Farm life burnout - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Farm life burnout

Hi all,
Although I am fairly new to this site, I've had some great feedback and enjoyed reading many thread. Everyone seems respectful and caring, such a great place to reach out for input.
I have been on my horse farm we built for over 7 years. Just months after moving in, my #1 horse I spent years rehabbing and retraining after rescuing was injured permanently. He is my heart horse, and we are still incredibly bonded. But, time is taking its toll and he is slowling showing signs of the wear and tear his body has endured.
We have since been thru a slew of horses, and I finally found a safe, sane trail horse last fall. He came down with what turned out to be acute and chronic lyme early this summer. We've had our share of bad luck, and this took the wind out of my sails in a big way.
We own 15 acres, and my hubby works almost 2 hours (one way!!!) from home. He was much closer when we first moved, but his job has taken him farther and farther away. Most of the work falls on my shoulders, and it is really starting to wear on me.
We aren't spring chickens, in our mid-50's and although I have worked with horses my whole life, embracing this lifestyle full time in our late 40's is taking a toll on both of us.
It seems in the heat of summer, I hit bottom. The heat, humidity, millions of bugs, and continual cutting, mucking, and property care is just burning me out. I'm never clean, constantly berated by bugs of all kinds, fixing broken farm machinery, and so on....ugh, it's overwhelming.
I am very blessed to have what I have. It is literally a dream come true. And I do appreciate all of it. I love my animals like my kids. But the days seem to have more and more of moments of "ugh" than joy. I hate this about myself.
It took years to find a horse that I could actually ride on a regular basis. I have old injuries which demand a level of safety and predictability, and between horses that were not well trained or that had health issues after coming to us, its been a long road to this new one I was able to ride a bunch last year and this winter. We've had most of this summer off because of his health, but, he is on his way back to being 100%.
However, the hope, excitement and dream of finally heading out with friends and trailering around has seemed to fizzle.
I'm tired all the time, aching from work, and am losing my interest.
Has anyone else experienced this? It seems I have farm life burn out. I am hoping its a phase and I will bounce back. My window of opportunity is slowly closing as I reach my 60's. It doesn't help that I'm in a very rural and isolated area, and everything is over 1/2 hour from me. I have "friends" but am alone most of the time working on our property taking care of things.
I'm hoping to get words of encouragement from others who may have been through this themselves and come out the other side. We are not in a position to sell where we still have our horses, and plan to ride it out (no pun intended!!) until we are ready to retire. I just seem to be fizzling quicker than expected, and it's really bothering me that I can't seem to get over this hump. Words of advice?
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
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I am in the same age bracket and yes your complaint is not uncommon. Farm life is not for everyone. My horses are livestock and are treated as such, so no free loaders. I can say I did hire a part time farm had that works full time during breeding season. As we are. Collection station. I send my dog to the kennel and take 2 non horse vacations a year. His practice has kept me sane. Otherwise , I would have throttled someone by now
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 04:25 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oklahoma
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Have you seen or heard of the show "trading spouses"? You basically change lifes for a week. They usually pair you up with someone who lives a complete opposite life. By the time the week is over, everyone is happy to be home again.

Could you get someone to watch the farm while you go to live in a big city for a week?
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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Are you living so close to the financial line that you can't afford to hire someone periodically? This spring I had an older teen come for two hrs a week. I wasn't cheap with the pay because he gets a lot done in those two hours. When we had to fix fence, he did the bull work while I explained what needed doing and how. We/he got so much done in 6 hrs. I had free time and felt a bit aimless.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 11,770
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I know where you are coming from. At this point in my life, I am looking for less work, less stuff, more freedom. We built our house and landscaped, logged, everything from a thick forest, pretty much by ourselves. IT IS FINALLY ALL DONE, except for some maintenance here and there. So, we decided to buy more raw land and start again and sell this place as it's worth a bunch now. As the last minute, we decided we are too old to start working like slaves again, lets just enjoy this place, forget the profit. We did buy a couple of rental places as investments. I am always looking at ways to cut back on chores, and we always take vacations to tropical places to rest up. Life is too short to be burdened by non-stop back breaking chores. I have two horses, that is enough work for me, enough that I enjoy it still, enjoy yardwork that I enjoy it still, the minute it gets too much for me, I am selling the house, the acreage and boarding out the horses.

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hour and a Half from Town!
Posts: 6,324
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Mymrt, I'm with ya!

I work 24/7 at home and in town (an hour away), do all the farm work myself, grow and process most of our food, have a kid, and maintain the horses, who has time to enjoy it?
I haven't ridden in months.

We have been on ONE vacation in ten years, that was last summer! Burn out is an understatement.

I am SO VERY thankful for what The Lord has provided, and understand that he never puts more on our plate than we can handle...
But there are times... OH THERE ARE TIMES when I just want to sell out, buy an apartment, and say to heck with it all!
But that would mean having neighbors... I'm not that desperate... yet!
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: california
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I understand that 100% . Its a never ending chore. Always something to do, and its to hot, and I have not been able to ride in years from all the work. I hurt in places Constantly now. No vacation except maybe some one day trips, which we save for, or use the credit cards , which then just adds back to the stress. And with little water, drought, and unsure about hay prices, I have seriously considered taking some horses to the Vet to be euthanized. They are just pets, not rideable. I worry about the well going dry, being contaminated by the oil co.'s
Hubby losing job.., and I get insomnia and cannot sleep. I past 40 , wish i was 40 again, I cannot take the heat any longer.
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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I'm 66 and still living your life. I dug this 26 acres out of the woods and brush 13 years ago, and it's STILL a lot of work. But a SMART woman doesn't get out there and cut, muck, and etc. in the heat of the day. Early mornings and evenings, and give yourself permission to take a day off regularly and enjoy friends. The work will wait for ya! Do what MUST be done and leave the rest for cooler weather.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 13,224
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Looking 57 squarely in the eye here, and we moved out from the UK to Canada 8 years ago. Dh was a farm manager for most his life, but for the lest couple of years was doing factory work and we lived in town.

Now we are on our farm, living the dream or the nightmare, depending when you ask me. It is only the thought of having to go back to doing an actual job that keeps me here, all that routine. Then I think about all that routine, evenings and weekends off, I could actually ride my horse, we could love in town, have mains water and proper waste removal, bin men, all that good stuff. We could have food delivered, mmmm that is both a blessing and a curse.

So yes I know how you feel, it is so tiring, unpredictable, and the battles against the weather, wildlife and annoying insects are never ending. Machinery and livestock both know when you are home alone, that is when stuff escapes, dies or breaks down. But then when you fix stuff you feel good, and when you have actually managed to complete something it is very satisfying, and the way of life is good.

I guess like everything else, we keep measuring the days, and if there are more good than bad, we keep doing it, more bad than good, time to choose another path.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-05-2014, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
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What a good laugh and camaraderie I've had reading these replies!! Good to know I'm not alone, and I concur with each and every one of your responses. Depends on the day, my dream or nightmare. Yes, the thought of neighbors and 9-5 corporate crap will keep me fighting bugs and mucking crap. For now. God bless y'all!!! And THANKS for taking the time to remind me I'm not a selfish spoiled brat that doesn't appreciate my "dream."
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