Help... give up or keep going

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24 April 2018
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7
Hello, I thought this would be a good place to ask for help anonymously as I sometimes feel I don't actually know who to talk to about feeling like this.

I'm at a real point with my horse where I'm not enjoying lessons/competing/training etc and this is what I normally love. She's a tricky little horse and we've been through a lot together but she really deflates me. We're coming up to 5 years together this year, the first year was spent me holding on as she was a nutter, the next two pretty much injury after injury then since we've been on a rollercoaster training, we've done it all together and it's like the blind leading the blind. We're training elementary now even though I feel we should be way more ahead of this. But she's so unpredictable it makes having her sometimes not very enjoyable.

I've lost a lot of confidence in my ability to do her justice and I feel like what I'm doing is always wrong/not good enough. I've stuck with her for so long when many would have given up as I always thought she would become what I've always wanted - she's a lovely horse (minus her bad points), moves good, good breeding but I just don't find her willing enough. Maybe it's me - maybe we don't gel and she's had enough of me :) She wants for nothing and has regular physio and MOT's from top vet to ensure she's always feeling good because of her history, she also gives up on life at the slightest 'off feeling' so she pretty much tells me when something is up.

I'm about to buy a house and the cost of her/enjoyment from her is stressing me out so I'm wondering if these options are what other people have considered when got to this rut themselves

1. Send her to a pro to compete then sell her & give up completely
2. Loan her out on full loan - this makes me feel nervous
3. Turn her out for the summer - have a break and start again in winter. Seems a bad idea to start a tricky horse again in winter
4. Send her to someone full time for them to train and compete
5. Move to training livery so I have more support/guidance
6. Sell her & buy something easier

I'm currently paying over £650 per month for part livery & feed so it's a hefty amount once I add in training and competing.

Please someone help me with a few ideas and situations they've been in so I can try and feel better :)

Thanks x
 

milliepops

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Do you not have a gut feeling about whether you'd prefer to keep her (somehow) or sell?
if someone walked in and offered you a fist full of cash would you feel like you had unfinished business or relief that she wasn't your responsibility any more?

i think you might need to think that through a bit before making any decisions.
 
Joined
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Do you not have a gut feeling about whether you'd prefer to keep her (somehow) or sell?
if someone walked in and offered you a fist full of cash would you feel like you had unfinished business or relief that she wasn't your responsibility any more?

i think you might need to think that through a bit before making any decisions.

Thanks for your reply - if someone offered me cash right now I wouldn't snap their hand off right away, so this does tell me maybe I don't want to get rid as much as I think. I'd certainly have to think about it a lot
 

milliepops

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if deep down you feel like you'd like to carry on then if it's an option, i would 100% move somewhere with great support and give it a go. I am based next door to my trainer and although i ride alone almost all the time it's nice to know i can easily book in for a session.

Unless you'd be prepared to have her back at short notice i would steer clear of loaning, though that is slightly hypocritical of me as i currently have a horse on loan whose owner was in a broadly similar type of situation. if you could do it via word of mouth to a trusted person it would probably have a greater chance of success.

i would not look to restart her in the winter. Mine is a livewire and i am making the most of longer turnout times and good weather to try and cement a partnership ready for what is likely to be a more testing time in the winter.

if you can't imagine enjoying her again then i think selling would be the best move for everyone, but don't rush into buying another if you are down a bit of a hole - is there anything else you can ride in the meantime so you get the love for it back?
 
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In what way is she tricky? How big and old is she?

The simplest answer is usually the right one... if you're not enjoying her, sell her. There's 0 shame in that.

She is 10 this year, 16.1
She is very offended by things and has her quirks but I manage them all and I'm so used to her silly moments we just move on now. But sometimes it would be nice to know if I booked a lesson she will actually be on side and work rather than be an opinionated little shit - this isn't all the time, which makes it more annoying
 

milliepops

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also, i was dithering over selling one of mine, i gave myself a set time to carry on together for a bit longer and told myself i would decide then. as it happens, i didn't need that long to make the decision, but something about parking the problem and putting a future timescale on it made it easier. it stopped me agonising over it and helped instinct take over. you could do similar? Now is a good time to sell but later in the summer wouldn't be too late if you felt that was the right thing after giving it a go.
 

