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Update to Forum Rules: Criminal Allegations

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

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

    I don't mean the "Olympic Dream", necessarily, but those more realistic plans or goals we have - making it to a certain level, becoming a successful trainer, bringing up your own star horse, etc.

    Where are you now, and where did you think you'd be at this point in your (riding) life? Are you jealous or envious of others that were, at one point, at the same level (or lower) as you, and have surpassed you? How do you deal with those feelings?

    I'm interested to hear others responses to these questions, as I'm trying to come to terms with my own lack of progress (or, as much progress as I thought I'd have made by this time in my life).

  • #2
    Well, I'm 28, and I'm currently eventing at training level while working a demanding job that requires 70-80 hours a week, which basically means I ride when it's dark out!

    Before this year, I had been eventing at novice level for 14+ years without moving up mainly because I had no means of my own to travel to events. I board at a hunter/jumper barn (I could never leave - they are like family to me), and no one, except for me, is interested in eventing. Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a job in the equine field, but I recognized long ago that in order to continue with horses, I was going to need a job that could fund my horse habit.

    This year, everything changed. I finally saved up enough to buy a truck and trailer! On top of that, I started leasing a younger horse, and I've been taking dressage and eventing lessons, and trailering regularly to rated shows. I feel like I'm finally moving up to do what I was ready to do about 12 years ago. If it makes you feel any better, I used to frequently compete against (and beat) a current Olympian. It's crazy to think about where I might be now had I only had the means...


    • #3
      I had to chuckle when I read this "Are you jealous or envious of others" for I'd say I'm envious towards almost everyone on this forum for it seems y'all have way more experience then I. I'll be in heaven before I can say the phrase "I took my green bean out for a spin on BN".

      The zen in me would say I am right where I need to be....I like tell that side to shut up for I feel like I have been dragging along, barely making way.


      When I look at a triple two stride combination I set up at home with heights at 2'9, when I look at the BN jumps I made and routinely clear (at home) I begin to see that I really am where I need to be. I tried to rush once and had the poop scared out of me by a horse. Set me way back and it took a year of work just to gain trust of new my guy, not even thinking of trying to jump more then a cross rail. Before that I lost a year+ after my first horse fell and retired from eventing (still loves dressage) so out of the 6 total years I've ridden,

      one year to learn how to ride (safely) and help my rescued horse heal
      Two years to work her and I up to BN height (then she fell)
      One and a half years of looking for a horse and limited lessons
      One year learning trust after getting my new horse
      and just this year getting back to BN levels (and having a blast).

      There are moments when I feel like I'm not going forward at all then I have my trainer run me through some lesson that would have floored me two months ago....so I am growing :-) and I feel better. With Mercedes i felt this pressure to match the pace of other students. That rush, that push created some angst that I am not proud of looking back. With Sterling I accepted the pace we got. Sometimes I think maybe my trainer is holding me back, then we go to a show and I discover that she in fact has brought me right to the level I need to be to keep what I do safe and fun.

      My surface goal is to run in a long format BN event, then make AEC at BN, and grow to N. I don't care that others pass me by, I do care that they see I am doing my best along the way. I came into the horse life later in my life (started riding at 46), but have not only loved the "dark side", but love it all. Working a full time job will always hold me back more then I like, but I've come to accept that what I do is not measured against others progress, but my own.


      • #4
        Pretty much where I expected: a lot of Novice, Training when I can get my act together. Thanks to my wonderful Gwennie, I had a good couple of years there where I was able to compete reasonably successfully and competently at Preliminary, which was NEVER EVER on my radar until she came along.

        My lifelong horse dream was basically to have my own farm and to keep a few horses here and go to horse shows whenever I could. "Whenever" winds up being perhaps slightly less than I'd like, but I made the farm happen at age 40 and I've found that just having horses around every day is enough to keep me happy, and going to shows is like dessert: something wonderful that doesn't need to happen constantly.

        Am I jealous or envious of others? No way--they don't have what I have. I do envy people their courage and natural talent, which is the only part of the equation that just can't be gotten by working on it when one finds the time. But I wouldn't swap places (or horses) with anybody, I don't think.

