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Is it time to throw in the towel?

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  • Is it time to throw in the towel?

    So I am a bit depressed and frustrated (and hormonal!) with my current situation and find myself wondering if I should just give up on riding all together. I have been trying to find a nice hunter prospect for some time now and even in this economy have had no luck. Had to retire my really fancy mare due to neuro issues (she's only 11, sniff) and have limited funds to buy something else so looking at greenies. Now, with the down economy I find myself supporting my live in BF who is a contractor and hasn't been able to find steady work over the last two years. So I feel really guilty even thinking of spending the money set aside for a horse. I am fortunate that I have a good paying job with overtime so I can pay all the bills and have funds to ride. I work a ton in a stressful environment and riding has always been my escape and helped me stay sane. It truley brings me happiness and joy and I dread not having the outlet.

    I am questioning several things: Is it totally selfish to continue this "hobby" while BF is struggling financially? I already give hime a free place to live, but at this point don't feel it's my job to pay any other bills etc. He is not lazy and actively tries to find work every day, it's just that his entire career has been in the home building industry and that is pretty much non-existant right now. I don't blame him for being unemployed, many people are right now. But I do find myself getting a bit bitter thinking about giving up things that make me happy while I am working my butt off. Am I being unfair?

    Question #2: I have limited funds to buy another horse. I cannot afford a fancy made horse like everyone else at the barn I ride at has. I have a very good trainer that I am very happy with (wouldn't ride with anyone else in town). She really doesn't want to see me get a young horse as it will not advance my riding like a made one would. I totally get that, and in a perfect world I would love to get a fancy hunter or made eq horse and start showing tomorrow. My thought was to find a nice youngster with good breeding (nice 2 or 3 yr old out of proven parents) and just take my time and enjoy having a nice horse. I don't want to show until BF gets a job and more money is coming in anyway, so to me it makes sense. I would send it to a good pro who starts babies and go from there. Trainer thinks this is crazy and a bad idea. Again, I know it's not ideal, but I don't want to buy an older horse or one with major issues. I am realistic in my goals and just want to continue to have my outlet and enjoy horses until I have the resourses to show seriously again. Is this really a bad idea? I do have experience with green horses, my last one was green and had tons of attitude and ended up being a nice A/A hunter. I have been doing my homework and know what I want as far as breeding and personality.

    So, do I put aside my desires and wait until BF (we were going to get married before the economy tanked and he lost his job, so he's more than just a BF) is in a better place financially? I was riding and showing a lot before we met, so I don't rely on him for this. I will put off showing until he is able to contribute to monthly expenses more, I don't need to show to be happy. Or is this unfair to him?

    Is buying a nice young horse really that bad? My only other options are to buy something old with lots of maintenance, major training issues, or have nothing at all. Am I crazy to think I can find a nice young horse and have it turn out into something I can show someday? Or am I just kidding myself and should I just face reality of not having a trust fund or rich husband like others at my barn and quit trying so hard?

    I would love some unbiased thoughts on this as I am really at a crossroads and not sure what to do!

  • #2
    I think buying a prospect and bringing him/her along would be a GOOD idea.
    A lot of trainers don't get that. They want to just push forward with you only. But starting a young horse WILL make you a much better rider all around.
    And mentally, I bet it will really perk you up.
    Go for it. Don't worry about your BF, you are more than doing your share.


    • #3
      I think it would be pretty weird if you didn't feel a little bitter about having to sideline your goals to support someone else, but the point is you're not being an ass about it. You're asking yourself questions that anyone would ask. I think you are being appropriately supportive without being a doormat.

      I also find it odd that a pro would question your desire to bring along a young horse. Is your trainer not convinced that you will have the needed skills? I bought a weanling when I was in law school and started him myself when he was three and I was preparing to take the bar, with a pro coming out once or twice a week to help. He is now a gorgeous seven (coming eight) year old and I finally will be able to afford to show him this year and just moved him to a barn with a pro onsite to bring us along.

      Like you I work extremely hard and my gelding is my stress-release. The reward of bringing along a nice young horse, if you have the skills, is even a better escape from the pressure of work than getting a made horse. I think if you have ability there's no reason not to go for it. Young horses are so much fun!
      \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


      • #4
        Stop looking for a horse and you will find one within a week or two.

