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Mourning....I think.....

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  • Mourning....I think.....

    I just need to talk to horse people here. I need to get this out because the reality of my future with horses is practically killing me, and I really have no one to talk to who will understand. I don't even understand.

    I have 6 horses - they are mine, not my husbands, not my 12 year old daughters, just mine. I get the help I need when I need it and the support I need to "go riding, but I'm lonely. When I ride, I ride alone - 100% of the time. I know some people love that, but not me. I have six horses because I kept buying another for my daughter, hoping this would be The One that would give her the confidence to want to ride with me but that's failed every time. It's just not her thing and I've accepted it.

    Recently, I've been diagnosed with RA (I'm 45) - it's early and not horrible, but it's not the most pleasant condition. So combining this with the reality that I don't enjoy riding anymore because I don't like being alone on rides, has me considering selling all of my tack and just letting my horses be "retired" (when seriously, they've never been asked to do much anyway). I'm just not sure why this hurts so much. It's not a huge deal - I don't compete and don't take lessons anymore, and between my 40 hour job (and soon we're opening up a small shop in town) I don't even get to ride more than once a week anyway. In the winter, I don't ride at all. So why do cry when I think about not riding anymore? I'm still paying for one of the horses so that does sting a little, and all but 2 are suffering from arthritis so they won't care one bit...but it just hurts so badly to consider it even though it's the practical thing to do at this time in my life anyway....I feel a big hole .

  • #2
    First, you need a really big gentle hug.

    Next, remember, you need to do * nothing * right now but take care of yourself and that includes emotionally.

    Ok, having said that... Were you just diagnosed? Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is extraordinarily stressful. IMO and IME doctors should write a scrip for therapy at the same time, but they dont. Please consider getting a referral to a therapist MONDAY. You might really want someone to talk to who is not related to you or is a friend, this is going to be bigger than just horses.

    One of my friends who was diagnosed with a chronic illness - not trying to be scary but - tried to kill herself not long afterwards. She is now downsizing her herd, with the intention of boarding ONE riding horse, and is enjoying her life and horses again. Tough way to get there PLEASE take care of YOU now.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

    Comment


    • #3
      So it sounds like you would keep all your horses but just give up riding? Or would you also slowly start to place horses?

      It seems like you might want to make more of an effort to keep riding due to the RA. Isn't it better for you to keep active?

      I would say that if you are going to keep your horses then you should keep your tack. You never know when you will have a change of heart. Perhaps you are a bit depressed at the recent diagnosis and when you have processed a bit longer you will feel better.

      As far as not liking to ride alone, that is a different story. Would it not be possible for you to find a riding buddy or two in the area who would love to ride but can't afford a horse? It sounds like you have some easy horses if you felt your daughter needed confidence builders.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would not sell all the tack -- it's really not worth much used, unless you have fabulous equipment, and if you ever want to replace it, that's a hassle.

        Keep just what you need for you. Sell the daughter's stuff, if she's not riding. It's hard to accept, but some kids don't like horses. Even the most calm packer won't make her like them if she isn't interested.

        Have you considered advertising for a shareboarder? That would be someone to ride with.

        I think I would downsize on any horses that might be sound enough to be ridden by others. Six horses is a lot -- and they are expensive, even if you have your own place. And taking care of those six takes a lot of effort. Really evaluate each one, and decide if they are dear to you, or if you could let that particular one go to a good home. I think the COTH giveaways here allows you to find a very good home with responsible people, if you screen carefully.

        Maybe downsize to two, or three, and board somewhere? Then you get a social life and people to ride with/around.

        I would probably sell the horse you are still paying for, and pay it off.

        Comment


        • #5
          When your life changes, what else is part of it does also.

          With what you say, it seems that selling/placing the horses, maybe keeping one boarded where you can go enjoy the horse and company, there are such barns out there, would be a way to still be involved with horses for a while longer.

          This way you can see where you go from there, if to sell completely out or what else you are finding of interest.

          Having six horses when no one rides, that is a large investment in horses, time and resources, almost a bit questionable.
          Be sure you don't fall for the collector mentality, that can't pass the idea of one more with any one excuse, when it already has a barn full and no intention to let any go first to make room.

          I see why you would be sad, as we invest so much emotionally in our horses.
          A little distance from the whole situation, a few consultations with a counselor would help, seems like a great way to find where you really stand.