        The only parts of the horse dream that still haven't happened are taking a couple of horses to Florida and competing all winter (even the H/J circuit would be fun--I just want to run away with my horses for a few months and go do stuff) and doing some Combined Driving. Still plenty of time.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          What a great thread!

          I think I'm where I hoped I would be. Of course I'm sidelined currently with the broken foot, but my goal was to find the nerve to show Training. After taking 3 horses to that level the Prelim courses started calling my name. I never thought I'd have the guts, but now with a couple runs under my belt I have been bitten by the bug again. Can't wait to finish healing so we can pick up where we left off. Knowing me, those Int. jumps will probably start looking good

          Like Archflies is discussing in another thread, having kids and splitting time between home and job makes all of this a little tough. Sometimes I do envy those 1% types that have endless disposable income and can buy 3* horses just to get experience on (if I'm being honest), but that isn't my reality. I'm mid 40's working a good full time job that supports my horse habit. I gave up the little kid "I want to go to the Olympics" dream a loooong time ago.
          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

          The Grove at Five Points


          • #6
            I envy DeltaWave. All of my aspirations are exactly what she has achieved.

            It's amazing how life--unsoundness, finances, marriage, an infant, work--can delay (not derail) one's plan's. I have been mostly out of the tack since retiring my old jumper a few years ago, and now, with a 4 1/2-month old son (and the hope to add another child in the coming years), it sometimes seems that my attainment of personal riding and horsekeeping goals are advancing ever-further into the future. My time will come, as will the little farm we hope to have, but I miss the view from the saddle.
            "With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come" (Shakespeare).


            • #7
              Right now? I want to be showing Prelim. Intermediate and Advanced are looking more fun all the time. I want to be showing Second or Third Level Dressage. I'd love to be getting my Pony Club A.

              At the moment I'm 18, headed off to an out of state school in the fall and not bringing my horse with me. I'm a C-3 Pony Clubber and schooling Training Dressage with my horse. I feel like I'm behind the curve a bit.

              But then I stop and think about it.

              I just sold my pony that I had owned for 9 years that I trained from the very beginning. We were intending on taking my Pony Club B this summer and moving up to recognized Training with the goal of a long format right before I went to school. My other horse is a hot, sensitive, 6 year old mare that was only on and off sound for two years when I bought her as a three year old. Now she is sound(knock on wood) and we are starting from scratch. Having her doing Training Dressage happily is great! Sure I'm only a C-3 in Pony Club and my best friend is going for her A in August. But I've only been in Pony Club for 3 years. She has been in it for 10.

              So I guess I'm not where I mean to be. But I'll get there eventually. I have a fantastic baby who just needs some miles and will be really nice when she grows up. Getting my A is totally achieveable, I just need a little more time. Overall, I don't think I'm as behind as I seem to be.


              • #8
                I'm in Canada.

                That was never part of the plan. Never.


                • #9
                  Mine is kind of a long one.....

                  When I was 14 I dropped out of Highschool (got my GED) to be a full time working student. I had a really nice 4 year old warmblood gelding who I was getting ready to event on, but in the mean time was riding a Quarter horse. I spend many hours at the barn cleaning stalls and riding 3-4 horses a day, I was in really good shape. I was competing at Beginner Nov.

                  Just after I turned 16 (When my warmblood was ready to start eventing) I got sick with a still currently unknown illness. I was tired all the time and felt like I couldn't keep up anymore. When I finally went to the doctor I found out that my blood pressure was averaging around 160/130. I was absolutely shocked. The doctor was too. We couldn't figure out how a healthy 16 year old had stage 2 hypertension.
                  I was put on blood pressure meds and they made me really sick and really depressed. I pretty much quit doing any physical activity all together.
                  I ended up gaining a lot of weight and had no energy to ride my horse anymore, so he pretty much became a pasture ornament.
                  At this point I had lost interest in living at all and just didn't care about my health.

