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When you just can't do it anymore...UPDATE POST #24

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  • #21
    There are a lot of good thoughts here ..... but what was missing in a number of the posts is what will it feel like to be without your horse. When you imagine life without your horse is there any sadness or emptiness? Is your horse also your friend and confidant? Will you grieve the sale of your horse or not?

    Money is always a consideration -- and having established a career - even a very successfully - does not guarantee happiness.

    So -- if the horse is an essential part of your life once you consider those questions -- then stretch to afford it. If it is not, sell the horse and move on. You may or may not come back to horses, there are many surprises and unexpected turns in life. But, money and emotional commitment are worth equal consideration here.


    • #22

      I am in that current situation. Everything you said, describes me.

      I just made the decision to sell my horses (well all but the unsellable), and move on. Yes, i miss it. But WOW is it nice to have the money going into savings not to the horses. Yes, i will come back to riding...but right now, I am enjoying being a "normal" young adult.

      Horses will ALWAYS be there, life won't!
      "If you are nervous you arent focused-if you are focused, there is no room for nerves!"


      • #23
        Originally posted by bhrunner06 View Post

        I am in that current situation. Everything you said, describes me.

        I just made the decision to sell my horses (well all but the unsellable), and move on. Yes, i miss it. But WOW is it nice to have the money going into savings not to the horses. Yes, i will come back to riding...but right now, I am enjoying being a "normal" young adult.

        Horses will ALWAYS be there, life won't!
        Glad you reached a good decision for you. Its an individual question. For some, horses are an integral part of life --- the part that makes the rest work.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by bhrunner06 View Post

          I am in that current situation. Everything you said, describes me.

          I just made the decision to sell my horses (well all but the unsellable), and move on. Yes, i miss it. But WOW is it nice to have the money going into savings not to the horses. Yes, i will come back to riding...but right now, I am enjoying being a "normal" young adult.

          Horses will ALWAYS be there, life won't!
          I'm glad you haven't regretted your decision. I have pretty much solidified from this thread that selling is probably the way to go...I need to take a break to do some growing up and just have a taste of normal life for once. I love my horse dearly and have had him for years, but at some point, you have to let go.

          Now, if I do go through with this, I need to discuss with my trainer, obviously. She's been my trainer my whole riding career, so I'd be happy (and am obliged by my board agreement) to involve her in the sale of the horse, agent and commission wise. However, I'm worried about coming across as "desperate" and having my horse fire-saled to the first available buyer. I also don't want the sale to drag on for years and have the horse priced too ridiculously high, but how do you approach the topic of, "Hey. I can't really afford to keep going with this and do the other things in life that I want/need to do." without it coming across as "Quick, you better sell this thing because I'm in money trouble."? I know that sounds odd, but I've seen it happen.

          I'm also not sure how my trainer will react...obviously, she won't be too happy to see me leave and sell my horse, as I've been a source of income for her for many years. She might try to convince me not to sell my horse, but I need to stand my ground. Any personal experience/advice on telling a trainer that you're done?


          • #25
            Be honest with her. It doesn't sound like it is a question if you can afford to keep your horse through a normal sales process (whatever that is ), but that your horse funds will be re-allocated once your horse is sold. Let her know your financial priorities have shifted, at least for the moment, and you would rather be spending the money on rent, savings, travel, whatever.

            I am 32 and just got back into "real" riding - leasing a very nice horse and showing. Although I am thrilled to be back in it and the opportunity sort of cropped up out of nowhere, it would have been much better financially if it happened a year later - got a good-sized pay bump this year and it has all been going to horses rather than additional savings. I justify it since I already bought a condo (would never let myself have a horse and not a house), but... it does require justification!

            I felt the same way you did about not wanting to ride just any horse, but I also saw so many 40 somethings come back to riding after 20 years off and have to start from complete scratch. My compromise was that I wasn't going to pay to ride horses that weren't interesting, but that I would find a way to ride whatever hunter-jumper type horse that needed exercise. I rode a lot of different horses between 22-32 and while I did cave and pay for lessons at times, it was generally a financially easy endeavor. Good luck with whatever you decide. It would be so easy if life came installed with both the time and money for horses!


            • #26
              Why don't you set yourself a deadline, like you'll put him on the market in March or April. Spend the winter hanging out with him aware that these are the few precious months. Work towards doing one more big show in the spring, when he's advertised, so you'll go out with a bang


              • #27
                I wouldn't assume you can't part lease a nice horse. I have a part lessor on my mare. Her sire is an Olympic gold medalist and she's jumped 4'9" easily with my trainer. (Our jump standards don't go any higher.) My point is, there are plenty of folks who just can't ride 5-6 days a week and want someone they trust to help look after the horse and to share some of the expenses.

