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Where you are, versus where you thought you'd be?

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  • #41
    Definitely not where I thought I would be, but hopefully making the plans to get myself where I DO want to be.

    I was just starting out at Prelim when my horse had to be retired due to a floating bone chip. I was only 15. I tried to find a replacement for him for many years but sadly I only ever made it back to Training level. I travelled to Scotland and Ireland and worked and evented over there and got a tonne of experience. Sadly I got homesick after a year in Scotland and came home, probably one of my biggest regrets. It was upon my return that I found my guy and bought him from only seeing him in a stall.

    After bringing him home I left him in a field for about 3 years until I got my life sorted. Figured out a career, quit the partying, and focused on getting back into riding and competing some day. It's been a long haul with him but I wasn't sure if he would ever be able to handle going eventing mentally, but he has really grown in the last 2 years and we are currently going PT and will most likely upgrade to Training in the fall. Whether he will go higher is still unknown, but I am out doing what I love again.

    I am lucky to have just bought a cute little farm picked up 2 great prospects that I work with on the side. One that I feel will be a real force someday. I go to work, come home and ride,do the barn, rinse, repeat. I am hoping to go Advanced some day, and I will do whatever it takes to get there.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
      I thought I'd be married to a rich doctor and livin it up by now! Figured I'd be able to have some awesome horse/s to pack me around Rolex.

      But here I am--single, broke, and riding a cow pony.
      Wish I'd got the memo that I was supposed to marry a rich doctor! Damn. Maybe that was the flaw that ultimately caused my dreams to crumble. Instead, I married a poor, disabled veteran and will continue to ride my Bargain Bin Clearance ponies.


      • #43
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        I like the reality of this thread. I love Denny Emerson, but the constant harping on how riders aren't really serious or potentially any good at all unless they sacrifice every single facet of their lives to ride all day, every day is sort of disheartening. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of us out here just doing it when and how we can.
        I'm with you. Riding should be a source of delight in our lives, the frosting as it were and not necessarily the entire cake or one runs the risk of becoming very one-dimensional. There are tons of "horse-people" who are incapable of talking or thinking about anything else, and frankly they bore me senseless!

        In 1993, I was struggling along in a niche paralegal-services business that I'd started 17 years before a few years out of school. It was beginning to sink, due to unforseen market conditions. My one horse, whom I'd taken from spooking at x-rails to competitive at Training, had popped a check ligament and I'd just retired him from competition since he was 21. No second horse was on my horizon, and I felt fortunate to be able to afford to keep my old guy. We'd just had a major breakthrough right before the lameness, working with Jean-Claude Racinet, and the frustration of not being able to ride him for those 6 months was enormous.

        I guessed the business would recover, my old horse would get sound enough to go on with dressage, maybe some day I'd be able to afford to start over with a younger mount. On and off for years I'd taught some lessons, house-sat barns, and wound up managing most of the (small) places I boarded him. I supposed that was the way it would be . . .

        During that time, I took a few schooling catch-rides on a horse that my first teacher, a distant cousin, still had. A very old man, he still liked to keep a nice prospect or two about. His son lived in a distant state and he was more or less alone, so I'd go hang out and ride, then we'd talk over old times. He made me swear I'd put down the 44-year old pony I'd learned to ride and jump on, in the event the pony outlived him. I never expected that to happen. . .

        I was at work when I got the call. N. had dropped dead on the barn floor on the way to get a load of hay. Was there anyone who could take responsibility for caring for the horses?
        Yes. There was and I did. Wound up house-sitting month-to-month over that first long, hard winter, and talked his son into letting me bring in some boarders I knew so there would be enough revenue coming in . . . and I convinced him not to close the place up or to sell it, which had always been planned.

