Hey, great thread, JDI :) My sister and I got our first horse when we were 13 and 14... and it was a learning curve for all 3 of us. She was a 14 YO morab mare, and would have made a great pet (except that she always escaped if she was alone), or a great trail horse (except that she wouldn't go by herself and spooked at everything big or noisy), or been a good lesson horse (except that she was lazy as hell). If anything, I was underhorsed. But my parents didn't want to get a second horse, and my sister wouldn't part with her. Not even the next year, when she started high school and pretty much stopped riding. Not the year after that... etc. Until we'd had her for 5 years (the last of which she was leased out to our coach for a lesson horse) and I stopped taking care of her. This wasn't a failing to let go and being in personal danger issue... this was just failing to let go period. And I now I see her doing the same thing, where she is in a caretaker relationship with an alcoholic, and raising his 3 kids from a previous marriage. I know this is a horse thread - but it's also a human nature issue. Some of us just don't have the ability to give up and let go, no matter how futile and self-destructive our efforts become. Unfortunately, the longer we go on these situations, the greater the personal damage can become. With horses, it can mean broken bones, broken spirits, and usually losing the desire to ride alltogether. And with horses and the other things we can't let go of... we have to take a "fall". We have to admit that yes, we were wrong, we couldn't change the situation, and yes, we failed. And we have to have enough self-esteem to accept ourselves afterward and move on in pursuing what makes us happy - whether that's fresh start with a different horse, or a completely new path in life.
Thanks everyone that shared their stories in this thread :)