I hope I'm making the right choice... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-18-2011, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
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I hope I'm making the right choice...

I'm leaving for college in August. My plan was to bring my horse with me, board her at the barn where the team rides, and work the 650/month board off at the barn (16 hours a week). So I would be riding twice a week with the team, probably riding seperately another 3 days a week, working 16+ hours a week, and going to school for 15 hours. That's a lot to deal with, but I thought I could handle it.
Over the course of the past 3-ish months, my mental health and stability have drastically decreased. My ability to deal with stress and to have a lot on my plate has also decreased. I'm honestly not healthy right now. So I've decided to sell my horse.
Not having her with me will definitely take a lot of stress out of my life. I won't have to work (although I probably will a bit), I won't have to ride 5 days a week, and I won't have to worry about her. I'll have time to focus on enjoying college and getting healthier. I won't feel guilty for not having time to spend with her. I'm hoping to find her a good home where she will get tons of attention and proper training.
But she's my best friend. She's been the only one there for me when no one else was. She's always been by my side. I almost feel like I'm failing her by selling her. I know it's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done and I'm going to cry for days, but I do think it'd be the best.
Oh gosh, what do y'all think? Am I doing the right thing?
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-18-2011, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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Sounds like a hard choice to make, but if you are stressed right out and not enjoying your horse time, then it's probably best to let her go.

Would it be possible to lease her out for a while to take the stresses of both time and money off for a while. It would give you some breathing room, and if you still want to sell her in a few months time at least you will have thought on it for a while.
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-18-2011, 04:56 PM
Join Date: May 2011
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+1 on considering leasing her. Or even getting a half-lease.

I'm a college professor, and have sent two children off to college (one has graduated, the other is to graduate next May). I've seen a lot of the kind of stress that attaches to this life transition. It's not an easy time, not for anyone, and for some people, it is very difficult! You are moving into an unfamiliar surrounding (possibly moving for the first time ever), you don't know what to expect from your college classes, you are going to be meeting a lot of new people (and may be wondering whether they will be people you like), you'll be taking your leave of your parent's house and your friends, at least for a little while. This can all be very scary! Even if it is something you're really looking forward to, it can be unsettling. It is totally normal to be a little freaked out about all of these changes. It is also pretty normal to be more than a little freaked out by them.

There may be something else going on for you - I can't tell - but if there is, you might want to consider talking to a counselor or a therapist, or maybe an older friend of your family, relative, etc. about what is going on with you and for you. I am sure that there is someone in your life who can be supportive and offer you a little guidance as you go through this.

Now, to the nuts & bolts... I can tell you - as someone who worked my way through college, and who has many students who are doing the same - it is definitely possible to work 20 hours per week and take 15 credits, and still have some time left over for socializing and having a life. The key is having good organizational skills. This book is one I recommend to all of my advisees, and I gave it to my stepson as well. It's full of very realistic, very good advice on how to make sure that the time you are spending on your classes is getting used well, and that you're not going to get behind on your work. It's a pretty easy read. The term after I bought it for my stepson, he brought his GPA up by a full half-point. Now he's on the Dean's List, even though he has a significant learning disability. So, with good time-management skills, it will be possible to work 20 hrs per week and still do well in your classes.

Next, your horse. You've got to ask yourself how much having your horse around contributes positively to your mental state. If the horse helps to stabilize you, and helps you feel better about yourself and everything else, then that is something that would be working for you, in very important ways! It may be that you would be a better student and have a more rewarding college career with your horse on hand, even with the need to work off her keep. Also, if you have any tendency to go into a hibernation state from emotional distress, ask yourself whether the obligation to keep your horse groomed up will encourage you to get out of your cave, or whether it would feel like a crushing burden and make you be more in your cave.

If you're going to a horsey school (sounds like it, if there is an equestrian team) it may be that there are already people around there who would be happy to get into a lease. Even a half-lease would cut down on the amount of time you need to spend working off her board, and it would also cut down on the need to exercise her as frequently. I would definitely suggest pursuing this - it's not going to cost you much to sound people out and explore the options.

Last - that issue of needing to exercise the horse. I cannot tell you how many of my students wind up crying in my office because they are so stressed out about all the work they are having to do, etc. - and then when I start asking them, it turns out that they're spending so much time with their books that they are not getting any exercise. This is a disaster!! Holing up with nothing but work is the second worst thing you can do as a student (the worst is to not work at all :)). Whether you take your horse or not, you need to budget in an hour or so every day of physical activity - this is the thing that is going to recharge your batteries so that you can actually get something out of your studying. Way I feel about it - and duh, I'm on this forum - is that one hour with the horse is worth 10 hours inside at a gym, for what it does for my body, health, and mental attitude.

Hang in there, know that you are not alone in finding this transition to be daunting, and definitely consider leasing your girl.

Last edited by serafina; 06-18-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-18-2011, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Serafina, what a great post, if we had a thumbs up button I would use it right now
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-18-2011, 11:48 PM
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I second putting her on a lease, maybe even a free off-farm approved lease would be a good situation. You can keep in contact with whomever leases her, making sure she is receiving appropriate care. She'll be getting ridden and attention, and the stress of you working off board and riding 5+ days a week, plus transitioning to the college life will be gone. I'd think about it!
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-20-2011, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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I have to vote find a leaser. It will give you breathing room, money and more time as the leaser will also exercise the horse.

You will no longer feel solely responsible for the horse, which will improve your mental state.

I know how you feel, the last 3 months of high school have been hell, as everything rides on the exams I just finished, collage forms, loan forms, jobs etc. all take up time and stress. I would wait and see how you deal with stress in collage BEFORE you sell your horse.

A pony is a childhood dream, a horse is an adulthood treasure.
Rebecca Carroll
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