Complete lifestyle change?

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Complete lifestyle change?

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  • Horse husbandry certificate iii
  • Lifestyle change with horse

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    05-19-2010, 10:47 PM
Complete lifestyle change?

Warning - this will be long!

I'm 20. I've been out of school for 3 years and have a government desk job - I.e. Stable, good flexible working arrangements, and good pay. I also have three horses and two dogs of my own. I ride during the week and compete most weekends. I also snowboard in winter.

I HATE my job. It is mind numbingly boring, I have no interest in the department I work in (Planning). I only came here because my mum used to work here and that made it easy. I started here one week out of school, so I never really had a break. I'm the youngest in the office and only get along with one other person who has horses. I have trouble motivating myself to do my work and have been 'warned' (Not officially, just chats) about focussing on my work more. I go through good and bad stages in regards to that.

I recently broke up with my bf of a bit over a year. I have one really good best friend who I ride with, and a few other riding friends. I don't really have friends outside of horses as I just don't have time. Mark (My ex) and I are having a good go at staying friends and it is working out so far.

So the crux of the matter - I live in a small city. There are no opportunities here for advancement in agriculture or the equine industry (I.e. Schooling) and the area is flooded with wannabe horse trainers and professionals. I hate my job and hate feeling like i'm not working toward anything and have no idea what the future will bring. I really love working with my horses and working on improving my training. I feel like i'm stuck here, stagnant, and if I don't do something soon i'll either be stuck here or fired from my job. I've had a really bad few weeks/months, breaking up with Mark, and a few other things. My mum was diagnosed with diabetes and I have a family history of heart disease on my dad's side - it worries me that my current job just has me sitting around all day and is no good for my health. Add in my horses and I don't have time to do any meaningful excercise or prepare good food. I want an active, outside job, for enjoyment and also health benefits.

I'm considering going to an ag college next year to complete the Cert III in Horse Husbandry. Tocal is the college I would go to and it is about 6 hours from here. The course is a year long and I would have to live in. Tuition and board equal about $11,500 for the year.

So I guess these are the cons:

I have zero savings at the moment due to a few things including buying my saddle last year for $4,000 and snow-related expenses. They are all behind me so I would have a good few months to save.

If I did this, it would mean selling both Bundy and Latte at the end of this year. This really kills me. I had always intended to sell Bundy but there is still so much more I want to do on him - Win a champion working, become Novice drafters... There is no one here that I could leave him with that could continue his standard of training without having to pay them. I could sell him now for about $9,000/$10,000, which would go a long way to financing this. I would have to put a lot of solid work into Latte to get her going farily kindly, and I could probably sell her as a project pony for maybe $2,000/$3,000 - $1,000 of which would go back to her actual owner. I was planning on keeping her for a few years and seeing how she turns out as I really love her personality.

I would also be leaving my dogs behind - I have never been without a dog my whole life. I would probably have to sell or find a home for a year for Skip - otherwise she will just sit in her pen at the farm and never get any excercise. That woudl kill me - We bred her and she was born two days before my birthday. I've had her my whole life. Rambo is my heart dog - I just love. I put so much work and time into him with obedience training and taking him out and he is very loyal to me and is perfect to take away camping - the first dog I have had like this. He would stay at home as we also own his brother who belongs to my mum. But without me here he wouldn't get out for walks or go to competitions.

I have just spent close to $2,000 on new snowboarding equipment, and if I did this, I wouldn't be able to go the snow except for maybe a week in the school holidays time.

I don't know what I would do without my best friend - I am very shy and not very good at making new friends or making small talk with strangers. It has been me and her for about six years now. She is the only friend I have who I can talk to about everything. We ride together, compete together. Her dad lives interstate and her mym isn't horsey so she is pretty much a member of our family - Dad takes us everywhere and it is pretty much as if we were sisters.

I would miss out on competeing - not as big a con, as I am cutting back a bit now, but I am just getting into campdrafting and Bundy is a horse who could really take me a long way. Our ASH shows are really coming together as well.

It would leave our PC a bit high and dry and myself and another mum are the only instructors, and it would all fall to her.

I would also be leaving the only home I can remember - i've lived here since I was 4 and I love it. It is such a good mix of city and country.