        No it's not selfish for you to indulge your hobby while he's out of work. You're not married yet, your money is your money...if you're working a stressful job, you need a release.

        If I were you, I would look for catchrides (surely someone has a horse that needs a job). You might need to sideline showing at the A's for a while, but at least it will keep your butt in the saddle. Or maybe find a cheap/free lease. That gives you a partner to work with for 6 months/yr/etc.

        The bonus to not buying a horse right away is that you have the opportunity to continue saving for a horse. So a few months, half of a year, a year from now, maybe you can afford twice the horse you can now (and maybe by then your bf will be back on his feet). And by then the market will have completely changed, who knows what lovely horses will be for sale then.

        So NO, don't give up on riding...maybe just rest on the buying for now.
        Originally posted by barka.lounger
        u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

        we see u in gp ring in no time.


        • #5
          Where are you located?


          • #6
            My only question is with a young horse could you or would you want to go through the extra expense of sending it to a pro - or between you and your current trainer bring it along? If not maybe it's time to find a new trainer along w/ new horse? A couple of things I would do it you haven't already... have you found a less expensive boarding option for current horse/retiree? if not that would be the first thing on my agenda.. having supported a lame horse for 2 years I know how difficult it is to send a horse away where you won't see them as much... but...as far as BF goes - my BIL lost his job in construction and currently he is doing pretty darn well - he's doing a lot of work for banks on foreclosures... perhaps your BF can do some odd job - handyman services here and there - if he is in that line of construction?- anything to get some income... A good handyman is a treasure to find - IMO...

            Second don't despair - on the plus side the economy is in your favor for finding another horse - there have been several threads about people having some lovely horses for sale but no buyers... take your time and don't do anything rash...

            and because I'm a firm believer in a woman having financial security - help your BF out - if you loan him money and want to get paid - get it in writing - make anything like that a business deal.. better yet try not to lend him too much of anything.. if possible - I know it's hard but spend the day watching Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, People's Court etc - and you'll see what I mean..

            not to dampen your relationship, I just hate to see women do stupid things when it comes to love (and men)

            Best of luck to you


            • #7
              Go for the young horse!! Somehow I've always enjoyed, been more bonded with and been prouder of those I started myself.
              You aren't being selfish at all. We all need something that brings us joy and peace to our souls and to horse people it's a horse.
              You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


              • #8

                I agree with the "getting catch rides" person and you can always take more lessons on school horses. I mean there's always more to learn and more to work on. Or maybe your trainer has more horses to school, ride, lesson on.

                If I was a trainer and I had a client in between horses with no luck in purchasing a new one, I'd be trying to keep her busy with my horses so she doesn't wander to another barn...
                Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


                • #9
                  Answer 1 - No, not 'selfish' as long as the costs are reasonable (refer to Answer 2 in a minute). Does fiance share a fondness for horses and do you partake in a hobby of his that is of reasonable cost? As long as the bills are being paid, and a bit of money is being saved for emergencies, etc., enjoy what you can reasonably afford. If you're feeling guilty now before you buy an expensive horse, you will surely feel ten times worse afterword.

                  Answer 2 - You don't need a made horse, a fancy prospect or a BNT barn. Right now you don't need a trainer that "thinks this crazy and a bad idea". Your trainer is your employee, you pay her, yes, she may be experienced and BN and whatever, but she is always your employee. She can quit you, and you can fire her, that's how it goes. You want to buy a young horse, do it. Yeah, if you could come across a super great deal on the perfect horse, then sure go ahead, the purchase price will offset the more fixed costs of the upkeep and training. Otherwise, stay in the hobby by finding a horse, young or old, who needs a home and just ride, or just hanging with your retired mare. When things get better, then decide.

                  Oh, and about your barn, and worrying that you don't have a trust fund or a rich husband, why are you still there? So what? Who cares? That's not anyone's fault, just the way it is. If you're worried about that, you can't be happy, can you? Between them and the trainer who is probably worried they'll not get a commission from you or something or other, you may be better off leaving the barn. Take your retired mare and go to a cheaper, better place and love on her (is she rideable at all?).

