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Losing my motivation??

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  • Losing my motivation??

    **Update: Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I finally made a really hard decision and I've moved to a different barn and it's less than 10 minutes to my house We've been there a month and It's a older, but lovely facility with a covered ring, outdoor ring and some other places to hack out and she's getting a ton of turnout. It's a dressage barn and they are getting a new trainer in next month. I'm optimistic that the much better weather and having her so close with an onsite trainer will keep me motivated.

    Maybe this has happened to other folks? I've been riding for a long time (30 plus years) and lately I've been having a hard time finding the motivation to keep riding.

    I own a nice mare but the place I board her at is safe but kinda run down and is also a dog rescue, so there's always the next sad story or the owner pulling "just one more dog" that lives in a crate in the barn aisle. My mare gets good care and is fat, happy and sound otherwise I'd move her in a heartbeat.

    I just don't know if this "funk" is cause it's dark after work and cold or the holidays with sad memories or something else. I've also gotten involved in dog agility to "scratch" my competitive side and really also have fun with it and I do some traveling to compete. My husband tells me I need to give myself a break and not put soo much pressure on myself. I know just giving up on the riding makes me sad. My mare likes having even a small "job" and she's quirky enough not just anyone could ride her. I'm just at a bit of a loss.
    Last edited by tnyankee69; Mar. 27, 2019, 12:08 PM.

  • #2
    As much as your horse is happy in her environment it sounds like you might need a more uplifting place. You don't mention what type of riding you do. Can you set a goal for yourself so you have something to work towards?
    Are there others at the barn to ride with?

    We have a small indoor arena and a couple of us were not looking forward to the winter. We have decided to once a month have an outing with our coach. We will either find a schooling show, or just a larger arena to go school at. It helps to have each other to help with our motivation.

    With regards to helping your mare have a job. If there are lessons at your barn, is there a teenager or adult that have decent skills but don't have a horse. They might be happy to have the opportunity of a few extra rides. I have really lucked out using this approach. The one girl that rides my horse has now been riding my guys for 4 or 5 years now. She does way more with them than I do but is really supportive of my riding as well and is always encouraging me.

    Good luck.


    • Original Poster

      Sport, thank you for your input.we do little hunter jumper/dressage and trail riding. I have thought about moving to different barns but my options are limited (mostly too expensive or too far). There are other folks to ride with, but I usually don't see them during the week after work and I'm not always able to ride on the weekends.

      That's an great idea of a goal, I'm going to work on that.


      • #4
        I've been riding at home by myself, year 'round for decades now, and yes, staying motivated to get out there is a job in itself.

        I did retire 10 years ago and that helped for quite awhile, but then I started struggling again until I met someone who is also retired and wanted to ride, and now we get together to ride once or twice a week. And that works to keep me motivated enough so that I'll get out there a couple more days a week to ride by myself.


        • #5
          I almost started this same thread. Been riding for 43 years and lately I'm just tired. I used to get so excited - "yay, I get to ride tonight" and now it's more like - "crud, I have to ride tonight". I love my ponies and after I'm done riding, I feel really good, but man, it's hard to get started lately.
          Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
          Anonymous Bedouin legend


          • #6
            I have had horses for about 47 years but my body seems to have lost its motivation and yeah...I'm tired. I have not been able to ride like I want to ride for over 3 years now. I had chronic tailbone pain (10 yrs duration) that suddenly ramped up and I couldn't even sit in the saddle. After several months of tests and workup to discover I had a big spur on the very end of my tailbone. Finally got that removed a year and a half ago. Long recovery--at least to the riding stage and yeah...the pain issue isn't a lot better. Other things regarding that are better so I don't regret the surgery and I suppose after the length of time it was an issue, there is/was no quick fix. I was going to give it a year before trying to ride (which would have been this April) and last fall...boom, herniated disc. I fought through last winter with PT, water exercise and massage and got nowhere with pain relief. I finally had surgery this July which was successful in relieving the unrelenting sciatica. Part of my rehab per the surgeon was to walk 2-3 miles a day. This greatly exacerbated a chronic foot issue I have and so now I can't ride much and walking in the uneven arena footing is a no go so I can't do much ground work either. I finally went back to the foot ortho thinking he would say to wear the cam boot for awhile...oh no, major surgery to definitively fix it. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. I was hoping to ride. I frankly don't want to have the $$$ outlay (I board) on a critter that I can't really do much of anything with. If she was in my back issue but she isn't and she would love to work and not just stand in her pen at the boarding barn. With work and elder care and my seemingly continuous rehab from something, working in a trip to the barn is a real chore. I am hoping to retire in 2019 but I am not sure it will help too much? I guess we'll see.

            Anybody need/want a 16 y.o. low mileage 1/2 Andalusian ballerina?



