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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
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    VA
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    4,345

    Default Getting over it. As best as I can, until some unknown time. Any help?

    I haven't been on COTH in ages, and haven't swung a leg over a horse in 9 months now. I finally moved all my things out of the barn last week, and have an appointment with the consignment lady to give her what I don't need anymore. Sobbing over whether it's worth selling my beloved saddle for a down payment on something that isn't the pickup that I used to haul horses all over creation with. I hate that it still smells like hay and sweaty tack every day when I get in it to commute.

    Anyways, I'm sure a great many of you have had to give up horses at some point when you were my age, coming out of college. I can't even handle the offers to come hack horses on weekends yet; it just kills me too much remembering when I had it "for real." Yes, I'm being melodramatic. I'm fine most of the time until something sets me off and then I'm a wreck over it. It's happening less these days, but... it's so hard to find someone who even remotely gets it. I had to tell my family members to quit telling me I'll have it all back again soon. I showed on the A circuit 2-3 weekends a month. Frankly, I'll have that kind of disposable income in 15-20 years if I'm lucky. Once I'm out of grad school and have savings for real human things like a house and a 401k and emergencies, of course I will try to be involved with the horses in some way that isn't ungodly expensive. It's still a good ways off.

    Anyways, I thought good old COTH might have some words of wisdom for me. Can you ever make a clean break? Of course other hobbies are fun and most of the time keep my mind off missing what was so much of my life, but does it eventually turn into something you can look back at with a fond smile? Can you eventually just go enjoy smelling a barn or taking a lesson on a weekend day without missing when it was more than a weekend hobby?
    -Grace


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2012
    Posts
    243

    Cool

    You post kind of reminds me of my husband complaining after he sold a sports car(starts w/anF ), that no car could ever be the same. I do know of some people who decide that if they can't be involved with horses at THAT level they won't do it. My thoughts are that I've been involved at almost every level in my sport and I'll take what I can get.Ive free -leased when I had my infant, rode other people's horse and done what I could to keep horses in my life. Soon you will find out if this is true for you.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    4,345

    Default

    Please don't get me wrong. I can't afford any horses, at all, on any level right now. I can't afford a farrier bill for the month even on a free lease. I don't know what it says about me that just taking what I can get upsets me more than it makes me happy at this point. I'm hoping that one day I will be able to enjoy having a lesson or hacking a horse on the weekends without this crushing sadness of the memory of how much I loved my life as it was. I suppose I was looking for more support rather than judgement. I understand how fortunate I was to have been able to ride at the level that I did, and it was a major change in family circumstances that caused me to have to give it up, rather than a deadline that I knew ahead of time. Then again, it has been a while since I've been on COTH. Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much.
    -Grace


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    10,984

    Default

    I'm not entirely sure that an adult selling a Ferrari is comparable to a young adult trying to gain a foothold on a very different way of life.

    I think that you need some time to sort some things it, it sounds lke you've had a lot of life changes going on and it's hard to look back at having what you thought of as "everything" in the past and thinking that you have nothing now.

    It really depends on what you want to do, and what makes you happy. You sound like an accomplished and skilled rider and when you are ready you probably know enough people to hack horses for free. I'm sure there has to be a public or private barn that would kill for some unpaid slave labor.

    When and if you are ready there will always be a spot for you in the horse world, you just have to find a spot that makes you happy. If parting ways with horses hurts so much perhaps doing something on a smaller scale would bring you some happiness. If not then you can always try something like showing dogs or rabbits to keep you involved in the animal world.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    7,617

    Default

    It happens... unfortunately. Right now, I am trying to get a horse that stayed with us for 5+ years. Daddy paid for everything when the rider was young and showing in many big venues; then she disappeared but Daddy kept paying for board... she reappeared and Daddy retired and said he could not pay anymore. So she took the horse back and said She would look after him.
    Well, 5 months later, as a new mother she must have realized how much diapers cost! Luckily, she put pride aside and called the barn back saying she could not do it and he had to be rehomed... he is 19!! Who do you think is going to want him? he should not be ridden much any more, should not be jumped... We are waiting for her to accept our offer of purchase for $1 and to take him back and look after him like we have when he was not ours... It is not really in our budget, but we can do it... for the love of the horse!
    I think it is a rude awakening for younger people who have been used to NOT pay the expenses related to horses and all of a sudden have to assume them. I am not sure you paid before or your family did... but...
    We do not show. My DD has no interest in showing. She would rather spend time loving and riding her horses.
    Maybe you will again, maybe you won't... but at least, you did have it before. Enjoy the memories!! many never even have that.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2000
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    1,782

    Default

    You are being SO smart. I can't tell you how many people I have watched have crappy careers, housing, etc, because they just wouldn't give up horses, even temporarily. It's a really expensive sport, and I think once you've done it at that level it's really hard to be satisfied with doing it at a lower level. It is not the end of the world, I promise, and the good thing is that this is one of the very few sports that you can always come back to later and still enjoy as you get older.