        Well, I ran the place for the next 9 years! Never got a chance to return to eventing seriously, and never found another horse with the combination of guts, cattiness, and common sense that made my old guy such a joy, though it isn't for lack of trying. After a time the son returned home and took up his patrimony in that place, but I had in the interim come into life-use of a much larger property N. had up the road that at that time resembled the Howling Boonies--a couple of falling-down "shotgun shacks" and fenced with rusty barbed wire. There's a reason I call myself "Swamp Yankee"--this land had not been touched since the 1950's. I got out there with the loppers, the chainsaw and the hammer and Started. Had a nerve even charging people board! Took on a collection of bottom feeders, hard-luck cases and God's Waiting Room types those first few years . . . and persevered.

        Well, 19 years later the place is quite civilized indeed, and under a land conservancy after I got tired of whacking snotty land speculators on the nose with a stick. The business I'd had when N. died, I folded in '99; and I'll never have another amateur card. 20 or so retired and pleasure horses, all of which live out on grass, provide a good income, so I've basically become the horse bum my father always feared. Altogether, I'm immensely grateful for the way things have turned out . . .

        These days I've got a young mare who's bred like my old guy; and if I close my eyes and bridge my reins I could be riding his ghost. But because of a conformational weakness she has I'll never ask her to do the things he did; like a hawk with clipped wings, she'll live a quiet life of pasture and trail rides. And so will I. I'm past the age now where I go out seeking man-made ordeals with that fire in the belly of something to prove; I've found Nature sends you plenty to deal with as it is! Rising to THOSE occasions is now the measure of experience.

        My great old horse, born in 1973, stuck around until 2005!


        • #44
          I love this thread. And Deltawave is so right: riding for ammies is not always going to be the kind of hobby that Denny envisions. AND THAT'S OK.

          I'm only 27 so I really can't say that I am or am not where I expected to be. I do know that I gave up on the "professional rider" dream somewhere back in high school when pragmatism set in. And somewhere along the way I realized that horses are about a lot more than competition for me.

          One of the greatest compliments that I have ever gotten is from some old family friends (with whom I started riding in New Hampshire at age 4). They went on to have one of the most impressive pony hunter resale programs of the late nineties and early 2000's and the youngest daughter has set records starting as the youngest rider to win Pony Finals to now being a Grand Prix show jumper living and training in Europe - and not because they have loads of cash. A year or so ago I was visiting them in Wellington and we were talking about horse care and the horse industry. I gave my opinion and then said something about not knowing what I was talking about as a non-pro and hardly ever competitor. They said "Don't belittle yourself like that. You are one of the most incredible horsewomen we know. You've done almost every discipline and you have so much knowledge from it."

          And THAT is what this is about for me. Horsemanship. Partnership. Learning. Riding became so much more fulfilling for me when I realized that.

          Sure, I wish I had more money and time. I'd ride every day. Probably have a farm and a few horses. But I'm working towards that - Bar exam on Monday!

          I'm also incredibly lucky to be able to live in Unionville (where I announced to my parents at age 11 that I would live when I grew up) and to have found a wonderful boyfriend who not only encourages me to ride but whose grandfather was a legendary steeplechase trainer - needless to say, he gets the horse thing.

          And I'm so lucky to have my wonderful mare, Lulu. I never imagined when I (ahem... my parents) bought her for me when I was 13 and she was coming 4 that I would have her 13 years later. We had moments of sheer brilliance as AA-circuit hunters, learned basic dressage, foxhunted and even tried our hand at Beginner Novice. These days we are enjoying long hacks and the incredible friendship that comes from so many years together.

          All-in-all I don't care where I thought I'd be. I'm pretty darn lucky to be just where I am.
          "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


          • #45
            Instead of marrying a doctor, it is better to win the lottery. That way the money is all yours and you don't have to answer to anybody. I suppose I should start buying some tickets!!!


            • #46
              Marrying a doctor is not all it's cracked up to be, or so I'm told.

              Why anyone would want to make that a goal is beyond me . . . ugh. Make your OWN money, set your OWN terms, and forget about luck--I know it's in jest, but that's so not a productive mindset.

