Anyone just can’t/hasn’t achieved their horsey dreams...

Welsh Dragon

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I was lucky to have ponies/horses as a child. I competed and loved it. I had to sell at 16 after losing my mum and having to grow up quickly.

At 25 I bought my current horse. I had grand plans, hunter trials, ode's ect. But I quickly realised that I couldn't have it all and be Mum, work full time, be a domestic goddess and generally handle life.

So for me hacking a couple of times a week is enough, not just because it's all I have time for, but because it makes me happy. I enjoy it, my horse is happy and healthy, and I am living my dream.
 

milliepops

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I think horse sport can be a very difficult one and dreams are frequently unachievable or crushed through no fault of the rider.

We all face the issues of our own mental and physical issues whatever sport we do, but skis and golf clubs don't go lame just when you are in sight of your dreams, do they?

.
No they don't, and that lottery of it all definitely makes horse sport all the more agonising at times.

But skis and golf clubs wont make your heart sing with joy at a nicker on a cold winters morning, or snuffling at your hand on a dark night 🥰
 

TPO

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It's funny how things change isnt it?

I'd bet that at one point most of us were pony mad kids who would do literally anything to get into sniffing distance of anything horsey, even if we were lucky enough to already be getting riding lessons or have access to a horse whether owned or not.

I'd have swapped my sister for a 3 legged donkey (although I'd probably also have swapped her for a packet of poppets 😬). When I was 11 I got a summer job in a family friend's chip shop and worked 12 hr shifts 6 days a week (probably illegal) in exchange for a little cash and jumping lessons. At 13 I got a well paying (£25 a day at 13 was a lot) Saturday job and paid for Pony Club lessons, a pony club that I was a member of for less than a year and only managed to go because I had a rich friend from school who's family hunting so I got a lift with them.

Anyway, remembering my point, probably everyone on here had already surpassed what they used to dream of.

I always feel a little sad when the "would you have horses if you couldn't compete?" thread makes a reappearance. I do appreciate that some people are goal driven and like being scored to use it as a measure of success but I do think it's a sad that they no longer just love horse for horses.

I get it; I'm a cynical crabbit bitter broken moo and no longer the same optimistic child that lived in hope but...horses do still make my heart burst (in a good way...well, sometimes in a good way) even if I've not been around Badminton 😁
 

KittyH

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My dream for a long, long time has been to ride in an international 3 day event. I haven't done that but yesterday I was asked to do one of those 10 day horsie things on FB and I realised just how much I have done. I have won BE, BD and BS, teamchasing, placed county showing, driven a miniature donkey in front of the Queen at Windsor (and to my wedding), hunted side saddle with multiple different packs, taken 3 of my 4 children to pony club. I have ridden out for a racehorse trainer for a summer. Many years ago I rode for GB in the student competitions. My sole BE win took 22 years from my first BE event. A home bred horse was too nappy to event but took me to advanced dressage and to the Petplan finals a couple of times, so I got to wear a tailcoat and ride tempi changes. I qualified as a BHS coach a couple of years ago to run alongside my full-time non-horsey job. Last year I did do a 3DE, albeit only the riding club championships, not the 'real' thing. I'm forty this year and have just bought a 5 yo who I really hope will make my 2* dreams come true. My facilities are finally pretty good and for the first time I bought a horse without a lot of compromises. I have scrimped on everything except the horses, my friends are my trainers and my clients, cos I never see anyone else. There have been some (many) God-awful heartaches along the way, and some fantastic highs, neither of which my husband or kids really get, although they tolerate both with the same slight bemusement. Have I achieved my dream? No, but I have achieved a lot of dreams I never knew I had. Sometimes the best days are just that moment in the school at home when the penny drops and something I couldn't get last week happens, sometimes it is just knowing that my horse has done their absolute best for me. I love my training sessions, and sometimes think I compete to give my lessons a focus and a momentum! Although my husband thinks we would be a lot richer if I gave up the horses, my life would be so much poorer. I get so frustrated when I have had a good day but end up 22nd, or find myself still only jumping around a 100, but actually I am so lucky and really every day I get to ride my lovely horses is my dream come true. And my tail coat is still hanging in my wardrobe, waiting for Osberton 2022!
 