                  When I was 18 I tried getting back into riding though it was hard because I had gained 30ish pounds and had lost SO much muscle mass. There was one day when I went out and tried to ride and I did ok, just walk trot stuff and felt pretty good, and just took it easy. When I had gotten inside I started to feel woozy. Next thing I knew I was on the ground face down in my own vomit I was rushed to the hospital with a blood pressure of 180/160 (not even kidding). The doctors put me on a saline drip for about an hour and said "its not abnormal for teenagers to pass out in the summer" and sent me home.
                  Now days the only thing doctors will tell me is that the reason I have high blood pressure is because I am over weight. And yes... that is why NOW. but no one will listen to me or help me when I try to explain how I was before all this started.

                  I am 19 this year and I have decided to put all this behind me and try to work this out on my own.... since no doctor is willing to help me. and only wants to put me on BP meds which make me sick and have manic depression. I still struggle with this every day. One of the last riding lessons I had, I passed out on the pack of my horse.
                  My goal is to be doing Beginner Novice again next spring. I am on no medications, but am trying my best to regulate blood pressure with diet and exercise.

                  I feel like had this not happened I would still have my old Horse (I sold him because he wasn't getting ridden) And I would probably be going either training or prelim this year.
                  I still cry all the time because of what happened, and because I feel like I had a lot going for me. And it is sad to see my friends that i grew up riding with pass me by, but I am trying not to let it get me down. I know I have a talent for riding so I'm just hoping I will be able to catch up. I am still young so I have a chance to ride and get good while I am still in my prime time. I hope that one day I will find out what happened to make me so sick.... but I will feel really accomplished if hard work and diet can help me get better on my own. Right now I am my own obstacle, so I just gotta keep my head up and hope for the best.
                  Eventers of the West
                  A Facebook group I created for Eventers in the West Region of the U.S.
                  Remy - My OTTB Gelding! Love him to pieces!


                  • #10
                    Sorry to hear about your health. I don't think you should give up on finding a solution however. Of course I don't know your insurance situation or anything like that - but it doesn't sound like your medical professionals have exhausted the investigations/diagnostics for you. As well, there must be someone you could talk to about your depression, this is really important to address.

                    Feel free to PM me anytime.

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


                    • #11
                      I'm a little behind where I thought I'd be, figured I'd be at least doing Prelim by now and just starting at novice. I would love to be able to board or have an arena at my house because I have to haul out to ride so riding is limited. However, I do have the opportunity to trail ride a lot and have a lot of friends to ride with. I don't know, I'm pretty happy where I am.

                      Am I jealous? Yes. I'd like to have the money to buy the horse to take training level and be able to keep it someplace where I can actually ride more than once or twice a week but have to be content with what I have right now.
                      Last edited by Mtn trails; Jul. 19, 2012, 02:35 PM.
                      Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                      • #12
                        I don't compete, but can totally relate to feeling like you're not making progress compared to your personal goals or your friends' progress.

                        One thing that helped me was realizing I have a penchant for choosing sensitive hard to ride mares. I seem to need to choose the hard route! And I am a perfectionist!

                        Also, I think it is helpful to remember that we are lucky that our sport is generally a lifelong sport. Just imagine if you were a figure skater or something where most people are "all used up" at age 18!

                        The two times I've had the hardest spells of discontentment, I started doing a lot of research. The first time brought me to Mary Wanless books and coaching and I am still benefitting from that today. The second time I ended up finding the COTH forums and found what I call "voodoo" solutions to my horse's anxiety under saddle (don't ask me why the combination of U7 and a Back on Track blanket changed her completely!?).

                        Good luck, keep your chin up.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JER View Post
                          I'm in Canada.

                          That was never part of the plan. Never.
                          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                          The Grove at Five Points


                          • #14
                            I didn't expect to own a horse now, and never thought I'd have a barn/trainer this awesome in my life, so I'm just sort of happy to be where I am, with the people I'm with, on the horse I'm on, and progressing with each ride. My level of competition is an afterthought as long as I'm happy and we're both improving steadily.
                            www.cobjockey.com - Eventing the Welsh Cob


                            • #15
                              I actually thought I wanted to show the Quarter Horse Circuit when I was in my 20s. I grew up riding western and just showing 4H and local shows. So I bought a Quarter Horse.

                              Somehow I ended up doing dressage and then I thought I wanted to ride Grand Prix dressage. I sold the Quarter Horse and bought a yearling WB/TB filly.

                              Started out doing dressage and my instructor suggested we also jump the mare so she would learn to be more forward.
                              Next thing I know I'm doing my first Novice event.