Okay - Pros:

The course sounds amazing. They run a herd of ASH (My breed of choice) and you get a green broke horse to ride for the first semester, and if you are deemed capable, a younger horse to break in for the remainder of the year. There is a stock horse challenge at the end of the year to show off what we have acheived. The course is at least 50% practical and there is lots of work experience throughout Australia and overseas. It covers just about every facet of the horse industry and can be continued into a diploma of agriculture or used as credit toward a uni course. Most graduates are employed immediately.

There are numerous scolarships available and not lots of students - About 60% of students get some kind of scolarship.

I guess i'm just looking for some input... What would you do? Have you done something similar?
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    05-19-2010, 11:02 PM
Super Moderator
I can't really offer advice because I'm not sure I could sell a couple horses and leave my dogs behind to go off to college. I think it would probably be something that you ended up being really glad you did, but also something that will be hard....

I can't really offer you advice but if you are a strong person, I think it will put you more towards where you want to be in the future... AND, at 20, if you are going to make a change, now is the time to do it.... You've got nothing to loose....
    05-19-2010, 11:04 PM
I think you should do it.

I'm currently packing up to head to New Zealand in August. It's absolutly terrifying. But I think it'll be good in the long run and probably the same in your case.
    05-19-2010, 11:22 PM
I think it would probably be something that you ended up being really glad you did, but also something that will be hard....
That's what I think too. The horses won't bother me immensly, as i'm used to selling and I did buy both with the intention of selling. There is just a lot I still wanted to do... Wildey can stay at the RDA place so i'll still have him when I come back. He's the one I wouldn't/couldn't sell.

Leaving my dogs will be the hardest I think. I've never been without pets, and I just adore Rambo, and he is so loyal to me. Selling Skip would be hard - What do you think the chances are of someone taking on a dog for a year and then giving it back? Probably very low :[

Gah. I guess I have a lot of time to think about it. The college have open days in July so I will go have a look and see what I think.
    05-19-2010, 11:41 PM
Here's what I think. If you were planning on selling Bundy, just go ahead and do it. You can put that money in your savings account and keep it in mind for school. Once its in the bank, it can only collect interest.

About Latte and the rest--why not wait a year, put more work into her, get her really going as far as her potential is concerned, see what she can actually do, and then sell her? Tocal will always be there, as will the courses you want to take. Do whatever it is you've been dying to do, get that last bit of fun in, and then go for the long haul.

I was in a similar situation to you....I wanted to go to a private college like 4000 miles away from home. For 4 years it would have cost me 100k, and I would have had to rely on student loans for the majority of it....but they had a great campus, an equestrian team, I REALLY wanted this school. I ended up not going because I got a 75% scholarship to an in state school. But a year later I dropped out. I think about how amazingly different my life could have been if I would have just gone to school there....I could have been graduating next year!

I'm not overly bitter for it, I did come across some amazing opportunities, staying in Florida actually lead me to buying a horse and to HF, as well as picking out my current profession of vet tech.

If nothing else, one more years salary will help you get an extra bit of savings in so you may not have to go without some things.
    05-19-2010, 11:58 PM
I don't want to sell Bundy yet unless I have to - I.e. Going to Tocal. If I keep him and do what I had intended (Get him better performed at ASH shows and campdrafts) then I will be able to get $10,000 or more for him. The I can keep some for savings and use the rest to buy my next horse. That's how I afford horses - I buy one, sell it for more, buy another, more expensive one, sell it for more, and on it goes. He is about the third horse in the chain. Otherwise I wouldn't beable to afford quality horses. So I want to get the maximum return possible. (It makes me feel very cold hearted talking about my horses as profit makers, but it really is the only way I can get where I want with horses - I have been trying to buy a good quality ASH mare with the breeding I want for about 5 years but haven't been able to afford it).

I'm fairly certain that if I do it I want to do it next year. I get the feeling that if I stay here and in this job something will come to a head. I also have the least 'attachments' now than I have had in a while. Breaking up with Mark, while devastating, has also led me to want to do something for myself while i'm not obligated or attached to anyone. If I stayed for a year and happened to meet someone, I know I wouldn't be willing to leave to go do this.

I can save a fair amount of money now - Most birthdays and other expenses are behind me. I'm sure I will have enough money from saving + selling Bundy that I would be able to do this without having to go into debt. My parents are also willing to give me loans if needed, so I wouldn't be relying on a bank. I spent 2 years paying off my car ($16,000) so I am not in a hurry to go back into debt.

