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Burned out and lost (long) *1 year update, post 28

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  • Burned out and lost (long) *1 year update, post 28

    I am so torn over what to do. Please, I need your help.

    I don't enjoy riding anymore. Going out to the barn is a chore. I used to LOVE riding all the time! Now, I barely drag myself to the barn 4 days a week and flat out refuse more than 1 lesson a week (despite my trainer insisting I take at least 2). A huge part of the problem is that I really, really dislike my trainer. I won't get into it. The point is I really dislike her as a trainer and as a person.

    Now, I know you guys love to jump on the 'just leave!' train. But, that's not as easy as it sounds. This is the only barn I've ever ridden at (10 years). I'm 17 and will be going to college next august. That means, even if I left next month, I would not have time to barn jump until I found the perfect barn. I plan on selling my mare before college. So, I would have- what? 6 months to find and settle into a barn, then trust the new trainer to sell my horse for me. Is that worth it?

    The next option is to quit riding. For the last year I’ve been wanting to more and more, but my parents (riders) won't let me. They love the trainer/barn/riding and want me to enjoy it too. They are willing to pay for another barn if I drive myself. I want to just quit now, rather then switch and then end up quiting anyway.

    The next question, if I switch barns, do I switch disciplines? I dislike the ‘crank and spank’ methods of many trainers in my area. Finding the perfect one wouldn't be a six month thing. Plus, if I stay hunter I would face the wrath of my current trainer. She is well known for her nasty, backstabbing, lie-spreading revenge against long time boarders who leave. I think I would really enjoy dressage, but again, is it worth it for 6 months? However, if I fall back into love with riding, my dad is practically begging me to keep my horse through college (he'll pay). So that's an option.

    What to do? Do I quit? Do I waste my parents’ money and just suck it up? Do I change barns? Do I change disciplines? Do I sell my mare now? What should I do?
    Last edited by annon_question; Sep. 5, 2011, 06:05 PM.

  • #2
    It sounds like you really need to take a break.

    Perhaps your parents would understand if you explained that you'd like to focus on other things for awhile and lease out your horse while you sort things out. Then the horse could be ridden and you wouldn't have to go to the barn.

    If you end up going to a college with a good riding program you might want to take your horse with you and use that opportunity to try dressage.

    Good luck!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


    • #3
      Sell your horse now...perhaps see if the trainer can become an ally vs. an enemy.

      Tell her you're going off to college and you want to sell your horse before winter...so now's the best time.

      BS the silly nasty bugger, feed her ego and she may help you sell your mare. You hate her and how she teaches...right now, it's a "so what" that you hate her....use her then leave.

      Take up riding once you get out of college.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


      • #4

        take a break.

        I am middle aged, have ridden my whole life, had non-horsey but supportive parents. I was encouraged to do other things and am so thankful for that! I played soccer in high school and went on to play in college. I rode and competed with a vengance for many years while in grad and nursing school. I met my husband, a farrier, at an event. I know have 2 teenage kids. I'm busy with their activities right now so don't get to ride as much as I"d like. Both kids ride and I love being their groom.

        Take a break. There is more to life than horses and you need to experience it! College will be a great opportunity to spread your wings. You know how to ride and won't forget.


        • #5
          Since your parents really want you to ride and are happy to support your riding financially even during college, perhaps you could sell your mare now, enjoy senior year, and then maybe after the first semester or two of college once you've settled in there they will buy you another one if you feel you want to get back into it? Maybe wherever you go to school will have better trainers in the area, and you could choose to switch disciplines if you wanted, or get a horse that would be willing to let you dabble in a little of everything! That could be fun if you don't want to be super serious and competitive at upper levels. I wonder since they are riders why they are pushing you so much. You'd think they'd be happy there was more money to spend on their own riding!


          • #6
            Put the mare up for sale now. Have the trainer put more rides on her while she is up for sale- and just ride her once or twice a week yourself (not in lessons) until she sells.


            • #7
              First, you need a (((hug)))!

              I think if I were in your position, I would opt to have the current trainer sell the horse. That would avoid rocking the boat for your parents' relationship with the trainer. After all, what parent could blame you for wanting to put your effort into academic achievement for a good solid finish to your senior year . You could also tell them that after you adapt to your freshman year at college, you would consider riding again.

