Pony Weary

Pony Weary

Right now with the weather so crappy and our Austin winter having been wet and cold, I am not pony weary.  The thing I want most is a week of sunshine and warm weather so I can ride my horse as much as possible!  I don’t always feel this way though.

Let’s face it – riding is a time intensive sport.  Horse ownership doubly so.  I fall very low on the scale of horse owners who have to live at the barn, but I still get a little weary sometimes.  I say that I love writing my boarding check each month partially because I want to be able to not be at the barn every day.  For me, doing an every other day schedule during the week helps my horse/life balance.

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For the most part, riding 3-5 days a week is pretty fine for me throughout the year.  Sometimes though, I would like a bit of a break.  Maybe it’s over 100 degrees for an entire month or work is really stressing me out or I miss having money for non-horse things.

Since Simon greatly benefits from being in pretty constant work, I don’t give him extended breaks.  I know some people toss a horse out for a few months each year, but for him that doesn’t prove to be successful.  After much more than 10 days off, he starts to feel weaker in the hind end and stiffer starting out.

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So sometimes I feel pony weary, but mostly press on.  Believe me – I know this is the most first world of first world problems.  I’m not complaining, just stating my thoughts on the subject.

Which brings me to you readers – do you ever feel this way?  If you could hit “snooze” on horse ownership or showing/training for a month or so each year… would you?  I realize that’s pretty impossible for a horse owner since the bills must get paid and pony must be cared for, but we’ll think in fantasy terms on the subject!

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Curious your thoughts.  Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way and should just shut up, but I doubt I’m totally alone.  🙂

72 thoughts on “Pony Weary

  1. I do, but mostly it’s just the weather that makes me feel that way. The barn is my escape from work, even if Connor isn’t going so well that week, and when I don’t have it I get pretty unstable. Because I board and it’s not my life, I miss it a lot more than I wish it would go away for a little while, unless it’s below 15 degrees outside.

  2. Sometimes during the winter I wish I could hibernate for 3 months and come back in the spring to a fit pony, but really, I enjoy being at the barn every day and even though I may complain about having to work in all kinds of weather to take care of the horses, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I could definitely not be an absentee boarder that just left my horse in the care of a BM or trainer. My “hands on” approach is the only way I’m willing to do horse ownership. I don’t really feel the need for a break from ponies very often! A break from winter? DEFINITELY.

  3. I feel ya. Sometimes it plays out that I can’t make it out for a week and I don’t let myself feel guilty about it. I have a trainer who helps in just these type of weeks so I know he’s getting cared for.

  4. I feel that way sometimes as well, sometimes it is weather related and others it is more of a riding slump & usually a good lesson fixes that!

  5. I did take a break… actually a couple levels of breaks. First was putting Dandy in full training and having JLE show him all last summer. There were times when I didn’t have a lesson for weeks at a time and I just didn’t go out on the weekend either. I was so weary of having Dandy, more than I even realized. That break really helped me find my love of the horse again.

    And right now I’m taking a different kind of break. I don’t have a horse and I’m in the process of moving. To be honest, I’m chomping at the bit to get back to it!

  6. I definitely get weary. I used to hate the driving to the boarding barn. Now my horse is at home and I can’t/don’t ride in the winter, so that is my break. I still get to enjoy seeing him outside and get a cuddle now and then, but no pressure to ride and work him. Luckily a break is ok for him, unlike Simon.

    We are lucky to have a couple of friends that can take care of the place for a few days here and there so we can get away. Leaving next Tues. for a short break, so we are looking forward to that!

  7. Right now I’m pony weary in that I haven’t been able to actually consistently ride in what feels like months, I have no leg strength and my horse is going crazy from being cooped up in his stall.

    But yes…occasionally I do. Wouldn’t be able to hit snooze for a month – I go a week without at least seeing my horse and I’m a mess. It’s more of a ride 3-4 days this week instead of 5-6 and maybe mix in some other life stuff too.

    1. Yeah, even though I say the idea of a few month snooze sounds nice… in reality I’m like you. If I go for much more than a week I’m pretty anxious to get back to the barn.

  8. I got that way when I had Izzy, especially towards the end. There was no joy, just grinding through fear every day.

    I also got weary when I was working at the show barn–every day was stress and responsibility and even when I showed up on my days off to ride my own horse, I was expected to work and problem solve.

    So now I don’t have a hellmare and I don’t work at the barn and everyone is happier.