    You have to do what's right for you, but if I were you I think I would sell off my stuff and make a clean break, and then take say $300 of that money and treat yourself to lessons in a new sport that is less expensive and can be a substitute for a few years. Learning something new might help with the adjustment period. And when you are ready, you can ALWAYS find a free horse to ride if you're willing to be a little bit patient.

    I would also keep in mind that although it seems completely tied to the horses, probably some of what you're mourning is the sudden change in your life too, and you need to give yourself some time to do that. It does completely suck, and I'm really sorry, but I promise life does go on.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2009
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4,070

    Default

    While you did have a very really amazing lifestyle with your horses it was more than the average percentage did.
    Instead of the poor me melodrama if you are going for a clean break than do so.
    Otherwise there are a lot of people who would be happy to have you do free hacks and leg ups on their horses which cost you nothing....
    If this doesn't fulfill your horse "fix" and you can't accept anything less than the "A" show 2-3 X's a month life style you were accustomed to than by all means sell all of your tack clothes truck trailer and equipment and just live on the memory's.
    There is a large group of riders who are happy with way less than you will settle for.
    Horses will be here after Grad school and 401k.


    10 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    4,345

    Default

    Thanks guys. I really am trying to be smart here. My first order of business was making sure my older horse who I had planned on retiring myself was taken care of for the remainder of his lifetime. I'm waiting tables and finishing school, probably going to graduate school, so I can get a good job, trying to keep some money in the bank and build some credit, maintain some semblance of a social life, help take care of my youngest sister, etc. I do not lead a glamorous life, but I'm trying to just be.... a normal human. It's working fine most of the time, but some days are a lot tougher than others. It is definitely tied up in a lot of other things in my life which occurred to cause the whole situation to happen to begin with/at the same time. I do hope I can come back to it one day, but I feel like I need to accept that it might not/probably will not, at least not close to the way that it was in order to get through the next 5 or so years. Does that make sense? I feel like if I could just say it's in the past, it wouldn't hurt so badly.
    -Grace


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    4,345

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by judybigredpony View Post
    While you did have a very really amazing lifestyle with your horses it was more than the average percentage did.
    Instead of the poor me melodrama if you are going for a clean break than do so.
    Otherwise there are a lot of people who would be happy to have you do free hacks and leg ups on their horses which cost you nothing....
    If this doesn't fulfill your horse "fix" and you can't accept anything less than the "A" show 2-3 X's a month life style you were accustomed to than by all means sell all of your tack clothes truck trailer and equipment and just live on the memory's.
    There is a large group of riders who are happy with way less than you will settle for.
    Horses will be here after Grad school and 401k.
    Uh, I hope that made YOU feel better? I'm not going to defend how grateful I am to have had the opportunities I have had in my life, and I think it's pretty clear that's not what I meant.

    As for who was paying, It was my family at first and then when I was in college I worked to pay for shows but had assistance with board at a no frills barn where I shipped out for lessons. That got pulled suddenly due to an unforeseen family circumstance.
    -Grace


    3 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2011
    Location
    On a horse.
    Posts
    395

    Default

    You've made a hard decision -- one that I also made when I went off to grad school. I only stepped out of riding for a couple of years, but that was enough time for two major things to happen: 1) I learned that I just wasn't happy without horses, and 2) I finished grad school and was able to earn a living supporting myself and the horses I now have. I'm actually glad I did it. I appreciate every single moment with my horses today precisely because I spent time away, and because I know I'm the one footing the bills. You'll get through it

    I regretted selling my saddle though . . . I should've kept the one piece of equipment it cost the most to replace.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    Wait, people are offering you rides for free and you aren't taking them? Why? Do you know how many people your age (and older/younger) would love to have opportunities like that? What's wrong? The horses aren't A-circuit quality? Quit yer whining and go ride!!! And while you're at it, don't consign your saddle and most of your other stuff becuase the pennies you get for it will never really be enough to buy anything, and then when you end up having to buy all that stuff again (mostly new) it will be so much more expensive.

