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Has anyone ever just quit?

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  • Has anyone ever just quit?

    I have been riding since I was 3. Competing since 7. Every discipline imaginable-roping, wp, hj, eventing, trick riding, and dressage for the last 14 years. I am 45. I have never not owned a horse. Even in high school, I was the only one of my group that rode all the way through and continued on. I currently have a really awesome young horse with a ton of talent. We don't have alot of money, but my non-horse husband has never complained about the time or money involved in my passion-he's very encouraging.
    I don't want to do this anymore. There has been no crisis, I'm just tired of trying to keep all the balls in the air. My son is starting high school and his sports keep us busy, my husband and I have started running together in some 5-10K's. Thats alot of fun. I have gotten really involved in dog rescue/fostering. I'm not being fulfilled by my riding. My horse makes me laugh, gives me awesome rides, etc. I don't think this has anything to do with her. Has anyone else ever experienced this? After 40 years of defining myself by my horse/riding, how do I do this? I'm planning on advertising her this weekend-as soon as I can get some video together...
    Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

  • #2
    Yes, but my situation is so different than yours it doesn't really compare. Cancer and asthma, plus being 66. If you are worried about changing your mind at some point, keep the money you get for the horse, and give yourself a set period of time. At least a year, perhaps even until your son leaves for college. Hang up the clothing, store the tack, etc. Save part of what you were spending on board, vet, farrier, lessons - the endless list - and 'return' the rest to the family budget. Keep what you got for the horse and part of the expenses of keeping a horse in a "maybe someday" fund.

    You may return to it someday, so like I said, have that "maybe someday" fund just in case you want it in a few years. Nice as your mare may be, she can't be so wonderful and awesome - no offence here, okay? - that no other house would ever manage to be suitable for you.

    I can understand about keeping all the balls in the air. You don't say if you work outside the home or not. There are millions of women who lead a happy, productive, peaceful and content life who * gasp * don't ride. You may become one of them. Spend time with your husband and son and have a quote normal unquote life for a while. Walk the dog, take up a hobby like knitting, read a book, catch your breath.


    • #3
      Have quit 2 times actually gave all gear away on the 2nd and now have to buy it back. Nothing wrong for deciding horses are not you right now they are hard work and often the reward isn't there. Me I later found that I need them but actually today I am thinking may be not they can be heart ache and expensive.


      • #4
        It's not quitting. It's a change of season.

        You're the mom, the wife, the coach, the cabbie, the counselor, etc. etc. etc. Nothing wrong whatsoever with pouring yourself into this new season. Besides, your legacy to your son will bear much more fruit than the horses.

        Then, when you want to, you can always go back and just ride for the pure joy of being on a horse.... or not
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


        • #5
          No, but a friend has. She wound up taking about two years off, then couldn't stand being away any longer and bought a horse property.
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            I get a little burnt out once in a while, but I find that spending a little time trail riding realy helps with that.

            However, I have a few friends who have gotten out completely. They all still live interesting fulfulling lives, just doing different things. And the mother of one of my friends stopped riding when her daughter was born, and then started again when her daughter went off to college.

            So, taking a short break, taking a really long break, or getting out completely are all viable options.

            And I think most of us get to a point at some time in our lives where we just can't keep doing everything we did before. I've kept up with the horses, but I rarely play my guitar anymore. Used to play for hours and hours. Thankfully (unlike a horse) I can stick it in its case for months at a time, and it doesn't need care and feeding, or injure itself and need expensive veterinary care.
            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
            -Edward Hoagland


            • #7
              I think I am being forced to, and I am surprised that it does not upset me more than it does.

              My neck is unstable to the degree that it could easily dislocate. I could snap it clean or worse, have to pick my own head up to walk back to the barn. Consciously I dont really seem to care LOL sobconsciously, my body does not like this idea much

              So I think there may be a part of you that is reconciled to it. And that is a good thing. Let it go, see what happens
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


              • #8
                Is it the moon or what? I've had two friends tell me they are getting out of horses in the last week. It happens. You decide you want to travel. Or you want to live at the beach or just can't drag yourself out to the barn at 6 AM.

