Thursday, July 2, 2020

Horses are Hard

I think, in a lot of ways, 2020 has been an absolute rollercoaster for almost everyone I know. Lots of particularly... heavy stuff has been floating around, and while I did my best to rise above, I admittedly have been treading water for a while.

Owning horses is... hard.

I recognize first hand that owning them is a privilege that few are bestowed. In fact, I personally know of at least several kids who would sell their soul just for the chance to ride - never-mind owning 3 of their very own horses. I am well aware of just how lucky I am to have what I have, and to be where I am.

That being said, it is not to say that it doesn't come with it's own struggles, because it does. Living in an area that does not particularly cater to horses or horse ownership in general is tough. There are no boarding barns (nearby). There are no vets. Critical and urgent care is non-existent - which means any furthering of diagnostics is a 5+ hour trailer ride, and you better hope your horse can make the trip. And if they can't? Well...

This all being said, the lack of vet care in this area isn't necessarily a deal-breaker in owning horses here - most of the equestrian community is very hands on and helpful, which makes it that much easier to handle things when disaster strikes amongst individuals. And believe me when I say, several of us could be vet techs with the amount of knowledge and vast array of education we've obtained from years of doing this on our own. These are good people to have on your side, and even better when they come running at a moments notice. Still, it is certainly time consuming, exceptionally costly, and gut wrenching when you have to make that 10 hour haul, especially coming home with bad news like I did in April.

Still, despite having several gigantic fucking curveballs thrown my way I rose up and dealt with it. Up until a month or so ago, I felt okay - that I could weather the storm and gather the pieces where they may lay. But the fall-out from each and every curveball is beginning to seep deep into my veins and I'm struggling to be as motivated or as happy as I have been in the past. And that's not to say I am neglectful or lazy when it comes to overall care and consideration for my animals, because I still go through the motions of ownership and riding as per usual. However, I'm really struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Going through the motions of relocating the horses, setting up a safe and secure paddock, being given a devastating diagnosis for my yearling, and now, a potentially career-minimizing (or ending) issue with Annie and I'm pretty fucking tapped.

Struggling to see the point of investing blood, sweat, and tears into a lifestyle that maybe isn't actually meant for me.

And it's not to say that I don't love horses, because I do. I enjoy my time with them immensely. But when push comes to shove, I am overwhelmed with emotions and struggling to find traction on solid ground. The instant I manage to get somewhere, I look up, and see yet another mountain to climb.

I am tired of fighting so hard to keep things chugging along when they threaten to fall apart at a moments notice.

And if I'm being completely honest?

Horses are not fun for me right now.

Being around them and spending time with them brings me happiness, but the questionable future of 2/3 of my horses is really, really fucking hard. I don't have all the answers yet, and although there is a sliver of me that remains hopeful, I am also just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So I guess, aside from the incredibly massive pity party I'm throwing myself on the interwebs, did any of you feel similarly? Did you ever take a step back from horse ownership/riding - what was that like and how did you get back into it (if ever)? What kept you going amidst the struggles?

There are few things that break me, but 2020 has cut me open and split me in half.