Sorry CoTH'ers it seems like lately all I'm doing is complaining Need some collective wisdom from you all, and maybe a swift kick in the a$$ to help me figure things out...
Long and the short of it...I'm a student in college (yes, another broke student having cash issues, I apologise) entering my first of a minimum of 3 years in my chosen program. While cash has been tight, and time has been tighter, I decided to try *again* to part board my horse, despite every experience I have had being a bad one. I did manage to find a part boarder, and thought things would be great. All was well for a while, and then she told me she couldn't afford to part board anymore. This didn't come as a surprise to me, and I had been planning to have a talk with her as she had not listened to my instructions, and was not riding my horse as per our agreement, and she had been steadily losing interest as the months wore on. Lessons got cancelled, payments came late, and finally it was enough. I had started to see inklings of my horse starting to be a bit...problematic in September, but I attributed it to my being busy, out of shape and already tense myself from school. Had I known then it would be such a problem later on down the ine, I would have called it quits then and there with the PB'er.
Due to my hectic schedule, I have not been up to ride fpr quite some time, and usually managed to squeeze in a quick visit, groom and kept trying to find time to clip him, but the riding really fell by the wayside. Imagine my reaction when I go up to ride my horse and find he is a mess. Counter bent, lead swapping inverted mess. How am I going to get a new part boarder when he is going like this?? After several weeks of work to bring him carefully back, I just want to give up. He is cantering like a turd, fried with jumping, and I'm too stressed out with school right now to worry about it. I know that sounds harsh, but after all the work (and I know it's not his fault he is like this) he is just acting like a donkey and I'm quickly losing my patience and motivation to ride. I don't have anyone else who has the time to ride him, and paying for him is sucking me dry financially right now, especially since it's close to Christmas.
I do enjoy riding, I just don't want it to be a battle royale every time I put a foot in the stirrup. He is a wonderful horse, safe, reliable, tons of jump and trying his best to accept he is a wannabe dressage pony now and not over in hunterland anymore. I just don't know how much longer I can do this. It's coming down to me getting annoyed enough to get rid of him. I know he won't be fixed without work, but he has just been such a cow about it that it isn't any fun anymore and I don't know if he will ever get better. After nearly a month of me working my butt off to ride every day, the progress has been minimal, and more and more people come to see him and pass on him, and the bills keep coming. I also know riding isn't always fun, please don't think I'm being a spoiled brat about this situation, but realistically, at what point do you say "i've had enough, it's not fun anymore" and call it quits with your horse??
Sounds like your just stressed with time, and he had some bad rides with your PB. Have you thought about pulling his shoes & chucking him out somewhere for the winter? You said he isn't clipped yet, pasture would be cheaper, he can have a break and un-fry his brain, and you can save some $$ and get the break from him? Then come spring bring him back and see if he is his old self again? This is just a horrid market to sell and a really bad time of year for what your talking about. How about turn him and and just check up on him a couple times a month and see what your looking at come March?
or what about a barn that has more of a trail riding emphasis? Just a more relaxed atmosphere where you won't feel pressured to really train, just get on your horse and explore. Then when you're in a better place financially and mentally, you can get back to work.
Also, there's nothing wrong with taking a break from horses if you feel that is the right decision. You can always get back into them seriously when you have more time and money.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break. As I finish up college, I know all too well the feelings you have had; heck, I didn't even have my own horse in college and I was (and still am!) stressed beyond belief trying to fit everything in.
You own a horse because it's what makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with realizing that right now, you just might have a lot on your plate, and what used to be fun is now a chore. We get busy, we get stressed, and when school is your priority it is a tough balance.
Having said that, also from personal experience, when life settles down and you get that itch again, you want to be back out there in the WORST way. My suggestion, if you can afford it: find a nice farm with pasture board like mjrtango suggests, and take that break. If he's nice and quiet, maybe find a little kid that just wants a horse to play around with, who would be willing to brush him and pamper him every so often and maybe take him on a trail ride.
I took a break during college. I had been riding since I was five, and while I missed it, it was the right answer both due to time and money.
Once I was out of college, I found people at work who had horses and got to ride, which was a godsend. Then once I made enough money, after a few years in my career, I was able to get back into it again on my own terms.
