Not Ready to Start Over

When I came to the conclusion that O was no longer a good fit for me, one of my first thought was.  Now what?

I mean, honestly.  What the heck do I do now?

Naturally first I needed to find O the perfect new home. (put a check by this one)

But that tiny voice inside my head kept saying, “then what?” over and over.

The idea of starting over with a new horse is something that makes my heart hurt even more.  While I am someone who is always glancing through for sale ads, the thought of making the leap with a new partner isn’t something I want right now.  In fact just thinking of going through the buying, bonding, learning experience gives me severe anxiety.  And what if-after all that-it doesn’t work out again?

I had always maintained to my husband, parents, trainer that I had taken the gamble with O because I thought she was something truly special.  And as wonderful as many of our times were, the rest of them have been emotionally exhausting.  Especially this last part.  Not shocking to anyone, but realizing your dreams aren’t going to work out sucks bad.

So I have to ask.  How do you handle moving to a new horse?  How do you press restart?  I hate being in this weird funk.  Advice is welcome!


horseback facing away

On a positive note: don’t forget to enter!

27 thoughts on “Not Ready to Start Over

  1. I think you just have to give yourself time. In a way, you’re probably mourning the loss of O, even though she’s only moved on to a different family. Don’t worry, you’ll get the horse-buying-bug soon enough!

  2. Be sure you are 110% positive and listen to your gut when/if you buy a new horse. I wasn’t sure about my gelding, but bought him anyway because trainer said he was great, and while he is great in a way, he’s not great for me. If I had listened to my gut, I wouldn’t be in my current situation.

  3. It’s hard. My situation was different as I thought I wanted to quit riding but it was still nerve wracking to look for a new horse. I took a serious gamble with Annie and I won’t lie it made me really anxious… But leading up to the decision to start riding again I kinda knew when I was ready to get serious… It started to get exciting instead of making me feel sick. That’s when I knew! Feel free to message me if you want to chat! 🙂

  4. When Teaspoon all of a sudden didn’t work out, I didn’t jump right back into a new horse. I took a lot of lessons, did a 6 month lease and then found Simon when I wasn’t even really looking. Maybe just ride and see what happens.

  5. i’m still so sorry it didn’t work out the way you had hoped despite everyone’s best efforts… and really i don’t have any helpful insights, bc a lot of what you talk about (the ‘what if’s and the overwhelming nature of diving in to a new situation) are reasons that have kept me from ownership as well.

    all i can say tho is that leasing has been so great for me. there’s no requirement for long-term commitment, and you’re not responsible for most of the biggies. there are downsides, too, of course (esp when you’re used to calling the shots), but perhaps it’s a potential interim solution?

  6. It won’t make this whole process easier, nothing will really but time. Though hard this will make you stronger in the end. There will come a point in time where it all will not feel as hard and you will be ready. Even if that time feels really far off it most likely won’t be as far off as you might think. Just let yourself feel the sadness, the disappointment. They aren’t fun feelings but they aren’t bad feelings either. They are necessary for your mind and heart to process the situation. It might sound cliche and not your reality right now but I believe you will eventually see that the death of one dream will emerge a new one. Hang in there.

  7. This is a struggle!

    When I moved away from TN to KS, I had to leave Moe behind because I couldn’t afford to board him there. I was very, very, very bummed to not have my horse around. I felt kind of adrift because horses and horse-related activities had been part of my life for…well, my whole life! Instead of leasing or taking lessons on some an eventing or dressage school horse, I opted to try a whole new sport. Taking polo lessons was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I made new friends, learned a LOT, and got to ride and hang out with horses. Because it was a totally new sport to me, I felt like I was able to participate without a lot of pressure to compete or buy a horse or anything. (And the culture surrounding polo was very different than what I was used to.)

    The change of pace was incredibly helpful to me. Since moving to OK, I’ve gone back to eventing and kinda sorta taken up dressage, but having that year of playing polo was a great break. I think I’d go back to it now if I wasn’t paying board on two horse who are NOT polo ponies! (I think Moe could make a go at it, but I dunno about Gina…)

    Good luck- I hope your funk passes quickly!

    • This is really good advice! And could give you something to scratch the horse itch without jumping into the deep end until you’re ready 🙂

  8. I agree with much of what has been written above. It takes time. But I think going into it thinking “Lets see how this goes, I think this can work” rather than “This horse is the ONE” may help? Figure out what attributes are most important. Uphill? Sound mind? Show experience? Breed? Size? Sex? and go off of those and hopefully the rest falls into place….

  9. I’ve always gone ahead and gotten my next horse before/during selling the current one so I’ve never done a waiting period. I’d be bored without a horse and I don’t ride at a lesson barn so I can’t really ride without having a horse. Of course, I have been much less emotionally attached to those horses. So if you need time off, you should do that.

  10. Try as many as possible and listen to your gut. Sometimes you just click with a horse, and sometimes you don’t. Also, maybe make a list of the things that didn’t work for you with O and use it to help you choose another horse. Knowing what you don’t want is really helpful when you’re horse shopping. If you are able to ride other horses (at your barn or friends’ horses) that too can help you to figure out what you want!

  11. I’ve never sold one, but my first horse passed completely unexpectedly. I never stopped riding (not even for a week), but I leased a horse and rode twice a week for several years before deciding to buy again. In retrospect, I’m really glad I waited until I was ready. Time was the only thing that even helped heal the wounds ❤

  12. Not the same situation, but when I started riding again post-college I did something similar to Stephanie and took lessons in a different discipline. It’d be really really hard for me to go ride and show breed show stuff right now because I compare every horse to Lucy (also I wouldn’t be able to afford to show at the level I would want to, thanks grad school). Instead, I’ve taken h/j lessons, dressage lessons and even tried a little bit of xc and eventing. It’s been a fun change of pace.

  13. Just keep riding. You never know what will happen or what you’ll get out of it. I had no intention of buying my horse, it was just supposed to be one summer of leasing and showing. Take your time. Don’t rush into anything, you’ll know when it’s right.

  14. I haven’t been horseless in a lot of years, but I had the biggest struggle with what to do after my senior TB Blue passed away. I already owned Apollo but my heart was so broken. I honestly think I might have gotten out of horses altogether if I didn’t already have one. I didn’t want to go through losing a horse ever again. Somehow I muddled through with Apollo and eventually got two young horses also (because I am an insane person).

    So anyway, my point is that at the right time the right horse will show up and everything will feel right. It won’t necessarily be easy. But it will be worth it! You learned a lot from your journey with O and you have a lot of knowledge to bring to the table for your next horse. Try to enjoy the process and be kind to yourself 🙂 There is no rush to jump back into ownership either.

  15. Take a break if you have to, and/or ride other peoples horses. Riding my friend’s horses after the emotional exhaustion of Skye and then her passing away was a great way to remind myself why I love horses and why I do this. I ended up with Sydney, and I am very happy.

  16. I completely know what it feels like to not know how to move forward after parting with a horse. I stopped riding for 3 1/2 years after I put my heart horse down, and while it felt like the right thing at the time, in hindsight I realize it was simply the easiest thing and it’s a regret of mine. I really encourage you to stay involved with horses, whether riding friends’ horses or finding a short-term lease – just something that feels fun with no pressure. Don’t push yourself too hard into finding a new horse right away; there’s no rush. Take your time to remember that horses can be fun and relaxing, not stressful and painful. They bring great joy. They will for you again.

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