                  Good luck with your decisions.
                  Cheryl in WNY
                  Horse Kids Kit & Bobby


                  • #10
                    As a Mom of two adult women I would be bonkers if my kiddo's were supporting a guy without benefit of marriage, and I suspect that makes me the odd Mom out on COTH. Certainly there is some job somewhere where he can work for now until his skill set is back in demand or he learns a new skill that is needed.

                    The one constant in your thread is the BF- his inability to make a committment to you is keeping you from doing more with your horse passion. I'd tell my daughter to ditch the BF or get a committment/marriage from him but surely wouldn't let him live off them for free.

                    You get something figured out with BF and the questions you asked about your horse(s) will fall in place.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SLW View Post
                      As a Mom of two adult women I would be bonkers if my kiddo's were supporting a guy without benefit of marriage, and I suspect that makes me the odd Mom out on COTH. Certainly there is some job somewhere where he can work for now until his skill set is back in demand or he learns a new skill that is needed.

                      The one constant in your thread is the BF- his inability to make a committment to you is keeping you from doing more with your horse passion. I'd tell my daughter to ditch the BF or get a committment/marriage from him but surely wouldn't let him live off them for free.

                      You get something figured out with BF and the questions you asked about your horse(s) will fall in place.
                      You aren't alone..I'd be bonkers, too, but when they are adults you can voice your thoughts but other than that not do much about the situation. I WOULDN'T want my daughter to marry him..heavens forbid!! What if he NEVER got a job? Easier if they aren't married to call it quits.
                      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pj View Post
                        You aren't alone..I'd be bonkers, too, but when they are adults you can voice your thoughts but other than that not do much about the situation. I WOULDN'T want my daughter to marry him..heavens forbid!! What if he NEVER got a job? Easier if they aren't married to call it quits.
                        Roger that!!!

                        I can't quite understand the OP's trainer's objections to her getting a young horse, as she already seems to have experience enough to deal with one. Perhaps the trainer has need to have a student out there showing in order to boost her own credibility as a teacher?
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                        • #13
                          I chose to breed one, well two, babies to be my next horses after realizing my older mare needed to semi-retire. I have learned so much from the experience and it has been the single most fun thing I have ever done.

                          You may not want to wait for a baby, but there are a lot of very nice greenies on the market and one that you bring along yourself, with help from a trainer, will advance your skills in many ways that riding a made horse will not. Not sure why your trainer is against this idea as I don't know your skill level (though my first experience was totally green on green and she ended up a terrific children's hunter), or what your trainer's thoughts are specifically. I would probably be looking for someone more supportive of my goals.

                          Are you being selfish? How? You work for the money, you save the money, you pay your own way and give the BF a place to live. What is there to feel guilty about? If BF begrudges you the thing that you are passionate about given how supportive you are of him, same as above: I would probably be looking for someone more supportive of my goals.

                          While on the subject, I hope that BF is working at something to support himself and perhaps looking at training/education to give himself more options in the future. The live in sponge thing gets old after a while.
                          www.hawkstracefarm.com Home of Doodles, Gabby, and Maggie, and resting place of Lexi the wonder horse!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Laura855 View Post
                            I have a very good trainer that I am very happy with (wouldn't ride with anyone else in town). She really doesn't want to see me get a young horse... Trainer thinks this is crazy and a bad idea.
                            If a young horse is what you can do and what you want to do, Trainer needs to realign her notions and get with the program of helping make that happen for you. She's really only got two excuses to not do so -- she's not competent to deal with helping you with a young horse, or she's not done a good enough job of getting you ready to deal with a young horse.

                            If you aren't going to be showing big-time until some of the other ducks in your life get themselves in a row, you might as well be spending that time with a youngster who just happens to require the situation you'll be finding yourself in -- enough time and money to advance an education, but not enough to pursue hard-core competition.


                            • #15
                              I think you should carry on with your horse pursuits!

                              That said, although no one is building much these days there are houses that need repairing and painting (since no one can afford to move if they are able to keep their houses from being foreclosed on)! People need roofs on those houses too.... Houses are out there to be flipped.