          I hope you get your RA management figured, so you can do what you want for long time yet.
          Life does show us our limits here and there and more as we get older and that is normal, as it is to become sad about it.

          Now, go pat a horse, that always helps.

          Comment


          • #6
            From a somewhat other side of the coin.

            I'm guessing that the horses are what make you feel fulfilled, whole. Possibly you have wanted to share it and have wanted to for years but no one has really stepped in at a similar emotional level to share it with. Hence, the search and purchase of that perfect daughter horse.

            Giving up what you love and doing `their` things would work, but in my opinion you'd be miserable in the long run. Giving up is a cop out.

            Go ride! Be kind to yourself!! Get involved when and where you can and eventually that ache will find a kindred spirit.
            "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"

            Comment


            • #7
              (hugs)

              We all want to ride forever! comfortably and if that involves making necessary changes, look at this in a positive light. It sounds
              like you have plenty to choose from, >lucky you!<.

              But, it also sounds like riding along (at this time) might not be as satisfying as it once was.

              What if? You boarded your "best horse" that you could trust to just tack and go riding at a barn of other trail riders, even if they trailered out and you co-oped (offer gas or switch trailering each time). You might find a horseless rider (there IS a thread you can connect with others) who would like to share-board/lease one of your other horses, reduced in exchange for a riding schedule? --either at home or boarding?

              One thing I can share is that as we get older, physically ebbing, the work load needs to be carefully readjusted. Life becomes a trade off; and simplier in some ways, of sorting through what really (really) is important.
              Riding and your horses will always be your rock and help carry your through any difficulty.
              IN GOD WE TRUST
              OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.
              http://www.horseville.com/php/search...=1&ssid=057680

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh goodness, I understand completely where you are coming from. First, big hugs to you.

                I was recently diagnosed with SLE, after being seriously ill off and on for the last 8 years. At the moment I'm laid up with pneumonia and colitis. I saw two new doctors this past week and both recommended lifestyle changes that will hopefully help me reach and stay in a state of remission. They both also actually encouraged me to continue on with the horses, citing physical and mental benefits, which was awesome.

                During one particularly bad episode in 2008, I realized that I needed to have one horse, that I really enjoyed, that I could trust... that would be easy for me to deal with in every sense.

                This summer I bought a 4 year old unbroke Morgan mare. What was I thinking, most would say... but she is small, handy, tough, is a flat, smooth mover and has the best brain EVER. Born broke would be a good description. She will be my "old lady" horse. I keep her at a friend's place where I know she gets lots of TLC even if I can't get there regularly.

                EqT's advice is wise (as always.) Downsize, keep one riding horse for yourself, board it out at a facility you know and trust. Don't give up the horses completely, if you can manage it.

                Sending lots of good vibes your way. Hang in there!
                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry to hear about the RA diagnosis, but there are a jillion new drugs out there (I work for a pharmacy) so keep trying until you find something that works for you.

                  As for the Don't Wanna Ride thing - I'm kinda going through that myself now.
                  I don't mind riding alone & have an indoor to do it in, but the will to do it just seems to have evaporated for the time being.
                  I just have my 2 here at home and thinking about the "wonderfulness" of doing chores in Winter is nagging at me.
                  I haven't sat on my riding horse or worked the could-be-driving pony for over 2 weeks now.
                  Last thing I did was longe both for about 20min each before the shoer came.
                  I know they could care less - as long as meals are on time Life Is Good from their POV.
                  And I tell myself there are reasons I'm not riding:
                  too hot, now too cold, dark too early, tired from work, and on & on ad nauseum.
                  I try not to let all of it depress me but sometimes I get down.

                  Could you downsize your herd?
                  I agree with the poster who said sell the ones you bought for your daughter.
                  If she has no interest, having a horse won't change that.
                  I know the market sucks right now, but less work caring for the ones left might be what you need to get jumpstarted.
                  I tell myself if I could come home to a horse tacked up & ready maybe I'd be riding more often.