    So, are you only happy showing the A-circuit? Then I guess you just need to quit riding.

    But if it's horses that make you happy, and riding in general, get yourself back on and enjoy yourself. There are ways to be involved without spending a fortune. I bought my first just-out-of-college horse 3 months after I graduated college. Yes, with plenty of bills to pay, but I made up a budget and stuck to it (and worked a butt-load of overtime to make it work). A-circuit quality? no way! we never even went to a single show. But looking back I wouldn't have done things any differently! She was my barn time, my sanity saver, my after-work workout partner. And yes, I still managed to save up for a house (bought 3 years after graduation... with 5 acres!) all this on a very low starting salary, believe me. Now, later on, once I actually started having kids, you want to talk about POOR... that's when I had to give up the horses for a while. But that was a decision I had to make to be a stay-at-home-mom (and go back to school) for a while. And yes, going without the horses was tough for a while but once again, to do those things was a decision that I do not regret.

    I just don't get the part where people are offering you rides and you're not taking them. That part just isn't making sense to me... I would never have done that. There's your chance to keep riding and you're not taking it, so what gives?


    10 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    2,632

    Default

    Can you coach or train on the weekends? Sounds like you have a lot of experience that could help other folks and earn you a few bucks at the same time...
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique


    3 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2012
    Posts
    3,782

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOrangeOne View Post
    Please don't get me wrong. I can't afford any horses, at all, on any level right now. I can't afford a farrier bill for the month even on a free lease. I don't know what it says about me that just taking what I can get upsets me more than it makes me happy at this point. I'm hoping that one day I will be able to enjoy having a lesson or hacking a horse on the weekends without this crushing sadness of the memory of how much I loved my life as it was. I suppose I was looking for more support rather than judgement. I understand how fortunate I was to have been able to ride at the level that I did, and it was a major change in family circumstances that caused me to have to give it up, rather than a deadline that I knew ahead of time. Then again, it has been a while since I've been on COTH. Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much.
    Hey, at least you got to do it! Lots of people can't even dream of riding at that level, let alone as a junior. Be glad you had it then, and tell yourself now you have to downshift and do the work to make it yours again--ALL yours, this time, with no excuses or apologies to anyone.

    But honestly, if you want to have "that kind of disposable income" again, you need to be thinking outside the box. Get an internship or a ground-level job in an up-and-coming business, learn it, make contacts and then go off on your own. Scrape up capital wherever it takes--lots of people will do private loans today. But BUSINESS is where it's at if you want to make real money. Working a salary--eh, not so much. If you THINK "401k," at the end of 20 years all you'll HAVE is a 401k.

    Dream BIG and make your own BIG reality. It CAN be done!!! Look at Google, Facebook, Cablevision, Netflix . . . BELIEVE!!!


    4 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,909

    Default

    Don't sell the saddle, and keep all of the contacts that have offered you the opportunity to occasionally ride. You'll need/want both later on. Once the weather gets better, and you've gotten over the initial immediate grief over your loss, you will feel like riding again. If you don't after a year or two, please check in with a mental health professional, as there may be something he or she can help with. Or seek help earlier if trusted friends and family suggest doing so.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?


    8 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2004
    Location
    Sergeantsville, NJ
    Posts
    2,539

    Default

    I'm sure you're tired of hearing this - but you had the luxury of parent-paid "A" circuit showing. Hard not to have it now, but you do have your priorities in order. Lots of kids, mine included, mucked stalls for lessons and were none the worse for the experience. What about taking an occasional lesson in another discipline? You get to spend time with horses, learn something new, and mourn less for the day fees, tack stall drapes, and grooms...


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2012
    Posts
    3,782

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    Quote Originally Posted by pony4me View Post
    Don't sell the saddle, and keep all of the contacts that have offered you the opportunity to occasionally ride. You'll need/want both later on. Once the weather gets better, and you've gotten over the initial immediate grief over your loss, you will feel like riding again. If you don't after a year or two, please check in with a mental health professional, as there may be something he or she can help with. Or seek help earlier if trusted friends and family suggest doing so.
    I don't think not wanting to ride, if she can't do it on her terms right now, bespeaks any kind of mental health problem--more likely it just means she realized it's time for adult priorities! I think she's showing a very well-grounded sense of responsibility. My showing career dead-ended twice; at the end of my junior years, then at the end of my eventing years. I wasn't depressed--I realized I needed to be doing other things! Most life changes do NOT require medicalization . . .



