If you were no longer able to compete your horse...

Dolphin

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...would you be happy to be a happy hacker?

To cut a very long story short, my mare is recovering from a tendon injury and my best hope is that I will end up with a light hack.

We love to compete in all disciplines, just at local level, we wouldn't have ever set the world on fire but we both enjoyed competing very much.

This is my first horse, I have had her for 6 years, and I wouldn't be without her but I feel only have the time and money to do one horse justice.

Part of me will be really pleased if I do end up with a light hack, as the outcome could have been a lot worse. On the other hand, part of me is gutted that I will no longer be able to compete for the forseeable future.

Anyone else's experiences/words of wisdom or tales of woe which will make me realise I really have nothing to complain about are very welcome!
 

MizElz

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I was facing this with Mickey, the horse I had before Ellie. After 6 months with me - competing SJ, doing PC etc - we had an accident on the road and he sustained very bad tendon and check ligament damage; the best we were going to be able to hope for was a future of light hacking, if he could ever be ridden again. I was fine with this; I'd made the decision that I loved him regardless of what we could or could not do, and I was happy to adapt to whatever he needed.
Sadly the decision was taken out of my hands; after 2 months of box rest, he had a heart attack in his stable one night
But had he lived, I would have been happy to hack him until the end of his days, and wouldnt have wanted another horse!
 

kellyanglin

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I had a similar experience with my previous horse. Typically after years of being a total wimp and not wanting to compete I suddenly regained my confidence just before my mare had a tendon injury. She was an 18 year old TB and very sharp so difficult to try to do anything gently so I decided she would last a whole lot longer if she were only to be a hack, light schooling horse.
I put her up for loan to start with and eventually sold her to the loaner 4 months later. This was totally the best solution for all of us as I now have my new mare which I am enjoying with the intention of competing further (although nothing too serious) and she has the best home I could have wished for. She is spoilt rotten by her new mum who takes her on fab hacks all the time. It took me a while to find someone I could trust and was happy with taking her on to do only the restricted activities she could manage but well worth the effort. You will be suprized at how many people are looking for a happy hack!!
 

star

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my horse cant even do light hacking - he has had to be completely retired, although he was 20 at the time so at least not a youngster. he is a native though, so could still have 10yrs of being a field ornament. i just saved up for a new one - took me 2yrs, but have just got a new riding horse. now it's bankrupting me keeping both of them!
 

tabithakat64

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On the other side of the coin. I brought a happy hacker (my pony doesn't hack in a group and gets easily overexcited)he is great at doing what I brought him for and now I have enough confidence to want to compete again (low level RC) and am not sure if my boy will be able too.
 

kit279

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I would be OK with that because for me, it's really about the horse itself. I love horses and competing is good fun but the guy for me is my TB. He's my dream horse and as long he's alive and painfree and we can spend the time together then I shall be a very happy owner. If I couldn't compete him, I'd try making the hacking really fun by going to new places like the beach or a big forest. That's just the way I see it. Yours is a mare though, you might think about having a foal from her if she's really special?
 

pelly

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Living down here in the South of France, My Show Hack Has has to become purely a Happy Hacker. He doesnt jump and they dont hold showing shows down here.
 

nikkiportia

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No experience personally, as I'm not a competing person. But I think if you love the mare so much you don't want to part with her, then don't!
If you miss the competing, perhaps someone locally will have a horse to compete? I'm sure there are plenty of owners who don't have the time or inclination to do it them selves.
I'd have definately let someone capable compete my last horse, as he was talented enough, but like I said, I'm not into competitions..
Perhaps this is something to consider?
 

RachelB

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I am in almost exactly the same position. I had my horse for eight months, then she tore her tendon. Just over a year later, after eight months of field rest, I had been given the go-ahead to start walk work with a view to getting her up to light hacking work. She went lame two weeks after the vet's visit, I hadn't even started working her yet! It made me realise how fragile her leg is, and as it was the second time the tendon had torn and not the first, making it far, far more likely to tear again, I have made the decision to retire her. She will be a field ornament and eventually a light hack if she's happy, and I am going to start horse shopping again soon. If Maiden hadn't gone lame again this year I would have got her up to light hacking and I had hoped to loan her out to someone as a confidence giver. I don't think I could ever be happy with just being a happy hacker!
 

SpruceRI

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I've been in a worse position where my horse became unrideable through injury and if the injury hadn't been beyond repair she'd still be with me today.

I'm lucky in that I rent a field not a stable, so can have as many horses as I want on it. When Rosie can no longer compete, we'll just hack, and when she can no longer hack, she'll retire.
 

Boodle

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At 17yrs old I have become a happy hacker.
Not something I would've chosen. But all my ponies are retired, with one occasionally ok as a light hack.
I miss proper riding, jumping, schooling, galloping even, more than I could really explain. But having them and having the occasional ride is better than nothing.

It is very hard though and I would love to be able to ride 'properly' again.
 

Dolphin

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Thanks for all the replies - they were very interesting. I was half expecting to be shot down in blames for being an ungrateful so and so!

Being without my mare is definately not an option so it will hopefully be happy hacking all the way for us.

