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"Horsed Out." UPDATE POST #27

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  • "Horsed Out." UPDATE POST #27

    For the love of angel food cake, I'm hoping I don't get flamed for this. What I'm looking for are some helpful suggestions to get me out of this rut!

    I'm currently feeling a little... horsed out. As in, I'm not looking forward to going riding. I don't mind going out to cuddle with my two geldings and spend time with them, but the idea of going out to ride makes me a little reluctant.

    The facts (or excuses- whichever camp you happen to join ):
    -My barn is 30 minutes from where I live and an hour from where I work. Totally inconvenient, but I have my own private barn and turn out for a very, very small chunk of change.
    -It's self-care, but I have a friend who trains there who helps out, and the BO actually prefers to feed in the morning, so she can rotate my pastures (it is, after all, her land). I explained to her that's not self-care, and that I should pay her more board, but she laughed at me. That being said, on the weekends, I make that 30 minute drive twice to do morning and evening feed. Plus three times a week. That's several hours in a car per day.
    -I have great horses, but they're strictly "for funsie" horses. I don't show. I school hunter and dressage because it's fun for me and the boys. One guy is a green OTTB with soundness issues (he's kind of in love with his vet), and the other is a 16yo Appy gelding all-arounder with a wonky pelvis. Both of them are cleared for work, but I never know what kind of ride I'm going to get. The OTTB is my heart horse, and the Appy is just a fun guy that I let 4Hers up-down on. I rescued them both.
    -My trainer moved away, and the only trainer I can find that will come to my barn is... well, um, questionable? Is that a good, vague way to put it? No trailer, either.
    -I work at a "horsey" job, but other than my coworkers, I have no "horsey" friends in the area. The other people at the barn really don't ride much, except the little girl in 4H. I spend all day staring at horse-related things, and get all excited to ride the boys, but when I get out there, I just feel tired and uninspired.
    -My last few rides have not been awesome. Part of that is because I'm just not mentally participating, but also a little bit because I'm personally sore due to some back/hip issues I've had my whole life. I ride like crap, the horse responds like crap, and we end the whole thing just cranky.
    -The footing in the arenas is awful- indoor and outdoor. With the OTTB's issues, I'm actually a bit afraid of riding him in there. Amazingly, this is the first summer he's been sound enough to ride (mainly due to the switch to this new barn, but that's a fun story for another day).

    So WWYD, COTHers? How can I put a little more zest into my horsey life? I'm totally ok with going out there and snuggling and carroting, and I'm sure they don't mind, either. But at the core of it, I really DO want to ride, and I REALLY want to have fun with it. Anyone else ever been here?
    Last edited by erniewalker; Aug. 3, 2012, 09:36 AM.

  • #2
    I think maybe you need to find a barn closer that is full service so you can enjoy the riding part more and "waste" less barn time doing chores. Is that a feasible suggestion?

    You need to spice it up a bit. Riding is more fun and productive with goals. Do something different; dressage, reining, barrels - just something different then what you normally are doing. If you can't find a trainer maybe watch some online tutorials and try to figure it out on your own. A video camera can help if there are no mirrors. Record yourself so you can see what you're doing wrong and work on fixing things.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can anything be done about the footing? I'd think it would be very hard to get excited about riding if you don't have anywhere to ride that feels safe for your ponies.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by showhorsegallery View Post
        I think maybe you need to find a barn closer that is full service so you can enjoy the riding part more and "waste" less barn time doing chores. Is that a feasible suggestion?
        Erm, feasible in that there are such locations? Yes. There are loads of barns between here and there. I've spent a lot of time analysing the options. Two major, huge problems, though- 1. Even if I went for a low-rent option at a barn that offers the bare minimum, I'd be looking at spending 4x what I do now, per horse, with limited turn out. 2. I'd have to give up my vet, my acupuncturist, and my farrier.

        I rather enjoy doing the chores, though.

        I have loads of goals in mind, but I'm not able to execute them, due to the footing, and my lameness, and my horses' lameness, etc. I had been doing lots of no-stirrup work, but that got interrupted when tripping over the rocks in the outdoor practically brought the Appy down. At work, I read lots of materials and watch videos, and I guess it's frustrating to not be able to "try this at home." Maybe you've found the main problem- I'm frustrated that I can't do what I want, so I'm shutting down!