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    I suppose the whole concept of having trouble just going out and hacking a horse on the weekend upsetting me is coming off wrong. It has nothing to do with the quality of the horses or missing day fees, grooms, and drapes, none of which I was accustomed to. I never had a groom a day that I showed, and braided, body clipped, and bartended to pay for the show fees once I graduated high school. I miss having a horse, and working towards a goal, and generally having something special in my life that I could do that made me happy. I miss being involved in the horses to the extent that I was when I was showing that much, not necessarily the showing itself. That was the time of my life thus far, and I am very grateful to have had that opportunity, as I have said, but I more miss being involved with horses on that level than just getting to ride. It was never about just riding for me. I always got much more satisfaction from the other 95% of the work you do with a horse, as anyone can see if they go through my old posts.

    As of right now, the occasional hack I'm offered that I can squeeze in between work and school just upsets me. I wish I could explain it, but it has nothing to do with the quality of horses or being ungrateful for the opportunity. I have always thanked those who offer for their generosity. As I said in my post, I am hoping at some point that I'll be able to just go out and enjoy it every other week as I can manage it, but right now it's like meeting up with an ex boyfriend for drinks who I am still in love with. It's a blast at the time but just still too raw to handle 'just a little bit'. That's really the only way I can describe it.

    I do appreciate all the good advice that eventually it will not be quite so fresh that I can't enjoy a good hack on a nice day, and perhaps this summer when my schedule is more regular someone will have a project horse or OTTB or something I can help with. (Yes, I have spent plenty of time riding horses off the feedlot and breaking babies)

    And, yes, next time I have a horse, and let myself get that personally invested in it, it will be with MY money which I am completely in control of. I'm working on that, and spending the time I used to spend mucking stalls hunched over a microscope or sequencing DNA.
    -Grace


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2006
    Posts
    928

    Default

    Stop Riding. Don't sell your saddle and some basic equipment. I would keep some breeches, boots, spurs, a couple of bridles, bits and helmet too. Pack this up, out of sight and just chill for a while. Some riding opportunities will arise and you'll be able to take advantage. Right now it's tough. You might have to wait a couple of years before something just falls in your lap, but just be patient and work hard getting your life together. You are really young, have had a wonderful experience and might never have it like that again. On the other hand, you just never know where a new job will take you. Lots of young folks do a graduate degree and find that the big cities aren't where the jobs are. You might end up in a rural area where you are the most experienced rider around.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2002
    Posts
    2,239

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    When I took a 2 year break I TOTALLY regretted selling my saddle. To this day I think about that saddle. I would hold on to yours if you can help it.

    If you really want a horse in your life - it will happen. Things have a way of working out. You'd be surprised.

    Maybe working with horses at a rescue or restarting OTTB's at a facility that does that sort of thing will offer you more fulfillment. I don't really care to hack other people's horses either. But there are a ton of other options.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2004
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    VA
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    I did just shoot an email to a family friend who has a polo farm and was always trying to get me out to play. I think exercising 6 polo ponies at a time is sufficiently different from what I used to do that it won't rip the stitches open quite so badly , and since he has full time staff, my irregular schedule might not be a huge problem. Would not have occurred to me without your suggestions, so thank you guys very much.

    Out of curiosity, if I had said that I used to train horses but had an injury which caused me to have to stop doing it professionally, or showed quarter horses, or evented, or anything of that nature, would the reactions have been different? I have always assumed anyone who is dedicating that much of their life to horses had a major emotional attachment to their lifestyle, regardless of how much money they spent on it. If it had not been the money that had changed things, would there have been the same assumption that I was a princess who just couldn't handle things unless she got them just how she wanted them, versus someone grieving the loss of what used to be such a big portion of their life and asking, "Can you ever make a clean break?...Can you eventually just go enjoy smelling a barn or taking a lesson on a weekend day without missing when it was more than a weekend hobby?" Would there have been such an assumption that there was no willingness to work on my part?

    Edit: I also didn't drop my saddle off when I consigned my extra gear. I worked so hard for it and rode so many horses in it, I couldn't let it go. Part of my identity, even if the next time I pull it out of the tack box it's the equivalent of the Steinkraus that I think every barn has sitting on the uppermost corner saddle rack gathering dust because it's too loved to get rid of but just not the current style.
    -Grace



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