How/why did you get back into riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
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How/why did you get back into riding?

I've not been around this forum long but I'm already getting the sense that there are plenty of other adult "re-riders" out there. I"m actually really relieved to find out that my experience of having a loooooong break from horses post-teenhood and then returning in my thirties isn't as uncommon as I thought it would be!

A year ago - actually even 6 months ago - I had no idea that I'd be riding again at ANY time in the future, let alone regularly! Late last year my eldest daughter said that she'd like to ride a horse, so I organised a visit to her great-aunt, who has been a competitive rider for years and keeps horses. After our first visit the great-aunt said that I'd have to have a ride next time... so a couple of weeks later we visited again and I made sure to wear jeans... and I had my first ride in about 20 years! What an experience! The last time I'd ridden in my teens I was confident and competent - this time I felt like a complete novice! The experience shocked me so much that I decided I needed to have a "few" more rides to get back to feeling competent again. This quickly turned into a weekly visit and coaching session/ride on the great-aunt's 18hh GP schoolmaster, which left me yearning for more. I've just started part-leasing a horse for the very first time and I'm well and truly hooked on horses again!

I have felt quite odd about getting back into horses and riding - good, obviously, but also a bit shy and uncertain! The "old" rider me (who was actually young! :lol ) was confident and relatively fearless... the "new" rider me is FAR more conservative... age + motherhood seems to have given me a different sense of mortality! For instance I used to really enjoy jumping but this time around dressage seems far more appealing! ;)

For all of the re-riders here, how did you end up coming back to horses and riding? And why? I'd love to hear other people's stories! :)
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Watertown, MN
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I only had about 5-6 years off or so, it was a conscious decision on my part. When I went to college I intentional moved away from the horse world. In my family horses are a lifelong commitment (you get one and you KEEP it until the end unless you cannot feed the kids), so I wanted to make sure that I really wanted horses before I kept on with it.

Those irresponsible days were fun, I got a dog, played, blew a lot of money on stupid stuff in a pretty typical way. Experimented in a pretty typical way. Something was always missing though and I knew at some point I'd move back to the country and get a horse or two.

Fast forward a couple years, my boyfriend, my first love, and I had broken up. I re-met an old friend who had some horses and started riding again. We took a horseback trip out to MT and that fall I decided to move back home, buy one of my friend's horses and save up money for a bit until I could afford my own place. Things worked out a little differently, but that was seven years ago and other than a long year off due to a stifle injury I've been riding ever since.
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Newport, PA
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I'm much like you. Rode a lot (read no less than three hours a day) in my teens and into my twenties. Then dropped out of the horse world. Work, kids, dating, college, work, travel, travel, travel, travel...marriage. I stopped traveling, sold the trailer, moved to PA with my new husband, and started riding again. My old self was almost fearless on a horse. Get on, go. Fall off, break arm? Pfft....get on again and ride until the pain is too great. Then ride in a cast. This new rider me is cautious and very aware of how much hurt can come of horses. I'm less excited by speed and behavioral challenges and more interested in horsemanship. I'm moving from barrel racing to western dressage and endurance, although I'm so familiar and comfortable with building a barrel horse, it might always play a role in my life.

right now, I'm just looking for a new lease. I may have found one, but her ground manners are atrocious.
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Minnesota
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I had about eight years off, and while it was easier for me to forget how much I loved it as I transitioned from teen to adult, all it took was one taste for me to be back and as rabidly into it as I ever was.
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
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Because they made me ultimiately happier than anything or anyone could make me.

I "got out" of horses for about three years. I lost a horse that was the world to me prematurely to a freak accident, and then a few months later I ended up underneath a green horse who reared and flipped on me. Putting me in the hospital with a broken knee and crushed weight-bearing bone. I was already struggling with horses after losing my mare and it got progressively worse. The first horse I purchased after losing her was a nice mare, great potential, ended up bucking/crow-hopping every time I rode her at the canter. Osteoarthritis in her hocks at 9. I "gave her away" to a wonderful family after I couldn't sell her. I ended up with a 9ish year old Jet Black Reining gelding. Flipping amazing horse, but we didn't click. I think I tried to force myself back into the horses and it was just exacerbating my problem.

I sold him and stopped looking. The horses came to a standstill. I had my gaming gelding who couldn't be used for anything but gaming (for me at least) and I had no drive or desire with the horses. I was moody, emotional, and generally felt like I hated life (not that extreme) but I needed the horses back in my life. I started to find what direction I wanted, and went looking for that next horse.