                When I was forced to be without horses for a time, I really got into tennis. I learned to knit. I went to the beach. Life continued. It's not like you can't pick it up again. No only is riding a journey, so is life. Do what you gut tells you and take a deep breath. Your horsey friends will still love you.
                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                • #9
                  It happens...

                  When "real" life become interesting and busy, sometime the whole "horse thing" just becomes a burden. It's burnout!

                  Are you in a position to keep the horse and just ENJOY him? Take the pressure of having to show progress, compete, improve, etc. out of the picture. Just go for a hack when the mood strikes you. Just go sit in his stall while he's chomping away on his hay. You said he makes you laugh. That's good.

                  Just like a professional dancer who burns out, it doesn't mean they don't dance anymore. They can go to a club and just have fun without the pressure of performing. The talent and love of the sport will always be there, simmering just under the surface.

                  If you love and enjoy your horse and can keep him, why not free-lease him to someone you trust and just go enjoy him when the mood strikes you.

                  This is just my experience. Sometimes my horse becomes a pasture ornament for a month or two, usually when my "other" life is really busy and the weather s*cks. But I know my NEED to ride my OWN horse always comes back.

                  Good luck... breathe and relax about it!


                  • #10
                    I have goten out of orses twice. Once I was tired of finding places to board that were close enough to home and affordable. My mare and I never really got along and after 6 years with her I took a break. Sold her, got rid of stuff that would go bad and blankets. I missed it and starting taking lessons at a few places over the year, then decided to buy another. Last August I sold my gelding, and I have been slowly selling off my stuff. Since the day he left I have not looked back. I have some friends with horses if I want to go for a ride I can, but I don't very often. I try to visit one of their farms once every week or 2 to get my horse fix.
                    Don't miss owning one at all. I saved the money I was spending each month and bought a condo, which is actually cheaper monthly! The gym has become my place to go at night, never thought I would like the gym more than the barn.

                    Only you will know if this is the right time, you will know as soon as the horse leaves if you miss it.


                    • #11
                      I did, for 6 years or so. Just getting back into it now. Even if you do decide you want to quit, that doesn't mean you can't change your mind later.


                      • #12
                        This subject is close to my heart. I had a traumatic event about 10 years ago, and the way it affected me was that my passion for horses just shut off. I still had some older (in their 20s) breeding horses and my favorite gelding. I just couldn't fake the lack of passion or desire no matter what I did. I sold my gelding. Over time, the older horses passed away. I was horseless for about 2 years. An old student asked if I would teach her, and when she was riding, I suddenly had this intense urge to rider her horse. At that exact moment, my passion switched back on...really strange. Anyway, I started browsing CL and decided to pick up a little project 2 year old....then, I got a mare...then I bought an Andy yearling, now someone is giving me an OTTB. My barn is full, and I am very, very happy and having a blast. I'm doing things differently these days, since I had time to reflect on what I really wanted to do. The thing I do regret...was selling my gelding to this day, however he has a great home. I saved all of my equipment and tack, so I didn't have to buy too much when I started up again.


                        • #13
                          I've tried to quit a few times but it's never worked. :P
                          I was going through a lot, and didn't think I really wanted to ride on top of that. Now I'm homeschooled so I can "play pony" all day and can't imagine myself doing anything else.
                          However a friend of mine did quit, and when I was considering it, I talked about it with her. She had a change of interest, leased her horse out, stored away her tack, and still says she doesn't regret it.

                          I agree with selling or leasing out your horse and keeping your tack, as well as putting some money away if you decide you want a horse again later. Going without riding for a year or two might make you want to start again.
                          "It's hard to wait for something you know might not happen, but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."
                          Blog | YouTube