J&S

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I had a difficult mare and was training and competing dressage at same level as you after 5 years. I took her on as a challenge, she had had a bad start and got a rubbish reputation. She was not fun to hack as was very traffic shy and did not really jump with any natural enthusiasm. I did do a couple of long distance rides and actually she was pretty good, low heart rate to finish and strong and fit, went well as long as off road!! I moved from the New Forest, with lots of open moorland to ride on, to Devon with mostly lanes that linked to bridle paths and unmetalled roads (full of motor bikes!). As it happened i was lucky and the person i bought her from contacted me to ask if I would sell her back to her so I did this like a shot. I was sad to give up on her as I believe she had as much confidence in me as she could have in any one but it was also a great relief to start again with a new, young horse, a blank canvas, and be able to enjoy all aspects of riding again. We are still together 22 years later. So I would go for option 6.
 

Ambers Echo

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If I have read the timeframe right, you should ideally now be reaping the rewards of the first 3 years of effort (nutty then injured). If she is sound and you understand her and have got to grips wth her quirks AND you still aren't enjoying her, then I am not sure what another year or 2 would bring that would make it more rewarding?

Are you getting hung up on where you 'should' be as opposed to where you - as a partnership - actually are? Her breeding/movement does not mean a lot if she does not particularly want to do the job and you need to work on partnership, willingmess etc. And maybe that is the source of some frustration?You expect her to be 'better' than she actually is in reality? Because heart counts for a lot I think, and a horse is unlikely to reach their physical potential without that element of willingness and co-operation.

Can you be happy with where you are? If not, why not? If a shift in perspective could make you feel differently then hopefully you can find a good trainer, enjoy the journey of moving on with her. But if she's just not your kind of horse (I definitely have a type) then there is no shame at all in selling on.
 

McGrools

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Option 6.
I have battled with many an unwilling/ unable horse.
And it is sooo much more enjoyable when you have a willing partner that you can progress with. X
 

Red-1

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It sounds like something has to change, either the horse or training regime.

I only sold my last mare because I had other stuff in life going on and I wasn't enjoying her.

I had a year to regroup and bought a youngster.

I wish I had changed the mare 2 years earlier. My current horse is less 'talented' yet he is so lovely. I smile every day, although funnily enough, to accommodate his needs my training regime has changed also. But it is all fun, all lovely.
 

YorkshireLady

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So I you only dithering because that is like giving up horses altogether?

Treat this as 2 different things. 1 do you want to ride her...2 do you want to ride.....3 do you want to own a horse

This may help you as I feel from reading all you have said that its a combination of the 2, ie her and the cost of having a horse altogether. We usually suck up the latter when we have the right horse!
 

millitiger

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Sell.

Life is too short to spend so much emotion and money on a horse you don't enjoy.

It's not always love hearts and easy times but you need to really love the horse and the process for the tough times and they need to make you smile.
 

catkin

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As someone says upthread - she maybe bred for the job but if she doesn't enjoy it is that sub-conciously nagging at your enjoyment? Would she prefer to do something else? And would you want to give it a try?
I've had a couple of horses that have had very definite ideas of what they liked doing. My fancy-scmancy eventing-bred with siblings who had gone round Badminton disliked jumping courses but was the most superlative hack. So we did that, for hours and hours at a time. The horse's whole outlook changed, and he was my Horse-of-a-lifetime.
 

Gloi

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These things are never easy but my opinion would be that it would be a good time to sell her. Concentrate on your house for a while where an extra £650 a month will be very useful. Ride other people's horses if you need your riding fix. Once the house is sorted then look for a new equine partner.
 

Squeak

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Option 6.
I have battled with many an unwilling/ unable horse.
And it is sooo much more enjoyable when you have a willing partner that you can progress with. X
This. I’ve stuck with horses who just made the job really hard and it really sapped the enjoyment from it as well as my confidence.

As catkin has said, maybe there’s a different job she’d prefer to do and maybe doing that she’d be someone’s horse of a lifetime.
 
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