  9. You are not alone on this. I have had to scale things back for personal reasons, but I totally understand what you’re feeling.

    Have you considered asking the trainer if she would like to use Simon for lessons? He would be ridden under supervision so things wouldn’t fall apart for him and you could get the break you need. Just a thought…

    1. If I REALLY needed a break, I’d probably do that. Mostly I’m selfish with my horse and I try to be very careful about who sits on him. I typically don’t feel weary and am pretty happy with the balance we have going on right now.

      1. I understand completely. I’m particular with my own horses as well, which is why I suggested it under the trainers supervision. Big difference from someone blasting around willy-nilly and undoing everything you’ve worked so hard for.

  10. Sometimes I feel that I force myself to ride when I’d rather be snoozing on the couch after a long day of work but I definitely don’t wish to ever take any extended time off. I love it way too much and riding is my “me time”. When Max was out of commission for 3-4 months last year, I was a miserable b*tch!

  11. I went from living on a boarding stables property as a caretaker, riding a couple horses and mine, to about a ten year hiatus with oinly a few friends horse or beach rent string rides hear and there. After that kind if break, not going to the barn for a week doesn’t seem like a break. I miss Holly and feel little guilty but not too bad, that’s why I pay for trainer and board. With kids and work i have to balance.

  12. I haven’t yet reached that point, but I have a pretty relaxed schedule and don’t have to crunch or rush from work to fit riding in. I think that luxury allows me to be a bit more eager to ride each day, I probably wouldn’t be so happy if I had to bust my ass out of work every day just to get to the barn two seconds before the sun sets for a dark ride. That would be totally different. I tend to find myself cancelling other things (social events, school events, work, meetings… oops) to be at the barn each day. But I totally know how you feel — I’ve felt that way about other sports before.

    1. I think the barn post work is a big part of it. It’s just downright tiring to leave my office at 6-7pm and go to the barn and get home around 9pm on weeknights. Tiring, but usually worth it 🙂

  13. I think that everyone deserves a break! I definitely do better after taking some time to ‘reset’ my brain. I figure that my horse is probably more than happy for some time off (not extended though) and she can benefit from it as well.

  14. I have to feed Estella every night, so I have to be at the barn 7 days a week. In the negative temperatures we have had this year coupled with the fact I haven’t been able to ride in a month and am in vet bills up to my eyeballs, I am beyond burnt out. I definitely need a vacation, but the pony has to be fed so the pony will be fed :). And usually, by the time I get to the barn and get my 5 million layers on I am fine, but getting there is sometimes a struggle. Life is a struggle.

  15. Of the last 6 years, only one of them did I have an indoor to ride in, so every winter has been a forced break for me. During the winter, I only go out to the barn on Sat & Sun.

    I think it is totally ok to want to take a break sometimes. Life is full of things NOT horse related that sometimes require our focus and attention.

    I’d snag a pony jock that can ride and is desperate/greatful for some saddle time, keep the horse in work, and take a break until you get that “I am desperate for the smell of horse” feeling. A week or 10 days off never hurt anyone.

  16. I like to take a break from showing — and do so every winter. When I really want a break tho is when horses become stressful… like they’re hurt or sick. Which is when you absolutely cannot take a break.

  17. Yes! I get like that sometimes- mostly when the weather is crappy (e.g. 25 degrees w/ 30 mph winds or 117 degrees for a month). Since I board, it’s super easy to just spend a week not riding and sleeping in every morning or vegging on the sofa every night! Then I start to feel guilty about not riding when I want to take the horse to a show, so I drag myself to the barn and feel better. Rinse, repeat. It never lasts for more than a week or so, though!

  18. I only do when I’m not riding, like in the cold cold winter. BUT, that’s just when my horses are at home. The few times I boarded, I was always wanting to ride…dreaming of owning a farm. Go figure. I sometimes dream of selling everything and giving up riding completely. As soon as I start thinking about that I think well I could have one horse…then it goes on. Who am I kidding, I am never going to be horseless lol

    1. LOL – I’ve thought the same thing but I know I’ll never ever give it up completely. Heck when one of my horses recently passed away, I swore I wouldn’t have 4 again because it’s just so much time and money to upkeep 4, but guess what..I got another. So I’m back at 4. Go figure. “Hi, my name is Ashley and I have a horse addiction.” LMAO

  19. Yes! I have my horse at home. There are other animals too, but they’re much more self sufficient. I feel this way any time my husband and I want to spend the night away from home. That means we have to find and pay someone to take care of the feedings since we don’t have family to mooch off of that live nearby. This is probably one of the biggest pros of boarding that I can see.

