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Question of the Week: Where Did Our Love Go?

I love my horse, but I've lost all motivation to ride. Is this normal?


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Finding the reason behind lost love for riding can be difficult but important for you and your horseQ: I am an older adult rider. Two years ago I finally bought my dream horse, a wonderful gelding. I had a lot of fun showing him and riding him on the trails. Recently, however, I have no motivation to ride, show or even go to the barn. It’s not a time or money issue, it’s more like riding has become a task. Is this normal? I don't know what to do!

A: Riders of all ages, but especially adults, are prone to creating an idealized vision of what it will be like to own a horse. All of the good aspects of horse ownership are captivating. Who doesn’t want a four-legged best friend? And what could be more invigorating than a glorious ride on a magnificent creature? But when reality sets in—the stress over health and soundness issues, the constant cost of the upkeep, and petty things like personality clashes at the barn—aren’t so glamorous. Be honest with yourself. Were you expecting too much from your relationship with your horse? Were you really prepared for the demands on your lifestyle? A more candid approach to horse ownership may help you realize that the good far outweighs the bad, and that your life benefits from your connection to your horse.

You might also try taking a break from showing. Though you have to be dedicated in order to succeed on the show circuit, the unending scrutiny of your position and your horse’s way of going can steal away some of the sweet, quiet moments we all treasure with our horses. However, if you’re competitive by nature, purely recreational riding might not hold your interest. But there are plenty of intriguing equestrian pursuits to investigate, from drill teams to mounted shooting, arena polo, team penning and extreme cowboy racing. Your current barn buddies may scoff at your burgeoning curiosity, but you might meet an entirely new group of horsey friends along your journey.

Ultimately, though, you have to do what’s best for your horse. If you feel like you can’t provide the attention he deserves, he needs a new caretaker. But don’t be in a rush to sell him. A dream horse only comes along once in a lifetime. Consider leasing him to another rider who would appreciate the opportunity to ride a nice horse while you contemplate all of your options.

--Cindy Hale

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Question of the Week: Where Did Our Love Go?

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Reader Comments

c    p, UT

8/10/2013 3:17:26 PM

I know what you mean

Brenda    Stacy, MN

12/29/2012 6:37:47 AM

well, this is going to be kinda hard-as i love riding! But maybe instead of feeling bad about not wanting to ride-explore other options! Maybe you can train your horse to drive. (Not a car. that would be bad.)Maybe you would finding driving in a cart more invigorating and fun! Don't force yourself to ride-it's not good for you or the horse. Just spend time with him. Tell him you still love him by petting him, feeding him, walking him, or just watching him while he plays in the pasture. Don't force yourself to do anything other than letting your horse know that you still care about him.

Lorraine    Southampton, NJ

8/29/2010 6:39:04 AM

I have experienced lack of motivattion to ride as well. I have 3 horses that reside on my property. My advice is to force yourself to go the barn and just be there with your horse. Work on your ground relationship with him. There is always something to do. Building on the ground relationship with your horse will lead you back to the desire to ride him. If not, you're spending with him.As John Lyons once said at a clinic I attended was that there is nothing wrong with having a horse for a pet. Spending time with him and building the ground relationship with him will give you a great feeling. Don't pressure yourself to ride, when you're ready you will!

Horselover    Somewhere, IL

8/26/2010 5:00:11 PM

Great comment Paula. That is really good advice.

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