Just having fun. Should I feel guilty? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Location: NC
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Just having fun. Should I feel guilty?

I've been thinking for a while about quitting competing and just riding for fun. Not worrying about having my horse being perfectly on the bit, just letting her wander around a trail and have fun. Letting her gallop and have fun. Maybe even being really crazy and not pulling her mane!

But part of me just feels guilty. Like I'm quitting because it's too hard or something. I'm really just tired of worrying about little things. I feel like my horse would like that so much better. I rode my horse in the arena today. She was good. A little quick sometimes, but she was good. I went to cool her out and I let her do a slow gallop down the long straight side of the big pasture we ride around - she had so much fun. When we got back to the barn, she tried to turn back around and go back to the trail around the field. Somebody was obviously enjoying the little adventure.

I did dressage for 2 years, and now I'm making a sad attempt at hunters. I suck at jumping, and I screw up Amber because of that. The only reason I want to do it is because I feel like I "have to" or I have to "prove something". I feel like at this point, I'm showing for all the wrong reasons. Mainly because I keep hearing so many passive aggressive comments about how my QH doesn't move as nicely as the TBs at the barn or the little pony hunters. Just feeling under par.

And then, today, I texted someone who has a horse out there about how munch fun I had galloping Amber today, and how she turned back and tried to go around again, and they said their horse tries to run back to the barn. They can't ride their horse outside the arena. My response was, "Well, hes an OTTB and she's a QH". I didn't mean it to sound snotty, I think it may have, but as much as I've heard about my horse being lesser than the others, I felt it was kind of well deserved. I kind of felt like, well, your horse does not do better than mine in something at least. Not that OTTBs can't make good trail horses too, and him being an OTTB really the issue there most likely, but it still made me realize that I'm overlooking Amber's real talent and what she did for the majority of her life before I had her...just trail riding and poking around.

Am I just ducking out because things are getting too hard, and should I feel bad, or am I right for wanting to quit? I don't really want to do it anymore, it's almost like a "have to". I don't feel like working on anything. I feel like a terrible rider for that, and I feel like I'm doing it for all the wrong reasons if I feel like that.
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Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #2 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 04:03 PM
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Coming from someone that has done just what you are thinking about ... dont feel gulity. I had shown horses for almost 30 years and then I just decided one day that i just have had enough and want some time to just enjoy my horses and not stress about the shows. So i took 3 years where i just did not show at all. Now i have gotten back to showing a bit but nothing more than a local school show series that is around here and when i go i have so much more fun. I am not competing to win but just to enjoy myself.
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post #3 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 04:06 PM
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Why did you get into riding? If you say, "because I enjoy it", then why would you continue on a path that makes you unhappy and unable to enjoy riding your horse?

If you think you have to 'prove something', then start competitive trail riding. If you're burned out with the whole competition thing, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with simply riding for pleasure.

Your HORSE doesn't have goals and aspirations, YOU do. All she wants is something that will keep her happy and interested.

As far as TBs sucking at trail, you're incorrect. Certain horses may be unfit for it because of their mentality, but many more TBs love trail riding and do very well. You're showing the same prejudice about TBs that you say you hate when it's turned on your QH. All of you need to stop with the snobbery. Each horse has their own talents, even if it's not something for which you personally care.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!

Last edited by Speed Racer; 02-09-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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post #4 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 04:15 PM
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Location: Texas
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For me personally, the ONLY reason I have my horses is to enjoy them. I don't show them or participate in any sports, we may play around with certain disciplines just for fun but we never take it seriously at all. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with those who DO take things like hunting and dressage and everything else seriously, it's just not for me.

I feel like I can appreciate my horse more if we can just do what we want to and not worry about what the judges think. If that's what makes you happy, then I say do it, and don't feel guilty about it!
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post #5 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Speed Racer, I did say not that OTTBs can't make goods trail horses...then I typoed the next line, but it was supposed to say that his being an OTTB was not what made him unsuitable to ride on trails. My saying what I said was basically irritation that had built up over time and I wrongfully couldn't resist the opportunity to say something snarky.

And being so defensive and hostile about things is why I feel like I need to go do something different, even if it's just for a little while.

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 06:28 PM
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So, do something different, like maybe a trail ride or two. In your job you need to do something relaxing outside work in order have some type of balance. Horses need a break from work too. I think it would be a healthy choice going on a trail ride, for both of you. You would be surprised how relaxing it can be with your horse on trail.
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Last edited by goneriding; 02-09-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 06:44 PM
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I'm a relatively new rider who knows nothing of training horses.

But when I started leasing a horse I decided that her life with me would not consist of living in boxes (the stall and the school).

Unless footing is unsafe, at least one day on the weekend is set aside to hack on the barns trail system. To let us both relax mentally. To let her see and feel what it's like to really be a horse within the confines of a domesticated animal.

It doesn't have to be either or.

Ratchet down your competitive focus a notch or two but don't abandon it. Increase your time with your horse out in the country. Ride correctly, but ride away from the school.

Or take a sabbatical from competition and return refreshed.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 07:56 PM
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cheer up butter cup... (hahaha i have always wanted to say that to someone... so no offense was ment by it)
take a break you will be able to tell in about a week or two whether you want to continue showing or just enjoy leisure trail rides... either way try to have fun again.isn't that the point of having horses:)
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 08:02 PM
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I think you should only feel guilty if you're not having fun.
Just my two cents!
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"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-09-2012, 08:15 PM
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i have never done anything close to competing in my life. i have a lot of fun with my horses though, usually on trails. I also enjoy schooling in the arena regularly so that both of us could freshen up our skills.

If you feel frustrated by competing than give yourself a break! It's not "giving up," especially if you feel like its getting in the way of your relationship with your horse. Seems like showing is addictive though, maybe once you have more fun you'll be ready to get back into it :)
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