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Trying to get excited again... should you have to try?

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  • Trying to get excited again... should you have to try?

    I get anxiety watching the Oscars (hurry up and finish your speech.. the music is coming!!!) so I thought I'd vent a bit on here to see if I'll feel better.

    I've been riding all my life, and showing and training has always been really important to me. I'm competitive and focused. This fall I lost my mojo.

    I had been having problems with my horse all summer and I didn't really have a trainer I could go to (my last trainer had moved away and I hadn't caught up with anyone since she left). I put out feelers and being in the very "eventy" area that I'm in, found some good suggestions. I went "speed-dating" trainer style and actually found a great trainer.

    I got the kinks fixed with my horse and really got into a groove like I never have before. I was riding daily and doing lessons and shows and schoolings and making so much progress. I was happy, my horse was happy and it was all just great.

    Then it wasn't.

    With out going into too much detail, trainer and I had to part ways. No one was really in the wrong, but these things just happen in the small horse world. I haven't been able to get back into my groove and I moved my horse home and I haven't ridden since fall.

    It's so upsetting because I do love riding, I LOVE competing, but I just feel burned. Today was a beautiful day and I felt that tingle to ride, but I didn't.

    Has anyone gone through this? I just want to have that focus and drive I once had.

  • #2
    I have found that riding seems to be a series of peaks, troughs and plateaus. Sometimes everything clicks and all of a sudden you make progress. Sometimes, things just fall apart. I find that when my diabetes isn't well controlled my riding is rubbish. Sometimes things just seem to go along, same old, same old and it is not very exciting and certainly not encouraging.

    However, the plateau parts are often improved by doing something very different with a horse. How about going riding somewhere new; try a new discipline; try a new breed; try a new state? Take a vacation with or without your horse. Lots of crazy things to do with a horse. How about learning to joust? Try horse ball or polo-cross.

    Try competition in a different way and volunteer at an event. Same people, lots of horses, no pressure to ride.

    Don't give up. Horses are such wonderful creatures.
    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm actually living it right now. If you click the link in my signature, it'll actually take you to my blog, in which I recently just wrote about trying to find my motivation again.

      I am also very familiar with what getting burned in the horse world is all about, and it can be quite devastating.

      I would say don't make it a big deal. Do what you want to do. If you don't want to ride, don't. You won't hurt anyone. If you get the tingle and you follow through, you'll be happy you did. Also, maybe consider dabbling in another sport for awhile. Go take some lessons from a hunter trainer. How about some endurance? Just go hack around. Whatever. Maybe you just need a different perspective. But, don't push and feel like you MUST be doing XYZ. It takes all the fun out of it and will make you even less likely to want to get rolling again.
      Amanda

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        That's a really good idea. I feel like I couldn't even take a lesson right now because me and pony are so out of shape! hahaha

        I signed up for tennis lessons at Christmas hoping that something new would freshen me up, but it just didn't do it for me.

        I've always wanted to try endurance, we have a big race here in the spring. I feel like pony might object to 25 miles of work!

        Comment


        • #5
          Sometimes you just have to go back to enjoying your horse (or pony). Long quiet hacks where you can just enjoy it. No goals except getting lost in it (and it's very good for getting in shape slowly).

          While I don't fall out of love with horses, I get some pretty nasty anxiety about riding if I haven't ridden in a while (a couple of weeks to a month), but it literally ALL melts away the second my foot hits a stirrup. I don't know why that happens. I can't explain it. Once I'm on my horse, I'm on top of the world and I do know that I would regret missing an opportunity to ride more than actually going for a ride (and having a saint of a horse helps too). Any time there is a mention of "trail" and "ride" in the same sentence, you can guarantee that I'd climb any mountain to put my butt in a saddle. I've always felt that's where you feel a "real" connection and even freedom. Mostly, you just have to trust each other and go with the flow.

          But as always, YMMV, and good luck!
          "Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride."

          Comment


          • #6
            I am right there with you. Last year, I was on fire. I competed at more recognized events than I ever have. I was competing two horses - my older guy and a leased horse - and I was having a blast! At the end of last year, I had to retire my guy due to an injury which has now turned into EPM. Around the same time, I was horse shopping, found what I thought was "the one," vetted her, and discovered some serious tendon damage. Now, I'm only motivated to go out to the barn and spend time with my guy. I rode for the first time in 4 weeks yesterday, and I was so incredibly frustrated with my lack of coordination that I almost threw in the towel halfway through. All I want is to find my next competition horse and to have goals again. But, despite my best efforts, I can't find anything for sale that I like...other than "the one." It's incredibly discouraging to be at this point after such a strong year last year. This is the first time in 20 years that I haven't had a rideable horse, and it's killing me. But, I also can't bring myself to buy something just for the sake of having something to ride. I'm being incredibly picky, and I know it. Hopefully, it will pay off. In the meantime, I'm frustrated and unmotivated.

            Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that you're not alone in feeling this way. It's certainly scary when you have been so engrossed in horses to feel like your interest is slipping away, but it's not uncommon and it doesn't mean that riding isn't for you. Riding is one of few sports that even at the lower levels is more of a "lifestyle" than a "sport." Think about soccer, basketball, skiing, football...they each have their season, and then you get a break. With horse ownership comes year long responsibility. Add to that equation the complicated elements of finding a good trainer, good boarding barn, and enough time to stay fit, and you're looking at a full-time committment. Of course people get burnt out. You're entitled to feel that way, but through it all, try and remember what made you love horses so much in the first place.

            I empathize with you, and I hope that you soon feel better about where you are. I'm rooting for you and your horse just as I'm rooting for myself to get back on track horse-wise. Good luck!!
            Last edited by PrinceSheik325; Feb. 25, 2013, 01:18 PM. Reason: Oops! Hit "submit" too soon!

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes.

              You probably need one (or more) of the following:

              1. Space/time - it's not the end of the world if you take a break. Allow yourself to get a broader perspective and maybe explore some other stuff you never do when you're caught up in horses - art, wine-tasting, other sports, social events, family, whatever.

              2. A riding buddy - motivation to just get out there! Sometimes you have to start having fun before you can regain your mojo.

              3. A goal - a spring schooling show works wonders.

              4. Maybe try another aspect of riding - create a musical freestyle, go trail-riding or try cattle-penning!
              Blugal

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

              Comment


              • #8
                I also can understand where you are coming from!

                2011-2012 were terrible years for me! I got laid off and then my husband decided he wanted a divorce. My entire lifestyle was changed in the blink of an eye. I moved to a place that I could live and work off rent so that I could continue to have my horse who is my once-in-a-lifetime. I did manage to scrape together enough money to show a bit and qualified for AEC's, decided we'd go even though I couldn't really afford it and had the time of my life! Heart horse and I finished in the top 10 of our highly competitive division.

                2 days after we got home, a pasture accident left heart-horse with a broken elbow. We are now 6 months in to his stall rest and he is doing well but no guarantees he'll ever be able to be ridden again but I'm glad he's still here on this earth with me. I have another horse, a retiree from my trainer, but he isn't really sound to ride. I did manage to get him out to foxhunt once in December. That's the only time my foot has hit the stirrup since September, 2012.

                I've always had horses, riding has been a big part of my life. I got a new job and moved myself and the horses to a little farmette in October, it's great to have them right outside my door but I'm just not motivated to ride anything that isn't heart-horse.

                So from someone with similar woes, my advice (and what I'm doing, myself) is to take a step back, enjoy the ground time with your horse and when something that comes along excites you again, go for it! Me? I'm looking into teaching heart-horse to drive if he can hold up to some light work in the future and really looking forward to going to ride a new horse this week. Just give it time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sent you PM...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Also -- try just going out there and riding whether you really feel like it or not a time or two. Do something fun your horse does well and just go low-key.

                    Sometimes I get the winter blahs and talk myself out of riding, but once I'm on there -- and certainly after -- I am so glad I did.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can relate to this as well. The last two years have been incredibly brutal at work and my riding life (as well as my active life in general) has really taken a huge beating. I especially have had zero motivation to do any kind of showing. Last Summer I did enjoy just working out a program where we did regular hack, dressage and jumping work -- I managed to be fairly consistent and actually made some great progress with my horse on flatwork. But I let someone else take her to a couple of events and once we moved to the indoor ring, I lost most of the motivation and momentum that I had had over the Summer.

                      I found for me, I had to at least take the pressure off of myself with competing. Work has been very overwhelming and competitive in its own right. Working many hours, dealing with endless problems day-after-day, my weekends have had to be more about recovery than anything else. So, I enjoy my horse with long hacks on the weekends during the nice weather, both alone and with friends. I found it a really nice way to decompress after a hard week. Week nights were for flat work and jumping. I still feel a little guilty that I am not pursuing my horsey life as much as could be, and I am hoping that things will even out at work now due to some org changes to allow me to change up my focus again.
                      -Debbie / NH

                      My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        thank you

                        Thanks for all the replies.

