At my wits end.... Time to give up horse keeping?

Melandmary

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26 January 2021
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I got a call from OH this morning( I was on nights) telling me not to panic but the old mare had fallen in to the river. 1st off I suffer with anxiety so panic set in and calls were made and thanks to a lovely farmer and mini digger she is out and waiting for the vet. She fell in trying to reach for sycamore leaves after I had cut the overhanging branches yesterday. I can't cope anymore with all the worry that has come with moving my mare, then companion, then 3rd companion to my partners property. I have dealt with flooding, too much grass, seperation anxiety, laminitis, managing fat ponies, getting sheep, constant refencing, building an arena, no safe hacking and trying to keep them safe is making me ill. I have had horses all my life and never had any serious health or management issues. But this last 9 months here has taken all the joy out of horse ownership. I work 60 plus hours to keep them and spend all my money on 3 horses that seem intent on killing themselves and giving me a nervous breakdown. Sorry for the rant if you got this far. Partner thinks I should just stop stressing but my brain feels like it's going to burst
 

vannersrus

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So sorry you are feeling like this . I guess you need to decide if the horses are causing you more anxiety than they are relieving stress by providing you with a hobby you enjoy🤔
When I have decisions like this I try to imagine how I’d feel without them . If your answer is relief then you need to consider your options.
Could you just keep one , maybe on livery?
60 hours a week work doesn’t really give you a chance to enjoy them at all !
 

Melandmary

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I moved my mare in December last year so she was at home. I also moved I to partners home. Livery is 35 mins away I I itially looked at local yards to new home but couldn't find anything suitable, that had plenty of turnout and herd grazing. Partners ex had kept her horse here and so I thought I could make it work. We have spent so much time and money on fencing, putting an arena in, clear g barb wire and taking down greenhouses. I would love to have her back on livery. The 15 grand spent on the arena is the sticking point
 

HappyHollyDays

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I’m sorry you are feeling so worried about everything. It really sounds as though you could do with a proper break, working long hours and horses in winter are hard enough without constantly stressing about them. Rather than give up could you put all three onto retirement livery together just for the winter where they are cared for which will give you the breathing space you need to decide what you want to do next. It might make you realise horses are no longer for you or you miss them desperately and want to carry on.
 

Birker2020

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18 January 2021
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I got a call from OH this morning( I was on nights) telling me not to panic but the old mare had fallen in to the river. 1st off I suffer with anxiety so panic set in and calls were made and thanks to a lovely farmer and mini digger she is out and waiting for the vet. She fell in trying to reach for sycamore leaves after I had cut the overhanging branches yesterday. I can't cope anymore with all the worry that has come with moving my mare, then companion, then 3rd companion to my partners property. I have dealt with flooding, too much grass, seperation anxiety, laminitis, managing fat ponies, getting sheep, constant refencing, building an arena, no safe hacking and trying to keep them safe is making me ill. I have had horses all my life and never had any serious health or management issues. But this last 9 months here has taken all the joy out of horse ownership. I work 60 plus hours to keep them and spend all my money on 3 horses that seem intent on killing themselves and giving me a nervous breakdown. Sorry for the rant if you got this far. Partner thinks I should just stop stressing but my brain feels like it's going to burst
Some brilliant advice above. I'm so sorry you feel like this, I very much get where you are coming from.
Horse ownership isn't easy at the best of times but when you own horses intent on self harming and you are constantly under breaking point I really know just what a battle you are going through.

Big Hugs to you, I hope things resolve soon for you.
 

Polos Mum

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If you chose to put yours on livery then I am sure you would have a line of people wanting to rent a small place with a school from you that could cover some / all of the costs of livery.
Then there is a limited net additional cost for you.

Not without its other issues of strangers in your fields / finding the right person etc. but might be another option to consider to recover some of your investment.

I try and focus on what I can control (not much) I can't help it when the youngsters choose to self harm when I've done a reasonable job of providing a safe environment. Horses have an amazing ability to hurt themselves on the most benign of things - that is something I can't control so I can't worry about it.