splashgirl45

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although i havent achieved much success in competitions, i have succeeded and feel proud that my horses have been well cared for as if they were competition horses.... all have been with me for life, they had saddles fitted properly, shod or trimmed every 6 weeks without fail, had vet when needed and i never counted the cost, they had whatever they needed.. i used to ride in the dark to keep them fit as i worked long hours, i also worked at the yard for part of my livery.... physically and mentally i could only put all of my energy into either my job or competing and as the job was needed to allow me to keep a horse it had to come first. i should have changed my job when it took over my life but it took a breakdown to make me leave..hindsight is a wonderful thing
 

nikicb

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I have not read all the replies, but I think it depends on what you define success as. I have four horses/ponies - the two old ponies that my children rode when they were much younger, one broken but field sound horse who retired at 8, plus my 14.1 full of sass little mare. She and I will never be world beaters, but I have had the best times with her that I have had with any horse. Success to me is going to a clinic and having fun and achieving something however small. To me it's all about the journey and not the destination. x
 

TPO

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Yet another tangent... it's a really small number so not an accurate study but...

I was lucky to have ponies when I was a kid. Mum is horsey and dad is from farming stock so that was a head start but we definitely weren't rich. The ponies were dirt cheap and I didnt compete until a friend started taking me out places with her.

My point, all of the people that I knew as teenagers that had it handed to them on a plate gave up horses. I'm sure there were other "life" factors but they never known the struggle and want to get a horse and hadnt ever had to make any sacrifices to own or compete. When there were choices to be made the horses got ditched.

On the other hand a girl at my school was horse mad but really poor. I tried to be friends with her and invited her to see my ponies and swapped books/magazines etc but because we were kids she felt she had to lie to make out she had horses and what not so it made it hard to be friends. Also kids are arseholes 😬 Well she worked her backside off and picked up loads of rides and work through the years and now has a field full of her own horses along with a successful agricultural business. She was never scared from some hard graft.

So yes, rich and/or supportive parents definitely help (have you seen Gina Schumacher's stable yard and indoor??) but if you don't have that want/drive/steel within you no amount of money can compensate.
 

Boulty

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Yes & no... I certainly had to re-examine what was realistic & enjoyable & what wasn't with the orange one... I gave up trying to do anything SJ related as it just caused us both a lot of stress, gave up on the idea of trying ODEs for the same reason. Perhaps with a lot of lessons, me seriously sorting my position out (probably with a better saddle thrown in there somewhere too) we might have gotten somewhere but it wouldn't have been fun & well what's the point in doing something that makes you miserable? I think somewhere in the midst of all that I realised the only reason I'd enjoyed jumping in the first place had been with the previous pony who'd loved it & would have happily jumped around with no rider I think. (Didn't have a lorry as a teenager though so we didn't do much other than very local unaff stuff) I also gave up on dressagey stuff after a few years (only really started doing bits of it as it didn't make me feel sick like jumping did... perhaps because I never really cared all that much about the score) as I find memorising tests difficult & ride awfully with a caller (again what's the point in throwing the money at something that's not fun?) Never affiliated at any of that anyway due to lack of desire, or erm money. (Didn't have a lorry at that point anyway) Having said all that after a fair bit of effort he did turn into a semi-respectable TREC horse (which seeing as I was terrified of hacking him for a while after he bolted down a road with me & he used to lose his mind at tarpaulin flapping when I first got him is some kind of minor miracle).

Fergus is a completely different "type" of horse to what I've had in the past so I've not expectation of picking up any previously discarded dreams with him. I would love to carry on the TREC stuff with him & maybe achieve a level or two higher than His Highness managed but we'll see what happens with that & if I have to re-adjust my goals again if it turns out he enjoys something completely different (If some of his antics are taken into account maybe he DOES want to be a jumping pony). There is also the fact that I am once again lorry-less & have no immediate plans to get one again

As for the hard work element I'll admit that I was more motivated to get up earlier for the sake of squeezing in 20 or 30 mins 5 yrs ago compared to now... I'm in an awkward position with him being turned away miles from where I live at the moment anyway but I'm trying to take into account giving myself as easy a life as possible / making it as easy as poss to find time to ride & do things in the current yard search. I HAVE managed to keep a horse in full work without access to a school (just an unfenced grass schooling area) but it was flipping hard work... good job the hacking at the yard was amazing & varied (& has throughly spoilt me as I'd kill to be back in that area but just can't find what I want in a yard in that area at the moment)
 

mule

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It's funny how things change isnt it?