                        I felt like a bad person for loosing my mojo.

                        I adore my horse and that will never change, a part of me just feels like it's missing. I'm hoping warm weather will bring positive vibes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why feel like a bad person? We do this FOR FUN. It's supposed to cool/enjoyable/something we look forward to/something that makes you happy. Crazy stress/anxiety/not wanting to go compete? All that means is maybe you go do something with your time/money that does make you smile. Maybe it's going for a hack, maybe it's taking a western reining lesson, maybe it's going out to feed carrots to your beast who is happily turned out in a field.

                          I promise you, your horse Does Not Care. So long as he's got food/water/turnout/warm jammies/occasional attention, he does not spend one second of time thinking "Gosh, I really would rather be getting on the trailer to a strange place with loud noises and have to work." At most, he's thinking "Huh, that's a new blade of grass. I think I'll try that one." (Or if he's like my critters, he's thinking "Destroying blankets is Most Awesomest Thing EVER").

                          Seriously, life is short. If competing this spring sounds like a hoot, go for it. If not, enjoy your pony and do something that brings you pleasure. There's no Life Gold Star earned by forcing yourself to do something that doesn't sound like fun in your likely not nearly enough free time.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            It's not that I think my horse misses being ridden, I'm sure he does not! He still loves me because I feed him and deliver his round bales. It is more that a part of me that always sort of defined me isn't there as much. I know we shouldn't let anything define us, it's more like... When you're on a blind date and someone asks what you love doing in your free time I've ALWAYS said "riding". Now I'd have to say reading gossip blogs on line and making muffins. Lol

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We all go through this. Life changes....as long as you still love your horse and he has a good life - don't worry.

                              You can still say you are a "horse person" even if you aren't a hard core rider/competitor.

                              I agree with just enjoying him....and maybe taking up something totally different. Check out different ways of communicating/the relationship/partnership - you can do alot on the ground to capture, hold and direct his attention. (think: Harry Whitney)

                              Also just fun bareback rides with a halter or go horsecamping, down the trail, teach him a trick.

                              There are so many other things to do WITH your horse. Doesn't have to be schooling/practicing/training for a Horse Trial

                              Plus it's Winter - we all go through the WInter Doldrums (sp?) I have a big career and no time and have just been enjoying having horses. I ride on the weekends at MOST. I can go a month without riding. But I enjoy having the horses at home and interacting with them and seeing them out my windows all the time
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                              Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                              www.elainehickman.com
                              **Morgans Do It All**

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
                                I get anxiety watching the Oscars (hurry up and finish your speech.. the music is coming!!!) so I thought I'd vent a bit on here to see if I'll feel better.

                                I've been riding all my life, and showing and training has always been really important to me. I'm competitive and focused. This fall I lost my mojo.

                                I had been having problems with my horse all summer and I didn't really have a trainer I could go to (my last trainer had moved away and I hadn't caught up with anyone since she left). I put out feelers and being in the very "eventy" area that I'm in, found some good suggestions. I went "speed-dating" trainer style and actually found a great trainer.

                                I got the kinks fixed with my horse and really got into a groove like I never have before. I was riding daily and doing lessons and shows and schoolings and making so much progress. I was happy, my horse was happy and it was all just great.

                                Then it wasn't.

                                With out going into too much detail, trainer and I had to part ways. No one was really in the wrong, but these things just happen in the small horse world. I haven't been able to get back into my groove and I moved my horse home and I haven't ridden since fall.

                                It's so upsetting because I do love riding, I LOVE competing, but I just feel burned. Today was a beautiful day and I felt that tingle to ride, but I didn't.

                                Has anyone gone through this? I just want to have that focus and drive I once had.
                                I understand and I hit that as well. My work was picking up a lot, I am really passionate about what I do, my personal life was changing and I just started feeling like I was dragging myself out to ride than before I would day dream about it. So the last couple years I still spend a good bit of time with the boys but just caring for them. I loved riding, I LOVED to compete but because it is close to impossible to ride 5-6 days a week, I just lost the drive.

                                But I know I love my boys, I love horses, and so I am riding this wave. I know it will come back again and I will ride and compete like crazy. I just look at it as its a marathon not a sprint.
                                Grab mane and kick on!

                                http://www.ashleykriegeleventing.com/

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