              I only play the Lottery when it's > $100 million; just the mental exercise of spending it all is worth paying a dollar a couple of times a year.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #47
                Love reading your stories.

                Honestly, it's hard to remember what my goals have been over the years as I never intended to make this my profession (after it became apparent at about age 11 that I was probably going to outgrow jockey-size...). There were times when things were going great and I thought I'd shoot for the stars and there were times when I thought I'll be jumping 2'3" for the rest of my life. If I had to name a single goal, my secret dream is to make it to Prelim at some point before my increasingly creaky joints give out, and I haven't given up yet....

                This will probably sound cheezy beyond belief, but.... I just got some pictures back from our last HT at which we placed well out of the ribbons. In every single picture I have the most ridiculous crazed grin on my face. When I stop and think about the moments of sheer joy this sport can give me, I know I'm exactly where I want to be
                I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.


                • #48
                  Honestly, I'm much farther than I ever expected or hoped to be. Coming from a lower middle class farming family I've never had the money/opportunity for great horses or great training. I trained myself all through my growing up years. I hoped I could always keep horses as a hobby but didn't think i would be able to afford it (c'mon I'm double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. Not a lot of money there!).

                  I find myself in my third year of college with a cheap OTTB I bought off the slaughter truck for a pittance. Everyday we cross boundaries I never, ever, ever expected to cross. I never thought he'd do more than walk trot, with someone leading us :P At this point we're doing flying changes, jumping courses and hacking out.

                  I work for the barn manager and exercise horses for other barns around my town. I'd say I went far and above expectations! Perhaps I should a bit bigger next time?

                  (Not to mention my five year old dream was to be the next Charmayne James. hehe)
                  ~Over or Through~

                  A Blog of Percy's Journey!


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    Marrying a doctor is not all it's cracked up to be, or so I'm told.

                    Why anyone would want to make that a goal is beyond me . . . ugh. Make your OWN money, set your OWN terms, and forget about luck--I know it's in jest, but that's so not a productive mindset.
                    OH, deltawave. If you knew me (in real life, of course) you'd know that I am prisoner to no man. I don't know anyone who has a true, ultimate goal of marrying rich - but it would be a plus, I guess, if the monetary benefits were incidental to the more valid reasons for wanting to marry someone.


                    • #50
                      I'm scared someone will try to marry me and coast on my coattails I have a use for that (hypothetical, future) money!

                      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
                        OH, deltawave. If you knew me (in real life, of course) you'd know that I am prisoner to no man. I don't know anyone who has a true, ultimate goal of marrying rich - but it would be a plus, I guess, if the monetary benefits were incidental to the more valid reasons for wanting to marry someone.

                        At some [undergrad] institutions it was known as going to school for an M.R.S degree.


                        • #52
                          In HS I was a C3 in PC going prelim on my mare and novice on my younger gelding. I was planning on doing a one star, and then Young Riders and was considering the thought of an intermediate in the not too distant future.

                          Then lots of stuff happened, horse related stuff, school/work related stuff, love related stuff...

                          Currently, I'm 25 (a graduate HA in PC) and I get to do a novice schooling HT once a year on my 8 yr old OTTB. I LOVE him. I just really enjoy owning him, riding him and keeping him at a friend's house. My love life and school/career life have been very enjoyable as well. I feel lucky that maybe in 2 years I'll be going training on my current horse. I'll have the income to go to a couple sanctioned shows a year.

                          Long term I'm still hoping to get back to prelim, maybe do a one star. I think my current horse has the ability to do intermediate one day, so that's in the back of my head... but that will depend on how long this journey will take.

                          So yeah, I'm not where I thought I'd be... But I'm not THAT far off and I'm really looking forward to my future.
                          Last edited by Wee Dee Trrr; Jul. 20, 2012, 11:18 PM. Reason: Added PC stuff
                          Yes, I ride a pony. No, he would not be ideal for your child. No, he is not a re-sale project...


