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How do you know when it's time to throw in the towel?

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  • How do you know when it's time to throw in the towel?

    I am just frustrated right now, and I think I may just need to face reality. I might not be a horse person anymore. And that makes me want to cry.

    I feel like I have all the ingredients to finally make my horse dreams a reality, except I have totally lost my passion for it. I have been taking lessons with a trainer I really like and we are progressing well. My horse is well suited for the discipline (reining) and we have a great group of people at the barn that share our interests. I have fun when I ride, but that is honestly the only time that I would say I appreciate my horse. I spend all other hours of the day dreading going to the barn, and wishing instead that I could stay home and have a quiet dinner with my husband and kiddos followed by a nice stroll around town with the dogs. Or fretting about the ridiculous amount of money I am parting with each month. The worst was last week when the chiropractor came out and we found out we have saddle fitting issues on BOTH of our horses, even though we have made an honest effort to buy saddles that were supposed to fit them. Sigh. It feels like my effort is never enough.

    I hate to quit though. I am not a quitter. I keep thinking I'll find the right combination to make myself enjoy this again. I am currently signed up for 2 clinics this spring/summer. Hubby and I have also planned a 3 day trail riding getaway in June. These are things I have enjoyed so much in the past, but now I just see a lot of time away from the kids and a bunch of work.

    I am a runner and enjoy doing that more than the horses at this point in life. I can pop the kiddos in the jogging stroller, and sometimes hubby and I will spend a Friday evening taking the family on a long run. I love that we are able to share that experience together. :-) It is so peaceful, and we can go out for an hour and be done. No muddy pasture, no dusty arena, no expensive equipment, and best of all ... no saddle fitting.

    Has anyone else been here? Did you just step away? Have a long, hard real look at the reality of the situation? I am not a negative person in general, but I just feel like I am making a desperate attempt to hang onto a dream when my heart tells me I am one bad ride from walking away from the whole thing.

  • #2
    If you are dreading it and it is a chore and a financial drain and you aren't happy with the time away from family....quit. You won't do it well if you continue because your heart isn't in it. Not fair to horse, family, trainer or you. Quit. You can always go back to it later if you find the interest again.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV

    Comment


    • #3
      Its sounds like its time for a break and thats okay. I took a long break when our girls were little. Left it completely behind. And it was my youngest who got the pony bug. So we have horses again and its just as fun the second time.
      Take a breather and enjoy your little ones. They grow so fast and before you can blink they are teenagers. You can't ever get those dinners and family time back.

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      • #4
        Dreams can change. Riding is supposed to be enjoyable. Life is short. If you're not enjoying it right now, take a break. You can always go back to it (or not) when you feel the urge again.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am right there with you! Except my horse-related activities were NOT going well when I threw in the towel. I moved to a rural area, and had to drive a long distance to ride a horse that I felt "meh" about. It was just a lot of time and money to spend, especially since I can't even ride in the winter around here. The last straw was spending money to go to a show where the "steady-eddie" school horse I was riding spent most of his time rearing and bucking. No help from my "trainer" either. Anyway, I've realized that this is just NOT the place to accomplish my riding goals.
          So I took up running instead. I can go out right from my house, and spend as much or as little time out as I want. I can enter 5 K and 10 K races every weekend, buy really nice running shoes, etc. for a mere fraction of what I spent on riding. It's not that I really want to give up riding - I'm extremely envious of your position, with a nice horse, attaining goals, etc. It's just too expensive to not enjoy every second of it. I'm hoping that I can pick it up again in the future, but for now, I'm much happier being on the sidelines.

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          • #6
            Hmmm..well, I recently felt this way (I have 2 babes under the age of 2 and another on the way) but when I sold the previous beastie & bought the present, it all changed.

            This horse isn't near as much work, he's enjoyable to ride, & completely suits my goals. Maybe just a change of pace?

            There's nothing wrong with taking a break either - like the others have mentioned...you can always come back to it.

            Good luck
            \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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            • #7
              I left horses for a long time (12 years) when my daughter was little. It was just too much for my situation.