                You have to do what's right for you, what will make you happiest. Hope it works out for the best.
                Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                • #28
                  I came to horses more or less in my adult years. I fell in love with a horse and leased him for a few months. I wanted to buy the horse desperately but it was huge commitment and I wasn't sure if I wanted my life to take this turn. My father gave me some great advice.... he said, take a break from all things horse for 2 months. If in that time you find yourself filing up your free time with other rewarding things, then you know horse ownership probably isn't for you. If after two months you are running back to the stable, then follow your heart.

                  I bought the horse. But the reason I'm sharing this story is perhaps the logic in reverse might serve you.

                  If its possible, take a break from your horse for a month or better yet, two. Have someone else ride him if he needs to stay in work. Don't go see him, talk about him, ask about him, anything. Nothing. Pretend he's sold and gone. If after two months you go racing back to your horse, then you know you'd regret selling him. If after two months you're enjoying your new found free time, then you have your answer.

                  Tough decision. Good luck!
                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                  • #29
                    OP, I was very intensely into riding during my young years. I didn't ever own a horse as nice as yours sounds, but I did Pony Club, moved up through the ranks to H-A, did a lot of combined training, and was really into it. I stopped riding and sold my horse when I was 21, and Mom and Dad weren't financing it anymore. I got married a couple of years later, supported my DH though his grad school, had two kids, raised them, and went to grad school myself. Did I mention I also had a career? I never missed the horses all that time. They were a very happy memory for me, but my life was very full, and I think that is the key.

                    I picked up riding again 11 years ago when my daughter wanted lessons. I had not sat on a horse in over 25 years, but it came right back to me, and I love it as much as ever now. I have a lovely horse of my own again and am thoroughly enjoying myself at age 56.
                    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                    • #30
                      I was forced to take a break from my horse when I relocated. And to be honest, it was welcome. I need a time commitment break, a financial break, a metal break. I left my horse with two great girls each half leasing him and didn't ride for the last few months. I wanted to move, get my bearings in my new area, and commit myself to my relationship without the stress a horse brings.

                      Fast forward three months, and I'm going crazy without horse time. But I still think it was the best choice I could have made. I came out financially stable that allows me to make choices I want vs choices I maybe forced to make.

                      I don't think there is one right decision, but whatever you decide, make sure you commit yourself to it. There is no point in regrets!


                      • #31
                        OP, I am not in the same exact situation as you since I do not currently own but I am in an entry-to mid leve position with a nice company a few years out of college. I sold my 3'6" hunter that I had brought along from a 4yo when he was 12 so that he would have another girl with time and better finances to love him. I do not regret it because it was the right decision for him, not necessarily for me. Since it seems you are a higher level rider, I bet you can do what I have done and catch ride a ton of horses. You won't believe what you will learn about riding when you start to ride everything a trainer needs ridden. And if it makes you feel any better another great one will come along in time.

                        Best of luck


                        • #32
                          OP, appreciate your concern about your trainer. But that's part of the training cycle. Young talent does grow up. It will be sad for both of you, but your trainer can't expect you to 'live at the barn' forever. Very expected part of riding/training. Best of luck with your decision.
                          But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                          • #33
                            Dear OP - For whatever reason I woke up thinking about this thread. Then I saw Dewey's post and just had to chime in. I just got back on a horse after 5 years of no riding at all though we had a few "ponies" hanging around on the cheap (in the pasture w/a yearly vet visit - not expensive).

                            During the 5 years I wasn't a slave to the financial stresses of major horse commitment I was able to broaden my life as I was financially able to engage in all sorts of things I otherwise wasn't able to because of the things that Eat While We Sleep (horses). Kayaking, beekeeping (weird, I know), organic farming, a new career path, TONS of travel...the list goes on & on.

                            Dewey hit the nail on the head with her post. While some folks don't come back after getting married & having kids, etc. LOTS of us do. And while the physical coming back isn't always easy, the financial part of it surely is. Good luck to you!


                            • #34
                              I was in the same boat like many others when I first graduated from College. I also had parents that told me I could not afford to ride once I was paying. Well I definitely proved them wrong. I continued to ride and provide for my horse even with the lack luster menial job. It was hard, but I made it work. I had my horse on field board and paid below average for the area. At one point I moved my horse and half leased him so I could continue to ride and show. But I always made it work.