    1. That’s the reason that my husband is very against a future board at home situation. He wants to be able to have the freedom to travel and not be bound by horse care.

  20. The weirdest thing to me from reading this post and the comments that have already been added is that people feel like they are okay not going to see their horse for a week because they are boarded. I just would never feel that way because they don’t get the extra care. I like their hooves picked and their bodies looked over almost daily for any cuts or swellings. I like them to get out of their stalls in the evening. I like to make sure they are drinking, eating, and pooping normally. I’m sure if one horse was three legged or totally off feed and hay the BM or trainer would notice, but the little stuff I doubt. Maybe this comes from owning a special needs horse?
    That said, when I had one horse I would skip a day once a week.
    I guess in the end there are plenty of other things I would rather give up than time at the barn. It’s my happy place 99.9% of the time. Plus I feel that even though I pay board the horses are my responsibility. Yes, that responsibility can be overwhelming at times, but it is still mine to bear.
    Interested to see what more people have to say!

    1. I think everyone’s boarding and horse situation is different. I certainly understand feeling like you do, but personally can go about a week without seeing Simon and without worrying. It’s one of the great things about my boarding situation!

      Like I said, not everyone feels that way though and that’s fine. I don’t think one horse owner is better than another for seeing their horse daily vs whatever. Just my personal opinion.

  21. With my OTTB, he’d get the winter off because I didn’t have an indoor. He’s get a good 3-4 months with the occasional bareback/blanket snow ride but other than that it was just stop by, clean his stall, maybe brush him, and that was that. Now with my new guy, I’m dying not being able to ride him. Riding and doing the horse thing is my anti-depressant and gets me through my work day. 🙁

  22. i get this now and then. Mainly I get burnt out on barn drama from time to time! Or I just get genuinely exhausted and sore (like when I’m doing a bunch of extras – what a problem to have…) I can say, though, since my trainer switch I haven’t felt that at all. Although I do get bored of flatting inside all winter. Blah! I try to keep things interesting for myself and my horses though, and try to mix it up with more intense dressage type schools, bareback riding, no stirrups sessions, lots of (super complex at times!) pole work, pole course “jumping” and winter hacking if the weather cooperates. My attention is certainly better doing the different stuff so I can imagine my horses like it better too! Plus there is the motivation of demanding and awesome trainer coming back from FL soon and show season. Must. Be. Ready!

    Winter is slower in these parts too, despite that. I took a couple weeks off for vacation/moving/accidental illness and now I am DYING to get to the barn. And if there is a massive snowstorm in December or January or something, I will just stay home instead of battling through it like other times of the year. They also get a solid 1-2 weeks off of no riding at Christmas and one week in November for our big indoor show (which I do not show in) and a week off after the show season wraps too. As much as I usually want to ride it’s good for them to have time off too.

    In the past I kept my horses at home and had no indoor, and it snowed a LOT where I was. So my horses basically got turned out barefoot for 4 months. Great for them! I would get awfully itchy around Feb though… And would end up road riding (we had a lot of gravel roads around thankfully!) to get things going again.

  23. Of course!! I don’t ever want to take a break but there are days when I am tired or weather is gross and I just want to lay on the couch and not do barn chores. I think winter is the easiest to feel this way. When I was a boarder it was easier to do this. Now it’s not an option but at least I have barn help one day a week.

  24. I agree with what a lot of other people have said- I get burnt out due to weather. I just got back into regular lessons a few months ago after several years off so I still have the newness/excitement factor, but I’m so sick of being freezing cold at the barn. I always end up enjoying my rides once I get moving, but I didn’t feel bad for not going for a couple weeks in February- the cold weather wears me down something fierce,

  25. I am forced to ride less than I would like to. In the winter it is 1 lesson a week. In the spring/summer I ride 2-3 times a week. Being a older, less healthy rider, I have to listen to my body. Work/home&life/horse care are sometimes just all too much for me. Fortunately I have a laid back horse who picks up right where we left off. The only frustrating thing, I feel is I may never make it to 1st level. But it least I am still trying. Best wishes for you, and find the level that fits you. Never mind what you think other think you should do.

  26. Yes, I feel that way from time to time. Especially when things aren’t 100% great at the barn coupled with something else in life not going well, I wish I could take a hiatus.