              Who wants to put that much time and effort into something that you are not enjoying Your not a quitter but you are someone not having fun with horses. Nothing wrong with that and maybe after your kids are older you will feel the desire to come back or maybe you never will. The only thing that matters is that you are happy
              RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
              May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
              RIP San Lena Peppy
              May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

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              • #8
                You can go back to riding. You cannot go back to being a Mom with young children. Also hard to patch a marriage back together if you neglect your hubby. And, NO they don't always tell you they feel that way-men don't talk things out, they internalize and find a substitute.

                I think you are stretched too thin and something has to give. It should not be your kids or your marriage or your career.

                Turn the horses out and take a break for a month (it'll help their backs too) then see how you feel. I'd suggest leasing out the horses like we do in the USEF ranks but if you do QH, that does not work so good.

                That would not be quitting. That would be prioritizing what is most important, right now that is kids and family time. You may even find you still want to go on that trail riding vacation with hubby-for a break not an extension of what is turning into another job with those horses.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                • #9
                  I'd speak to your trainer and discuss whether you could lease your horse to someone for six months or so first.

                  I do know how you feel, I do feel that way sometimes... but there's nothing like not going near your horse for a while to REALLY want to be with your horse. So, if you can walk away for six months, don't go near your horse - if you don't miss him, then sell. If you do miss him then you haven't burnt all your bridges.

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                  • #10
                    Listen to findeight, she is right.
                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
                      If you are dreading it and it is a chore and a financial drain and you aren't happy with the time away from family....quit. You won't do it well if you continue because your heart isn't in it. Not fair to horse, family, trainer or you. Quit. You can always go back to it later if you find the interest again.
                      This.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you, thank you, thank you all so much. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, honestly!

                        I also wanted to add that I have been a recreational trail rider in the past with this idea that sometime in the future I would enjoy showing. Now that I am trying to live that dream I see how much sacrifice it takes, and I think maybe that shoe just doesn't fit this foot.

                        Also, I am training for a 20k and the weather is not cooperating so I can't get my run in during the day with the jogging stroller. It becomes another thing that hubby and I are juggling in the evenings and on weekends.

                        And Hubby. He is a saint. He never complains, even though he has been missing his #1 hobby lately (Taekwondo) so I can do my thing. The guilt has been building. He deserves some free time, too. He works so hard so I can stay home with our children, and is a fantastic father.

                        I definitely agree that I am stretched too thin. I HATE stress ... I am not a person that handles it well, and I generally try to keep my life simple. I think I will keep the trail ride on the agenda for the summer as hubby and I need some time together, but I'm going to drop lessons for a while and just ride when I feel like it. No goals, and more family time. :-)
                        Last edited by Smoke24; Mar. 30, 2011, 03:52 PM. Reason: clarification

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by 'Sconie View Post
                          I am right there with you! Except my horse-related activities were NOT going well when I threw in the towel. I moved to a rural area, and had to drive a long distance to ride a horse that I felt "meh" about. It was just a lot of time and money to spend, especially since I can't even ride in the winter around here. The last straw was spending money to go to a show where the "steady-eddie" school horse I was riding spent most of his time rearing and bucking. No help from my "trainer" either. Anyway, I've realized that this is just NOT the place to accomplish my riding goals.
                          So I took up running instead. I can go out right from my house, and spend as much or as little time out as I want. I can enter 5 K and 10 K races every weekend, buy really nice running shoes, etc. for a mere fraction of what I spent on riding. It's not that I really want to give up riding - I'm extremely envious of your position, with a nice horse, attaining goals, etc. It's just too expensive to not enjoy every second of it. I'm hoping that I can pick it up again in the future, but for now, I'm much happier being on the sidelines.
                          Exactly! Plus you look and feel so darn good. Road races are so addictive!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you enjoy the riding but not the cost, the stress, etc, maybe changing to something more low-key? Trail riding or pleasure riding? Take the horses out of training, move to a low-key barn (or get horses better suited to that style of life if yours aren't). Then you can enjoy riding without the stress....

                            And you know, it is ok if some nights you stay home and have dinner with the husband and kids and don't ride.

