Stuck between a rock…and the unknown…

I feel…stuck…right now. I love reading about all of you going out on hunter paces and enjoy time with your friends at the barn, but I am starting to wonder if my lack of keeping up with blogs (including my own) is more of a mental block than a lack of time. You see, I am not in a good place horse wise. I have put nearly $1,000 in to trying to get Lucky better over the past 2 months and well…contrary to my recent post I just don’t think she is getting better. I got the vet clearance to ride her lightly and even on day one back in the saddle I knew she didn’t feel right.

I tried to follow the doctors orders, but just a few days in even the barn owner (from the house mind you…far, far away from where I was riding) could see that Lucky was not right. Instead of pushing the issue I have decided to give her another week off, but I have to admit that I am not a happy horse person right now.

I haven’t riden in what feels like forever. And I honestly don’t know when I am going to be able to ride again. I have spent so much money on horses, between vet bills for both horses, new supplements, and Lucky’s teeth that I can’t even afford a lesson right now. Not even one single stupid lesson. I want to be happy that everyone is out there having fun, in fact, I get mad at myself when I feel that pang of jealousy scrolling down the Facebook page. I love that so many people are having fun, it is just that I want to be having fun too…and right now I am not.

I lease so I can ride, but the horses I can afford to lease have issues, are untrained, or both.  That means I spend a good chunk of time fixing problems or out of the tack.

I am starting to wonder if maybe it isn’t just time to stop riding.

I know, I know. Dramatic much? I decided not to get a bone scan or x-rays to save money, but a part of me thinks it might be better to spend another $1,000 on diagnostics just to know if Lucky and I even have a shot for the future. I have no idea where that $1,000 would be coming from mind you, but the mental stress of not knowing is making me crazy.

You know what the number one predictor of educational success is? Perseverance. Seriously, it counts for more than IQ, economics or any other factor that they measure.

I am starting to wonder if I fooled myself in to thinking the same applied to horses, because it doesn’t.

How many times do I have to get knocked down before I realize that maybe riding just isn’t for me? Most people would have learned after their first horse suffered a bad enough injury to be retired. Other would have learned after the horse they were leasing had to be euthanized. Few would have made it to a lease where issues with the horses owner occurred  and even less would be where I am now with an older (okay, okay…just old) Thoroughbred who needed lots of training.

Why am I so stubborn that I refuse to call “uncle” and stick to things I am good at like giving carrots and scratches?

Maybe Gen is alive because I am good at being an owner, but he is retired because I am just not supposed to ride? Maybe all the issues and changes are because I am just not meant to be in the saddle? I really wish I didn’t love it so much so I could just walk away and not feel upset about it.

It is not like there are not other horses out there if Lucky can’t get better. It is just that I finally had this horse going great and something happened. Something always happens. Literally. Ever since Gen there has always been an issue once things start coming together. I could always just try and find a different lease, but I don’t feel like starting over.

Please don’t think I am sad, I am not.  Honestly. I just feel stuck right now and a teeny, tiny bit jealous of all those people I see as I drive to the barn with big grins on their faces and rouged cheeks as they hack back from an amazing trail ride.  I wish I knew what the right thing to do was. My wallet is starting to tell me it is time to quit. If I am not supposed to ride I just need to know that so I can stop trying…and failing. I might not be a winner, but am I really a failure???

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8 thoughts on “Stuck between a rock…and the unknown…

  1. I’m so sorry to hear of all the trials you’ve gone through in your horse life and I know it must feel absolutely horrible. But I don’t label you a failure. You and Lucky have had such great times together. She has come far in her training; you guys went to shows and won ribbons and learnt many things. Okay, so maybe you didn’t win championships. But you took a horse further than she had ever gone before, and you both had awesome times. Is that really failing?
    Maybe Lucky won’t be competitive again. Maybe you’ll need to lease a different one. Maybe that one won’t be a champion either. But is that really failing?
    You and Lucky taught each other a lot of things. You grew as a horsewoman, as a rider, maybe even as a person. To my mind, that counts for more than ribbons.
    To my mind that’s a long, long way from failure. It smacks of success to me.