              If you do decide to keep your mare, then I would change barns. Maybe let the current trainer think that its because its a good idea to have some space away from the parents so you can learn to be more independant. You will have all this school year as well as next summer to have fun with new friends and a new trainer. A new discipline would be a good option is that's where the better trainers are. Maybe then the trainer and parents wouldn't feel so rejected.

              Good luck. Riding is awfully expensive ($, time and energy-wise) and hard to justify if you're not enjoying it.

              My advice is worth what you paid for it, but maybe there's something in there that can help you find a solution.


              • #8
                I think it is surprising that you are concerned with her wrath if your parents decide to continue to ride there.
                In any event some things take introspection to figure out what part of riding still appeals to you. If you enjoyed moments grooming, hacking out, or simply cleaning tack and grazing your horse then you need to reconnect with that.
                I get those moments of fullfilment every day, sometimes it is creating a cool gymnastic and others it is getting a tense horse to relax and stretch forward.
                If you are riding to fullfill another person's expectations then you are going to feel resentment and you will continue to focus only on the negative .


                • #9
                  Who says you have to ride with a trainer? If you have been riding for 10 yrs, you must have enough skill to be able to ride on your own. You can always take lessons with an independent instructor when you find someone you like. And moving to a barn with some friends might help you enjoy yourself more.

                  You also don't have to stick to one discipline - do what makes you happy. If you aren't sure what that is - experiment.

                  There are many barns that support riders of all disciplines. While I am primarily an event competitor, I consider myself a horse'person' - I have experienced many disciplines, from polo to dressage to western riding. There is a whole world of wonderful, kind and fun horse people out there.

                  If you are ready to sell your horse and part ways - that is OK too. You also don't have to sell your horse through a trainer - you can sell your horse yourself. Prior to going to college I sold a young horse that I had bred, raised, trained and competed through Novice level eventing.

                  Sounds like taking a moment to ask yourself what you really want and what you are capable of handling would be helpful. Sound like you have a supportive family, so don't rush making a decision. But the decision of what to do is up to you.

                  Hang in - breathe - this too shall pass.


                  • #10
                    Jingles for you ~ a break and after perhaps your riding enthusiasm will catch up with you ~ Jingle & AO Always Optimisic ~
                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                    • #11
                      Thought about what might be the most helpful response ... and IMHO quitting riding is not it, at least not yet. Sometimes it is really difficult to separate changing relationships and their stresses from other things. You have been riding with the same trainer since you were 7. Ten yearis is a long time... and this trainer was/is probably a very important person in your life. You grew up with her.... and now you are 17. It's a tough transition for you and for your trainer to you from 7 to 17 and to let things change and mature.

                      From your prior posts you have been thinking about making a change for awhile.

                      Maybe accept that the change you make does not have to be perfect - maybe it just needs to be simple. How about a low key barn that provides good care and a quiet atmosphere. No need to lesson, no need to show, just a safe place to ride and make your own decisions. A place where you can go and remember what it was about horses and riding that you loved in the first place. There is certainly enough time between now and college to do that.

                      Since your parents are supportive, there is no need to rush to sell.... but there is a need to resolve the conflicting feelings you have now. Resolution does not come from turning away from the problem but from figuring out what to do to sort it out.

                      Good luck


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
                        Thought about what might be the most helpful response ... and IMHO quitting riding is not it, at least not yet. Sometimes it is really difficult to separate changing relationships and their stresses from other things. You have been riding with the same trainer since you were 7. Ten yearis is a long time... and this trainer was/is probably a very important person in your life. You grew up with her.... and now you are 17. It's a tough transition for you and for your trainer to you from 7 to 17 and to let things change and mature.

                        From your prior posts you have been thinking about making a change for awhile.

                        Maybe accept that the change you make does not have to be perfect - maybe it just needs to be simple. How about a low key barn that provides good care and a quiet atmosphere. No need to lesson, no need to show, just a safe place to ride and make your own decisions. A place where you can go and remember what it was about horses and riding that you loved in the first place. There is certainly enough time between now and college to do that.