                            I still love riding and wish I could show - BUT there are days my heart just isn't in it. I would rather be a slug on the sofa then go work horses. So I let myself have some days off and then I enjoy riding more when I do ride..

                            Good luck in whatever decisions you make. You just need to do what's right for you... and we'll support you in that!
                            Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                            Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Life happens and things change.
                              Looks like you are ready for a change.
                              You don't need to feel guilty, just go ahead and change right along with how your life is changing, no one but you knows what is best for you now.

                              Better start making plans for the horses, because it seems that it takes a while to sell reining horses, trainers are not that motivated to sell, you will have to be the squeaky wheel, for what I see.

                              Life is definitely easier and cheaper without horses.
                              If you are not really enjoying them, time to let go and move on.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Give yourself a no-guilt month off. Let the horse chill, or put him in training. If the horse isn't in a full training program, find someone you can pay to check on him, pick out his feet, etc.

                                After not going to the barn for a month (with no guilt), see how you feel. If you aren't itching to get back on, sell the horse and enjoy running!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I am so right there with you!! I'm taking time away from horses because they were being a drain on me. Not just 'starting to be a drain' but had been for quite a while. With my background and my familial background with horses, for the longest time, I felt I couldn't give up, just couldn't!! Other than the military, I've only done horses my entire life. I drive a big rig now water to water and border to border.

                                  For once, I don't only have horse friends, there are people who don't even care about horses (other than they are animals to be taken care of) and I'm finding things that interest me more currently.

                                  I'm getting sucked into photography in a big way!! I loff to take pictures and post them. Then to do all my experiments on my pics is just too much fun!! I've found I loff to cook (of all things...) and can garden like a banshee.

                                  I don't care to show anymore and I've tried my damndest to get interested again. I still have all my silver tack and it. just. sits. there. I've had people ask me to show for them and I can't. Dont' want to take the time and it's too much sacrifice for me.

                                  I'll be back in horses in the future, matter of fact, I'm looking at dreamhorse quite a bit now and even have been clicking on sig lines in this site, checkin' 'em out.

                                  But, damn it, it's going to FUN again and I'm going to enjoy being with the beastie. No stress, I don't 'do' stress very well (remember, I'm a big rig driver, where's the stress in that?? heh...). So, life is to enjoy and it's too short to not enjoy it.
                                  GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Why not go back to trail riding? Especially if that's what you did before. Sometimes it can be the horsey environment not the horses. Your comment about the chiro saying the saddles no longer fit makes me wonder. There are horses that live in a pasture, get regular trims, vaccinations, yearly dental check/floating and do just fine. Some people though find they can never do enough for their horses and if you're in that environment you start to do more and more just so you feel you're not neglecting your horses. All the additional care that you didn't plan on at the beginning can drag you down. Perhaps this is not the case with you. Try scaling back to doing less with your horses and see how you feel about it. You could move them to a cheaper boarding situation that meets their needs, and only go for a trail ride once a week on the weekends. See how that feels and then take it from there.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Reining looks easy, but to do well in reining is very hard, many try for a while and realize they don't have a lifetime to seriously dedicate to it and move on to other, working cowhorse or whatever.

                                      Maybe you are tired because of the pressure reining puts on riders and how little interesting it really can be to keep working at it, compared with so much else we can do with horses and with other in our lives?

                                      Try all other you mention for a while and then you may surprise yourself what all you may be interested in some day, if you decide to again make time for horses, or one of your kids wants to have horses.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have a friend who at one time had a passion fofr riding, very competitive. She got out of it and seems to have not looked back. She runs now. Took the time to find her horse a great home and as far as I can tell, she does not miss the horses.

                                        Honestly, I've gotten to the point where I don't care, my horse has segued from a serious project to a pet that ride for fun. I do enjoy spending time with her though. I just gave myself permission to not acheive anything, LOL!

                                        Maybe pull back- cut out lessons and competing and just enjoy your horse a few days a week. Most are fine on a reduced schedule... and there is always someone who wants to ride a nice horse if your guy needs regular work to be happy. You might find you enjoy riding and the horse more.... or if you don't you'll have a clear "sell" vibe.

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