I'd bet that at one point most of us were pony mad kids who would do literally anything to get into sniffing distance of anything horsey, even if we were lucky enough to already be getting riding lessons or have access to a horse whether owned or not.

I'd have swapped my sister for a 3 legged donkey (although I'd probably also have swapped her for a packet of poppets 😬). When I was 11 I got a summer job in a family friend's chip shop and worked 12 hr shifts 6 days a week (probably illegal) in exchange for a little cash and jumping lessons. At 13 I got a well paying (£25 a day at 13 was a lot) Saturday job and paid for Pony Club lessons, a pony club that I was a member of for less than a year and only managed to go because I had a rich friend from school who's family hunting so I got a lift with them.

Anyway, remembering my point, probably everyone on here had already surpassed what they used to dream of.

I always feel a little sad when the "would you have horses if you couldn't compete?" thread makes a reappearance. I do appreciate that some people are goal driven and like being scored to use it as a measure of success but I do think it's a sad that they no longer just love horse for horses.

I get it; I'm a cynical crabbit bitter broken moo and no longer the same optimistic child that lived in hope but...horses do still make my heart burst (in a good way...well, sometimes in a good way) even if I've not been around Badminton 😁
I still stare out the car window whenever I pass a horse in a field and I still imagine myself cantering along a golf course whenever I pass one. Golf courses look so inviting :D
 

daffy44

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Yet another tangent... it's a really small number so not an accurate study but...

I was lucky to have ponies when I was a kid. Mum is horsey and dad is from farming stock so that was a head start but we definitely weren't rich. The ponies were dirt cheap and I didnt compete until a friend started taking me out places with her.

My point, all of the people that I knew as teenagers that had it handed to them on a plate gave up horses. I'm sure there were other "life" factors but they never known the struggle and want to get a horse and hadnt ever had to make any sacrifices to own or compete. When there were choices to be made the horses got ditched.

On the other hand a girl at my school was horse mad but really poor. I tried to be friends with her and invited her to see my ponies and swapped books/magazines etc but because we were kids she felt she had to lie to make out she had horses and what not so it made it hard to be friends. Also kids are arseholes 😬 Well she worked her backside off and picked up loads of rides and work through the years and now has a field full of her own horses along with a successful agricultural business. She was never scared from some hard graft.

So yes, rich and/or supportive parents definitely help (have you seen Gina Schumacher's stable yard and indoor??) but if you don't have that want/drive/steel within you no amount of money can compensate.

You are so right, you appreciate it so much more when you've really had to work for it.
 

atropa

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Absolutely amazing thread. Some really inspiring and humbling posts here from some amazing people which have put things into perspective for me at a time when I need it.
My knee jerk response was no I haven't achieved my horsey dream (competing at a BE80), but actually thinking about it...yes, I have as I have three beautiful heads looking over my stable doors, every single penny of them, their care and equipment bought and paid for by my hard earned money, I have competed and won rosettes in SJ, WH, showing, endurance, dressage, I have taken my spooky youngest XC schooling for the first time for both of us as a very nervous rider and loved it, I have nursed my heart horse back from colic, laminitis, navicular, and PSD within the space of 18 months to the point where she can be hacked and lightly schooled again, I have galloped my HiPo on the beach and across fields without a care in the world. I know it's cheesy but I love the saying 'remember the days you prayed for what you have now'
 

EllenJay

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In short - no I haven't achieved my dreams. I always wanted to be an international SJ - but I don't have the talent or the money. But has that stopped me enjoying what I do have - NO. I love my horses, I love the joy they bring me, I love when we win a frilly at a competition. Could I do better - yes, if I had a better horse. Could my boy win more - yes, if he had a better rider. We suit each other, and we have fun - what more do you need?
 

KEK

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Interesting thread. I'm trying to keep competitions out of my horse life, as I do so much of it with the dogs and it can feel like "work" to train them instead of fun.
Some sad stories, too :(
 

Red-1

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Yes, as a youngster I went to Chatsworth horse trials as a spectator and decided then and there that this is what I wanted to do. I was a once a week rider in a non horse family, getting to grips with rising trot at the time.

