you're having a brief remission, take advantage of it by seeing What Else Is Out There. Those experiences will serve you well when you return (retreat?) to Our Horsey World. In my case, the only break I've ever taken since 1973 was 3 years when I was in college and then working my first and only corporate job--to detox, I spent all my vacations, weekends and days off working on offshore fishing boats with my boyfriend and cousin--the money was great, the adventures priceless!

    Now, when I'm yanking the wheelbarrow through the frozen ruts in a screaming wind full of horizontal sleet, I just say to the horses, "Hey, there are WORSE troubles at sea!" I know, 'cause I've seen 'em!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Posts
    570

    Default

    I have taken multiple breaks. I regret most of them -- in fact, I regret all of them except the one I really had no choice but to take.

    I did lots of cool stuff while I was "on break." Tennis, boxing, workaholicism, piano lessons, cheerleading (it was in college), russian lessons, makeup hoarding, excercising just a wee bit too much, travel, being social (also in college). I randomly bought a microscope. Invested in some cool purses I never use. Watched old TV shows I missed the first time around.

    Ultimately I returned to riding after each break to find a rustier, less-compliant body and diminished skills. I wish I hadn't taken the majority of the breaks (the voluntary ones).

    That doesn't mean there aren't awesome things to do and other fulfilling ways to live. Those just aren't *my* ways. There's always an emptiness I'm trying to fill when I spend too long away from horses. If I had it all to do over again, I'd try to find a way to just at least take the occasional lesson or groom the occasional horse. Maybe try a different discipline, or volunteer at a therapeutic riding center once in a while or something. It's possible to keep a thread between oneself and horses without full-on doing the serious riding thing.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
    Posts
    11,369

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kmmoran View Post
    So, due to college, career, and financial demands I had to put my horse out on lease. The lease is going wonderfully, my girl is super spoiled and loved at a great barn with a very awesome trainer and two AA's working on 1st/2nd level with her. Really quite happy with how a crappy situation turned out.

    But now I've hit a weird spot in life... I have discovered that there is in fact some weird form of a lifestyle that doesn't heavily involve horses Since I can remember my life has been about riding, working to ride, taking care of horses, or working to pay for my horse. And now I'm not doing any of that and it is just a bizarre experience! I can't believe how simple life is... Although I miss the stress-relieving aspect terribly, and the simple love of being with horses as you all understand.

    Of course I miss riding, too, and can't wait until I'm at a better spot in my life to work on it. But has anyone else on here taken a break? This will probably last another year for me until I'm settled at a job and whatnot. How did you make it through? How was it to go back to riding?

    Any other "break" experiences? Please share and make me feel better! It's all so strange to me!
    Of course there is life without horses And remember, there is also the possibility of life without horses *fulltime,* as well, if and when that makes sense. (Meaning you can half lease, or take lessons, or whatever without the need to do the whole "living/breathing/daily ritual" thing that often accompanies horse ownership.)

    I have had horses, with the exception of the four years I spent in college, since I was 16. I am now almost 50! And I've done it in a variety of scenarios, from just-starting-out-starving-college-grad to now having a c-level job in a reasonably large company. There have been times when I rode very little, due to work or family responsibilities or financial pressures, and other times when I rode a ton, showed a lot and got to do a little point chasing (making up for my deprived childhood, LOL.)

    I have to admit that the times when I leased my horses out some, or had some other arrangement where I did not have to be at the barn 5-6 days a week were pretty much the best, as much as I love my horses and truly enjoy riding. It was nice to have the time/energy/money to take some really awesome vacations with my family, for example, that I wouldn't have been able to pull off without that half lease arrangement. Or invest in some home improvements - a new kitchen, a major reno, a swimming pool - with $$$ that would otherwise have gone into board/vet/farrier/lessons/training/showing at a BNT barn.

    My advice is to take this break and use it to explore other things you've always wanted to explore or maybe never even considered. Horses will be there when you are ready to go back to them, in whatever form or fashion you elect. IMO it is one of the great advantages of riding compared to many other sports; it is something you can do throughout a lifetime, not just when you are young.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


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