I got Fiona almost two years ago and she is like a big "Cammy" (the mare I lost). She has ultimiately changed my life, she's become my world, taught me patience, and has been a great partner... Despite her obsessive compulsive way about spooking :P
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post #6 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Minnesota
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I'm an idiot and hit 'post' too quickly. I meant to add:

I had to get out because I was a non-licensed teenager living in a suburban area while my horse was 70 odd miles away, my parents were divorcing, and my mother then was working about 80 hours a week to keep us afloat. Asking her on a Friday evening after a LONG week's work to drive three hours round trip and come get me again on Sunday wasn't something I was willing to do. So I sold my gelding (though I do harbor a deep, secret desire to find him again) and other than a sensitivity to anything I *heard* about horses (ie. "Oh, you own horses? I automatically like you." or getting excited for the Kentucky Derby, or deliberately walking down the horse aisles at fleet farm even when I didn't have horses to buy for.) I didn't 'suffer' and I didn't realize how much I missed it until it hit me in the face.

A friend that I was "re-connecting" with had somehow gotten into horses and we went riding together once. That's all it took. I had the bug again.

And let me tell you, owning a horse as an adult is so much more satisfying for me as an adult. I can do what I want, when I want. *I* choose the vet, the farrier, the tack, where I'm going to ride. If I have an issue with the BO, I always have the option to move. I can afford Stella without needed to live on Ramen for six months and scrap and save babysitting money. It's pretty liberating.
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post #7 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Los Angeles
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In your boat (minus the motherhood).. The one thing i can't figure out is, I was pretty fearless in my teens... but I don't think I learned much! I rode all the time (leased over the summer vacations) and took weekly lessons. but other than heels down and what two point was, I honestly don't remember what else I learned. And I saw a video of myself and my equitation was horrible :) and yet i jumped and ran around and fell off and got back on and no big deal.

now I'm actually learning to ride. I swear I never heard the term "half halt" before. or sliding your leg back for the canter? what? and perhaps if I knew to circle that bolting horse i leased back in 1992 or a one reign stop i wouldn't have fallen off him a zillion times. or maybe if i knew gripping w/ your knees was a thing - he wouldn't have bolted in the first place! What's a bend? what's lateral work? it shocks me how night and day my second run at this is.

my mom always said if you want a horse, you could get a horse for free.. but now i realize there are so many types of horses! green horses, young horses... and yes maybe you CAN get a horse for free.. but MAYBE it's worth it to spend a little to get a good horse instead of the one they're trying to give away who has a couple of "small" issues.

Anyway. I think it's normal for us to leave and return. it takes a lot of time and money... and when you first go out in the world w/o parental support - usually one or both of those is lacking! I can't explain what drew me back. I literally just woke up one day and said "I'm going to the stable." and like you I started with "can i take a lesson every other week?" to "spending 120% of my discretionary spending budget on a half lease? where do I sign up!"

Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!
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post #8 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
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I was a typical horse crazy kid that was lucky enough to have parents that supported my addiction
I showed jumpers and was totally fearless. When I got married, circumstances changed, and I had to sell my horse and quit riding. It hurt for a long time, but raising kids and showing and training dogs gradually eased the ache. Inever thought i'd have another horse. Then my daughter bought a small horse farm, and when I walked into the deserted barn, it was like a light went on, and I knew I had to have another horse. Like several of the others, my wants and needs had changed. Jumping no longer held the fascination that it used to, and calm, well behaved horses were much more appealling. I bought a sweet two year old filly who has been an absolute dream, and my husband just purchased a gelding so we can trail ride together. Most of the other re-riders were away from horses a few years. When I bought my filly, it had been FORTY years since i'd stopped riding

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post #9 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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I only had a few years off. I stopped when I was 16, partly because I was interested in boys, partly because I moved away from home and couldn't afford a horse of my own. After a couple of years I just missed it. It wasn't just the riding, it was going out there everyday, getting out of the daily grind.

So I just bought a horse and then more and sold some and now I have my boy.
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-29-2014, 10:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Englewood, FL
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I have taken a 7 year hiatus. I rode non stop from the time I was 5 til 18, and only stopped because my horse went into retirement. My dad was very involved with me and the horses, his health deteriorated and he passed December 2012 three months before my life long horse did. My mom took care of everything in the later years, I couldn't afford a horse on my own and I could hardly ask her to pay for another one. It's been hurting me immensely not being able to ride over the years, I've always dreamed... it broke my heart to the point I'd avoid anything horse related simply because it upset me so much. Now that I'm a little older and self sufficient, I finally brought another horse home and I am so excited. I feel like myself again. I could've found other peoples horses to ride over the years but its not the same as ownership.

No kids, no husband, just a spoiled dog and a parrot. Now a horse!
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adult lessons , return to riding

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