I did all sorts to make it happen. I digested the Manual of Horsemanship (still have the tattered blue book!), could have recited the feeding tables etc. I begged rides, begged for a pony, then got one YAY, but still begged rides, rode for a dealer who EVENTED, got to ride her horses in return for lessons, got a horse, worked my ass of with him, begged for rides (more experience!), did BS (won a NC) and team chasing, did my AI in the 6 weeks holiday, then got a career and knew it all had to go on hold for a year, not because I had lost the dream, but because I realised that solvent would be better, then got a horse, then had an injury at work and 5 years off.... I could barely lift my arms, horses was out of the question.

Semi-mended, I got to another of my (acquired) dreams and was a Police Mounted Officer, then a trainer, then did my BHS II, then became head trainer and got another horse... Got a husband who supported me all the way, the first horse would not have done Chatsworth, so we got a second... Second was talented but tricky, one trainer told me she could not see how I could ride at Chatsworth, so she was sacked on the spot, got better trainers and got there! Riding could be done anytime from 5am to 11pm, it was intense.

Yes, I drove through the 'golden gates' to compete at Chatsworth. In fact, I requested day before dressage just so I could do it twice!!! Did OK, but it was 35 degree heat, someone fell off last fence XC before I was set off, but they set me off anyway only for us to be held on course for 40 minutes in 35 degree heat the fence before the water, so she switched off and we had an uncharacteristic stop at the water, but heck, I did the Ice Pond, jumped in front of Chatsworth House, did the dream. I remembered the small child looking at those horses and I wondered if there was another small child looking at me and so the circle goes on. I did my dream! Yay!

By then I was hooked and did Burgie and Blair, in what is now CCI**, and wanted to do what is now 3 star, bought another horse, started training other people privately including teaching in America, was a presenter at YHL, did a cutting competition, was in a few newspaper articles, wrote some magazine articles....

But then I had another injury at work, struggled to ride and train young horses (struggled to ride at all TBH), and had to stick at 90 and 100 in BE, and that was by the grace of a generous horse (as well as retiring from work as I could not even easily get in and out of a car, never mind get on a horse)!

Sadly my saint of a horse became a wobbler, I lost him and found I am more broken than I realised, lost the will to keep going, quit teaching, had a year off horses altogether, and although I now have a lovely mare and keep trying to get going with her, mum became ill and we have had 2 years doing not a lot. Having said that, I am enjoying pootling around the lanes, and my dressage trainer can't understand why I don't want to be competitive as she thinks we should be out at ele and competing Med shortly, yet all we have done is a couple of unaff prelims. I lost the grr factor. Anyone with a mother with dementia will understand, I think.

I would not say that I was ever 'good' but we muddled through, I taught a lot of people who say I changed their lives (taught confidence), and I achieved everything I set as a goal. I now work in a primary school, just the same as training horses but without the rain!
 

Sussexbythesea

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The one thing I see with people who are successful (competitively especially) is that they’re very focused on achieving that goal. There are two people that I’ve seen on my yard who are rigorous in their training and horse care and have achieved very well at BD. Both have previously lost horses on had just reached AM when her horse died of colic but she’s brought another one on to the same level. The other achieved her first PSG this year after buying him as a two year old he’s 13 now.

I do think there is an element of luck involved too as horses go wrong and we can’t always just replace them because we can’t afford to and/or we have an emotional attachment. Again though the really focused can also be quite ruthless and will move on or get rid of horses that are not making the grade. That’s never going to be me.

Conversely there’s another person I know who’s got two very well bred horses one a very expensive schoolmaster and has had horses boarded on and off at trainers for months who’s never achieved anything over Prelim because she’s butterfly brained and completely unfocused not because of anything else although she has suffered with various life tragedy’s over the years which haven’t helped. It’s not money or horsepower or even talent that holds her back.
 

HufflyPuffly

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Lovely thread 🥰.

I think it’s nice to remember what your dreams as a kid were, mine felt so unachievable at the time: to have my own horse.

Even then I had to work my arse off lol, extra yard work for more lessons, looking after liveries horses for rides etc. Had to get a part time job to get my first horse, and it was living the dream!

More amazing was a change in family circumstances and me and mum could get our box, freedom to compete took my dreams and multiplied them.

