Thinking About Giving Up Horses....
 
 

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Thinking About Giving Up Horses....

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  • How do i know when to give up with my horse
  • "giving up horses": barrel horse world

 
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    02-04-2012, 01:39 AM
  #1
Started
Thinking About Giving Up Horses....

This is lengthy. Sorry.

Much like a lot of other people on here, I've always been crazy about horses. My family has had them since before I was born, and I was on a horse before I could even walk. In school I've always been known as the "girl with horses" and I'd always thought my life would revolve around them forever. The idea of having to live without them has never crossed my mind until recently.

Well, I know some of you on here know that on January 7, 2012, I had to put down my horse Molly Jo due to cancer. She was my best friend, and it seems as if when I lost her, I lost a piece of myself, too. I now have a better, faster, and calmer barrel horse, but it seems as if when I buried Molly Jo that all of my goals and ambitions with horses went with her into the ground. Before she passed, I would ride everyday, think about horses all of the time, and basically breathe horses. Now I don't even have the motivation to ride Red, my new horse, for 10 or 15 minutes.

I guess what I am getting at is, is this normal? How could I spend my life dedicated to something that I was so passionate about, and then one negative turn of events causes me to lose every ounce of motivation with horses? I keep telling myself maybe it is all because I am just not over Molly Jo yet, but everyday it's like it gets easier and easier to be away from horses.

Now, continuing on, I am a senior in high school. With that being said, my future plans involve me enlisting the US Air Force. As of right now I am only 17, and given that my mother will not sign the consent form for me, I have to wait until I am 18 to actually begin the process, but I've already begun talking to a recruiter and basically we're just waiting around for my birthday. Obviously, military life and horses probably won't correspond very well, especially since I am hoping to become an air traffic controller, and from what I understand, they have some pretty lengthy work days.

I just feel kind of bad. I've only had Red since Thanksgiving (we actually picked him up on Thanksgiving day), and now I feel like I could get rid of him with ease. He's actually not going anywhere, regardless of my life plans, because he is an amazing trail horse and the family wants to keep him. Has anyone else ever gone through this, where they lost a horse and felt like giving up?


Okay. I rambled, but hopefully you can get something out of it.
     
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    02-04-2012, 01:55 AM
  #2
Banned
I think the way you're feeling is natural.
You just lost a big part of your life and now there is an empty space where she once was.

But think for a moment, would Molly Jo want you to just give up? I didn't know her but I bet she'd be pinnin' her ears and snorting at you right now. I'm sure that she would be kinda sad to see you give up something that is such a large part of your life.

Just take a break. You don't necessarily have to quit all together on horses. Just take your time in the grieving process. It takes time for the heart to heal, but think of better times. When she made you smile, laugh cry, heck when she scared you half to death! Always remember the good times. That's what memories are for.

Let Molly Jo be the motivation you need. When you're down and in a rough spot, think of your moments of triumph with her. How you two worked hard TOGETHER and that she is still there for you, in your heart.

I know how you feel in ever aspect of this.

I too lost my very first horse a few years back. I still get to crying sometimes when I think about her. I loved and still do love that ol' mare to death, but I have moved on. What's done is done. I have our memories together though. When I'm feeling down or scared, I remember all of our good and bad times. How I had her back and she had mine.
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    02-04-2012, 02:38 AM
  #3
Foal
I have yet to lose my first horse, but the healing process for the loss of my first dog took about 6 years. He was there for me through some really rough family times, so his loss hit me hard. I had known him since I was a year old, needless to say it was hard to let him go.

It took me to go to school, do different things, and change the channel for me to finally be over his death and make room in my life for another canine. Give it time, go through with your life's plans - horses will always be there!
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    02-04-2012, 02:59 AM
  #4
Weanling
I am so sorry for your loss. I have,thankfully, never had to experience loosing a horse; although I can understand your pulling away from something you once enjoyed. I have been heavily involved in dog rescue for about 3 years. Last April my family went through a rough patch of loosing one of our family dogs due to a severe health issue, then just a few days later had a tragic incident with 2 of the (large) rescue dogs and another of our family dogs. Within just three days we lost three dogs, and the forth we had let go a few weeks later. To the point of my story, rescue has never been the same for me. I have severely withdrawn from it, and while I know I will eventually go back, right now (almost a year later) it is still too hard, it hurts far too much, and I am still not involving myself even close to what I did in the past. To connect this to what you have shared, I believe that when somebody has lost someone so close as a best friend, member of the family, partner and teammate, those wounds will sting and burn for a long time to come. Take some time off to grieve and remember your girl, and see where it goes from there. I agree with a previous poster in that your horse was willing to be your partner so you could achieve your goals. Together or not, your horse was always there to support you and would want you to keep pushing forward, despite the fact she is no longer able to do so with you. I hope some of what I have said helps. Good luck with whichever path you choose.
     