        Comment


        • #5
          What showhorse gallery said.

          Sounds a bit like me a few years ago. My new mare got hurt, so I spent the most of the first 6 months I had her basically doing nothing except walking, and driving 45 min each way to get there, 4-5 days a week. Um, I bought this horse to DO something with. But at the same time I needed a vacation from her.

          I moved to her to full training, abeit 3 hours away, and life was much improved. I looked forward to going to the barn, there were more people to talk to, even though it was hours in the car.

          Funny thing is that training ended up being cheaper than board by the time I figured gas and all of the nickel and dime expenses that went with boarding that were now included.
          Visit my Spoonflower shop

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by shygirl View Post
            Can anything be done about the footing? I'd think it would be very hard to get excited about riding if you don't have anywhere to ride that feels safe for your ponies.
            I think that's a big part of it, Shygirl. The worst fall I had was on a horse who tripped while cantering- it was a total fluke, but I still get butterflies when my horse has a big dramatic trip.

            I've mentioned it a few times to the BO, but I don't want to make a huge deal out of it. She rides maaaaybe once a month, and does all the barn work herself, including feeding and turning out my horses when it's supposed to be "self-care." I've tried riding in the pastures before (with BO's permission), but I get really tense about it, for some reason.

            Comment


            • #7
              If being able to "really" ride is your goal, are these horses filling that need? Sounds terrible to say perhaps, but would you do better with a sound horse that is fun and stays sound to ride at a better barn?

              You won't get flamed, but I might!

              It also sounds like you would enjoy a more social barn with other boarders.
              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm almost there right now. Old guy is, well, old, and never envisioned a life as a trail horse, and the pony is, well, large but he's still a pony and I'm not really pony sized, plus he didn't envision a life of quiet relaxing trail rides either, he'd have a career in gaming if he steered better. I keep my horses at home which does make it more convenient but also means it's way easier to slip into the house in the AC and screw up.

                I got the most riding in taking lessons and doing rental horse rides. God knows it was frustrating to be so confined - my two hours a week, not really welcome to "hang out", but I rode, and I don't ride enough at home.

                Since you are already boarding, how about changing barns? A better commute would help, a trainer on site would help, like minded riders would help. When I first got these guys I still took lessons and when my hips acted up I took up driving. It was a lot of fun and an ideal hot summer activity. I still moaned and groaned getting in and out of the cart but it was not extremely physically demanding so I wasn't whipped by the time I was done.

                I understand being burned out though. I come home from work in the late morning and have to feed right away, by the time I'm done and they've finished eating it's very hot here and I'm nodding off (and hiding in the AC).

                The only other thing I can think of is to sell off these two and get some fugly CL special that just plods along day in and day out. Not "fun to ride if he's healthy that day", but maybe less athletic and RELIABLE.

                You aren't alone, but I find that if you don't have like minded people around that you've got to have some goals even if it's just to bop up and down the driveway. And horse grooming counts as quality time! Just ask the perennially itchy old guy about baths.

                ETA missed a few posts, obviously. Has the place got a drag? One of the advantages of drivng at an ASB place was that the arena drag fit on the cart and I could (and did) hook up and drag the arena for my lesson. Trust me it's a real lesson, getting the drag around the arena and between the cones without whacking anything was work, but if there was a tractor with a drag can you get to doing that as a sort of mental "trade" for the BO doing your turn outs? Kill two birds with one stone?
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

                Comment


                • #9
                  What if you left the horses where they are now, could you find a place and the time to squeeze in 1 lesson a week on a schoolmaster with a good trainer? That would at least give you a chance to feel like you can work on your own riding and goals and see if it rekindles anything?

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by red mares View Post
                    What showhorse gallery said.

                    Sounds a bit like me a few years ago. My new mare got hurt, so I spent the most of the first 6 months I had her basically doing nothing except walking, and driving 45 min each way to get there, 4-5 days a week. Um, I bought this horse to DO something with. But at the same time I needed a vacation from her.

                    I moved to her to full training, abeit 3 hours away, and life was much improved. I looked forward to going to the barn, there were more people to talk to, even though it was hours in the car.

                    Funny thing is that training ended up being cheaper than board by the time I figured gas and all of the nickel and dime expenses that went with boarding that were now included.
                    The first part was my OTTB and me for the first year I owned him. He was constantly injured or having a flare up of one of his issues (locking stifles, hock are sore, arthritis, then he got kicked in the knee and I almost died of anxiety), so we spent a lot of time just poodling around, getting to know each other. That was at the first barn, which was a much longer drive, with an even crappier arena, and even fewer people to talk to, and more expensive.

                    My problem is that, even if I had the $600/horse to send them to a more full-service facility, I'd be hard-pressed to find a trainer who would want to work with two part-time limpy horses with no discernable talent. I'm in the middle of Competitionville, and I don't care about showing, or being the best. I've had trainers tell me they don't want to waste their time on us, because we're not going to actually "DO" anything. I can appreciate that- it's a business for them!

                    So I guess another obstacle I have is finding someone who understands that sometimes, you just wanna ride for fun!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can relate. It's an awful lot of work and money to not be having any fun. I love having my horses at home but it gets lonely. I think you are lonely! I am currently not riding at all due to an unplanned dismount and tiny fracture. I found a college girl home for the summer who is very happy to come over and brush and ride them. It actually has been fun to train her a little. Are you ring sour? What if you could find an adult companion who could just ride the App alongside you on the TB and walk outside the ring for half an hour, and also help a little with their care? Just a thought.....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                        If being able to "really" ride is your goal, are these horses filling that need? Sounds terrible to say perhaps, but would you do better with a sound horse that is fun and stays sound to ride at a better barn?

                        You won't get flamed, but I might!

                        It also sounds like you would enjoy a more social barn with other boarders.
                        This is what I was thinking. I have a great set-up on my property for horses but instead I drive almost 40 minutes one way to lease at a busy lesson/training barn. The drive wears me out but the antics and excitement at the barn keeps me motivated. As does regular lessons from my instructor who gives me goals to work on. Your barn sounds too quiet. If you had people to ride with, you'd be motivated.

                        I've also been there having an unsound horse and wanting to ride. I know they mean the world to you but ask yourself if you'd be happier selling the non-heart horse in favor of a sound one? I ended up buying a young horse to ride and kept my unsound love in the pasture.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                          If being able to "really" ride is your goal, are these horses filling that need? Sounds terrible to say perhaps, but would you do better with a sound horse that is fun and stays sound to ride at a better barn?

                          You won't get flamed, but I might!

                          It also sounds like you would enjoy a more social barn with other boarders.
                          My goal is to have fun on a happy horse. I don't compete. I've been to one fun show in the past year, and that was on a dare- did rather well, actually, but it was a one-time thing! Frankly, I can't "really ride" anymore- I've accepted that I peaked out in my 20s, when all of my bones were still where they should be. LOL

                          The other boarders are lots of fun- they just don't ride often, and definitely not English! We have little get togethers and cook outs and all that, but it's mostly them gathered at the side of the ring, and me being all weird in my "fancy hornless saddle."

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by rulex View Post
                            What if you left the horses where they are now, could you find a place and the time to squeeze in 1 lesson a week on a schoolmaster with a good trainer? That would at least give you a chance to feel like you can work on your own riding and goals and see if it rekindles anything?
                            I like this idea, and yes, I could make it work. I've actually kicked this one around a bit, because I don't think I'm the be-all of riding, and getting a tune up would be wonderful.

                            I'm nervous about riding in front of a trainer again, though, due to some very unkind words that led to me firing the previous few. The last one, though- she was great! She's just 600 miles away now!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              [QUOTE=ReSomething;6474396]
                              Since you are already boarding, how about changing barns? A better commute would help, a trainer on site would help, like minded riders would help.

                              The only other thing I can think of is to sell off these two and get some fugly CL special that just plods along day in and day out. Not "fun to ride if he's healthy that day", but maybe less athletic and RELIABLE.

                              Has the place got a drag? QUOTE]

                              Changing barns is something I've considered, but it's not financially feasible, and I don't think I could find a situation that would make the boys as happy as they are now. Stinks, because I was on a "Move The Boys" kick for several months, only to come up empty handed!

                              The OTTB is my heart horse. He's a really, really cool horse- 7 years old with two years off the track, and just a total sport. I can't say enough nice things about his temperment, or how well we get along. The Appy is my fugly CL plod, in a sense. He was on CL. I bought him because I knew the owner, and really thought he could use an upgrade. He was briefly purchased by a 4H kid, but she had to give him back when she moved. I would consider selling him, but it's nice to have a horse that's actually been there and done that to remind me of where to put the buttons on the OTTB.