Nobody could tell me Doodle was too old, the wrong height, too lumpy, too croup high, we were going and doing! It gave me such a good basis for not caring what others think and if I wanted to try then we were going to do it, we did big shows and mostly didn’t win lol but we sometimes just got lucky and she took me all over the country showing, it was 100% living my dream at the time 😜.

Then we got Topaz and eventing became the new dream, then Topaz was bonkers, we got to grips with her, had a rotational fall, did some dressage over the winter and somehow the dream swerved onto a new route. She has really shown me hard work is always the answer! She has been to the petplan finals twice (elementary and medium), and we got to wear our top hat and tails.

Skylla may or may not achieve the eventing dreams, horses are so hard and take everything to be successful but I wouldn’t change anything. I’m single, live alone with my many cats 😂🙈 and put everything into the horses, it’s not a lifestyle most would want or enjoy but for now I’m still living my dream regardless of competive wins 🤷🏼‍♀️☺️.
 

palo1

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This is such a great thread :) I had access to horses and ponies in quite a big way as a child and seemed to find things 'easy' - I was definately pony-mad and would ride anything and took anything on when riding. I had fun and self-belief though also an uneasy sense of 'hunger' and 'ambition' to achieve stuff. Then I went off to boarding school which put an end to the kind of regular riding that is helpful for that sort of thing...I rode sporadically, still hungry, for years and trained very part time at a really good dressage yard when I was a student. I loved that! :) But then I went on to post grad studies in London. I took up polo (the only riding I could afford in London ironically - through a student club). Eventually I found work and bought my own horse - I really wanted to event. I had had enough money by then to buy quite a decent horse only I chose to buy a cheap, less suitable horse I fell in love with and he was not easy in any way.

For years I worked and worked and dreamt and kept going with him, even managing to sort him out and event a bit. I was still hungry, still dreaming and then he had a horrible accident and I had him PTS. I chose my next horse with competing in mind - he was a 3y/o, beautifully made and really is a dream bless him. :) My dreams had shifted a bit by then along with my life but I still had a sense of ambition and hunger to find competitive success. I did everything 'right' with my young horse and really that paid off. We were able to go competing - at a low level we were able to go anywhere in fact; dressage, jumping, xc and endurance. I was amazed to be honest how easy that horse made it for me - suddenly I had a horse I could go anywhere with and who had the ability to do just about whatever I was capable of. (Not a huge ask tbh but each of our dreams is a personal thing right?!!). Suddenly I knew that with a bit of preparation and just ordinary amounts of luck with horse-health/soundness I would come home from wherever I went with a rosette/placing/success etc. In all honesty I did find that quite self-affirming and I have real gratitude to horses for letting me 'use' equestrianism for that!! It's not necessarily the best or most helpful route though. I could progress and start to look at really quite ambitious goals... After a couple of years of this and being so proud and protective of my lovely horse I just realised that it wasn't that important any more. The thing that changed for me was an awareness, through this 'success' of just how fragile that can be and that with such a willing and happy horse I wanted, actually, to maintain the joy of riding and keeping him sound, healthy and happy for as long as possible. For me, that meant I didn't want to push him physically or mentally in following a competitive goal which will always require things to be 'right' on the day. I just stopped wanting what I thought I had always wanted.

I think what I am trying to say is that dreams can change - they can be like buses or boats that get you part of the way on your journey. Some dreams last a short time, others keep you going for life. My dream as a child, to have a really wonderful horse that I can do anything with has been constant but the competitive stuff has helped me to keep going at times. I have another young horse now and new dreams are starting to take shape - they will be exciting to follow for as long as they last. Always I dream of learning about horsemanship, about those moments of pure joy in riding and about that depth in the partnership between humans and horses but there are other dreams too....