I like the idea of maybe competing someone else's horse one day - trouble is I am not exactly what you would call a serious competition rider - if things went wrong on the day I would generally have a good laugh about it rather than get stressed.

MizElz - sorry to hear about Mickey but hope you are enjoying your new horse
 

merlinsquest

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After 3 years of competing merlin (first horse I have owned) he was diagnosed with arthritis in his fetlock.

I was told that he would only ever be suitable for light hacking work in straight lines!!!

18 months further down the line I have now been told that he has probably always had this joint problem (including the time I was xc him)!! and that he is as good as he will ever be.

But because he had done so much with the arthritis without it seeming to cause him much bother, I am able to start competing again (RC level).

However now I know I can, I am not sure I want to
1, I am worried he will break and 2 I have lost my confidence a bit
So am still happy hacking
 

FestiveG

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This week my sister would be more than happy to just be a happy hacker
At the risk of sounding very harsh, be thankful you still have your horse.
 

Dottie

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[ QUOTE ]
At 17yrs old I have become a happy hacker.
Not something I would've chosen. But all my ponies are retired, with one occasionally ok as a light hack.
I miss proper riding, jumping, schooling, galloping even, more than I could really explain. But having them and having the occasional ride is better than nothing.

It is very hard though and I would love to be able to ride 'properly' again.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am in the same situation as you. My horse (15yrs) has navicular and is too silly to be a happy hack so i have retired her. My pony (24yrs going on 4!) has various injurys which means i can only hack her out.
I really miss all the things i used to do, but i can't get rid of them just because of that-i owe them too much.
 

Asimmons

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Been in this situation three times over the past 40 yrs and everytime I have "retired" the horse to a loan arrangement...in fact, the same person had two of them ..and still has the second. It's a fab hacking home..she just wants something to ride round her farm on and loves being on something that looks a million dollars, is well-schooled and cost her nothing. It's been a huge success and has allowed me to move on without guilt or resentment..because, even tho' I am a wimp, I really do love to compete and I wd be bored witless just hacking because I like to have some sort of a competitive goal...and I hack to get the horse fit rather than anything else.
 

FestiveG

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No not you at all. I must admit I always get a bit wound up about this debate, but we keep our horses till the end and had one that retired at about 10 and lived till 24, when she was first retired we were on livery (we now have a place of our own). I just think that our horses are there for more than competing, otherwise ride a bike.
 

merlinsquest

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I suppose I am in the same boat.... Merlin will not go on to do all that I wanted for him, but he is still a joy to own and I would never sell him or have him pts unless he was suffering.

If I can only hack him it wouldnt be a dead loss as thats all i ever seem to get around to doing now anyway!!!!
 

wizzi901

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Nope, I would get another horse, in fact that is what I did! Albeit I can compete the oldie (28 years old) lightly its not fair on him, so he is shared and I have another youngster on loan.....I am fortunate that I rent land and stables so can take on another to play with who is more up for the weekly competition schedule!

You could always loan the one out you cant compete and get another on loan to compete if it is important to you. I could never just hack, I love hacking but enjoy the social side of shows!!
 

cazza

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we had a horse at our yard that had blown a tendon after rest recuperation and 18 months of being turned away he came back into work and is playing polo again as if nothing ever happened. So it may be a while but don't think you will only be able to hack, just give it plenty of time.
 

Doublethyme

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I'm facing the possiblity of the same thing. My mare is off with a ligament/tendon injury at the moment, I am hoping she will come back to doing hacking/dressage, not so worried about jumping, but if she has to be retired or only used for light hacking, then that is what will happen - I'll keep her till the end of her days anyway (she's 12) as she owes me nothing and like Star I will just save up for another youngster and keep them both - this may mean downgrading on the livery/facilities front, but I'd rather do that than not have my mare as well. If I truly can't find the money to do this, then I will be a happy hacker or non riding horse owner for as long as my mare is healthy and happy - not saying I would be estatic at this prospect, but there are always ways and means to get rides on other horses - shares for example, that I would cope.

Having lost my previous mare with a broken leg at 10, I suppose to me its a no brainer, as I would have done anything at the time to keep that horse, even retired and still miss her, so with my current mare its never been an option not to keep her.

It is down to individual circumstances though I suppose. Luckily for me I have had 8 fab years with my mare, so feel she deserves and has earnt my support through this difficult period.

Plus as she's a dominant, grumpy old baggage who is difficult to handle for other people and can be aggressive, not sure anyone else would have her!
(although she would make a fabulous nervous rider hack as she's a darling with that)
 

Charlie77

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I recently found my self in this position, A friend bred my boy, I met him when he was only 8 hours old & did every thing with him, he's not been the luckiest of horses, but was diagnosed with Arthritis last may,aged 13, we have gone from BSJA to happy hack, He loves his life, I could still cry over it though! I'm lucky though, my partner just bought me a yearling, I don't want to give up on my horse but the thought is that by the time he is ready to slow down or if he gets to bad than the baby will be ready to start, also I could not want for a better granddad/chaperone, I have also signed up for lessons, on a friends PSG dressage horse, more to keep my mind on some thing,
 

Lill

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I would compete the other one!


Sorry not very helpful.... um i don't know what i would do to be honest
 
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