It's hard to walk away but it doesn't have to be forever. Sometimes it's the best thing for everyone. It doesn't change the fact that horses are part of your DNA, it's just a break, you can come back down the line
I just hate this part of the horse ownership. I myself have to lease out two of my horses, the first one the girl totally screwed up and is as you decribed: bent, pissy, etc. I do feel like all my training went right out the window, BUT it is fixable with time. I also have an issue of the 'rider' listening to what I say and it is frustrating! I'd say your best bet is to list him up for sale to someone OR turn him out. By turning him out it will save you on $$$ and time, however he will also just sit. Have you also maybe thought of a feed lease? Where they take over all the horse's bills?
I had to pretty much give up horses when I started college, too. I still worked at the barn a couple hours on Saturdays, but that was all I could manage. I rarely rode. I didn't own a horse, but I had to give up the partial lease I had on a lovely mare.
It worked out. I got my own horse in February of this year, played with her til the end of the semester, then started training. She's kind of taking a break right now until I graduate in a couple weeks.
I agree with the other posters. If possible, find a place to pasture board your boy. Let him be a horse for a while and see what you can do in the spring.
Hard part of any kind of lease, free lease or part lease is you have to let go of total control...particularly on the full leases. Nobody is going to pay all the bills, assume all the responsibilty and do only what suits YOU. It's usually easier to just sell or even give them away.
If you can possibly swing it, IMO turn out over the winter. Pasture or mostly pasture board (except for bad weather) is cheaper and he probably needs a break as much as you do.
Look at it again late next spring and decide to either let him go completely or try to hang on.
Better time to sell in summer and you will have a better idea of your own stress and financial limitations.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
I gave up horses in college. I missed it but at the same time, I had a wonderful time in college. I wished I could have done both, but realistically I couldn't. So, instead I studied hard and got a great degree. I made great friends..hey, I lived my life- went to parties - had the real college experience. I met my husband, the whole nine yards. Even though I love horses dearly, it just wasn't the right time for me for that. I feel like that's what college is about. Finding yourself personally and professionally. It's ok to step back from life as you've known it before (for most of us: horses horses horses) and redefine yourself a little bit. If you are finding the stress of money of trying to ride in college is ruining the enjoyment of it - stop. Riding is supposed to be hard work but also a joy. The beautiful thing about riding and horses is that it will always be there for you. I came back after college and now it is again the joy of my life. It's funny because my friends from college now say "we had no idea that you were a horse person!" and in my mind I'm thinking - really? That's all I've ever been.
Anyways - give yourself credit for being a dynamic human being. Do what makes you happy and if taking a little time off makes you calmer then that's the right thing to do.
Thanks guys,it is a terrible place to be in right now, as none of my horsey frieds are in school, and none of my school friends know anything about horses other than they're "smelly" so getting advice is hard. I'm glad to know so many of you understand my position. My parents hate that I ride, they see it as a waste of time and money, and have been pressuring me to sell my horse since I got accepted into college, so it's never easy to talk to them about it. I feel like I'm very isolated, at the barn it's adults who can afford to show and train, or kids that have supportive parents. It's like I'm the only broke student, and nobody gets why I'm so frustrated.
Here's my predicament...I'm at a wonderful small barn right now. Talked to BO, he isn't able to do pasture board for me and they have a huge wait list, so if I leave, I may not be able to get back in-They have at least 10 people on the wait list, and have't had a stall open up in several months (damn happy boarders!!) I know if I did come back, without hesitation that's where I want to be. My BO has been so so so supportive with this situation and it is a blessing and a curse....Good BO's make happy boarders, happy boarders don't want to leave, full barn = no stall for me
I think the worst part is that I rode someone else's horse for them the other day and loved it...then when it was time to ride mine, I made excuses to myself to just go home instead of riding. I feel horrible becasue if my horse was better, I'd totally be riding every chance I got, but he won't get better until I fix him. Grrr. I'm going to go up tonight, here's hoping he isn't too much of a jerk, my goal is to ride every day this weekend and not make excuses or lose my motivation!
I know you riding situation isn't about confidence or anything, but try reading that Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie. It may change your approach to your horse and consequently how he performs.
I found it worked wonders with me and my horse when we reached an impass where you seem to be. Like you I like riding and liked the horses, but was very busy and found it very frustrating that when I did get to ride I had a battle with my horse instead of a nice relaxing ride.
This doesn't help with the sell situation, but if you like riding your horse then it may help even everything else out.
Good luck ... not an easy place to be in.