I have learnt along the way that dreams that are related to our own egos are probably not the ones to follow - there needs to be something that is a bit more sustainable than that if you are going to work with horses. Also that some dreams are incompatible with others....I found that the dream of having a home where I could keep my horses was not financially compatible with buying an expensive horse and competing it/having the facilities and money to train etc. Thankfully at the point in life that I had that amazing chance it was a no-brainer for me - I definately chose having the horses at home. :) :) If you have dreams you just have to keep making choices and some of those are hard or require real sacrifice. It is really, really hard to put your dreams in the fragile and capricious care of a horse.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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One day I will have one of my own at HOYS - whether it is in the Cuddy, the Lead Rein or with me riding in the Open classes I'll get there. I have a homebred here that would easily have gone to HOYS with someone else but he is 18yo now and when in his prime I neither had a good enough rider for him nor the time to produce him properly due to 2 jobs. The same reason I sold the Wee Coloured Job - no decent, small enough, old enough riders up here to ride a stallion. And the ones that are wont get on a Shetland for fear of being sent out of the ring for being too tall/heavy according to someone else. They dub them the Fat Police at Great Yorkshire. The Wee Coloured Job will go to HOYS with his new family not a bother.

Racing wise I have been involved with a Cheltenham Festival winner and a Grand National winner. That's the pinacle of National Hunt racing. I am annoyed I never got to lead up Sky when he was 3rd at Cheltenham, 4th at Aintree or 5th at Punchestown in the space of 9 weeks but hey! I don't drink or go out partying so I am no fun to take away racing!

I have no aspirations jumping wise. I never have.
 

Abi90

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Yes, as a youngster I went to Chatsworth horse trials as a spectator and decided then and there that this is what I wanted to do. I was a once a week rider in a non horse family, getting to grips with rising trot at the time.

I did all sorts to make it happen. I digested the Manual of Horsemanship (still have the tattered blue book!), could have recited the feeding tables etc. I begged rides, begged for a pony, then got one YAY, but still begged rides, rode for a dealer who EVENTED, got to ride her horses in return for lessons, got a horse, worked my ass of with him, begged for rides (more experience!), did BS (won a NC) and team chasing, did my AI in the 6 weeks holiday, then got a career and knew it all had to go on hold for a year, not because I had lost the dream, but because I realised that solvent would be better, then got a horse, then had an injury at work and 5 years off.... I could barely lift my arms, horses was out of the question.

Semi-mended, I got to another of my (acquired) dreams and was a Police Mounted Officer, then a trainer, then did my BHS II, then became head trainer and got another horse... Got a husband who supported me all the way, the first horse would not have done Chatsworth, so we got a second... Second was talented but tricky, one trainer told me she could not see how I could ride at Chatsworth, so she was sacked on the spot, got better trainers and got there! Riding could be done anytime from 5am to 11pm, it was intense.

Yes, I drove through the 'golden gates' to compete at Chatsworth. In fact, I requested day before dressage just so I could do it twice!!! Did OK, but it was 35 degree heat, someone fell off last fence XC before I was set off, but they set me off anyway only for us to be held on course for 40 minutes in 35 degree heat the fence before the water, so she switched off and we had an uncharacteristic stop at the water, but heck, I did the Ice Pond, jumped in front of Chatsworth House, did the dream. I remembered the small child looking at those horses and I wondered if there was another small child looking at me and so the circle goes on. I did my dream! Yay!

By then I was hooked and did Burgie and Blair, in what is now CCI**, and wanted to do what is now 3 star, bought another horse, started training other people privately including teaching in America, was a presenter at YHL, did a cutting competition, was in a few newspaper articles, wrote some magazine articles....

But then I had another injury at work, struggled to ride and train young horses (struggled to ride at all TBH), and had to stick at 90 and 100 in BE, and that was by the grace of a generous horse (as well as retiring from work as I could not even easily get in and out of a car, never mind get on a horse)!

Sadly my saint of a horse became a wobbler, I lost him and found I am more broken than I realised, lost the will to keep going, quit teaching, had a year off horses altogether, and although I now have a lovely mare and keep trying to get going with her, mum became ill and we have had 2 years doing not a lot. Having said that, I am enjoying pootling around the lanes, and my dressage trainer can't understand why I don't want to be competitive as she thinks we should be out at ele and competing Med shortly, yet all we have done is a couple of unaff prelims. I lost the grr factor. Anyone with a mother with dementia will understand, I think.

I would not say that I was ever 'good' but we muddled through, I taught a lot of people who say I changed their lives (taught confidence), and I achieved everything I set as a goal. I now work in a primary school, just the same as training horses but without the rain!
Wow Red! What an amazing and inspiring tale!