Easier said than done - some of the mindfulness stuff might be worth considering or even speaking to someone professional. Stress is a nasty thing in too high a dose.
Hard to know if the concern is the set up or your perception of it (both of which are equally valid concerns).
 

Melandmary

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26 January 2021
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Thankyou all for the lovely replies. The trouble with being at home with horses is that there is no one on hand to give advice or be an ear to vent at. I have had a busy few hours moving sheep, moving the horses to the field I was saving for winter that is fully fenced off from the river. The vet has been and checked the old mare over and she is just a bit sore with a few superficial grazes and so is just going to be on bute for a week. There has been lots of great advice, I am waiting to start a new job that will be less hours and better pay. I am really exhausted from worry and now working out how to get them to and from the new field without eating the new grass we sowed but I will figure that out. I am a control freak and feel I have no control at present. Going to have to have a good think about what I am going to do going forwards. Thankyou all so much for your kind words of wisdom x
 

Peglo

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Oh the rant!!! Sometimes you just have to vent. I get it often too. Actually one of my work mates got the rant today but less about the horses and more about dumping crap in the horses field that they need for food for winter.
I couldn’t imagine the stress of my horse ending in a pond so sending stress relieving vibes now she’s safe and well.
Tomorrow they will put a smile on your face again. My only advice is just take on one thing at a time.
 

Cloball

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I find change very anxiety provoking it takes months for it to settle down so don't be too hard on yourself it sounds like a big change with a lot of expectations riding on it! Any chance you could find a sharer or similar to provide you with company and a bit of a break? Do you have friends you can box up to hack out with to cheer yourself up?
 

MuddyMonster

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Have you spoken to your GP? Or a private therapist, counsellor type person? I'm no expert but do think it sounds like it might be beneficial.

When you're already feeling tired and stressed, it takes a lot less to after overwhelmed then it would ordinarily and that sense of loss of control, can be more anxiety inducing and its a spiral.
Particularly if you're, not necessarily alone, but seeing less people through being at home etc.

It sounds like you've had a lot of change too, so do make sure you're kind to yourself.

I think, when you're feeling less tired and in a better place so to speak in general, the horse stuff that feels so overwhelming now, will feel manageable again.

Really glad to hear your mare is OK though.

Take care of yourself. X
 

Leandy

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Just came to say that if you find your horses' death wishes anxiety provoking, good luck with keeping sheep! On a more serious note, it sounds as though this is a lot of change in your life. Are you getting help for the anxiety? If not, or it is not effective, it sounds as though it would be worth trying to get more of a handle on that, rather than trying to change things again.
 
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I totally get where you're coming from. I've just got a couple of little ponies in my small paddock at home, but I find I'm worrying about them all the time. (my specific worry is that I'm not giving them some unachievable "perfect" life that I think all other ponies have. And in my head I understand this is ridiculous, but still, the worry is constant. And, like you, I seem to do more and more and more, but it's never quite enough)

Like you said, it's tough not having some there to just bounce an idea/concern off. I don't have any answers I'm afraid, but I understand where you're coming from xx
 

Gift Horse

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Maybe you haven’t had long enough to enjoy the things you have put in place.
A few years ago my OH and I moved - we fenced, pulled many tonne bags full of rag, spent the same as you building a diy arena, refurbished old stables ...... while living in a run down house, working a long working week, under financial pressure because of the move and attending weekly medical appointments.
It takes it out of you, I was burnt out, exhausted, unhappy, not riding.

Three years on and I’m loving life, everything we worked hard to put in place has made life better. There is still a lot to do but I’m happy again, enjoying the horses, enjoying riding, hoping to do some competitions. There is still a lot to do but it feels doable and less overwhelming now. Good luck, better times ahead.
 

throwawayaccount

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15 February 2021
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sorry you are feeling this way- its completely valid, i think i'd be at my wits end too.

your partner means well but you can't just 'stop stressing', if it was that easy everyone would!

it does however sound like you can't keep the plates spinning and you need to take a step back and re-assess. not sure if you are in the position or not, but could you hire someone to do the maintenance and help out or see if a friend would be able to? not necessarily every day, but it sounds like it would be handy to have someone in that proximity.