  27. I have to hit snooze every once in a while. During the summer, trail riding and barrel races consume ALL MY NON-WORK time so for a few months in the winter I give the horses a break and don’t ride. Of course, I will ride here and there when it warms up enough I don’t freeze to death, but for the most part I just keep the ponies well fed and happy and give them time off.

    I will admit tho, sometimes I too wish I had more money to spend on non-horsey things. I’d love a closet full of new clothes each season, instead of buying my horses new tack, boots, pads, etc. But then again, buying horse stuff makes me 10 times happier then going to the shopping for clothes and not finding a darn things that fits right or looks good. Ya know what I mean.

  28. I took a few years off from horse ownership, but still rode …. I can most definitely say that I am better off mentally and physically being a horse owner than not. I’m too easily distracted by unhealthy things if I don’t have a major responsibility like horse ownership to keep me in line 😉

  29. Yes! Sometimes I need a break. I take in a little more down time, a few extra days off for my horses. I think sometimes it would just be a nice to have a financial break in all of it.

    1. The financial break is probably one of the biggest parts of feeling weary, but also the one that’s impossible to get away from since I’m not entertaining the idea of leasing or selling Simon.

  30. I don’t remember ever being pony weary. I would love to ride every single day, which I can never swing, especially with one horse, a family, and a full time job. If I had to take care of a farm, that would be a different matter. I can see how that would be relentless.

    I am on a pony break of sorts now because my new priority is being a Mommy. Even if I didn’t have a kiddo, Harley isn’t up to the busy riding schedule that we used to enjoy. Since I am home more, I have time for this that I never gave much time before, like cooking. I know my husband appreciates it.

    1. I don’t know how you moms juggle it all 🙂 I love cooking too, but it’s something that falls by the wayside when I ride in the evenings. This is where I wish we could just have more hours in the day!

  31. It’s funny, with the boys at home, I really don’t mind horse chores. But I do wish I could take a break from riding, mostly because if I get on my horse, I have to have my A game on. Often at the end of the day I *don’t* have my A game, I’m tired and cranky and I don’t want to take that out on Paddy. So I don’t ride.

    Having said that, the weather has been crappy enough that I haven’t sat on my horse for a week. I’m sure he’s enjoying the vacation!

  32. Sometimes I do. Sometimes my horse hits a moment in his training where it’s all seems so impossible. I feel like I can’t figure it out. I know either I am stiff or my brain is not actually joined with my body, or my horse is stiff or mentally not playing that day. Either way we need a reset, and that can be really hard for me do accomplish without a break.

    It’s really easy to get down on the whole thing, feel like I’m not good enough, or an imposer. That makes me not want to go. I’m not a competitive person, I’m just a perfectionist. When I’m not perfect, I feel horrible. Wine, better weather, and a new day usually make things better. Also focusing on the little improvements.

    🙁

    1. Your point about training seeming overwhelming is a good one! I often feel the most weary when I feel like we have a LONG way to go from being successful. Didn’t think of that before!

  33. I’ve been feeling quite blah for the last few months, a lot of things combined between furnishing the flat & general work stresses on top of the mind games I’ve been playing with myself – addressed somewhat in my blog update today; funny how our thought processes have overlapped slightly.

  34. I definitely got pony weary this winter. I think it had more to do with the cold and darkness than my pony but it was there. I just could not make myself go to the barn. I board so I don’t have to go and I don’t worry about my mare as she would get immediate attention if anything were to go wrong. In fact, I got called one day because she wasn’t being as opinionated as she usually is. Turns out it was nothing but that level of attention gives me peace of mind.

    That being said, going to the barn can feel stressful and being stressed makes me pony weary. I’m trying to do the best by my mare, in my riding and her training, and it stresses me out when I can’t communicate effectively with her. This past fall I ran a half-marathon and then volunteered at our local mini-trials. The next day I couldn’t walk and then got a full blown cold. For a week I was stuck on the couch. By then the time changed and it was getting dark and very cold and next thing I knew, three weeks had gone by without going to the barn. And I didn’t really care. Then it got freezing out and two months had gone by with just a couple of weeks of solid rides in . Then I got sick again and didn’t go out for three weeks. It’s also the dread of the first visit back that stresses me out and gives me pony weariness. I have to drive 30min to the barn and then what? Do I just lunge because she’s had so much time off? Do I ride? What kind of ride? How long? What do I do?