            • #7
              ( Kyrabee I am so sorry what a trail of issues I hope you find resolution soon)

              this is is a tough time of year for me to be motivated to do anything.
              I ride alone. No arena. Lots of nice choices as to who to ride but the footing is crap and bundling up to go for a walk just doesn't feel worth it. And after 40ish years of riding arenas bore me stupid for months on end. I love the idea of planning something once a month to give purpose to the other rides.
              Time management tough for you? 42 great tips and support through this course!


              • #8
                I totally understand the lack of motivation and I personally attribute it to the cold/dark. It's hard to be excited about riding when you're rushing after work to beat the dark and freezing while you're doing it. I just moved my horse to a new barn but my motivation is still lacking. I have no one to ride with and it's miserable out. It's also just a busy time of year. Try not to beat yourself up. Setting small goals should help! Post back with what you come up with!


                • #9
                  Kyrabee {HUGS} Getting Old is certainly not for sissies!
                  My brain tells me I am still capable of doing stuff I did 50yrs ago.
                  My body says: "Go ahead, we'll talk about that tomorrow."

                  Saturday I took my mini to a Club event - Driving Demo at a Military academy.
                  Fun, but OhEmGEEEEE! The cold did me in.
                  I gimped around for the next 2 days, even seriously considered a toilet riser seat (TMI?).

                  Riding desire, OTOH, has not left me.
                  My Dressage trainer was here at the beginning of the month,
                  But since then, the early dark, chilly & damp weather have sure put a Hold on my actually getting out & getting on.
                  No excuses - I am retired, have my horses at home & an indoor.

                  I fully expect the malaise to leave when Spring returns, or we get a stretch of sunny not-too-cold Winter weather.
                  Until then I am just enjoying the time I do spend in the barn.
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                  • #10
                    It happens. When I lose the motivation for riding, I just stop riding. I groom, do groundwork if I feel like it, feed my darlings treats, kiss their noses, and tell them they are the best horses ever.

                    Then, eventually, one day I think, "I believe I'll go for a ride today." And then I'm back in swing of things.
                    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                    that's even remotely true."

                    Homer Simpson


                    • #11
                      Me, too. And I have a truly wonderful 20 year old school master tp play with. I'm 71 and reasonably fit but man, it's hard to get to the barn and ride. My disabled husband died last year and recently I realized that riding had been my escape so I'd arrange all sorts of things so that I could get to the barn. Now I don't need that escape at all and that really fierce determination has left me.

                      I'm trying to learn to just go ride for fun. Isn't that just nuts? The horse crazy kid is still in me and the need to find her again


                      • #12
                        Weather makes it hard. Short days make it hard. Physical pain makes it hard. Uncomfortable riding spaces make it hard.

                        I would never make any long term decision about an activity at the hardest time of year.

                        If on a beautiful spring day you don't feel like going for a trail ride, that's another thing.

                        At my barn, which has stalls and small runouts, we often send our horses away to nice pasture for a month or two in the summer or fall.

                        But we've often chatted about how we'd really like them off our hands through December and January, especially the folks with true 9 to 5 work schedules! We are self board so need to be there every day.

                        In the past people used to give horses the winter off.

                        Why not just plan not to ride at all for the worst winter months? Send your horse out for vacation. Find a facility with big dry paddocks and shelter and hay, bonus if there is still pasture access. More expensive than no frills pasture board. Less expensive than a full board barn. Less work than self board.

                        Better to make a clear decision for next year than worry too much about this year. Once a hobby becomes worry and guilt, you are even less inclined to do it.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sorrelfilly721 View Post
                          I almost started this same thread. Been riding for 43 years and lately I'm just tired. I used to get so excited - "yay, I get to ride tonight" and now it's more like - "crud, I have to ride tonight". I love my ponies and after I'm done riding, I feel really good, but man, it's hard to get started lately.
                          This is me. It's dark when I get home from work and I just want to stay there


                          • #14
                            Rather than beat yourself up for not riding, could you instead do something different with her?
                            Eg, -teach her some tricks- bow, etc
                            - ground drive/long rein, heck, break her to driving harness?
                            -improve on her ground manners?
                            -in-hand games?
                            -practice some stable management- different leg wraps, tail wrap, etc? Refresh the leg anatomy, both front and hind? Identify her good and bad conformation points?
                            to increase the enjoyment, make sure to hum some REM, which is what I do every time I see the thread name

                            Less than 2 weeks (9 days!) and the days WILL start to get longer!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                            Last edited by fanfayre; Dec. 13, 2018, 01:47 PM.
                            Can't learn anything with a closed mind! with thanks to mug


                            • #15
                              This is me, too. I've been struggling with riding as much as I would like to. In my case I know a very large part of it is my job. I work more hours than I get paid for, have an erratic schedule, and so on. The barn hours are shorter at my winter barn which makes it even tougher to get out after a late exit from work.

