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Need some words of encouragement +

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  • Need some words of encouragement +

    I have been horse-less almost 3 years now. Almost unimaginable to me. I am a second year med student. Due to that and (reluctantly) living in a big, expensive city I haven't been able to buy another. It is the biggest thing missing in my life. It aches. I've had a horse for 13 years straight until this. I took time off from undergrad to grad school and worked as a trainer. It's hard to go from prepping for a 1* and riding 4-7 a day to just wishing I had a velvety nose to love on. Anyone else had an extended horseless period? I am hoping against hope that maybe during rotations I will have a better schedule than studying 24/7 and can get something...but that may be naive. Med school is such a huge sacrifice, for family, money, social life, relationships, and definitely horses. If anyone else has had a similar period without horses and managed to get through it I'd love to hear your stories! It's hard not to get depressed. I would love to have something to look forward to.

  • #2
    You are absolutely doing the right thing. Having a horse now when you are so busy would be unfair to the horse and cause more stress for you. Can you catch ride over break? Visit horsey friends? Volunteer somewhere over the holidays, when others may not be able to come to clean stalls and care for the horses?

    Med school won't last forever. It may seem like it will right now, but it won't.

    Persevere, and good luck to you.


    • #3
      I did in my newly married years. It was awful!

      Here's how awful it was: Just to have some time around horses, I volunteered at a therapeutic riding center, and I found myself ENVIOUS of the poor handicapped kids who got to ride. I know that's horrendous. I wasn't proud of myself.

      Once I won some tickets to a horse dinner theater show. I had to give the tickets away because I was so jealous (of the people riding) that I couldn't even bear to go to the show.

      It's awful being horseless!

      But it won't go on forever! Your life will settle down, and you'll get back into it!
      I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


      • #4
        I never even owned my first horse until my 3rd year of medical school. I still managed to fit them in as small chunks of time allowed. I had worked at the track periodically through college, and when I moved to another city I told the trainer I had worked for to call me if he ever needed help when he brought horses to my new city. He did--it was fun to reconnect with that world, even if it was only 2-3 times a year. I managed to take some lessons at a H/J barn sporadically, too, even during the very busy 1st and 2nd years.

        There are a LOT of ways to have horses in your life without owning and competing! Have you checked out boarding and lesson stables close enough for you to make a lesson happen once a month? You never know who you'll meet there. The lady I used to take lessons from in medical school now has a daughter (who I babysat a time or two) applying for medical school 20+ years later! We are still in touch. We were both H/J types but now I do eventing and she does reining--horses can fit in our lives in LOTS of ways.

        Don't trap yourself into thinking that ONLY owning and ONLY eventing are the ways to have horses in your life! I have worked at the track, driven a horse and carriage, worked at a barn specializing in Paints, barn sat, galloped horses, worked at a hunt barn . . . all part of keeping horses in my life when I lacked either the time or the money (or both, usually!) to do it the way I can afford to do it now.

        Which brings up another point. Your education is IMPORTANT, and should provide for you an opportunity to have horses in your life for the next 50 years or more. By all means get some horse back in your life, but think outside of your box a little bit! Owning a horse is a burden (a joyful one, but a burden nonetheless) and is not the only way to be an active horse-person.

        Your homework: find 3 boarding or lesson barns that are close to you. Discipline doesn't matter. (but reputation and quality do) Find out what their lesson schedule is like, and if you like the place, sign up for a couple of lessons. Yes, you can find the time. Go early, walk around handing out carrots, groom and tack your own horse, and just enjoy it. Ask the trainer if he/she has any ideas how a temporarily horseless and busy student could find a way to get some horse time. Visit a local tack shop, check out the bulletin board and see if there are any little shows you could go to for fun and to help out if you have time.

        It isn't that hard to find your way back to the horse world. Good luck!
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Re the therapeutic riding volunteering, our local group wants their horses ridden by able-bodied riders regularly to give them a mental break from the more constrained riding done with the clients. Just a thought - you'd probably be best to start with volunteering to help with riding clients and then see if periodic riding yourself is an option. Either way you get to spend time with horses and it sounds like that would be therapeutic for you!

          Meanwhile, remind yourself that you're investing in a career that will hopefully support horses in your life for the rest of your life.
          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


          • #6
            I work in Marietta but live out in Dallas (right on the Silver Comet Trail). I have a horse that needs more work than I can give her right now, so you're welcome to come visit and ride as soon as my new saddle comes in (County Perfection baby ).

            Shoot me a PM!
            <>< 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.


            • #7
              I was going to suggest posting on the horseless riders/riderless horses thread but I see Choco has some options for you! That's great!

              You can do this! You will make it. Many of us have had horseless periods or severely decreased horse periods. But even if you can get out and groom a horse, just be AROUND them, I think it helps.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                Cant you take a lesson once a week somewhere? Even if its western or dressage or vaulting! Im sure you have one afternoon or morning you can give up once a week. My husband is in med school and even though he studies his tail off and has a super busy schedule, he takes at least 2 nights off to spend with me or to spend with friends. Its totally possible and if you want it bad enough, it can be done. You have to have good time management skills but its not impossible. Find a barn that has flexible lesson schedules and plan ahead. You can make it happen. Do it. You have options.


                • #9
                  I've been there. You will get through it, and you will appreciate the horse that you eventually get so much more for having gone through this horseless time!

                  My parents sold the horse that I had throughout high school when I went to college (well, they actually donated him, which was all kinds of awful, and pretty much has given me lifetime issues...but I digress). I did not own a horse again until after I finished law school and had been working for about two years.