                              While it was hard at times, I will say I was never miserable about it because its what I wanted to do. I have now moved up a bit, not as comfortable as I would like but I can now board my horse and show once a month and compete in a 3 day show 3 times a year.

                              But for me, I knew that life without riding or a horse was more stressful than figuring out and maintaining one in my life. It most definitely was my therapy and escape from a terrible work day, break up with an ex, or whatever negatives came my way.

                              For each person it is different and different things will work. Only you know yourself and will know what best way it is for you to handle the situation. Good luck! It most definitely is tough but I always found, where there is a will there is a way!!!
                              Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                              Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                              Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                              Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


                              • #35
                                I made the choice to go horseless for a while after college. I had a horse who was nice, but knew by the time I could get into showing again he'd be too old for it anyway - which it sounds like could be Alter's case, too..

                                It is definitely a personal decision, though. I have trouble with doing anything halfway, and hated taking one lesson a week while I was getting going in my career, so went for the nothing path for a while. In my case, I knew I would support my mom after she turned 65 (this year) and that when I was back in horses I would want to give it all I had. I missed horses every single day I didn't have them in my life, but I was still happy. Just not AS happy as I am with horses in my life. My old trainer wasn't in a good location for me geographically or he would have had horses for me to ride every day for free. I suspect if you choose to sell this horse so you can save up and return to doing horses the way you want in the future and you explain that to your trainer, she will find horses for you to work between now and then, knowing at some point a catch ride is likely to become the horse you buy and keep there.

                                I now have four horses on horse property and ride in every clinic with someone who is a good match I can find, regular lessons, etc. I bought a horse who is my heart horse, and I know that if HE had been the horse I had when I was younger I never would have been out of horses - he would be worth financial struggle even if he could not be ridden anymore just to get the joy of being near. I've loved and been attached to my other horses, but it's simply not the same.
                                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                • #36
                                  Thanks, Finzean.
                                  I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks everyone for such wonderful help and advice. I'm going to sit on my decision for a week or two and just process everything - then I'll arrange a sit down with my trainer to go over everything. I'll keep you updated.

                                    Thanks again!


                                    • #38
                                      I'm not going to tell you what is right in your situation, only you know that.

                                      I will say that from what you've described of your trainer, my guess is that if you wanted to keep the horse and move to a low key/less show oriented boarding arrangement-- you likely COULD keep him and still have a responsible/heathy budget. It sounds like you're at a show barn and training/lessoning/showing. There's no reason you HAVE to do that. You could move to more of a "boarding" facility and do the low key thing instead if that would make you happy.

                                      I just switched the other way (from low key to show barn) and obviously things vary geographically and by situation-- but doing horses on the "low key" route was 1/2 the price of doing the show route. So... you do hav a "keep the horse" and save money option, if in your soul searching you decide you want to keep this horse.
                                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                      • #39
                                        I think the OP is making a wise, well thoughout decision and not being impulsive. I would also chime in that your trainer essentially works for you. You have a good relationship w/ her it seems so she should respect your wishes; and not appear to be her wishes (i.e. keep you in the barn) above yours. Stand fast/strong. In the meantime, check around for other less expensive boarding options that might suit you - that way if the sale of your horse moves too slow, then you have the option to move to another place. I would also price your horse to sell, not to get the top dollar. What you spend per month quickly eats up the difference between boarding fees and "top dollar". And who knows what will happen in a month as far as the economy goes.


                                        • #40
                                          I assume you are still living with your parents because you mentioned you have no money for a house or to rent. I think you should lay out a timeline for yourself. When do you want to be in your own place? Now? In a year or 2? Do you have plans to get married soon (a wedding costs a lot!!) or to have children in the near future? Have you talked with your SO about moving in together, buying a house, etc.? These are rhetorical questions, by the way, I don't expect you to answer a total stranger Just something to think about. Your horse is 12 now. He really only has a few years left of showing at a high level in all likelihood. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for you to eek out this time with him before you do have the bigger commitment of home ownership, a husband that demands your time (believe it or not they do get cranky when you spend all your time at the barn, ask me how I know!), children, etc.
                                          Although I sense I am a bit older than you, I am not in that different of a situation. I currently have a very nice horse I am competing in the adults and I know that once I start a family, I may not be able to sustain that level of involvement, if not financially then because of the huge lifestyle change having children will be. I am determined to make the most of this time with my horse now while my life can still be about "me" and not be entirely devoted to my kids. Just something to consider. Depending on your long term goals and how fast you want to achieve them, you might be able to still have some time left with your horse. Then again, if this is eating at you it probably means your priorities are shifting, which is not a bad thing!!

                                          Best of luck!!