                              I feel so much better with some horse time, and I'm getting the chance to work on dressage with my older horse after a long, hot summer of keeping him breathing. We did a respectable canter HP zigzag the other day! My younger horse is coming along very well and is a lot of fun to ride.

                              But my get up and go is severely lacking. I'm trying to be gentle on myself since December is "Social Obligation" month and tends to be a limited riding time anyway. I'm planning a new job search in the new year. Just hanging in there for the bonus I worked so hard to earn.

                              My Christmas gift to myself is going to be fewer extra hours at work, and more on the horses in 2019... Maybe Santa can put some get up and go riding under my tree.


                              • #16
                                I get it. Happened to me over the summer when my first horse had maxed out, and it became very clear what the next step for us was (selling her). I felt very bummed about my riding, because I had improved to the point where she wasn't keeping up with me as well. Wasn't fair to either of us, so we made the decision to list her (not at all suggesting that you should do this, just sharing my story!) I confided to my trainer; she 100% understood, and then had me take lessons on some other peoples horses (green ottb, and a season champion high performance hunter) to "stir things up"... the change of pace was really good for me, and I really enjoyed myself. 100% recommend if a similar situation presents itself to you, as sometimes we just need a change of pace in the saddle.

                                I get the same way as you in the winter. Even with an indoor, the Canadian winter shows little to no mercy to us horse people. My motivation returned after buying a 6y/o (that is too athletic for her own good). Every ride is a bit different and I look forward to what she'll throw at me the next day, lol. She gives me something to work towards, which I, as a rider, seem to need. Not sure if that at all pertains to your situation.

                                Don't beat yourself up over the situation. You know you love it, and a break won't hurt anybody. Set aside some time to give your horse attention, but allow yourself to enjoy other things -- it isn't a crime.

                                Best of luck.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                                  I would never make any long term decision about an activity at the hardest time of year.

                                  Agreed. But also it's important to realize that it's not a bad thing if your interests change. That's normal. There are a ton of former horse people in dog sports. There are similarities without as much effort (easy to put the dog in the backseat versus get the truck and trailer).

                                  You are allowed to move away from horses without being a bad person. Your horse might not mind just being a pasture pet, either. Mine seem to enjoy it a lot.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sorrelfilly721 View Post
                                    I almost started this same thread. Been riding for 43 years and lately I'm just tired. I used to get so excited - "yay, I get to ride tonight" and now it's more like - "crud, I have to ride tonight". I love my ponies and after I'm done riding, I feel really good, but man, it's hard to get started lately.
                                    Add about 5 years, and this is me. Haven't ridden for over a month. It's been raining a lot, and the dim cloudy days that get dark early don't help. The traveling and preparations for the holidays take away the motivation too. When I'm home, I just don't feel like it, and I'm retired, with my horses at home and a covered arena, so I really have no excuses. I just decided to let it go for now and don't stress. The horses don't seem to care.


                                    • #19
                                      Another in the "burning out" club. Like others, I have medical issues and may spend much of 2019 in and out of hand surgery with lengthy rehab, one to three surgeries on my dominant hand, and one on the other hand. I have Dupuytrens disease, which is a degenerative hand condition, trigger finger etc. and just found out that the 2 unsuccessful surgeries I had last year were unsuccessful partially because of flexor tendons rupturing during or shortly after surgery.

                                      My lovely horse is 20 and getting a bit more cranky than usual about riding (she is physically OK other than having some arthritis, but her conformation issues are catching up with her.) This year I got to do very little trail riding for various reasons, trails closed December 1, and I am already sick of the indoor.

                                      I am honestly thinking about retiring my horse, as I will not be able to ride much if 2019 turns out like I expect it to. And I am just not that happy with what we are doing. There probably will not be another horse in my life, which has the hidden silver lining that I could afford to keep my horse nearby, rather than searching for a budget-friendly retirement place somewhere out of state.

                                      OP, it's OK to take a break! The horse will wait for you, if you want to start up again in the spring. I have a couple of friends who have quit riding and gotten into dog agility and are really enjoying it.
                                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                      • #20
                                        Hi guys, I've been away for almost 3 years, used to be oliverreed. I'm losing motivation for a different reason - my horse is not rideable (only 14) and may never be again - kissing spine. I get over to the barn most days but in this season it is HARD and I'm at a loss for things to do with him that won't hurt. He has also been having hoof problems for months which just now seem to be resolving. Any thoughts? I'm not selling him or "retiring" him, he has a retirement home with me forever even if he's just a pasture pet. We have an indoor.