What to do...

Chippers1

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Hi everyone, just contemplating life at the moment and wondering if anyone had any insights or advice. I'm still really struggling with a big dip in confidence and mental wellbeing overall. Going up to ride is a bit of a struggle and I can't always bring myself to do it (although I do go down and see him every day). I have no desire to go back out and compete, I hate doing it on my own, and when I do ride I just like to do walking hacks at the moment with the odd canter. I haven't taken Buzz out since August the 18th and I haven't really jumped him since then either.
I'm currently tossing up whether to sell my horsebox and just stick to hacking or whether I will regret it eventually. I love my box but it's just sitting there outside probably getting rusty! And i'm paying for it whilst it's sitting there doing nothing.

It doesn't help that I can't actually load Buzz on my own and always need someone just behind him to wave him on.
I used to get such a kick planning events and looking what was coming up but now I just don't really care. So guys, what should I do?? Sell up? keep the box? argh I don't know :(

Sorry for the miserable post :(
 

Fiona

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Don't make any big decisions while you are feeling down...

If hacking out over the winter is what you want to do then just do it, and think about competing again in the spring.

Have you no helpful fellow liveries that would help you box up, even if its only to a local forest to hack??

Fiona
 

Foxychops

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Sorry your feeling this way. I think most of us have been there at some point. How about arranging to go to a clinic etc so you have something to look forward to? And see how you feel about getting out again depending on how that goes?

Have you seen the easy loader thingy? Helps you to load on your own x
 

Chippers1

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Yes there's normally someone around however I often have early classes when i'm competing and there's never anyone around that early - so it all depends on time!
I don't really have any desire to go to a clinic but it could be fun once I got there :)
It just seems like a waste to have my box sitting there not being used but I can't bring myself to go out in it :( I don't really enjoy being there on my own either, and he can be a bit stress in the box so it was good to have someone sitting with him.

Maybe I could just do loading practice instead...he just plants a few metres away from the ramp, all I need is someone to waft a lunge line near his bum (doesn't even need to touch) and he goes on. I haven't quite worked out how to do this on my own yet!
 

be positive

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I was going to suggest your aim for the next week or two is to find the key to loading him on your own, most will if you practise and find the best way to deal with them, once he is easy to load alone then going out may be more fun, is it possible to take another pony or will you be overweight?
 

meleeka

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Take the pressure off yourself for a while. If you don’t want to ride, don’t. Why not use the time you’ve saved to teach your horse to load? There’s loads of videos on YouTube and it could be very rewarding when you see progress. Does he like treats? That could be your starting point, to get him closer to the ramp and then end the session on a good note, advancing the next time.
 

Foxychops

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The easy loader thingy goes round the back of the horse so you can do it all yourself. Perhaps once you get the loading sorted and go out a bit more he may settle and you will enjoy it. Is there anywhere local you can join in a group? I have found in our area the same people go to the same things so I always know someone there if I ever needed help or anything x
 

Chippers1

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I think that could be the key, if he loads it would probably be more fun. I can't take another pony with me as yes it would be overweight. The problem I have is he isn't food motivated at all! i'll have a look into the easy loader :)
 

be positive

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He doesn't need to be food motivated, pressure and release is usually the best way to get them in and maintain it long term, bribery can work but it tends to be too much on their terms so fails when they are not interested, mine tend to get a treat once they are on but their reward is the fact they have been good and understood the question asked of them without a fuss.
Putting a mirror in the box may help if he is a bit unsettled traveling, it could also help with the loading.
 

Fiona

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I think that could be the key, if he loads it would probably be more fun. I can't take another pony with me as yes it would be overweight. The problem I have is he isn't food motivated at all! i'll have a look into the easy loader :)
RC lessons??

Ours run midweek, and members are very friendly. We would definitely help someone who was having loading problems travelling home again.

As an aside, my friend's daughters pony used to only load with the 'magic rope' behind him, which was just a bright coloured leadrope, but she has done a bit of work with him and now he goes straight on.

Fiona
 

Michen

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Do you like hunting? Beach rides? I haven’t jumped since May. I have zero desire to have a jumping or dressage lesson (and haven’t since then either). I am/was considering selling my box for a trailer but at the moment I’m just really enjoying autumn hunting, boxing to friends for hacks etc. No pressure and lots of fun. Maybe I’ll compete again one day or maybe I won’t..

Take the pressure off and fix the loading issue as that restricts you so much.

Edited to add.. I get as much “satisfaction” hunting as I do competing so it doesn’t have to be competition based. I felt an immense amount of proud at Boggle being the horse I could hop off, pick something off the ground and get back on with no drama whilst the rest of the hunt were galloping away. That made me prouder than any rosette he’s ever won!
 

Carrottom

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I agree with others, get the loading sorted.
Mine recently tried to start planting a few metres away from the ramp, I found a long dressage whip in my left hand so I could tickle him with it whilst walking forward and looking ahead has worked well.
 

Chippers1

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I haven't taken him hunting, we went on a fun ride last year which he was pretty well behaved at so he might be ok. The beach is a two and a half hour trip so not something I would do too often! He's absolutely fine once he's in, travels really quietly he just doesn't like standing on the box (some venues don't allow you to unload) and the getting on part...
I don't know whether it's that or just the completely missing motivation that is driving it all, probably both but it does feel like I should be out and about, I had so many goals and they've all just gone, I've never felt this down about my riding!
 

Ambers Echo

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Sorry you are feeling low. Echo advice above especially about not making decisions when you are not in the best place mentally. You don't have to justify keeping it. Many people do a lot less in winter than in summer. Plus you need it there to practice trailer loading. Just take the pressure off going anywhere and use the time to crack loading once and for all. Set it as a project and post how you are getting on with it.
 

Michen

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Well, I can highly recommend getting out with your local pack. It’s so good for the soul! And might be great fun trying something new with him.
 

DD

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could you try going walks in ahnd? there are a couple of encouraging FB groups, hiking with my horse and The non ridden equine. its not compulsory to ride all the time x
 

oldie48

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I agree totally with everyone that says don't make a decision whilst you are feeling low, I'd also use the winter to get him loading reliably without help. When Rose arrived she would plant a few feet away from the ramp but would go on if someone was behind her. Didn't have to do anything, sufficient for my OH to just be there clicking his finger and growling. However, it was very limiting having to have someone around so I decided that I needed to be able to do it on my own. I used a long schooling whip and tbh the first time after asking her to go on, I gave her a darn good smack, she looked really surprised and leapt on the ramp. Very quickly I didn't need the whip and although she still likes to stop for a moment, I now just shake the lead rope at her and she hops on. She was just being nappy, once on she travels nicely and usually pops on straight away to come home. She is also not food orientated and wouldnt even take a polo once she was on, just looked a bit cross! Worth a try with your boy?
 

Chippers1

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Yes I could give that a go :) I think this will be my plan, getting him loading, don't worry about the competing etc or even riding too much, he lives out 24/7 so he's going to have exercise. I just need to get out of this slump, I miss having the company so much :(
 

Asha

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sorry your feeling low chippers, but as everyone else has said please don't make any big decisions yet. You don't have to compete, you can just pootle about to your hearts content. So why not take a step back and just chill with him . Enjoy your hacks with no pressure to do anything else. Ive had a dip in confidence since falling off, so did exactly that. Im now getting a bit bored and did some schooling yesterday and loved it. Why not have a look at other things you can do that don't involve competing, maybe a lesson at your yard with a couple of friends just doing basic stuff. Theres nothing better than riding with your buddies and laughing at each other to get you feeling a bit more chirpy. I watched my daughter have a lesson last night and a friend came along as well. I haven't laughed as much in ages, it really did help me, im actually looking forward to riding tonight. Hope you get your mojo back soon x
 

Ambers Echo

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Do you have horsey friends? I am part of a local FB 'horsey events' group and we plan stuff all the time both on and off the horse. Eg going to demos together, watching the new Mustang film in the cinema, hacking, socials. It's horrible feeling lonely and I am not a natural 'joiner in' but I try and make myself do stuff with others and it's almost always worth the effort.
 

Chippers1

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Yes I have the group of liveries at the yard but at the moment it's hard to talk to them even! I will come out of this sorry pit i'm in eventually and they've all been really helpful but we don't tend to do much outside of riding really.
 

Annagain

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Can you think about using your box without the pressure of competing? What about asking a fellow livery to join you boxing to a new place to go to for a hack together? That way you'll have help to load, company to hack and it will force you (in a good way) to see it through, and a change is as good as a rest as they say!

If it's a new area and you're worried about getting lost you can get several apps that allow you to plot a route on a map and then track your progress along it to make sure you don't get lost. I use one called OS Map Finder but there are several. They eat your battery a bit so make sure it's fully charged before you start.
 

Chippers1

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I can't take another with me but I could ask if anyone wants to go on a hack I suppose, as much as i'm trying to not sound defeatist he's not great at hacking in new places on his own, he still struggles with some of the routes I go on around the yard! this is why i'm reluctant to take him hacking on my own too.
 

oldie48

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Yes I could give that a go :) I think this will be my plan, getting him loading, don't worry about the competing etc or even riding too much, he lives out 24/7 so he's going to have exercise. I just need to get out of this slump, I miss having the company so much :(
Just a thought, I got fed up with going everywhere on my own so posted on FB and several of my friends offered to come with me. I haven't been out since July (one little thing after another!) but I now have a little list of people I can contact. I was very surprisd by the people who offered, several were between horses or had just stopped riding and I would neve have thought of asking them to help me! Sometimes we just need to ask for help.
 

chaps89

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I posted on the regional boards to find a hacking buddy - either for them to come to me or me to go to them.
Had a blast meeting @The Fuzzy Furry and offers from other posters to meet up too :)
Maybe something to try? Not sure where you are but if it happens to be near south london/Surrey I would also be getting in touch with Tarrsteps for some help on the loading front - or finding someone local who is similar (pro) to help.
 

Chippers1

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I'm in Nottinghamshire (closer to Leicestershire than north). I suppose I also feel like i'm letting Buzz down as i'm not enjoying riding much, and feel guilty for not riding him, although i'm sure he doesn't mind!
 
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