Getting back into horses after many years! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-10-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: WIsconsin
Posts: 44
• Horses: 1
Getting back into horses after many years!

Hello, this sounds like a great forum! So here's about me: Yes, I am one of "those" women of a certain age (48 to be exact) who finds herself bereft of horses for many years and trying to get back into regular horse life.

I've been riding since I was 5 years old and won my first (and only) horse show when I was 7. What sweet memories. I rode my Great Aunt's horses as a kid. Then as a teenager I had more lessons from a couple different riding stables for a couple of years. Then I got hired to work at a very large, fancy boarding stable in New Jersey where I learned even more about horse care (feeding, cleaning, medicating, illnesses, etc) to the point that at 16 years old, they had me train the new barn manager! (they didn't tell me who he was, just that he was starting and needed to learn the ropes and get to know all 50 or more horses in the barn). We were allowed to sign out the lesson horses that belonged to the barn and sometimes I rode friends horses as well--lots of trails out there and I spent many happy hours each week riding around the countryside. I worked at two more barns before I left for college. Then I had a year or so off from horses, until I met and became friends with a Veterinarian I worked with (I was a Vet Tech while earning money to go to college) and she had a farm and horses and hardly rode at all--so she adopted me and I rode and cared for her Arabian mare and rode a paint mare she had as well, and a couple of draft horses as well. But mostly the large Arab mare (15.2 hh) for many years. Then, I moved out of the state again and had no horses in my life for many years--while I worked as a zookeeper and then cared for a trained tigers and lions--hands on. Then, many medical problems, chronic illness and I became slowly legally blind in both eyes--one eye is just at the level of legal blindness, the other is only light and shadow. Just before I had to stop driving entirely, I made a new friend who was in a polo club and her friend had four polo horses. So I started hanging out with them and riding only a very little bit-but I became a polo groom and went to their matches and took care of the horses, grooming;/tacking/hot walking, etc. Did this for a little over a year and then had to stop driving and my friend dumped me. Some people get weird when those close to them become disabled. That was 2006. So that was the end of my horse experience until about 2 months ago. (2019). Except for dragging my fiance and then husband out to do paid trail rides at least once a year, and on our honeymoon we did a 5 hour horseback wilderness trek in Colorado. I never wanted to leave! That long ride was 10 years ago. I did care for a couple of horses for a couple of weeks--pet sitting a couple years ago. All the time, I have been pining, pining, pining to have horses back in my life and get my own horse finally! But we live in the city and I can't drive to a boarding facility. So my husband, after a vacation to TN in May where I cared for and rode a couple of horses on the property where we stayed, decided he wanted to help me get horses back in my life--he saw what they did for me. So a few months later, I finally found the perfect setup--a little Icelandic mare for partial lease. Just one day a week we go out (it's about a 45 minute drive) and he sits in the car reading and listening to his ham radio and sometimes petting the horses, while I spend several hours "doing my thing" and riding. I am also a shamanic practitioner and do some other energy healing and I am looking forward to honing my skills using some healing techniques on the horses. The owner of my lease horse is wonderful and she has two other horses at the boarding facility and she doesn't get out there much so she lets me look after them too if I want--grooming and giving them some attention. It's a great setup and I couldn't be happier. Oh, excpet now there is all this "insecurity" about being too old, too stiff, too out of shape and feeling my mortality around the horses. LOL I never worried about getting hurt around horses until now. And I still can't get my courage up to canter and gallop yet (and I used to gallop bareback!) But I'll get there with the help of this sweet little Icelandic mare.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: WIsconsin
Posts: 44
• Horses: 1
Red face

I just wanted to forestall any concerns about my size vs the horse size. I know even some horse people don't know about Icelandics. Icelandics are incredibly strong and have denser bones than any other horse breed. They were bred to carry Vikings in heavy armor and gear over long distances, but be small enough to fit on their ships. My little mare can easily carry about 250lbs on a regular basis. Her brother, who is a bit bigger and has even thicker bones, can carry over 300lbs with no problem. I know, it's crazy--these guys can carry as much more more than a lot of quarter horses. I still feel a little weird riding such a small horse--it's like I got the pony I always wanted as a kid, only I'm able to rider her as an adult! She's a very nice "first horse" for getting back into regular horsemanship, as she isn't big and scary.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 01:29 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Hildreth, FL
Posts: 2,555
• Horses: 5
Congratulations on getting back into riding. I had a very close friend who was completely blind and rode horses regularly. She used to show my horse over fences. I would stand in the ring and say, "Three, two, one, jump" and she would do the jumps--only when they were around the edge of the ring as she couldn't know when to make any turns. I also took her trail riding a lot.