                        Since your parents are supportive, there is no need to rush to sell.... but there is a need to resolve the conflicting feelings you have now. Resolution does not come from turning away from the problem but from figuring out what to do to sort it out.

                        Good luck
                        This is a very well reasoned post! And I agree, before you sell you mare, try something else. It is highly likely your dislike of riding is purely coming from your dreading interaction with the trainer. The excuse that you need to separate from your parents for your own growth is a good one. If your parents are still clients I doubt there will be any harsh words. Kids grow up and leave their childhood trainers behind, this is NORMAL! Act like your sneaking off and you'll get that response; act like your making an adult decision and you'll be respected

                        When I moved my horse from my trainer's barn a year before I left for college I shared with them my excitement to be able to be independent and expressed that I may have to come back now and again for some help (I've taken two lesson back there in the last 6 years and if I called up for one next week they'd welcome me with a hug) they responded with equal excitement although a bit sad to see another kid grow up. When I went on a study abroad in my junior year I called them to see if they had a stall since they were the only people I would trust with him while I was gone (true and what I told them) and my trainer said, "there will always be a spot here for your horse and if not we'd make one." And I know people that they don't let back because they've burned the bridge. So it is important to go out gracefully as this is a very small industry.


                        • #13
                          How do you feel about your horse?

                          I was burnt out at times and I had to step away from alot of things and just try to find the joy in being with my horses. If you are having a conflict that is unable to be worked out, move. Horses and people can survive changes. One of the toughest things about growing up is making decisions and living with them. Do what is right for the horse, and then for youself. Try a new disclipline, by all means. I took up some trick training and liberty work with my warmblood and backed off of some of the ring riding. He does stupid tricks like pushing barrels to me, coming to me sideways to mount,he backs up by gently pulling on his tail...etc. etc. I found the fun in it again and so did he. Sometimes we take this too seriously, move on and grow. Good Luck.


                          • #14
                            A bad boarding/lesson situation can make you wan to just not be at the barn. I know it's time to find a new barn when I'm trying to figure out when I can go to the barn when no one is around...

                            If you think your current trainer can help you sell your horse, then sell her and take a break. Enjoy college - it really goes by way too quickly.

                            If you do want to keep riding, sit down and have a conversation with your parents about the situation. If you feel like you need to, see if you can involve a trained mediator (if your parents really won't listen). There's almost no worse feeling than feeling trapped.

                            I've worked with people who were completely ready to give up on riding and brought them back around to absolutely loving it, so I know a lot of your joy in riding is situation dependent. I'm sorry you're not enjoying it. It's a miserable sport if you're not liking it.

                            Good luck.


                            • #15
                              Do you like your horse?
                              What about being with your horse, when no one else is around?

                              I cried many tears into my old gelding's mane - through highschool, college, grad school. He got to see me weak, which people don't get to. He was there, steady and calm.

                              He started out as a hunter, we dabbled in dressage, eventing, trail riding, road riding and some really crazy stunts, mounted orienteering, camping,...
                              And you know what? At 23 yrs old he does not care that he did not get to be a Grand Prix anything, he is happy to see me every day and nicker his "hi" and "yum" and I am happy to see him too.

                              Change is hard, but if your parents are supportive, make a change FOR YOU - whatever you feel is right for you, take a break from horses, showing, maybe just trail ride?

                              If this person is so terrible, do you care that she would be involved in selling your horse and whom your horse ends up with?

                              Best of luck with whichever way YOU choose to go.
                              Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                              ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                              • #16
                                Since your parents seem pretty willing to foot some bills right now, this is what I would do:


                                You've identified that your trainer is a big (the biggest) reason you don't like riding so much anymore. In less than a year, you'll be able to be at a new barn in a new town. Maybe at that new town you can find a half-leasor to keep your horse fit while you adjust to college and find out what your horse interest is.

                                Do you know where you'll be going to school yet? If you're doing early decision, you'll know in December. Early action is a little later, still. And even waiting until "regular" decision is like what, March? Maybe once you can start doing research about new barns you'll get reminded of that spark.