                          • #53
                            I love this thread. It's such an eye-opener!

                            I guess most of my "what ifs" come from wondering where I would be/how much farther along I would be if I had been in Pony Club, or in the Young Rider program, or even had eventing anywhere close to where I lived growing up.

                            I realize I was one of the few lucky kids who had a horse when I was ten and went to local open shows on a regular basis every summer, all thanks to my parents. I am more than grateful for that, and I have told them numerous times.

                            I had an amazing first trainer who instilled basic dressage, drilled horsemanship and etiquette, and gave me a rock solid foundation, and I could not have such an amazing self-trained horse without that. Sometimes I get caught up on "DAMN! We got a rail!" that I forget that everything this horse knows is because I taught him. Obviously I've taken lessons and learned from different horses and people along the way, but I never sent him to a trainer. That is one hell of an accomplishment, especially considering we're schooling Novice very solidly when his original purpose was to be a barrel racer!

                            I am grateful for where I am and for the abilities that I have. My jumping instructor paid me some huge compliments today that honestly humbled me. But I can't help wanting more, and wondering if I'll get the break I've been dreaming of, such as making connections and being able to learn from someone who can get me to the level I dream of. I've always been competitive, and I want to win, not just impress beginning riders who are moving up to crossrails. Is Rolex a huge dream that I might not achieve? Quite possibly. But dammit, I'm still going to try!
                            runnjump86 Instagram

                            Horse Junkies United guest blogger


                            • #54
                              VicariousRider- good luck on the bar exam. As an eventer you've got an advantage because you know not to freak out at every little thing. The test is basically like a ditch. It actually doesn't take much talent to get over it- it's just a head game.
                              Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
                              Ms. Brazil


                              • #55
                                Five years ago I was planning to have atleast my B and H ratings in Pony Club, and starting to compete at Prelim.

                                Today I am 19, dropped out of HS at 16 to get my at 18 GED, due to health problems (at the time Drs thougth I had JRA, later diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, IBS, and went through 3 painful yrs to later find out my gallbladder was diseased). Still trying to find a happy medium with health issues, riding, and going to my first year of college in the fall.

                                In the last three years I have had four horses. My first horse was a wonderful little chestnut solid bred paint mare who I trained and brought along until I moved on skillwise. Sold her to a wonderful little girl and her mother do contiue to use her for PC. They would have had her 3 yrs the end of May, but she died in Martha McDowell's barn fire :'(.

                                My next two horses both ended up never being sound and getting sick. The first was Dover, a big grey TB mare that had internal melanomas that ruptured, and we were never able to get rid of them. That was after she went lame the first day I brought her home. I had her 6 months before she passed on. Addie was a big green ISH mare that I was bringing along. She was great, up until we had a big accident XC, causing me to loose all of my confidence. We later found out she had EPM. It caused her to be mentally and physically unsound and dangerous for anyone to be around, let alone herself.

                                My new mare, Tonks a 13yo Canadian TB, is exactly what I need right now. She sat for 6-7yrs before she came to me a little over a year ago. I took her to her first show in 6-7yrs at smurf last fall, and then to her 2nd ever and my first recgonized event at BN this spring. We are preparing for our first event (schooling event) at N together that is at the month, and our first recgonized N next month. I took my C1 on her last fall, and will be taking my C2 before I go off to school. HB test is at the end of this month!

                                So to anwser your question, no, I am not where I thought and planned to be. But I am where I need to be at the moment, getting my confidence back on a horse that is sane but makes me ride. At this rate I'll be hopefully doing a T level HT at the end of next summer and going for at least my C3 Dressage and H in Pony Club next year.

                                The plan is to still get my C3 and B classic ratings before I age out, so I still have plenty of time .


                                • #56
                                  I just wanted to add a thought for all the younger riders...

                                  I learned to jump "by the seat of my pants" as a teenager. I never had any formal lessons and just did it for fun. I didn't learned to count strides and I did everything on a budget.