    02-04-2012, 12:26 PM
  #5
Foal
Boy, I hate to jump on the dog bandwagon, but it's the best I got.

No sad stories from me, except to say that when I was a kid, I thought in a lot the same way: we had had them since before I was born (when I was a baby, my mama once thought I was deaf, even though it only turned out that I'd learned how to sleep through their barking), and growing up, I even made a promise with myself that I would ALWAYS have at least one dog.

It didn't work out that way at all: I moved away from home, and barely had enough money to share an apartment with a roommate, and a second-floor apartment is no kind of life for any dog of size, at least not around here. It's been six years, and do you know, I still don't have one.

But I tell you something: I don't love them any less even after all this time. I can still go to a stranger's house and strike up a fine conversation with their pooch, and I still do all of the dog-sitting when my folks or my sister are out of town, and I am hard-pressed to imagine that I will go my whole life without ever having one of my own. It just isn't the thing to do right now.

So I guess what I mean to say is, I don't believe loving horses has to be the same as having horses, or riding horses, or even being always all-fired interested in horses. It sounds to me like you are fixing to go off and leave a lot of your growing-up years behind - house and parents and school and all the rest - and I wouldn't guilt yourself if that also means leaving off on horses for awhile. Doesn't mean that you don't love them, only that maybe it's time to give other loves a turn. I would be surprised if there wasn't room for more than one love in your life, and they may well come to co-exist together in ways you can't even picture yet.
     
    02-04-2012, 01:01 PM
  #6
Trained
I'm so sorry you're feeling like this. I understand because I've been doing a bit of that too, just easier to sit inside and do the bookwork than to go outside and ride or interact with the horses. Mine is not so much to do with losing a beloved horse, I had to put down 2 of my favorite oldsters last year but really I'm ok with that though I do miss them terribly. Mine is more negativity within the breed and show world! I've diagnosed my 'blues' and I've figured out how to fix them, and I think I'm almost ready to go on. But! It's taken me over a year. I have not ridden for pleasure since Jan 1, 2011, only for shows and that is just SOOOO not me.

So, my suggestions to you are:

1/Give yourself time and permission to really grieve for Molly Jo.

I was still crying daily for my old guy Lucky, 3 months after I let him go. I'd had him for 30 years and you don't just blow that kind of relationship off in minutes. He was my best friend for a lot of years too. About the time I started to feel better about losing Lucky, I had to let Fetyszka go too, and that knocked me for another loop.

2/Give yourself a break from horses entirely if that's what you think you need. It's ok, you'll go back.

I find that when I force myself out of the house and into the barn, whether to pick stalls or to brush manes and tails or just to sit and listen to them munch, I start to feel much better and I wonder why it's so hard some days to go out and get in the middle of my horses.

3/Give Red time to become your best friend. You didn't forge that bond with Molly Jo overnight but over time, lots and lots of time spent with her, when you're ready give him the chance to show you he can be your new best friend.

4/Nothing against the AF or any armed services, but if your recruiter is aware you've just lost a best friend and is still recruiting you through this grief period, beware. He/she just may not have your best interests at heart.

5/Most important thing I'm going to say to you:

Don't make any life altering decisions for the next 3 months. PERIOD. Give yourself time to heal.

Cyber Hugs ((((((HUGS))))), I'm so sorry you lost your horse!
     
    02-04-2012, 01:09 PM
  #7
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexMaam    

So I guess what I mean to say is, I don't believe loving horses has to be the same as having horses, or riding horses, or even being always all-fired interested in horses. It sounds to me like you are fixing to go off and leave a lot of your growing-up years behind - house and parents and school and all the rest - and I wouldn't guilt yourself if that also means leaving off on horses for awhile. Doesn't mean that you don't love them, only that maybe it's time to give other loves a turn. I would be surprised if there wasn't room for more than one love in your life, and they may well come to co-exist together in ways you can't even picture yet.
You're right. I'll always love horses. There's no doubt I love them. Maybe I do just need a break.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    

4/Nothing against the AF or any armed services, but if your recruiter is aware you've just lost a best friend and is still recruiting you through this grief period, beware. He/she just may not have your best interests at heart.

5/Most important thing I'm going to say to you:

Don't make any life altering decisions for the next 3 months. PERIOD. Give yourself time to heal.

Cyber Hugs ((((((HUGS))))), I'm so sorry you lost your horse!
See the thing is, I don't think I'm grieving anymore. I don't necessarily get sad when I think about her, because I know that she had to be put down or the cancer would have eaten her up anyways. I've accepted that. My problem is that when I did put her down, I lost pretty much all interest in horses. Maybe it is because I cannot seem to bond with my new horse, or that like you, I'm kind of tired of the show world and in my case, dealing with snotty barrel racers that can't ride the back of a pickup truck and still win because they have $50,000 horses.
My recruiter doesn't even know about what happened with her. I think I've mentioned horses around him once because I was asking about which AF bases had stables. Lol.
     