                  I was lucky enough during college and law school to find places that had horses for me to ride (sometimes a very, very cheap lease on a sale or problem horse, sometimes just lessons, sometimes lessons plus an opportunity to ride extras whenever I wanted...pretty great stuff!). All throughout law school, I looked at horse sale ads, etc. and planned for what I wanted when I was finally able to buy a horse.

                  During my first job in a big, big city, I could only ride once a week, and could never have afforded to own a horse and live where I lived. Not to mention, I still would not have had time to ride. This, combined with the fact that I just plain didn't like my BigLaw job in that city, convinced me to move back to a smaller city in a different state and take a job at a mid-sized firm, which I love.

                  I half leased a horse for the first year in my new job, and then bought my own horse shortly thereafter - about two years out of law school. He's a TB, best purchase I ever made, and he was born during my second year of law school...back when I was looking at CANTER websites, etc.

                  Anyway, my horse ownership situation is pretty much perfect now and I'm very happy. You will get there too.


                  • #10
                    I am in vet school right now in the caribbean. There are not many horses here. I still have my two in the states but only get to see one of them for maybe 10 days out of the entire year. Its really hard. I got involved with SCAAEP on campus and was in charge of organizing the grooming for the campus horses every week for the past 3 semesters. It nice to go out and at least interact with a horse once a week. Its not riding, but its beter than nothing.

                    Maybe try and see if there is a stable around where you can take a few riding lessons a month.

                    Its hard with med school I can imagine as even if I lived in the same state(well country) as my horses I wouldn't have a ton of time to ride. Its finals week down here and I miss being able to just go climb on bareback while my horse grazes to relax in between marathon study sessions.
                    I love cats, I love every single cat....
                    So anyway I am a cat lover
                    And I love to run.


                    • #11
                      FA- your parents donated, like *donated* your horse?? My daughter will leave for college in 5 years (can't believe that!!!!) but her pony will be staying right in my backyard till the end- I can't even imagine how that was for you :-(
                      And OP, yes, after my daughter was born and I separated from my then-husband, I couldn't afford to have a horse and treat either it or my household correctly. Horse had to go, it was tough.....But I was able to ease back into it as she got older. It will be worth it for you- you'll be able to keep your future horse(s) in style!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cindyg View Post
                        I did in my newly married years. It was awful!

                        Here's how awful it was: Just to have some time around horses, I volunteered at a therapeutic riding center, and I found myself ENVIOUS of the poor handicapped kids who got to ride. I know that's horrendous. I wasn't proud of myself.
                        I don't think it's horrendous. I'm not advocating envy as a virtue, but it could be that, for disabled kids, being envied by an able-bodied person would be something they might never think they could be! Who knows that it might not boost their egos a bit?

                        To the OP, I have been more or less horseless for just over 2 years now. Lost my friendship with my favorite horse (lost him to a faraway barn and crap BM [and BM is the appropriate abbreviation for that BM!]) Friends have offered to let me ride their horses and I have tried, but they aren't Blaze. Did fall surprisingly in love with one of them but he is up for lease/sale and I am moving away anyway.

                        Do I envy you? For being young and in school learning a profession that could allow you to have horses and ride once you get your degree and are fully qualified?

                        Maybe. I am with those other COTHers who say med school will end and you will ride and have horses again. Me, I'm planning to have access to horses again once I get moved, even at my age and in my financial situation.

                        So hang in there! And give yourself a certain percentage of time to be with horses. You need to study, and work, and rest--you also need to play and love, so go find a horse whenever you have time. If you can do it for extra credit (something medical-related), great. If not, do it anyway, for you.
                        Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                        People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                        "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kasjordan View Post
                          FA- your parents donated, like *donated* your horse?? My daughter will leave for college in 5 years (can't believe that!!!!) but her pony will be staying right in my backyard till the end- I can't even imagine how that was for you :-(
                          Yes. My parents are not horsey at all. He was my childrens hunter (and, for a short time, we forced him to be my junior hunter...despite the fact that he was very nearly outscoped and it was borderline terrifying for both of us). He was...servicably sound...kind of...although he did win quite a bit. We attempted to sell him, but when that did not work, my parents donated him to a college. The college discontinued its riding program 2 months after he was donated, and they sold him at an auction without telling us first. I found out after the fact when I called the college to check up on the horse. I found an auction report online from around the time he was auctioned, in the general vicinity of where he was auctioned, and a horse matching his description sold for $250.

                          The thought of it makes me sick.

                          I have vowed to never sell another horse again because of it, so long as it is within my power to keep the horse. I also use this as a cautionary tale concerning how easy it is for even a nice show horse to end up in the wrong place. He was a successful A and B circuit hunter.

                          Anyway, yeah, it will haunt me as long as I live because I will always feel that I could have and should have done something to stop it.


                          • #14
                            FA, the very same thing happened to me, only it was my idea to donate my sweet horse to a college program. They also promised to call me if it wasn't working out but didn't. Sorry to sidetrack the thread, but wanted to commisserate.
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              Deltawave - I'm so sorry. It's really an indescribable feeling. Was the college Southern Seminary in Virginia? I hate them with a passion now.


                              • #16
                                Oh and I have a great personal & professional relationship with Harmony Grove Farm (eventing barn) out in Villa Rica. Wonderful folks and they'd probably be thrilled to have you visit to just soak in the horsie-ness. They have a fantastic series of clinics lined up for spring 2013 already and auditors are always welcome.
                                <>< 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.


                                • #17
                                  No, Stephens College in Missouri.
                                  Click here before you buy.