                                I like the idea of seeing if you can find a nice private farm to put him at in the mean time. Idk where you are, but if you have icky winter weather, it's a good excuse just to spend time together on the ground when you don't have an indoor to do hard work in. When spring rolls around you'll have had a riding hiatus and time away from the trainer. As you finish high school, I think you'll have a better gague of whether you want to be done with horses or just done with that trainer and her program. That still gives you the summer to market him before you leave if you do decide to sell. Maybe you won't get "top dollar" like you would if he was in a program like you have now, but I personally would be willing to lower the price if I knew I was making the right decision for the right reasons.

                                And, as long as you do it on good terms, if you want to sell after you try a "low key" barn, your trainer will probably let you back in to tune him up... after all, that's how she'll get a comission.

                                Find a way to get clear-headed. Eliminate the variables one by one until you figure out what you want to do.


                                • #17
                                  If you are sure you will sell the horse, you probably would do better staying where you are and using the trainer more for tune up style pro rides, instead of the dreaded lessons, to get the horse sale ready...and start marketing NOW-it may take awhile to sell in this kind of economy. Bet Ms nasty will be nicer to you when she sniffs a commission check.

                                  If you want to keep the horse or are not sure? Then you need to do something else.

                                  When you hate going to the barn, you need to do something but, IMO, if a sale is in the near future? Let current trainer start that ball rolling. If you get lucky and it sells sooner then expected, you can short term lease or find something to ride.

                                  IMO this is a good time to take a break anyway. Your life is changing dramatically and it is time to let go and branch out. You'll be back the better for the break and not overloading yourself that first college year.

                                  The horses will still be there when you get settled...and you can pick your own trainer.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                  • #18
                                    I sniff "academics" here (the college thread), so I'll propose an "academic" solution. That is, a "sabbatical" from riding. Now sabbatical does not mean that you fritter way your time. Sabbaticals are times for renewal and exploring new directions. The first year of college is one of extreme change and stress. New expectations, new people, new EVERYTHING. You need to approach it energized, and this situation is anything but that. Can you consider (1) leaving mare at barn so trainer can continue to work with her with an eye towards a possible sale while (2) departing the barn for a dressage barn (see, parents I am still interested in riding) or (3) (gasp) a driving barn where you could function as a working student and sample an entirely different sport? Would I be correct that ten years of the same thing presents no new challenges for you to tackle? How many more times do you need to see the same scenery in the indoor ring (in my case the hole in the wall where the tree limb fell)? Dressage could be just the ticket - and think of the benefits should you decide to return to h/j world! And driving, OMG, that would be entirely cool and is where I'm going when I can no longer swing a leg over my gelding...... Propose a sabbatical to all concerned. And, in academics, you have to PROMISE to come back afterwards......and I bet that you will, only possibly not to h/j world. Good luck!
                                    pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                                    Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


                                    • #19
                                      I have seen situations in which a trainer has turned a rider off to the point that they quit and it is always so sad. Are you sure that your trainer is the real issue? Do you still enjoy riding when you are not lessoning? If so, then try to find a way out so that you can remember why you loved it in the first place. Is there no other trainer in your area that you know to have a good reputation? Someone who could help you get your horse sold and you could maybe take a step back and lesson once a week before you go off to school? Sometimes a new environment and/or a little space to breathe do wonders. Then you will have a place to enjoy riding when you come home for breaks, and if you do decide to ride while away at school, you won't have to quit now and go through the pain of having to get back in shape.
                                      Not an easy situation. Good luck, and don't let a bad trainer ruin it for you!


                                      • #20
                                        If I was in your sitation ( I was about 1year ago!!!) I would either take break for a couple weeks and have your parents ride the horse to keep him fit and just see what happens. If you really loved it you would be always missing it or wanting to be back with your horse. Or you could try another trainer(this is what got me back into it!!!!). I know it is only 6 months but after four months trainerless and barely being able to hack my horse I tried a new trainer, rode with her for 5 months and it made the biggest dfference in my life. Not too long from now I will be heading to college too. I can't help but thinking that it is the end of my life because that means my junior days will be over forever. The truth is that we have our entire lives to ride and learn and progress and just because you're going away to college doesn't mean you have to stop and drop your riding, your trainer, and your horse.