                              I would suggest to my SO that there are opportunities out there but he is probably going to have to make them.... But they are there.... If he could come up with a partner they could get a lucrative business goin'....
                              Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


                              • #16
                                If you can afford to buy and keep a new horse, whether you buy a prospect or something older that needs maintenance is up to you. If your trainer is show oriented, though, she may object to a younger horse - because they take a lot of time and effort before they "go anywhere or do anything." The part of your post where you said you'd send your youngster out to be started makes me wonder if you current trainer just doesn't think she is going to make enough $$$ off this arrangement (very few make any money off boarding.) However, if that is what you want to do, I don't see any reason why you can't. In your situation I would try to find a CANTER horse that is sound and slow - they tend to be pretty grown up and ready to go to work in their new careers, where the already-installed work ethic will benefit you enormously. And some of them are truly fancy.

                                As for the BF... well, that is a very personal matter. I understand the economy is very tough right now but I would also seriously question someone who would freeload off his SO for two years. If he can't get a job in home construction, there are a ton of related jobs he could pursue (home depot? ace hardware? etc) even if they don't pay the same, they would pay *something.* And if those jobs are not available, then there ARE others. They might pay less, and he might consider they are "beneath" his skill set. But they would also bring in some $$$ while he continues to look in his field. And, personally, I'd want to see a man in that position doing that. But that's just me.

                                Good luck whatever you decide.
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  Getting a new horse is up to you based on your income and what you need to support yourself. Do look at long term prospects for your current job and what you'd do if that job went away so you don't end up with two horses to support, no market for sale and no job for you or the BF.

                                  That said you then need to seriously assess your skills with horses to see if a young horse is a good idea for you. Are you a confident rider with a secure seat, good hands and the ability to deal with a young horse and his/her antics while trying to learn the job? Or are you going to end up finding reasons not to ride because you are overfaced by the challenge?

                                  I found when we got our current horses that though I can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel and am pretty confident its not a train coming my way, that I needed a lot more help dealing with young horses than I would have ever thought AND that this led to a major loss in my confidence in my abilities which is only now coming back. Had I held out for a more made horse, we'd probably be doing a lot more with the horses now - OTOH, the guys are super horses and are turning into just the type of horse we want to have - its just taken a LOT longer than expected and ended up costing a lot more in trainer fees than I thought.

                                  Perhaps that is your trainer's concern. Talk to him/her about it and see what their issue is and listen with an open mind.


                                  • #18
                                    I didn't hear the OP say her boyfriend was a slacker or complaining about him or the relationship - just the unfortunate circumstances of a terrible economy and terrible job prospects - especially for someone who has only worked in the construction industry.

                                    I think it is entirely normal for you to feel a bit depressed and frustrated in this situation - even if this is a happy, healthy relationship and he is 'the one'. Who wants to have to feel guilty for indulging in something they enjoy while the person they care about is suffering through what might be his worst career crisis ever..

                                    You didn't say that he has a problem with you continuing to carry on with your passion - he could possibly feel relieved that you are able to do so despite the fact that he is currently unable to contribute. How would he feel if you had to give it up so that the bills could be paid? If you are real good, you can even twist the logic around to believe that you are doing him a service by not making him feel bad and that you have a duty to carry on with the horses as you see fit.

                                    Keep up the horses - it will just get harder later on, especially if you stop now. If this relationship or a future one gets more committed - i.e. marriage and children, then you might have some really difficult financial choices to make because then the choices affect the whole family.


                                    • #19
                                      Ditch the boyfriend, get a horse.

                                      Any guy not finding a steady job in two years isn't "marriage material".

                                      Before he'd depend on your money, he should be working at McDonald's for $9/hr, stocking shelves or doing most anything to support himself.

                                      I'm also a guy so this isn't an anti-male comment, it's one guy finding another male's actions pathetic and unsupportable, especially when he's using the money you earn and have saved...and how it's effecting your passion. No excuse...run away!
                                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                      • #20
                                        My opinion?

                                        If you give up on riding for the BF forget about the relationship anyways as you will resent him for it later on. Ask me how I know this. Also, if he really does care about you he wouldn't let you do it.

                                        Provided you aren't a novice rider I think you will learn more from a green horse. The experience is very rewarding and the bond is typically pretty deep. Made horses are for kids.

                                        You may not find yourself able to show right away nor pin right away or maybe never but you can't have your proverbial cake and eat it too. That's life.
                                        "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."