                              My friend, an eventer, kept asking me that day if I was having a good time. I was so scared that I didn't decide that I liked it until 3 days later! I think a lot of people start eventing when they are young and brave and then switch to other disciplines later in life. I did it the opposite and started eventing in my 30s after I had kids.

                              Got my mare to Prelim and had a goal to do my first 3 day at Essex on my 40th birthday. Never happened. Kept the mare and bred her twice. Kept one of the babies as a competition horse.

                              My next event horse I also got to Prelim and planned to do my first 3 day in the fall of 2002. We did qualify and a week before the event we withdrew because of soundness issues. I felt like I was holding my horse together with duct tape and WD40.

                              Took my homebred through Prelim/Training. Could go Prelim with him but he really didn't want to be an event horse. He is now leased out to a junior rider doing equitation on him and he's doing very well and happy in his new career.

                              Just got an OTTB last fall and hoping to do Novice on him this fall and see how far we go. I don't want to compete above Prelim-that's hard enough and I'm 52!

                              While things didn't go exactly as planned, I'm thrilled with how they've gone! I have a horse farm that I love, I do retirement boarding (no longer in pharmaceutical sales) and I think I've gotten a little better every year. My horses have all taught me so much and I thank them for that.

                              I know there are lots of riders more athletic, talented,focused and wealthier than I am and that's ok. I never envisioned I'd be doing this sport or loving it as much as I do.

                              It's all good...


                              • #16
                                Kate, you need to go see a doctor who takes pleasure in figuring out oddball cases of hypertension. A nephrologist with an interest in hypertension, maybe. Chances are you have something off the beaten path that requires treatment that is also off the beaten path! Good luck.
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  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.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    Great thread!

                                    I NEVER would have anticipated the twists and turns my life took to get me where I'm at now- in all aspects of my life. Never would have believed you! But that's how life works, doesn't run according to MY plan. LOL.

                                    Competition wise, no. I am not as far along as I would have anticipated when I was 14. Nor did I reach any of the competition goals that I set back then. Honestly, my entire life plan didn't go any farther than Young Riders.

                                    I don't think I'm envious of others who are better riders than I am, or are equal riders with nicer horses, but I would say that I am occasionally wistful for what could have been if "life plan A" happened.

                                    I do a good job at what I do now. My current young horse is going to have a really good foundation and he will be able to move up the levels without major holes in his training, because of all the ones that came before him. I do hope that this will finally be my "get beyond Prelim" horse, but who knows. So much of life, and horse training is the journey.
                                    Unrepentant carb eater


                                    • #19
                                      I thought I would have done a T3DE by now but I cannot complain. First T3DE hopeful just was not sound enough, 2nd T3DE wanted to be a hunter princess instead. In the mean time my son has become a better and better rider. I never dreamed that I would be helping my 12 year old son prepare for his first schooling 3 phase! Totally trumps the T3DE dream and I have not given up on that one, just taking the long road My son and I just finished a little gallop session in the "back forty", popped over a couple of BN fences and headed home...........my version of nirvana!


                                      • #20
                                        I'm living the dream. Seriously.

                                        BF I adore even when he is a grump sidelined with unexpected broken foot (somehow each injury continues to be a surprise). Awesome, awesome eventing coach at an awesome barn with awesome people 20 minutes from home. Home is 5 min from work so I am loving my decision to stay in a smaller city and not do the big city commute (pat on back for this human in resisting the rat race known as Bay St).

                                        New resident 'dressage queen' coach - no 'queen' attitude, tons of knowledge and someone who has a wealth of information and gladly shares. She's is a real dressage person so in my head she is a DQ to distinguish from the wannabes like me.

                                        Between BF and I two fabulous greenies that are teaching me as much as I attempt to teach them. The big one tries his heart out and has dressage skills out of this world despite being under saddle 6mths (22 in first event!); the punky princess (4 year old) gives lots of attitude but is a blast to ride and becoming so clever and fun! We did our first mini coffin yesterday and she figured it out .so. quickly.

                                        Yup. Despite the nutty job that takes up way too much time but allows all of this to happen... I am content. Life is good - even if we are in Canada