I think this is a good time to do it as I have little expenses - My horses and my car and $100 a fortnight in board. If I leave it too long I want to move out, and then I will have either rent or a mortgage to deal with as well. As hard as the though is of leaving, I think if i'm going to do it, it has to be now.
    05-19-2010, 11:59 PM
Wild_spot, I understand where you coming from. I actually got expelled from High School because I skipped school everyday to go riding. Apparently if you miss three weeks of school in a row, they boot you... I went several months of showing up one day of the three weeks! But yeah, it really messed me up college wise, and career wise.

I ended up with a job that I hated, and ended up having to sell my horse and I lost my dog after my parents booted me out of the house.

I guess my advice would be, if you kept your horses, how happy would you be about your life continuing the way it is? It doesn't sound like you are happy with the government job, do you have other job options that would allow you to keep your animals? Can you find a different job that would be more stimulating?

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to better your life. Think of your long term goals, and what the steps would be to achieve them. It would be sad to have to sell your animals, but you wouldn't be the first person to have to do that. Think of how much happier you would be in the long run if you pursued your college and career goals, and then had your animals afterwards. You'd have a job you loved, as well as the animals you love. Unfortunately, not the exact same animals :(

I hope this doesn't sound cruel, but I would be in favor of going to college, even though it means giving up a lot. I understand the benefits of your life as it is, but I think you would be a lot happier in a job you enjoyed, even if you do have to give up some of the things you enjoy right now. You don't want the years to pass you by while you sit in the same job you hate, just living for the weekends.

By the way, there are lots of student loans you can look into, including ones that pay for living expenses. I think you would still have a full and rich life at college, even if it would be different from the one you have now.
    05-20-2010, 12:34 AM
Green Broke
Hey, I had such a similar situation when I was deciding what to do about going to Uni. I was living over an hour from Melbourne (where Uni was) and couldn't bear to sell my horses. So I compromised: I took Uni part time for a couple of years which allowed me to work around 30 hours a week plus keep my three horses in training. It was the greatest life ever! My job paid well, I did well at school and most importantly I got to keep competing (mind you, there were many 4:00am starts in freezing cold winters but I never begrudged it).

Is there any way you could do something like that and maybe keep one of your horses to take with you? If you are anything like me a life without a horse would be dull and empty. Admittedly it takes longer to finish when you study part time however if you have a reasonable job while you study you may find yourself ahead of the rat race when you graduate as you will have meaningful work experience, unlike a typical undergraduate.
    05-20-2010, 01:03 AM
I think you should go to school. You will have to make some sacrifices now, but once you have finished, your life will be improved. If you stay and do will stay miserable and wishing for more. So in the big picture, you would have sacrificed more by not going. I also think that it would be very difficult for you to find someone to keep your dog for a year (unless some family member would). I think your time would be better spent finding your dog a very good home where he can be happy. As for your friend, with all the technology available today, there is no reason why you can't chat with her often. Besides, you will be going to school with people with the same interests as yourself...a great opportunity to make new friends. I know that you will make the right decision and that you will be successful in life.
    05-20-2010, 01:05 AM
Is there any way you could do something like that and maybe keep one of your horses to take with you? If you are anything like me a life without a horse would be dull and empty. Admittedly it takes longer to finish when you study part time however if you have a reasonable job while you study you may find yourself ahead of the rat race when you graduate as you will have meaningful work experience, unlike a typical undergraduate.
Tocal is quite a bit different to a Uni - I don't think there are any part time or distance education options for this course, unfortunately. However, it is also a good thing, as I don't know how well I would motivate myself outside of the environment.

I've thought of renting a place nearby and not living in, and taking my dogs and one horse with me - but that would be really, really expensive and without an income I don't think I could afford it.

I guess my advice would be, if you kept your horses, how happy would you be about your life continuing the way it is? It doesn't sound like you are happy with the government job, do you have other job options that would allow you to keep your animals? Can you find a different job that would be more stimulating?
you hit the nail on the head. I want something to change because I am miserable in my job. There are only limited opportunities for jobs I would enjoy here - And a lot of them are on a roster which would put paid to a lot of my competeing. I applied for a job at the local tack shop a week ago but I didn't even get a call for an interview which really suprised me and did upset me. I have a lot of horse experience and numerous awards for my service to Pony Club and the horse community in Canberra. It's hard where I live - We are too small a city to have universities big enough to offer the lesser patronised courses such as agriculture, but we are too big to have many agriculture based jobs going.

Thank you guys for your responses, you've given me some good things to mull over. It's definitely a big choice.

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