                  In any case, keep coming here.
                  Nothing like COTH to bounce things HR off of.
                  *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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with try to find a horseless rider or two or more. Find the right people and offer free riding in exchange for barn duties. Won't be easy but better than giving up riding all together?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, if you are willing to have someone ride one of your horses in exchange for you now having someone to ride with - give that a try. You'll also get exercise for your horse and possibly help with chores if you want that as part of the trade. For instance, if you lived close to me I would be happy to ride with you and help around the barn, but I don't own a horse. It could be a win-win situation for both you and someone else.
                      Flickr

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you all for your insight. It really does help. FlashGordon, I'm sorry about your SLE diagnosis. I'm glad you got a horse and situation that is working for you. I'm also glad to hear your doctors recognized the emotional benefits of the horses as well. Thanks so much for your input.
                        My doctor also says the horses will be good for me in the long run - 2Dogs, my pain is quite manageable on the drug I started on, still a few bad bad days from time to time but I'm really not complaining because it as so much worse pre-diagnosis. I do understand that sometimes they "wear off", but I'm lucky so far.

                        EqTrainer, I don't *think* I'm depressed - life seems good and I'm happy the way other things in life are going - I love my job and my husband and daughter, lucky to live on this farm, but yeah, i do get blue when I think about the future with my horses. I'll bring it up to my doctor. I hope your friend got through that rough patch (I can understand how easy it is to feel that way). Luckily, my husband is a wonderful helper but ultimately I feel guilty for having so many, not that anyone has complained, but perhaps, like Bluey eluded to, I'm afraid if I don't ride people will view me as some crazy animal collector. Really, I'm not. We have the money and property, but it still seems selfish and extravagant or, something. I can't pin-point that.

                        I've tried to place my youngest horse since I recognize that in 15 years I probably won't feel as good as I do now. He's only 6 and I haven't had any interest in him (Hafflinger). I have 2 others that could go at any time - one is 31 and the other has a rare form of cancer (he's being treated but his prognosis is uncertain). And yes, OGM and Brightsky, my horses do bring my a lot of joy so I can't imagine life without them here. I rationalize not placing my 3 teenaged mares because of the 2 horses that won't likely be here too long - if they go and I could place the Haffie, I'd be down to 3 very pleasant mares. The chores would be good for me and I could have someone share rides (which around here could be harder to find then a place for my horse, but I'll try!).

                        I'm not sure, but this just came to me: Maybe I'm trying to make this "big" decision so that I feel like I'm controlling the future? I do tend to prefer the feeling of control over the unknown, so this may be why I have the urge to do things that sem pragmatic. I'm a practical person for the most part. I know you're thinking, how does a practical person end up with 6 horses? Again, I kept hoping my daughter would convert...

                        Thank you all so much for letting me talk this out and for your kind words and support. It doesn't feel as bad now as it has to me for the last couple of days. I'll seize this moment, enjoy my rides when I get to ride, and take this all one day at a time. Tomorrow is another day and I can't make any big decisions today....thanks so much for that insight.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Have you considered taking up driving? Some carts/carriages are well enough sprung to be comfortable rides even when joints hurt. Your family could come with you on a drive should they care to or other folks who just think it would be fun to go take a drive and have a picnic, friends who might not be terribly interested in the horse(s).
                          You might even aspire to trying competitive driving and meet a whole new community of friends that way.

                          If you decide to drive a pair, you would have a use for two or even three of your horses at the same time. It might be worth considering.
                          Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                          Elmwood, Wisconsin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think you're being irrational. You have the money, the time, and it's not splitting up your family to have six horses, so HAVE SIX HORSES!!!!! Your horses don't care what you do with them as long as they're taken care of, and you can always just let them hang out until you get your illness more on track. You don't have to figure your life out right now. I love the idea of finding someone to trail ride with. Feeling lonely while riding is a really frustrating feeling, and I empathize.
                            Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Candle View Post
                              I think you're being irrational. You have the money, the time, and it's not splitting up your family to have six horses, so HAVE SIX HORSES!!!!! Your horses don't care what you do with them as long as they're taken care of, and you can always just let them hang out until you get your illness more on track. You don't have to figure your life out right now. I love the idea of finding someone to trail ride with. Feeling lonely while riding is a really frustrating feeling, and I empathize.
                              LOL...I think you're right. Just feeling overwhelmed and really, I do appreciate the smack in the head . Thank you. I remember my instructor once said the same thing - the horses don't care if you don't ride them. They're otherwise doted on so to them, life is grand as can be.