She was on Tourney's World, That's Incredible, and written up in Equus Magazine. She used to say, "I'm not Helen Keller" because people expected so much of her. But she was quite amazing.

I am looking forward to reading about your adventures. Icelandics are super horses.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,838
• Horses: 2
Welcome to the forum! I'm 49 and just got back into horses a few years ago when my daughter asked for lessons. I also grew up with horses (got my first pony when I was 5), but took a long break for various reasons. I now have 3 horses at home, and am so grateful.

Icelandics are so amazing. I'd love to have one someday! I have small horses - all between 14.3 and 15 hands. We have a senior Arab who is ridden by my daughter (now 14 and an excellent rider!), a QH mare, and an adorable fuzzy Appaloosa who is the best little trail horse ever.

Happy riding, and good for you for not letting your limited eyesight stop you from riding again!
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: WIsconsin
Posts: 44
• Horses: 1
Thank you both! I think I might have found a good home here at this forum. Love hearing about the blind woman riding and jumping! That's awesome. I have lost so much in my life due to my blindness (I became visually impaired during my 30's) and it's so great (and not easy) to be adding one piece back into my life (horses). I have an autoimmune disease (several) which caused my blindness--Reactive Arthritis, along with Fibroymyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, digestive disorders and overall weakened immune system. Despite all that, I insist on keeping my life going as much as possible. Draumsyn is teaching me a lot. I've seen her owner ride her and she's absolutely perfect and easy going. When I'm riding her, we struggle a bit to find our rythym and find trust in each other. She gets spooky, I get unbalanced and too much in her mouth and she fights me. Etc. The usual. I have lost a lot of "I can do anything" attitude and I know Draumsyn can feel my lack of self-confidence. And just like my dog, she can tell something is wrong with me I think--with the vision. She's trying to figure it all out too. We're getting there. She's a real joy in my life and very fun to ride--inbetween the minor flare ups. I've also been training predators for 20 years now--first lions and tigers and now dogs. I "know" Dog intrinsically now, (trained my own Guide Dog in fact) but it means I need to get used to Horse and the prey and herd dynamics again.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-11-2019, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 13,791
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Welcome to The forum! Wow, you are my hero! You have every excuse to not ride, but you do, and you look darn good on that horse too!

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: WIsconsin
Posts: 44
• Horses: 1
Wow, thank YOU. What a nice compliment! I try. And I've managed to maintain a good seat all these years. Now if I could only manage to start getting the confidence to canter and gallop again. LOL This week I plan to go a few minutes without stirrups to improve my balance. I think I'm feeling confident enough to try it now. I used to ride bareback all the time. Thanks again. What a great forum this is!
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-14-2019, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Arizona
Posts: 276
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Welcome! I'm also back to horses after a hiatus. I totally relate on the lack of confidence. I bought my new mare in September and probably spent a month only walking and trotting! But now I can feel the confidence coming back. I think your story is amazing, and I am SO SO SO glad that you found your way back to horses. I look forward to hearing more!
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to ride on a horse, is to fly without wings
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-14-2019, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 342
• Horses: 0
Getting back into the faster gaits after you've taken some time off can be hard and scary! I am in the same boat.

I've always wanted to ride Icelandic ponies. Lucky you!
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-15-2019, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: WIsconsin
Posts: 44
• Horses: 1
Rhonda--thanks! And I'm happy for you too! Here's to all us cantering around happily again! I did have a breakthrough yesterday. Remember I only ride once a week, sometimes twice so breakthroughs take a while. LOL But I really want to ride bareback again and I finally found the courage to ride without stirrups yesterday! She's so small and the saddle is so "barely there" it's been hard. I rode a big old Quarter Horse a few weeks ago--at someone's farm--in a Western saddle and I rode fine without stirrups. But my Icelandic feels so different. Here I am celebrating! (I took my helmet off for photos)
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