So here's my story. My 5 year old (soon to be 6) mare was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and her riding career has been put on hold at least for 3-6 months. After ultrasound-guided joint injections, including physical and technological examinations by an amazingly experienced vet, it's been confirmed at this point. Not sure if she'll be able to ride later on or not, and the vet has encouraged this long respite as things were pretty counterproductive trying to keep her on a more regimented program and just seeing her in pain instead. I see her 3-4 days a week, handwalking, grooming, loving her. She is my best friend, and I've decided at this point I love HER more than the sport of riding itself. Everyone is different. Some people love the sport more than the horse, some people love the horse more than the sport. One is not better than the other, but I personally find that my girl is more important to me than the sport itself. Which leads me to my next point.
I've been riding since I was little on and off. Different stables. My girl was what got me more serious about riding. With her I learned that I love dressage, even though I'm only a beginner dressage rider. The confidence I feel in the saddle is amazing. I get a small adrenaline rush in my heart thinking about showing my riding to people who have never seen it before, people who don't know what dressage is, people who I'm friends with who have never seen me with a horse. That gets me pumped up.
But after this whole tiring mess with trying to diagnose my mare and trying to balance my schedule seeing her along with my schedule of school and other activities that I'm involved in... I'm just not sure I want to ride right now too. Our expenses between vet bills, boarding, farrier costs, feed... it all adds up, and we can't afford to buy another horse right now, I honestly don't want to really because I don't want to affect my relationship with my girl now, and I could lease a horse but the expenses... too much. And then the whole 2-horse conflict confuses me too. My brain just isn't wired for all that.
I might lease a horse once a week (not really sure if that's a lease or just a fun thing) but I'm not sure about that yet. Again, it'd be another expense to add to the list. Not to mention that my girl is around 40 minutes away from me so sometimes I spend more time driving than actually seeing her!
I love riding and maybe I just forget how much I love it because I haven't been doing it as much.. But it honestly seems like it isn't worth it right now to try to juggle riding and owning/taking care of my horse when I might just tire myself out. I don't want grades to drop, I don't want to get too tired and not be able to focus on my mare.
I guess I just want some input, someone to give me their opinion about what they would do. It's a matter of me loving a horse, and loving a sport, and wondering, what to do?