    God bless you, you are a strong and wonderful person 🙂

  2. I think we ALL go through self doubts–“Maybe God is trying to tell me something,” why do I keep beating my head against the wall, etc.–so thinking these gloom-and-doom thoughts is normal for those of us with goals and dreams and wanting so much to achieve them. You’re taking time off and being a responsible “owner” with Lucky and owner (no apostrophes) with Gen. Your stars are not aligned, however, and that’s why you aren’t riding right now. Hang in there. I’m glad you’re blogging more often ;o)

  3. First, I wouldn’t spend any more money on Lucky. She’s old. If she was 12 yo or younger, maybe I would, but at her age. She is probably done. Save your pennies.

    Second, no, you shouldn’t give up riding!! Instead of thinking about how unlucky you think you are, look at how lucky you have been. You had your heart horse (Gen) – not everyone finds that. Many people just have horses they like but aren’t their soul horse. Yeah, the riding part of your relationship lasted only 2 years but he’s made you happy for far longer than that. Think of where your riding was just a few years ago and where you are now – you’ve grown so much – that’s success. Also, you’ve been able to find horses to lease all along. Do you really think Lucky will be the last horse you’ll find going forward? You have a lot of riding friends, start sending out feelers. Or just take lessons – one lesson a week may be cheaper than leasing and may lead to something bigger in the future.

    Third, you can and you will find a way to pay to ride another horse. You can tutor online, you can sell stuff, you can work a part-time job on the weekends. I don’t know – you’re great at baking and chocolate making, maybe that can turn into something. In the meantime. Save a percentage of every check in a “horse account”. Start with 10% – you won’t notice it. It’s winter, so slowing down riding isn’t unusual – it’s a good time to stockpile money. Before you buy those new shoes, think if they’re worth half a lesson; then do the same for that new sweater – there you go, you have 1 lesson!

    Take a deep breath. Look back at all the good times you’ve had with horses, with Gen, with Lucky, and know that you’ll have a ton more.

  4. I am sorry that you are feeling down at the moment and understandably so. I think it is always hard to accept something and make a change so that the situation will work for you. It may or may not be time for you to move on to a new lease, only you can decide that, but if it is embrace it as the potential to learn from a new horse because you certainly will. Good luck in your riding endeavors and please don’t give up.

  5. Hold on. First off, it’s totally fine for you to vent on the blog and to admit to a little jealousy because I’d be jealous too if Tucker weren’t sound [***KNOCKS WOOD***] and everyone else was having fun with their horses. But second, please don’t take the fact that Lucky isn’t sound right now as a sign from the universe at large that riding isn’t for you.

    You might make the decision to stop riding for a while because you don’t want to or because you don’t have the time or the money or whatever, but don’t make Lucky’s lameness or not-quite-right-ness signify something more than it is. The horse you are currently riding is not sound at the moment. The horse you own is not sound but we’ve known that forever and I think given the relationship you two have with each other, you were meant for each other regardless. Neither of those facts mean that you should quit riding.

    Go back and read the posts you’ve written about your rides and your horse shows where you were happy and proud of yourself because of your riding. You love to ride, you love the challenge of figuring a horse out and you love the sense of accomplishment you get from it. You do not need to quit riding because Lucky isn’t sound, even if she’s never sound again, because another horse will come along, maybe not immediately but at some point.

    You are certainly being reasonable in evaluating whether it makes sense to put more money into diagnostics on her. That makes total sense, and you’re the only one who can make that call. But I hate for you to decide something drastic and give up a sport that is your passion simply because you’re in a bad spot right now. The storm won’t last forever, though it sucks right now and I wish you weren’t in it. I mean obviously I adore you and will support you 100% in whatever you decide to do about anything, ever, but please keep it in perspective. What’s that they always say? This too shall pass?

  6. I know that you ARE meant to be riding. You just can’t see through the brain fuzz right now to find the solution. I see you having so much compassion and so much drive! I admire you for both of those and so much more. It’s easy for us to dwell on the negative when we are in so much emotional pain. When something hurts me in my body, my mind starts to plan the funeral, I kid you not, and I hate that I do that. There’s always an answer somewhere inside, but our brains are busy making up so much stuff, there’s no way to concentrate on anything but what is hurting. There’s got to be a way to step back from the problems and look at the situation from the outside. Pretend it’s a friend’s leased horse. What would you advise them to do? What are some possibilities that they could try? Good luck in figuring it out.

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