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                            This subject is close to my heart. I had a traumatic event about 10 years ago, and the way it affected me was that my passion for horses just shut off. I still had some older (in their 20s) breeding horses and my favorite gelding. I just couldn't fake the lack of passion or desire no matter what I did. I sold my gelding. Over time, the older horses passed away. I was horseless for about 2 years. An old student asked if I would teach her, and when she was riding, I suddenly had this intense urge to rider her horse. At that exact moment, my passion switched back on...really strange. Anyway, I started browsing CL and decided to pick up a little project 2 year old....then, I got a mare...then I bought an Andy yearling, now someone is giving me an OTTB. My barn is full, and I am very, very happy and having a blast. I'm doing things differently these days, since I had time to reflect on what I really wanted to do. The thing I do regret...was selling my gelding to this day, however he has a great home. I saved all of my equipment and tack, so I didn't have to buy too much when I started up again.
                            I think we had a parallel life! Worked my tail end off for years building my business and reputation. Someone pulled the rug out from under me. I walked away, free-leased my horse to a trusted friend until he passed and never looked back. UNTIL the day a former student asked if I could help her with a "small" problem she was having.

                            It took a while to get my confidence back and my legs back under me, figuratively and literally! But now I am happily back doing what I love, working with the lower levels, getting them a solid foundation and moving them along!


                            • #15
                              I quit.

                              I was in my early 20s.. had been riding and competing since I was 5. Rode with a BNT. Competed all over the US. Planned on going professional....

                              And it just wasn't fun anymore. It was drama, politics, false friendships and fickle owners, riders and judges. My trainer was retiring and the trainer I had always planned on transitioning to died.

                              So I walked away... it was very very hard.

                              An interesting/painful part was body changes. Having started riding so young and riding so much for years had really changed my core, hips and legs. Most of my 20s I had back and hip issues as a result.

                              I started riding again about a year ago... very glad to be back but its a hobby for sure.


                              • #16
                                Oh, I am working on it.

                                Visit my blog! http://dressagecurmudgeon.blogspot.ca/


                                • #17
                                  Lots of good suggestions here... If you're not sure, keep your horse stuff and find a good free lease for your horse -- shouldn't be hard since it sounds so talented! If you're sure, sell the horse, maybe keep some of the horse stuff and pack it away.

                                  I couldn't tell from your OP, but if you have your horse at home, maybe consider boarding it so someone else is doing the chores. A part-leaser could help pay for it, and if you're not showing your expenses will go way down, too.

                                  I gave up a couple of long-time hobbies when I started riding again nearly 6 years ago. Some of them I miss (the quilt stuff is all there waiting for me), some I don't. I will get burned out occasionally, but usually getting back on a horse is all it takes to get me going again.
                                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                  • #18
                                    Horses are like addictive drugs. You can try to quit, but you go back at some point. lol

                                    I took a 7 year break, then came back in my mid-20's. I've been back at it now for 18 years. I am kind of at a point where the daily chores and riding are just that - chores. I have 4 at home, so it's not so easy to just pack them all up and sell them off. 3 of the 4 are pasture puffs- either too old (28) mentally and physically infirmed (8 y.o. WB mare) or too small to ride (6 y.o. mini) I think it's harder when you have a farm and several to take care of. I am just not that motivated anymore. My mare is a very tough ride and she needs a lot of dedication each time I ride her. It just isn't fun to have to work so hard everytime I ride her. She is very talented, but a bit of a high anxiety mental case. (mother of the 8 y.o.)

                                    So for now, I ride when I want (although I really need to get back into a routine) and just groom and feed the others.

                                    It's o.k. to pack it in, but do save your stuff. You never know when you will relapse/fall off the wagon!


                                    • #19
                                      i am thinking similar, but i want to move to ponies so my mare is going up for sale and i will keep the pony and see how i feel in a year or two.

                                      i always keep all my "stuff" it is just too hard to replace it without going broke

                                      btw i don't think of it as "quitting" it is just a change of interests and moving on to something else.... no negative connotations, its just life and what makes one happy and fulfilled.


                                      • #20
                                        It is easy to feel overwhelmed with so much going on. There are times I've taken a hiatus from certain things just to get my equilibrium back.

                                        I agree with those who have suggested that maybe this is a good time to free lease your horse out and put your equestrian stuff in storage. consider trying that for a few months to "test the waters" before you go about selling everything. Maybe deep down you really do want a major break right now, but perhaps you just need a short break. Do a trial period in the beginning to make sure you feel good about the decision.