60 hours a week is a lot on top of horses and we aren't designed to just work work work. contrary to popular belief! fingers crossed the new job will allow you to breathe more x
 

Mari

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I used to work long hours in a stressful job & kept my 2 horses at home. Had an arena but no safe hacking so had to box up to safe routes when I wanted to hack. Once the daylight hours became fewer I stopped riding & just looked after them. Out all day, in at night whatever the weather. Once daylight hours & weather improved I would start riding again. Would this work for you?
 

Melandmary

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26 January 2021
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Morning everyone, thankyou all so much for your kind thoughts and apologies for late reply. Yesterday I got them all settled in their winter field, it was the 1st one we fully fenced off from the river so I feel a sense of relief there, there is more grass than I would have liked but lami one is muzzled. Old mare looks happy and content with having plenty to eat now they are off the starvation paddock and little Mary who I was planning to give back to the sanctuary yesterday has followed me round all morning whilst doing my jobs as if she knew she was for the off 😂, truth is she has come on so much and I have spent so much time trying to get the little fatty to lose weight that I have become too attached for her to go. Things look brighter today. I have been struggling with my mental health and anxiety for a 2 years now- I put it down to the menopause but yesterday made me realise it is probably something more as every little thing that goes wrong sends my brain spiralling out of control. We have done so much to improve the facilities we have, where she fell in yesterday is the last bit of the river that needed fencing( this field was never meant for horse use, it's for my partners dogs to run) but I needed it to keep the turned out 2 near Mel when she was box resting and then it became the starvation paddock. I will make an appointment to see my gp because I don't want to be like this all the time. Thankyou all for caring xx
 

Ratface

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23 September 2021
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Before retirement 12 years ago, I found myself spiralling down a similar hole of self-perpetuating exhaustion.
Working a 60-70 hour a week was the norm. Mistakes meant lives could be lost and I would be blamed, risking the loss of my registration.
I dropped off to sleep, hurtling down a motorway at 2 am. I had been working nonstop for 23 hours. Fortunately, I woke up before I killed anyone or myself.
Shortly afterwards, I realised that my skills, experience and motivation were redundant.
They were too time consuming and therefore too costly.
I retired, hurt, but alive.
 

Melandmary

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That must have been a frightening wake up call @Ratface and I wonder how many of us ignore all the little signs that our lives are getting too much and that we are not coping. We are all trying to be kind to others but I feel we forget about ourselves - juggling too many balls and trying to be perfect at everything. Mental health awareness is everywhere and yet perhaps because everyone seems to be suffering from it I somehow felt like I didn't want to be seen as jumping on that band waggon /admitting to being weak. I hope you are enjoying your retirement now and getting out on your bed 😊
 

Ratface

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That must have been a frightening wake up call @Ratface and I wonder how many of us ignore all the little signs that our lives are getting too much and that we are not coping. We are all trying to be kind to others but I feel we forget about ourselves - juggling too many balls and trying to be perfect at everything. Mental health awareness is everywhere and yet perhaps because everyone seems to be suffering from it I somehow felt like I didn't want to be seen as jumping on that band waggon /admitting to being weak. I hope you are enjoying your retirement now and getting out on your bed 😊
Thank you for your understanding. After my decision to retreat from my professional life, I worked as a community care assistant. The service users lived with dementia, physical and mental health disabilities. Some of them "just" needed to know that another human being cared that they were still alive.
I got sacked from that, too. "We dont have time for conversations about the mice dancing on the bed. They're not there, and he's deluded. Get on with changing his nappy". Which I had already done.
And more, including being driven round country lanes at dangerous speeds. "We've got 4 more to do, and three of them haven't had food/drink since last night." I worked for three separate agencies over 18 months. Grim.
I miss my trades, but I refuse to connive with cruelty to vulnerable humans.
Even more so, animals.
Soapbox now safely stowed.
 
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