I have achieved my goals in some ways but in some ways not. I was the once a week riding school rider, and as all my friends left as their parents bought them ponies it never happened to me. My dad’s friend had a PRE stud and worked and rode there for 8 years which was an amazing opportunity but I still wasn’t able to compete.

I left uni and joined the RAF and didn’t ride for about 2 years. RAF paid me enough to buy my first horse aged 25 but he didn’t like jumping, bought another horse that should have been fab but had a terrible fall off him within a few weeks which shattered my confidence and he went back as I wasn’t confident enough to get back on a horse I barely knew. Then ended up with a 4 yr old who is now 7 and we had just started out finally working our way up the showjumping levels and were going to affiliate this year but we discovered she has Pastern arthritis from an injury as a youngster that will almost definitely shorten her career, plus COVID got in the way so I still haven’t really achieved anything but I have produced a just backed 4 yr old myself which has given me a massive sense of achievement and I’ve only just turned 30 so I’ve probably still got plenty of time
 

Courbette

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25 May 2019
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235
I have an awful track record with competing! I'd love to work my way up through the levels with dressage but for many years I had no transport. I hired transport and had a string of disasters including a trailer being stolen the night before, being let down over an expired MOT, shows cancelled due to hard ground and one 'company' going AWOL with my cash. For 3 years I tried to get to a show that had a breed specific class for my mare and on the third attempt we made it only to miss the class with the owner faffing so that was £200+ down the drain and I got a ride round some parkland and went home. I then moved to a yard that has shows on site but loaned a stallion, non of the shows on site would allow a stallion to enter. I have finally (I think) found a lovely little pony that can show me the ropes on a yard with riding club events on site and now we have coronavirus :oops:
 

emilylou

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2 February 2011
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196
I think I’ve been incredibly lucky so far and would say I’ve achieved my dreams.
My family are non-horsey but I’d always wanted to ride and dreamed of having my own horse. I remember car rides imagining myself on a horse galloping across the fields out of the car window and jumping over the hedges in between.
At 12 I asked my parents to buy me a pony. They said no, so I resolved to buy one myself. I got a paper round, asked for money instead of presents at birthday and Christmas. And for two years didn’t spend a penny. When I had finally saved enough money I went out and bought the first pony I saw. He was black and fast and good at jumping which was why I liked him, my parents scrambled to find a field to put him in. In reality I was incredibly lucky to have bought a 14.2 PC schoolmaster who was the perfect horse to learn on, was gracious with me and taught me so much.
I still own him and since then I’ve had a number of wonderful horses, I rode and competed for a living, learnt to break and school, and bought a brilliant horse by sheer chance for £600 as a 3yo who years later finally fulfilled that childhood dream of galloping through the countryside over every hedge in our path.
Yes, it’s taken a lot of incredibly hard work, tears and long days but that’s horses.
I still have dreams of competing at Novice BE and jumping around foxhunter SJ, but they are new dreams and if I don’t achieve them then it’s fine.
I love the freedom of horses and the lessons they teach you about humility, good character and staying present and that will always be more important than achieving competitive dreams. Really, I’m still the little girl who is ridiculously excited just to be with horses.
 

Roxylola

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15 March 2016
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1,772
Sooo, am I the only one now wondering who red is in real life - I'm nosey anyway but from my years working at an exam/comp centre I know lots of people so I'm always curious if some of the folk on here are people I'd know in real life :p Although it's mostly confined to north of Birmingham so perhaps not.
My dreams have changed over the years, I dont have the bottle or talent for badders sadly which would be massively disappointing to 8 year old me. I did work with horses though for a while but gave it up for better money eventually although I'd go back in a heartbeat. I had my own but he fell apart and was pts. Now I enjoy bringing on what I get chance to ride to the best of my ability and my goals are guided by them. Supercob wont go to nationals but he'll move up the levels for sure and I guess maybe badminton grassroots might be achievable....
 