                                  I started eventing after I had my two daughters at the age of 32.

                                  I'm not particularly athletic or talented and I've never paid more than $5000 for a horse. In fact, the two horses I went Prelim on were $1500 and $2500.

                                  I am not a brave rider and never have been. I have a great instructor who keeps me safe and she is the reason I have been able to accomplish what I have.

                                  I have bartered many of my lessons through work-housecleaning, painting, tack cleaning.

                                  I don't spend hours in the saddle. I ride anywhere between 3-5 times weekly. Most days I ride 30 minutes or less, but I work up a sweat in that time amount!

                                  I don't have an indoor arena and I don't go south for the winter. I don't compete as much as I used to (used to compete twice a month through the season) but I actually am more competitive now because I've learned to focus.

                                  I guess my point is that it can be done even if you don't have a lot of bravery, money or talent. You just have to keep trying and be willing to learn.


                                  • #57
                                    As a kid growing up in New York City, I just wanted to smell horses. I read every horse book that I could get my hands on. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven when I was able to start lessons at the only barn in Manhattan. Hung out there for years. I could not have conceived of living in the country with my horse at my house. Every time I feel like I haven't gone far enough horse-wise, I try to recapture the wonder of that little kid.

                                    Did I get my now 20 year old OTTB to prelim as I had hoped? No, but he is happy traipsing around his paddock and going for trail rides. For loads of reasons we topped out at Novice. I have a great husband, a great career, two great kids, and I get to smell my horse (and lots of his poop) at least twice a day. Color me content.


                                    • #58
                                      It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        It is so cool to read between the lines here and get a sense of what makes people tick by how they describe what really floats their lifeboat. Even if it is (ESPECIALLY if it is) smelling horse poop.
                                        Always glad to make your day . Of course, I came back into the house to find that my husband has now moved down a notch from great, because he felt sorry for the dog and did not put his e-collar on. Dog has re-opened the hot spot wound again! Ugh!


                                        • #60
                                          I started riding when I was 5, got my first pony at 8 and then my first horse at 13. went to PC and only tested for my D-3 but was a C-1 just didn't have a horse to test for it as the horse I was riding went lame the day before my riding test.

                                          evented training level and did some perlim schooling events all back in the 80's when it was only $35-55. to enter in an event. Then I moved on to SJ and showed A 4'- 4'6". showed at Spruce once. Spent 6 months in Switzerland riding with Markus Fuchs.

                                          Got married, had a kid, got divorced. keep my horses, started breeding sport horses. WB/TB crosses for the show ring.

                                          Moved and started my training/lesson barn, moved again and got bigger. Moved once more to a bigger farm and had it all was making a living off the horses and barn.

                                          Then I got burn out 6 yrs in. Didn't want to ride only did as I had horses in for training.

                                          Then was in an auto accident and broke both collarbones. was out of the saddle for 4 months and was told that I should think about a new line of work. I went back to school at night. Found a new job for July 1, closed my barn Aug 30. One collarbone didn't heal and had to have surgery that fall.

                                          I still had a few horses (8) sold a few mares and young stock, my older gelding was put down after breaking his leg in pasture. Found myself down to 4 horses.

                                          Met my DH and got married move to BC away from family and to were it costs a ton to keep horses. Sent my two mares back to Alberta to my sisters farm. Have my two geldings here.

                                          I am not doing as much as I would like but I am happy to just enjoy my horses and get out to play. I don't want to event anymore, just school x-country, go on trail rides and have fun plaing with my boys. I find it very hard to find a coach that doesn't want to push me to do more then I want to do. I don't care to jump the big jumps anymore. I just want to have fun and enjoy myself and make sure my horses are enjoying theirselfs.

                                          I have been lucky to do all the things I have wanted to do and then some. I went up and now I am back at the beginning starting all over but don't want to go back up. I have been there and now I just want to enjoy my horses and the other things that life has to offer.
                                          My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

                                          Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed