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Horses for Heartbreak

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  • Horses for Heartbreak

    Many of you have followed my thread on the Off Topic forum, "I think I hate my boyfriend...". Well, this morning I left. It was not a clean break, it was messy and heartwrenching and so very not what I wanted. However, after this there is no turning back.

    To keep this horse related, I plan on using my mare to help me get over this heartache. I have goals I want to achieve with her, and holding myself accountable for going out there consistently will force me to not fall into a pattern of sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.

    Tell me your stories of how your horse has helped you through a rough time.

    And again, thanks for the support throughout all of this.

  • #2
    My younger brother died suddenly of pneumonia in 2004. Myy horse activities helped me a great deal. Then about 14 months later my Dad died suddenly and about 9 months after that my older brither died suddenly. I was shell shocked from all that loss, and riding and keeping a horse forced me to live outside of my head.

    My adult son is 23 years old. It has been a rocky road with him, with a lot of stress and worry. Having my horse has enabled me to carve out a time and place where I can set all that aside and just relax a little.

    I will say that it is important to not beat up on yourself over how your riding is progressing. I needed to set goals for myself (with the help of other people, like my instructor), but my focus was to do some horse related activity consistently. How well I was doing it was far less important than the fact that I was doing it when I said I would do it.

    I honestly believe that my horse time helped me cope with so much grief.


    • #3
      I haven't had nearly as rough at time as you but my horse & the barn has always been where I go to just "get away" from everything! Somehow once I am on the barn property it's like the outside world doesn't exist any more. Horses are my one Constant!

      Good Luck and Positive vibes your way! Stand strong in your decision to leave.
      Also I think your Thread Topic heading may make a great show name. I just purchases a Mare a few weeks ago and have not been able to come up with a show name. I think I will add "Horses for Heartbreak" to my list
      The Love for a Horse is just as Complicated as the Love for another Human being, If you have never Loved a Horse you will Never Understand!!!


      • #4
        Bedazzle, I'm sorry for your rough breakup, but I'm glad to hear that you have a horse to help you through it.

        The summer before my junior year of college I was in a bad car accident - hit head-on by a drunk driver. I sustained a head injury and ALL sorts of resulting issues - dizziness, migraines, light sensitivity, memory loss - it was rough. I was a double major in music performance and English, and going back to school was incredibly difficult. My mare (I didn't own her then, but was riding her) helped me through it. I struggled for a long time, and had a serious case of depression, but just knowing that I could go out and groom her after class helped.

        Now she's my go-to therapist since unexpectedly being laid off two weeks ago. They're wonderful to have around, well, anytime, but especially during the rough times.
        Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.


        • #5
          When I was a kid, I "ran away" to the barn a lot. There's just nothing quite as soothing as a good cry into the neck of your favorite horse as you hug them tightly. I was lucky to have my "BuddyRoo" for over 25 years. He got me through a lot of tough stuff. One thing I've learned is that in my life at least, my horses have outlasted most everything else...my parent's marriage and subsequent divorce, my teenage angsty self, my college break up after 6 years, my post college breakup with my fiance, yada yada. I think horses help not just because it gives us something else to focus on or a warm body to hold onto but because in order to ride well, you have to get a little zen and put the emotionally tough stuff in a little box on the shelf for at least that chunk of time you're trying to focus on a ride. Being able to set "life" aside for even a few moments each day can be very refreshing. I've often referred to "meditation on horseback" to describe how I feel if I'm just hacking out and in the moment with my horse. It's good stuff.

          ((hugs)) to you OP. May there be much better days ahead for you. (and your horse!)
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6
            Good Luck to you. i have no story, but i will say, Horses know just what we need. There were times i climbed up on my gelding Bareback and ran off into the forest to cry on his neck. he always knew when i was sad, he would actually behave at those times. Hang tough. There are better things ahead for you.


            • #7
              The first step of any journey is the hardest.
              McDowell Racing Stables

              Home Away From Home


              • #8
                Good luck and good for you for taking such a hard step forward. I know it kills now, but you will look back on this moment and be SO glad you did it.

                Years ago I was in my first serious relationship, first love. I also had a mare at the time who was pretty nutso and tried to intentionally harm me on several occasions. Just a couple days before Valentines Day, bf breaks up with me (over the phone!). I am completely distraught, freaking out, and the only place I can think to go is to the barn. It's very late at night, I sneak in the barn and collapse in my mares stall, sobbing hysterically. Never hurt so bad in my life. Crazy mare comes over slowly and stands with her front feet on one side of me, neck arched over my body, nose touching the ground on my other side, in a sort of hug/protective stance. She remained motionless like that for nearly an hour while I cried.

                really don't know what I would have done without her that night. Of course she still went back to being crazypants and I had to sell her shortly after, but it was a pretty amazing experience to have a horse like that respond in the way she did. She was there for me when I truly needed her and I'll never forget it.

                Horses are the best therapy in the world. Anytime I'm feeling down or stressed, I get the urge to just get to the barn as soon as I can. It's my happy place and I know I can escape my problems for a few hours there, that my horse still loves me no matter what and he doesn't judge me, and that a good canter through the fields can cure any heartache :-)


                • #9
                  About three weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I found out my company was relocating and that a move was inevitable. On that Thursday, I got dumped by my boyfriend of 4 years completely unexpectedly. On that Friday, I asked them to postpone building my barn that had been planned on for 6+ months. For 2 weeks I went back on forth on building the barn, picking up and moving, crawling in a hole, etc.

                  Anyway... the barn now has a floor and I am waiting on my first of three building inspections! I had some land to clear, and did it all myself. I found that cutting down small trees and shrubs and lighting them on fire was very soothing. I've just tried to keep busy and keep telling myself how happy this barn will make me and how I will be able to look at it and say, "I did this on my own." That gives me great joy in an otherwise gloomy period.

                  Good luck OP. Life sucks. Chin up.


                  • #10
                    I remember your thread, OP, and am glad that you have taken the first step to getting your life back.

                    I find that when I am having a really hard time my horses don't so much as comfort me as remind me that life goes on. They don't really care if I am balling my eyes out, they still want scratches and food. They provide me with purpose when I don't feel like I have any, and are so easy to please, they make me feel like I have done something worthwhile even if it's just cleaning their paddock.
                    My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                    • #11
                      I think one of the best things I ever did for myself was move into a rental house at the farm where I kept my horse after a breakup. Logistically it made sense, it was inexpensive and I could move in right away.

                      It ended up being so much more. Time around horses and outside has always been something that kept me centered and whole, and I had a really hard time adjusting after that breakup. Being there meant I could plunge myself more into riding than normal, even. I had responsibilities to keep me up and moving and positive. The fresh air and just being around them and in visual range was very healing. Making breakfast and watching the horse's goof off through my window just made everything feel *right*

                      Part of it was also the people at the barn though - best bunch of folks EVER and I can't imagine any better scenario for getting through that time.
                      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                      My CANTER blog.


                      • #12
                        bedazzle, I followed that thread, too, and I'm so glad to hear an update. Sorry that it was a rough split, though. Spend as much time at the barn as you can. Set goals for your mare, for yourself, pick fun things like teaching her a trick, whatever you need to keep yourself occupied. There's nothing like the comfort of a horse to get you through dark times.


                        • #13
                          Bedazzle - I read the other thread and it sounds like you made a very difficult choice but one that will be so much better for you in the long run.

                          Horses are the absolute best therapy. Obviously there are some issues that need a real therapist but dang, horses can do the trick so much better in so many situations. I can't count the number of times I've turned to the horses since I started riding at 5, especially my now retired 30 year old. He has been there for me through every rough patch I've encountered. When I was 10 or 11 and kids were picking on me, he snuggled with me in his stall and reminded me I have a best friend. When I wasn't getting along with my parents as a teenager, he helped me forget about my problems. He's been my shoulder after every breakup and when my grandfather committed suicide he took me on an amazing gallop on a sunny spring day that reminded my why this world is such a beautiful place.

                          You're a strong person as evidenced by the choice you made and you already know you will get through this... But your horse will help so much by making each day brighter and giving you a purpose and unquestioning love.


                          • Original Poster

                            Oh, what a tough day. Thanks for the stories. I agree, I've never had horses that are cuddlers, current one included, but just being there and getting my mind off my troubles really helps.


                            • #15
                              Even if all you do is take your horse out for a hand-walk or hand-graze, it helps- a LOT!!!


                              • #16
                                Be- It took a lot of courage to leave. You will look back on this and thank yourself in the future. Your horse will be happier for your improved mood too.
                                Look for movements you thought your horse would never 'get' to appear when you ask.
                                A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                                Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                                • #17
                                  Thank you, Bedazzle, for the update, and I'm sorry it didn't turn out quite the way you'd hoped. I recently went through a heart break. The only time I could relax completely was when I was riding. Long trail rides were the escape I needed. As everyone else has said, horses are amazing therapy and I hope your mare helps you through this.
                                  Last edited by JumpQH; Dec. 1, 2012, 01:06 AM. Reason: I wrote "Bedazzled", which was a game I used to play! Whoops!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by fatappy View Post
                                    I found that cutting down small trees and shrubs and lighting them on fire was very soothing.
                                    Good luck OP. Life sucks. Chin up.
                                    I've always thought setting things on fire was soothing... (I mean things that SHOULD be on fire, like a fire in the fireplace and things like that. Not just random fires.)

                                    OP, so sorry you're going through this. Hugs and jingles for you.
                                    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by GingerJumper View Post
                                      (I mean things that SHOULD be on fire, like a fire in the fireplace and things like that. Not just random fires.)
                                      Haha, thanks for the laugh.


                                      • #20
                                        Bedazzle-I'm so sorry things didn't go better, but horses and other animals are the best therapy. Unconditional acceptance, and love are the best medicine. And just getting out of the house and physical activity are good for all of us.
                                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White