TotalMadgeness

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Joined
25 April 2014
Messages
488
Location
South Lanarkshire
As a kid I dreamt of having my own place and horses and after several decades I'm there, bit skint but hey I'm living my dream. I have had to adjust my dream to the harsh reality but I think that's just normal life. I do the best I can to keep the horses healthy and sane - can't do more than that. Yesterday was a typical heart sinker of a day. After years of trying to get my 'dream dressage pony' at a point where he is simply comfortable doing basic work in a school (discovered a few weeks of owning him he was broken stifle wise plus he has developed melanomas and sarcoids and is pretty much a regular at the vets) yesterday I had to stop the schooling session 10 minutes in as he was slipping behind (which he does when his stifles have had enough). So it looks like we're back to square one with him sadly. I then got on my big guy who after years of struggling with bone spavin is now comfortable in the school & working quite nicely only for him to go suddenly lame in canter. Looks like a suspensory ligament issue to me - so I am now waiting for a telephone appointment from the vet. Both horses are so incredibly easy going and beautiful animals who never fail to put a smile on my face so I feel incredibly lucky to have them in my life, even if they are both a bit broken.
 

Dusty 123

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5 April 2020
Messages
109
I was diagnosis with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when I was 9 years old . As a kid I dreamed to of riding in big horse shows now I am just happy that I can just ride. I still living my dream I never actually thought I would be able to have my own horse but I achieved it and bought my first horse in 2018 . My dream changed but I think it important to appreciate what we have. At least we can be around horses.
 
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mule

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27 October 2016
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6,254
I started as a child, did weekly lessons and spent all my weekends helping out at the riding school. I wanted to jump at Hickstead :D As a teenager I lost interest though. That coincided with developing a health condition.

I came back to it 6 years ago after almost 2 decades off. I started going to a riding school but was very lucky to also be able to learn on a family member's horse. I'm now his co-owner.
I learned a lot with him and enjoyed competing . We did well at eventing and dressage. Ironically I had less interest in showjumping but the beast is a star and never knocks a pole.
We did lots of competitions for about 1.5 -2 years and had a great time.

I lost interest in jumping after a while and also competing. The competing was stressful for me and I didn't have the drive for it anymore. I drag hunted for a season, which I was pleased with because I had an accident hunting as a child and lost my nerve.

For the last year and a half I've been hacking and schooling, with the odd group lesson at the riding school. We do jump little things just for fun, especially out hacking. I'm enjoying the low pressure horsey lifestyle and the beast has become more like a pet to me than a horse :)
 
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PapaverFollis

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13 November 2012
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4,383
My only dream as a kid was having my own horse. Obviously that also involved going to shows and winning everything a la all the horsey books I used to read. But honestly just getting a horse at the age of 27 was amazing to me. I never went to shows and won everything but it was better than I ever imagined all the same. 10 years later I'm looking out my kitchen window at a herd of 3 snoozing in my own field. I'm not sure I could ever want more than that.

Riding wise I maybe thought I would better. I was certainly talented enough as a youngster but never had the opportunity to do anything about it and didn't have the drive to change that. I was pushed in different directions I guess. Now I have zero confidence so getting on a horse feels like an achievement each time I ride! It comes and goes but my baseline is definitely getting on is an achievement!

I think if I have a dream still to achieve it is both me and MrPF being able to ride together for a consistent period of time!! We've consistantly struggled to have two sound horses at the same time. But if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen.
 

Red-1

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7 February 2013
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9,973
Location
Yorkshire
Wow Red! What an amazing and inspiring tale!
That took me aback. I had always intended to retire early then teach more, compete more, write more, but by the time I did retire I was broken and burned out. I am always berating myself for simply fading way in what should have been my prime. Hence stopping teaching, I felt as if I had nothing left to say.

I kind of feel like I have thrown something away, but have been so busy with mum. School is great though, have trained as an Emotional Learning Support Assistant, so help kids who are going through difficulties as well as working 1-1 with kids with additional needs.

Sooo, am I the only one now wondering who red is in real life - I'm nosey anyway but from my years working at an exam/comp centre I know lots of people so I'm always curious if some of the folk on here are people I'd know in real life :p Although it's mostly confined to north of Birmingham so perhaps not.
....
Haha, I am a nobody. Never won anything of note. I am a rubbish jumper. I did used to be good at helping nice people get nice results with nice horses. That is actually an art in itself, confidence is key for horses and people alike. When I was invited as a speaker at YHL I thought it was a mistake at first, like, did they get the right Red-1? But no, it was me, gave 3 talks in the something zone. Can't remember what it was called now, but I was rather awestruck when I saw some people who you would know watching me o_O As for the magazine articles, I only did 8, for 2 publications.
 
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