Am I enough? [Somewhat of a rant. Long]
I've posted on here several times now, but I read through this forum every day. I love everything I learn!
This is kind of a rant for me. Possibly looking for some advice. It also might just help me to get it out.
I own a pony named Zoe. It was pretty much me and my riding instructor who trained her from the day my instructor bought her. That was five years ago, probably almost six [She is 9, almost 10 now]. A younger girl bought her which was very frustrating for me, because to her, working her pony meant going out 6 days a week and cantering and jumping for 30-45 minutes and just letting her do what she wants. Her family asked me to still ride her, so I have been riding her for the past 5-6 years. A year & a half ago the girl was selling her, because she grew out of her. I couldn't let her go, so I convinced my dad to pay for her and now I split all monthly expenses with my mom.
I'm a junior in college, and this year I moved her to school with me so I could ride her more. Sorry for the long background, but I just want people to get the full story.
I am very busy when I'm at school. I'm obviously a full-time student. Up until a month ago I was the President of my sorority, now I'm the Treasurer. I'm involved in a couple other organizations on campus although not super involved with those. I work as a tutor at my university so I have some source of income [although most of the money to pay for Zoe comes from working over the summer]. I obviously try to keep a social life. I have a boyfriend I like to give SOME attention to. Hah. Finally, I am an Actuarial Mathematics major, so I have to take the actuarial exams which require months of hardcore studying.
And then comes in Zoe. When it comes to horses, she has been that one for me. I've put years of work into her and I feel like she has put years of work into me. [The tears are already coming? Jeez. Haha]
Basically I just feel like I can't do enough for her. I get out to the barn at least 3-4 times a week, some weeks more, some weeks less. I have one lesson a week which is great but the other times I go I feel like I'm rushed so I don't give her the proper amount of work she needs to continue progressing.
My most recent goal with her is to work on LOTS of flat. Bending, leg yields, etc. etc. She is a quick little pony and has IMMENSE amount of potential. I'll post a picture of us from the summer even though so many people have probably already seen it. It was one of my proudest moments with her.
At the time the picture was taken, we had never jumped that high and that's when I realized the amount of potential she has and how much she truly loves her job. But like I said, she's quick and would rush jumps, so I just want to work on the flat to help improve her jumping. I think she could go so far in the jumpers. The two times I ever lost with her was once to my instructor and another time was totally my fault and we knocked a rail. Other than that never knocked a rail, never refuses jumps. Ok, now I'm just rambling but I just really think she could do amazing.
So this is when my reality starts to hit me. I want that for her, because she would love it and I know the person riding her would love it. I used to think over the summer or after college I could do it with her. But when I get out of college I will obviously be getting a job and studying for more actuarial exams.
She has already made a good amount of progress with the flat work, but I just can't help but question if she would be better off with a younger rider who can dedicate everything to her. It would literally break my heart to sell her. I'm home for a month and have only been able to see her like once a week and I miss her so much. Haha. So I don't know how I would deal with not having her anymore, but like I said, I just want so much for her.
I think that's about it. I hope people understand what I'm saying and I'm not leaving parts out that I just expect people to know. Haha I guess I'm just looking for maybe some advice? I'm just so lost and feel so guilty at times.
If you read all this, THANK YOU. I truly appreciate it, and I hope someone has some words of wisdom for me. :-)
Horses are happiest left to their own devices. Whether you ride her once a month or once a day it doesn't make her happy or sad.
There are also plenty of wonderful horses out there...
So what I am saying is if you're happy with her that is all that matters, not what she could be doing, or her potential, because that doesn't matter to her, and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter to anyone else either.
I am sure she does not look at the jumps in the ring and think, "gosh, if only my human would be more dedicated to me we could be doing bigger jumps".
If you/your family can afford to keep her and you want to keep her then keep her. Riding 3 or 4 times per week is as much as or more than many adults manage to fit into their lives. It is not really what most people would consider slacking.
Have you considered half leasing her out? Or do you know someone who is responsible who would like more saddle time but can not afford a horse?
You can lease or half-lease her. So you still own and control but the pony has job to do. :wink: (just be careful with WHO you are leasing to) And in the end if lease will work out wonderfully and there is a bond in place you can think about selling her (if you want, of course).
Emily, you're neither 'wasting' your horse nor neglecting her. I'd love to be able to ride 3 to 4 times a week, but with a full time job and the horses at home, I have limited time.
Horses don't care whether or not they're show champions, or if they're being used to their full potential; it's only their humans who care.
My neighbor thinks I'm 'wasting' JJ, because I got him to do foxhunting and trail rides. He's amazingly talented over jumps and is a beautiful mover, so in her mind he should be a show horse. I like my neighbor and am in awe of her riding skills, but I don't really care what her opinion is concerning my horses.
There's no reason for you to have a guilty conscience over this. Seems to me you're doing quite well at keeping up with your school and horse obligations.
I was feeling the same way as you Emily, I had people telling me that I am wasting my boy Nelson. When I got him he was doing Prelim, and I had full intentions of getting myself back to Prelim with him, but plans didn't pan out.
I love him sooo dearly, and he's my best friend - and because we've been doing Fox Hunting and fun shows and Eventing at low levels, I get the same B/S as SpeedRacer was talking about - people telling me that I am wasting his talents and abilities - and I was getting the same guilty concience thinking that maybe I should let him go to someone who will use him to his full potential, but after discussing it with my friends and my Coaches, I soon realized that a) He's my horse and I will do as I choose b) that he is being loved, well taken care of and adored
So long as your horse is getting love, being adored and is being well taken care of, who cares if you are or aren't going GP :) All that your horse cares about, is that they are loved and know that their humans love them. They are secure, fed, happy and healthy.
Now, Nelson is a horse that loves to be worked, he will rot away if he wasn't being used, he loves it. His personality goes to pot if he is just left out in pasture, as opposed to the personality he obtains when he is in work. He does better when he is worked 5 days a week, but over the winter months, I've only been able to get out there 1 - 2 days a week, and I have a friend ride him for me who lives much closer to the barn than I, who can get him doing the thing he loves to do.
But, when I show up at the barn, everyone tells me that his eyes sparkle and he becomes very attentive to my where abouts. He just loves being loved. Even if I don't ride him, he is very happy when I am there doting on him.
You are doing a great job, and be proud of yourself for your accomplishments, where you are in life and where you are going. Your horse loves you very much, and very clearly, you love her too - and that's all that matters. I wouldn't let her go either, there is NO WAY I could let Nelson go. I promised him we are together till "Death do us part" and I meant it.
As already mentioned, if it is bothering you so much, maybe you can find someone who would 1/2 lease your girl, to ride the days you aren't out there? Of course, under your approval and someone who meets your standards.
I wish you all the best! She is gorgeous, and the two of you look fantabulous together!
Do what you think is best. I don't think she's being wasted, especially if you are riding her 3-4 times a week. That's a lot. If you decide to lease her out eventually to a younger rider, that's your call but don't feel like you HAVE to. My equestrian team coach in college kept her child/adult hunter pony and still has her. Now the pony works in the lesson program occasionally, and the coach always took her to lead team trail rides. The pony has a good life with a loving owner and it sounds like yours does too. Don't worry so much.
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Since you see her 3-4 times a week already, get a part leaser to help ride her. that way she is still yours, you still get to work and see her, but you have someone else helping you get the most out of her. And if you miss a ride you don't have to feel so bad.
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