                              Robin, as a matter of fact I love driving! The one I mentioned with cancer is a Shetland and we used to drive him until it was uncomfortable - if he gets better we will continue (he just had a baseball sized tumor removed from his face last month). And guess what? Three(!) of my horses drive but I don't have horse sized gear and have only ground-driven the the horses.....I think you have really touched on something! If I traded in my saddles for harnesses............wow, I hadn't even thought of that! That is something I will absolutely consider, because my daughter loves it and my husband would learn. I'm so glad you responded!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Candle View Post
                                I think you're being irrational. You have the money, the time, and it's not splitting up your family to have six horses, so HAVE SIX HORSES!!!!! Your horses don't care what you do with them as long as they're taken care of, and you can always just let them hang out until you get your illness more on track. You don't have to figure your life out right now. I love the idea of finding someone to trail ride with. Feeling lonely while riding is a really frustrating feeling, and I empathize.
                                That is true, if as you say in your next post, you have the means and support to keep as many horses as you want.
                                In your first post, it seemed that you had to find the time and energy to take care of that many horses.

                                I have been in your situation for some years now and know that two is wonderful four about the most for me to take care of in good and bad weather and kept ridden whoever needs more training.
                                Still, at times they slipped to five and that, if there is only so much of myself to go around, that is too much to take care of easily.
                                Also the stock trailer only holds four, if I had to leave in an emergency, like our prarie fires have been lately.

                                Now, your post explained that you don't have to work with all of them and are trying to cut down already, so that is a start.

                                Just don't count yourself short, take time to sort thru this all and without pressure, all will work out eventually.
                                Having horses to care for, even if you don't get to ride, does give the day a good start and end, does it.

                                I hope they can get your medication sorted out where you won't have any but good days ahead.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks Bluey - I should be more clear: we have the means for what we have now....no more. We have budgeted well and we grow our own hay so these 6 are well taken care of but these are definitely the last horses we'll ever own, considering my health will eventually get worse. I didn't mean to make it sound like I didn't have the energy - the hardest part for me is riding alone, coupled with the reality of my health in the future being so unclear. And something seems so selfish about having 6 horses all to myself when I don't ride regularly anymore. Like I said, I think I want to feel as if I can control what I'm doing now, hoping it will "fix" the future.....but that's impossible.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I think the feelings of being a little overwhelmed by the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the future is totally normal.

                                    Maybe leasing or selling what you can, keeping the 3 mares you said are easy to deal with, and finding a buddy to ride with you would be the best idea?

                                    Have you sat down with your doctor and gotten an idea of treatment + simple lifestyle changes you can make to temper the effects of the RA?

                                    I know auto-immune disorders affect every person differently, and can manifest in a number of ways from mild to severe... but FWIW, my grandma and my mom have RA and both are extremely active. My grandma is 89 and some of her joints are deformed but man is she amazing! She still rakes leaves and gardens and cleans and does her own cooking.

                                    In terms of riding, I decided I would get a body protector and a friend is very graciously sending me an extra she has. I've also had to rethink my goals a little bit.

                                    The great thing about horses is there are so many ways to stay involved, even if your goals or activities have to shift a little bit. I think grieving that change is completely normal and healthy..... and once you are over the sadness you may find that horses still fit in, somehow.

                                    Anyway sorry to be all rambley....I wish you all the best!
                                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think the part about not riding, since you don't like to ride alone is a big thing.

                                      At least it is for me. As I have gotten older(I have a decade+ some on you), I just don't like riding on my trails like I use to. Plus, my old push button was retired. The new horses are just not as safe as my old guy. So, I ride less.

                                      I had angst for awhile about it, but now, I think, especially with the economy, hey, they are safe and well cared for.

                                      I have tried to find riding partners, but it hasn't panned out. Maybe see if you could lease one of them on farm, with the condition you ride together.

                                      I know I enjoy company, some horse people like the alone time.
                                      Think about what is important to you, and then see how you can fill it.
                                      Best and hugs!
                                      save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I had a coworker who had RA. She was an exercise fanatic. She'd tell the story about shortly after her diagnosis. She was married, but her husband was stationed overseas, so she and her two small boys went to live with her parents, who wouldn't let their poor, sick girl do anything. Within a couple months, she was so gimped-up she could barely move. She had to tell them to stop, and let her work. Once she started doing a normal life, and exercising, she felt tons better.

                                        It's easy to fall into the trap of babying yourself. You have a good reason to. But you've got to be tough. and hold on to as much normalcy as possible.

                                        If you have an empty stall, maybe you could advertise a boarding slot, with the understanding that you would enjoy the pleasure of her company.

                                        Good luck to you.

                                        StG

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