    During the beginning of Feb I got in probably two weeks of 3-4 days a week of riding. Ended up being fun and refilled my soul-bucket and Dassah got better and better behaved. This past first-ride out after the three weeks off was awful. We had no connection, I felt all over the place, and she just wanted to go-go-go. Of course (duh!) they haven’t been getting enough turnout bc of the weather so I should have lunged her first. I should always lunge first (*makes note on back of hand*).
    Anyway, for me, pony weariness is a combo of – driving 40mins after work in the dark in rush-hour traffic, taking too much time off and not being mentally prepared to get back in the saddle, and taking it personally when my mare makes grouch-faces on the ground. Spring, summer, and fall are the good times. I really wouldn’t mind tossing her out in a field for three/four months every year.

    The end.

  35. Sometimes I definitely feel like staying home for a week when it’s too cold out, but I find that whenever I go for long periods of time (I consider a week a long time) I get really kinda depressed. It’s not that I necessarily miss him, it’s that I just feel off – almost needy feeling. However, though I never take long breaks from seeing Gavin, I also sometimes just putz around with him… sometimes I need a break from the training grind.

  36. I took a break when I started grad school. I had no time, no money, and I was still in shock because my horse had died in a horrible accident when he was at someone else’s farm. But now that I’m back (and out of grad school, and have two wonderful horses) I can’t get enough. No more breaks in the foreseeable future for me. If I had a horse I was afraid of, though, I could see myself going that way again. M doesn’t let me do the scared thing, though, ha.

  37. I took four years off for college and it was definitely the best thing I could have done. I came back to riding completely recharged.
    In high school, I routinely picked up rides on amateur’s horses who were out of town/taking time off/etc and that was really wonderful too – helped me become a better rider and gave me the opportunity to ride other horses.

  38. Totally feel your pain. Sometimes it is really hard to go out to the barn. It always is worth it once I get out but sometimes just driving out is the hardest part. I definitely enjoy it when I go on vacation and have no “responsibilities” and it takes me some time to readjust when I get back. I’m heading out on an amazing vacation over spring break and am SO looking forward to some non horse time, as much as I love my boys!

  39. Nope. I never – EVER! – get tired of going to the barn. It’s why I am at a private place instead of a boarding place – I live to take care of my beasts. It’s what I do every day to get away from everything else. And I’m obsessive about their care – unless I’m taking care of them, or have someone with the same care standards as I do, I’m not happy. I never, ever get tired of caring for them, or just hanging out in the field with them, just enjoying them.
    However, I *do* get tired sometimes of working them. Sometimes I just can’t get the energy together to harness up. Sometimes I just want to drive all the way to the barn to just hang out with them, and do nothing else.
    But it doesn’t matter if it is 115 degrees, or 10 degrees. I still want to be there, every day, taking care of them to my standard. It’s my favorite part of every day.

  40. Yeah. I get ‘burned out’ quite often. Horses are my career and my hobby. After working with other people’s horses all day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is go ride and feed my herd.
    I take breaks often, and honestly- my horses are rarely in full work.
    I get ‘er done though. And at the end of it all, I really do love my work AND my hobby.

  41. I can’t say that I ever feel that way. Maybe once in a while I skip a day, but for the most part, I HATE missing a barn day. I try to ride no less than 5 days a week and that usually means 7 – 10 rides. Right now I am working my two plus two others. I’ll probably get on 6 – 8 times this weekend. Riding is truly my therapy. :0)

  42. Def have felt this way before but…
    – inevitably when I don’t want to ride and do, i end up having an awesome ride
    – I miss my horse if I don’t see him daily
    – I like to check on him to make sure he is ok, his water is full and has enough treats

    It boils down to, I don’t know how people can stay away from their horses for much time at all cause I can’t 🙂

  43. Once or twice a year, yes, absolutely! Often it’s weather-related, sometimes I just feel overwhelmed with so many things to do and not nearly enough time. We pretty well took November/December off of real work, and I felt absolutely no guilt. I still got on 3-4 days a week, but we didn’t really DO anything. It’s the first time in four years that my mare has gotten an extended break.

    The weather settled back down and I found motivation again, so now we’re training for a ride in May and life feels better. She’s none the worse for the time off.

  44. Sometimes I wish there was a horsey pause button, mostly because I’ve always wanted to travel, and the idea of being away from pony for long periods of time is not one I find appealing for a number of reasons

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