                              There is a drag, and I have offered to drag it, but it's attached to a front-loader that I can't operate. I mean, I believe with training and assistance I could, but I can't just hop on and figure out what all the levers do. I like the cart idea!!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think sooo many people would get bored in your situation. You do sound a bit lonely, certainly bored. Let's face it, many of us thrive on the social aspect of riding. Then throw in lessons, and pushing yourself, and it becomes exciting!

                                I really like the lesson idea. It gets you out in another environment but it's not as big a commitment as moving barns. You don't need a BNT, but you DO need a safe, supportive trainer who will push you gently, towards YOUR goals. There's no rational reason why showing needs to be part of that. They need to be your goals! And just doing it, just trying, just learning IS succeeding!

                                You need to spice things up. You're stuck in a rut. Make a change and find something fun! You started riding because it was fun! But it's become another chore. Time for a change!
                                Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by erniewalker View Post
                                  Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                                  Since you are already boarding, how about changing barns? A better commute would help, a trainer on site would help, like minded riders would help.

                                  The only other thing I can think of is to sell off these two and get some fugly CL special that just plods along day in and day out. Not "fun to ride if he's healthy that day", but maybe less athletic and RELIABLE.

                                  Has the place got a drag?
                                  Changing barns is something I've considered, but it's not financially feasible, and I don't think I could find a situation that would make the boys as happy as they are now. Stinks, because I was on a "Move The Boys" kick for several months, only to come up empty handed!

                                  The OTTB is my heart horse. He's a really, really cool horse- 7 years old with two years off the track, and just a total sport. I can't say enough nice things about his temperment, or how well we get along. The Appy is my fugly CL plod, in a sense. He was on CL. I bought him because I knew the owner, and really thought he could use an upgrade. He was briefly purchased by a 4H kid, but she had to give him back when she moved. I would consider selling him, but it's nice to have a horse that's actually been there and done that to remind me of where to put the buttons on the OTTB.

                                  There is a drag, and I have offered to drag it, but it's attached to a front-loader that I can't operate. I mean, I believe with training and assistance I could, but I can't just hop on and figure out what all the levers do. I like the cart idea!!!
                                  In a pinch you can use a gator, an ATV, a little jeep or even a golfcart. All you need is something to drag it behind that'll fit in the arena. Couple of hooks on a chain or even rope (my trainer's drag) and you are good.
                                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                  Incredible Invisible

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would look for a new barn... I will be moving my horses in a couple of weeks, primarily because I just don't enjoy going out to visit them where they are currently boarded, even though the care is outstanding.

                                    Lots of barns have FB pages. Try checking out the FB pages, rather than their websites, to see if there are special boarder "groups," if different activities such as trail rides are organized through FB, etc.

                                    It sounds like you need more socializing (one of the reasons I am moving) and better "amenities" for enjoying your horses (the main reason I am moving).

                                    The first place I boarded my gelding was next door to a "fancy" training barn, where I took lessons. The trainer was young, but completely understood that my goal was to "toodle about" on my horses, and she was completely fine with that. It's a matter of communicating your goals, and finding a trainer willing to work with you on those goals.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I love the idea of a lesson closer to home.

                                      Maybe just take the pressure off riding in general. Go up for the sole purpose of smuggling and carrot giving. Play around with showmanship. You don't have to ride to have fun with your boys. Can you hitch a ride with a buddy for a fun trail ride?

                                      I got in a rut a while ago, all my friends had nice horses, they had the money to show. I was financing my horses on my own and I was frustrated that I wasn't advancing and getting the same opportunities tht they were. I started cleaning stalls for my current trainer and just immersed myself with being in the barn, she nor I pressured myself to ride. It was the best thing I ever could have done for myself. I took a whole winter off, had DD, and now I'm chomping at the bit to get on my mare again.

                                      There is nothing wrong with not riding for a bit.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Also, there are SO many barns that don't advertise!

                                        I have actually found a ton of barns I didn't know about by using GoogleEarth. Just start in an area you know has boarding barns, and then start looking for other properties with arenas, round pens, etc. They really stand out in the aerial photos, and I have found at least 10 barns in my area that I otherwise never would have heard of!

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