    02-04-2012, 01:58 PM
  #8
Trained
Absolutely. I went through pretty much the same thing.

I got my POA Dakota when I was 15. We spent 3 seasons together and were virtually unbeatable in my area. I took him to fair, my first year, and he completely turned on me. I think someone poisoned him while he was unattended at night. We spent fair week at the vet. He was never the same horse. My vet thought he had EPM, turns out he didn't. Which leads me to the conclusion of poison.

After that, every time I tried to ride him, once he was better, he would fight me. He was angry at me. It's like he blamed me for him getting sick. Like I was supposed to protect him and I failed. I was told by numerous people that they've never seen a connection like I had with Dakota. Once we clicked, we clicked and it was evident to everyone. People that had known Dakota for a decade couldn't believe the change in him once he was in my ownership.

Regardless, he became dangerous to ride. He wouldn't stop. He ran me into the side of the barn. He was to the point of no return. I don't know what happened to him. He refused to run anymore. At one show during down and back, he hit the barrel dead on with his chest, sent it flying 30+ feet and stopped in the middle of the arena. He refused to move. That was it. That was the final straw. I was done. I even still have a bruise/chip in my shin from when we were running and he ran me into the barrel. It's like an indent where we hit it. I had jeans on and the green paint from the barrel, went through the material and onto my skin. It's been like 5 years and the bruise is still there. I doubt it'll ever go away.

I found a retirement home down in Florida for him. I cried for weeks after he left and after that, I lost the motivation to show horses. I felt like a piece of me was missing and I just couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. I spent 4 years away from showing and barely rode. And this season, I finally am getting back into it. It's taken me a long time, and it hasn't been easy, but I now want to do it. And that's a big step. I'm a great rider, and have wonderful horses that win, but I just lost it for awhile.

I don't think you should give up. Everyone grieves differently. It might take awhile but you'll be back in the saddle when your ready. And that's all that counts.
     
    02-04-2012, 02:07 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Ive never gone though anything as upsetting as you have. I just got my first and only horse a year ago. No one in the family was into horses besides me, but I can tell you that once I started getting into Mt Biking, and Cycling, horses were kind of pushed to the back of my mind.

It was strange, and I honestly thought that I too was done with horses, just didnt think about them anymore, and even when given the opportunity to ride and be around them, I just didnt want to be.

I don't know, kind of hard to explain, but maybe the break of horses is what I needed to get back into them, and like others have said, maybe that's what you need to. Obviously your horse has a home regardless, so why not take a break, focus on yourself a bit and see where it goes from there?

Good Luck, and sorry to hear about your loss!!
     
    02-04-2012, 02:15 PM
  #10
Trained
"My problem is that when I did put her down, I lost pretty much all interest in horses. Maybe it is because I cannot seem to bond with my new horse, or that like you, I'm kind of tired of the show world and in my case, dealing with snotty barrel racers that can't ride the back of a pickup truck and still win because they have $50,000 horses."

You're describing classic depression symptoms. But like I said, if you need a break from the horses go ahead and take one. Just don't sell your new horse just yet, take some time.

Honestly, I've thought about gelding my stallions, selling off the broodies, getting down to 2 or 3 horses for pleasure and even questioned whether I wanted to keep that many, maybe just get out altogether. I made myself wait for a year, just because I have never not had horses and once I got out with them I've always felt better. It's now coming down to, I am feeling better about my horses and starting to want to ride again, not just viewing it as a job. I rode lots last year, just none of it for fun, it was all about training, showing, travelling, selling and GOD I got sick of the negative people in the show world. I'm taking a break this year and not breeding any mares, not showing at any shows and if I ride at all, it will be strictly on trail and for pleasure. That's what I mean by almost ready to move forward. I'm thinking of saddling up my 'go to' girl and going for a trail ride, just me and her, no one else to spoil the moment. Once I am ready to do that, and have accomplished it, I bet I'll be right back in the saddle and ready to ride again, maybe even with friends. During this past year, I've even ignored my 'go to' girl, just petted and fed her, never been on her in over a year. I have 20 other horses out in the pasture and other than the show horses, can't be bothered with even starting them. I'm looking to Ms. Patti Wats, to give me the spirit again, once I finally get on her and ride for fun again.

So, truly, I do understand where you're at, and why I'm soooo strongly advising you not to make any important life changes. If I had gone with my first whims last year, I'd have trashed 30 years of work in less than a week and I'm finally coming around to where I'm not sure that I'm ready to quit all the way yet.

Hang in there, really, you'll start to feel better, but noone can tell you how much or how soon. Just keep on putting one foot in front of the other, day by day and one day you will want to go get back up on a horse and ride like the wind again. And it may not be on Red, you may decide to sell him, but just don't do it YET, you might actually decide he's just right for you after all.
     

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