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Time to throw in the towel for a little while?

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  • Time to throw in the towel for a little while?

    Ok, so here's the story,

    I've been in horses for 18 years, (i'm 23). For the past few years I've really slowed down with everything. I have 5 horses at one point, did self-care, stacked my own hay/straw everytime I bought it (I do mean loading it and unloading it) thinned out to 3 horses, rode 3 horses 6 days a week... showed pretty much every weekend in spring/summer/fall, worked pretty much 7 days a week to feed the hobby, everything...

    Current. I am now down to one horse, the horse I SWORE I'd never give up.. Said horse is now 12 years old (owned him since he was 2), did all training on him except halter breaking, he will now pack a kid around a ring of jumps without batting an eye.. - You get the idea.

    For the last almost 3 years he's been out on a lease to 3 different people (when he came back it was no fault on him at all, I leased him out because I didn't have the time to ride him as much and the footing in the barn he was at was less than acceptable. So he went off to be a comfy 2'6-3' horse, he was happy.

    Present date - Me
    It feels like anymore its more me forcing myself to go out and ride, I have to really talk myself into it, I hate riding alone which I do a lot of but here and there I'll have a friend with me. I do enjoy riding don't get me wrong, I have people tell me often my eq is phenomenal blah blah blah, sure it makes you feel good, but at the end of the day I'm just tired..
    Tired of riding, forcing myself to go out, the stress of owning (the horse is currently at a friends barn to be ether leased or sold - to be honest I'd rather him be sold), he goes out on a lease again there's that chance of me getting a phone call at the worst time saying, here's notice and I don't want that stress of worrying about where am I going to put this horse again, I feel bad that he has not had a steady home in a few years, I feel bad that I can't nor have the desire to ride him as much as I feel he needs or deserves, he LOVES to have a job. I've said before that if he sells I don't want to own another horse for a very long time, if ever.. I hate the thought, but I', just tired of it all..

    My question is am I just burnt out? Need a break?
    and those of you who got out of horses for a while, how do you tell yourself that its what you wanted when you REALLY know but just don't want to admit it to yourself...

    would it be smart to sell the horse and just ride when I'm ready to? Keep horse?

    I hope some of that made sense to somebody!
  • Original Poster

    wow, really just saw a similar post right after I posted this one!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bounceback View Post
      For the past few years I've really slowed down with everything....

      worked pretty much 7 days a week to feed the hobby, everything...

      It feels like anymore its more me forcing myself to go out and ride

      I have to really talk myself into it

      I hate riding alone which I do a lot of

      at the end of the day I'm just tired..

      Tired of riding, forcing myself to go out, the stress of owning

      to be honest I'd rather him be sold

      I don't want that stress of worrying about where am I going to put this horse again,

      I feel he needs or deserves, he LOVES to have a job.

      I've said before that if he sells I don't want to own another horse for a very long time, if ever..

      I', just tired of it all..

      My question is am I just burnt out? Need a break?
      There are many, many people who have hit a wall and struggle with recognizing for it for themselves. And the subject doesn't matter if its a love life, friendship, school, hobby, or career.

      Read some of your very clear statements above. There is a part of yourself that is being very clear. Sounds beyond burnout...there is a really crispy, fried part of yourself. You really need to listen. Re-read your very clear statements until you hear it. Then you can move on, take the break you clearly want and need.

      You don't need others to tell you it's okay. You need to allow yourself these feelings, to recognize and accept them. Give yourself a big old hug. It's okay. You will do just fine. And you will help your horse find a great owner and a fun job.

      Best wishes.


      • #4
        The only constant in your life is change. Accept it. Accept how you feel - it is real and there is nothing wrong with it.
        Do what you want to do, life is too short! If you need a break, take one. Get out completely if you need to. There is nothing wrong with it. You need to do what is right for YOU.
        If you come back into the fold, so be it. If not, there is nothing wrong with it.
        Can you tell there is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling? LIVE your life - it is too short not to!
        Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.


        • #5
          If you don't enjoy it anymore, then stop doing it. You are forcing yourself to do something you should be doing because you love it. If you dont love it anymore, make a change. Give yourself a break. You may find later one that you want to come back, or you may not. Quitting now doesnt mean you can't ever go back. Take a break, find other things to do, and just see where your interests take you. You may find something you really love doing totally different from the horses. You'll never know if there is something else out there, if you're busy doing something you dont like. Later on, you may find you really miss the horses and want back in. Or not.

          Take a break. It will be good for you.


          • #6
            Bounceback, because of the age you are - it is normal to want to ask others about this because you are trying to figure out if you are just being a quitter or there really is burnout going on - and others who mayhave been there could look at your situation more objectively than perhaps you can right now (because the emotion of still caring about your horse might affect trying to make a yes/no list). It is true that you have to give yourself permission.

            Well, giving yourself permission maybe works at the intellectual level but it doesn't always have an impact at the emotional level esp. if you are feeling some guilt perhaps based in "wow I did all this before why can't I now what's wrong with me."

            Having been through burnout a couple of times (my career, mostly, and some in horses too -- but not caused by the horses themselves but more like some of the truly awful people I've had little or no choice but to deal with in the horse world over the past few decades) this sure looks like burnout to me.

            Have you thought of keeping the horse but changing the situation a bit? If you can, if you have a place of your own, bring the horse home and let him/her be a pasture pet for a while, get another critter to keep company, have run-in shed and safely fenced area, and occasional hired help so you can go play. Then become a spectator for some equestrian sports that you haven't been involved in before to see if that sparks your interest. When I started getting really tired of showring attitudes, blatant politics/bad horsemanship/sportsmanship all the time every show, etc. I sold my show clothes, my show rig, my show tack. Bought trailriding gear and headed for the back country on a dead-broke sensible and sweet draftie. Couldn't have been a better choice. I had done the 40 shows a year thing and for years it was fun, it was actually people who made it not fun. Something as expensive as horses, you really have to know it as fun and fulfilling and sometimes it is a change of focus that works.

            In short don't be too hasty to sell the horse you swore you would never sell but instead if possible look at changing the situation you both are in.

            Leasing a horse out is scary and not satisfactory in the long run for anyone and can result in some really unpleasant situations. I sure wouldn't do it again - got badly burned, cost ME thousands and a lot of heartache getting back a really treasured mare on a breeding lease, suffice to say a cross-country haul home and a now grade 4 damaged uterus and as well mechanical founder - shudder. Any horse not under your direct control is a horse potentially damaged. Not good!
            Surrealism: once an art form. Now indistinguishable from daily life. (Forgot who said that.)


            • #7
              OP, I went through the same thing, but at a more advanced age . I found good homes for both of my horses and just gave up riding, etc. 8 years later, I got the bug and slowly eased back into horses, but on my terms (I board and pay to have my horse worked when I cannot get to the barn). I found the perfect horse for me and enjoy every minute with her. I do not regret the years I quit horses...

              You are young and have a long life ahead of you. Find a good home for your boy where he will be loved and cherished and get on with your life!
              We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!