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Finding it hard to adapt to sharing

18 replies

kitkat321 · 15/09/2017 23:46

I've ridden and owned my own horse for almost 10 years but after I started a family it felt like a real struggle and after failing to find a decent sharer, ruling out the possibility of sending my horse out on loan because of all the horror stories i've heard I ended up selling and giving up and I had a year without going near a horse.

I actually enjoyed the break, didn't think I missed it but did feel that I had nothing to fill my spare time so would go to the gym (I hate the gym but it's something to do) or just find myself doing house work & trying to fulfil my image of being a perfect mum with a spotless house and a homecooked dinner on the table every night.

Anyway, a friend has an older horse that is overweight, still perfectly sound but never really ridden as the owner is too big for her so we came to an arrangement whereby I ride a couple of times a week.

Horse is lovely, very safe and just what I needed to get my confidence back BUT, I really struggle with sharing when I've previously owned especially as this horses owner has no time for her and can barely afford to keep her.

I've already bought the horse a new bit and bridle as the ones she had didn't suit (I agreed with the owner I didn't just go off and do it and she was fine and said she'd been meaning to do it). The poor things saddle is apparently newish and was fitted recently but it doesn't fit.

She's only exercised on the days I go up and then left in the field for a few days and often the owner doesn't do more than drive by and check her. She's not on any supplements despite her age and while I know her owner loves her, it's not how I'd keep a horse and I'm already finding myself getting frustrated and trying not to cross the line and become a difficult sharer.

I sort of regret selling my horse now as people did tell me I was being too impulsive and that as my daughter got older it would get easier (and it has already - my daughter loves horses and loves coming to the yard to help out!)

My last horse was a superstar though and I don't know that I'd find the likes of him again plus I'm still not sure I could deal with the responsibility of owning again although I'm warming more and more to the idea!

Argh - I'm not sure what to do. On one hand, this horse is lovely and I do think she's benefiting from the time and attention I'm giving her but I'm also a bit worried that with the saddle issues (which I can guarantee the owner will not be able to sort) I'll end up doing damage to her and she's not exactly a young thing (early 20's ex broody).

OP posts:
Ollivander84 · 15/09/2017 23:57

Tricky one. Could you mention about the saddle like you think it's sitting low/slipping, pinching somewhere and see how you go?
Or look for another share? Or even a full loan if you're inclined

I've had the same part loan for 7 years now (owned for years before that) but I'm lucky in that I have sole use, I buy her whatever supplements I want her on and do what I want (within reason!)

Wolfiefan · 16/09/2017 00:01

I think you have to differentiate between where the owner simply does things differently to you and where there's a welfare issue. Remember this horse isn't yours!
Is the saddle issue something a decent pad could cure or more serious?

kitkat321 · 16/09/2017 00:14

@Ollivander84 - lucky you! It does take commitment though to really invest time and money in someone elses horse as I've seen may instances where a sharer/loaner has transformed a horse only for the owner to want it back/want to sell it etc so good on you for being so dedicated - the owner must love you!

@Wolfiefan - there is absolutely no welfare issue and owner loves the horse. Horse has all of it's basic needs met - good grazing (too good!), 24/7 turn out, a secure stable available, feet/teeth/vacinations all up to date but because the owner doesn't ride, things like the saddle haven't mattered so much. I don't think a pad would help things - it's just a cheap, crap, poor fitting saddle - what is more concerning is that it was fitted by a qualified fitter recently but there is no way it ever fitted her (when I owned I had a saddle disaster so I know how to tell if a saddle doesn't fit).

The majority of the issues/concern come from the fact that she is now being exercised and therefore needs better tack and I'm just not willing to pay for it on top of what I pay to share her and I doubt her owner will be willing because having a sharer is supposed to save you money not cost you more!

I might just muddle along for now and see how it goes as I'm not asking the horse for much - one or two 1 hour hacks in walk per week is about all I'm doing as I don't want to push her too much given she's not been in work for a while.

OP posts:
Ollivander84 · 16/09/2017 00:38

Ah she was already well loved but stepping down a bit from competing. Weirdly my beloved old horse (he was PTS, I gave up for a while) was on a yard and I used to fuss the mare next door. A decade later and that mare is the one I loan - I always said my old horse sent her to me!
I hack, jump (occasionally!) and school her and she's still at medium level dressage schooling at home

kitkat321 · 16/09/2017 00:42

Sounds lovely.

The horse I'm riding has never really done much except pop out some foals and I do sometimes wonder if she should be doing anything but she's so fat she needs to get the weight off and she does seem to like going out for her wee walks.

I do miss schooling though - my last horse was a great hack and also lovely to school and I miss that and my competing days :(

OP posts:
Ollivander84 · 16/09/2017 00:46

Maybe carry on with the walking hacks, see how it goes but keep feelers out for anything else that comes up. Distinct lack of sharers usually coming up to winter so you have an advantage

Wolfiefan · 16/09/2017 00:48

If the saddle was fitted recently then that person needs to come back out.
If she needs better tack because of what you want to do then maybe offer to contribute. (Secondhand any good?)
The point I was making is you clearly have high standards when it comes to your horses (good!) but this one isn't yours (if that makes sense)

Greyhorses · 16/09/2017 07:03

I sold my horse then felt exactly as you did after my son got to about 1 and I went out and bought another.

It's hard, harder than I thought and my horse does not get as much excersise as I wanted her too.

The horse sounds lovely and I personally wouldn't worry about the way she's kept if she's happy. Lots of people (like me!) are more relaxed about things and the horses are fine as long as her needs are met. None of mine have ever needed supplements or even hard feed!

I would definitely get the saddle sorted though although I bet the owner will be reluctant if she isn't riding.

kitkat321 · 16/09/2017 09:19

@Greyhorses - that's interesting that you've been in the same boat! How old was your little one when you sold your horse? I actually found the first 9/10 months when I was on maternity leave relatively ok because I was off work and my mum/mil always had wanted to help out so I got to ride a couple of days during the week and evenings/weekends. It was when I went back to work full time as I found it hard to juggle it and there always seemed to be something needing done in the house and I'd put off going to the yard (horse lived out and I payed ym to check/feed him). I actually think that made it worse - knowing you didn't have to go made it easy to not go.

Do you think you'll persevere this time? How much do you manage to get up to the yard/ride?

OP posts:
Greyhorses · 16/09/2017 16:36

It's hard isn't it Grin

I sold horse when I was pregnant, I really struggled with sickness and tiredness and couldn't be bothered plus I was worried about finances!

I think maternity leave made me want to get back into it more as I found the whole baby thing so boring- I hated mother baby groups and all that stuff and wanted my own thing!

I hope I will persevere. New horse is a youngster so I'm hoping that I can turn her away for breaks over winter and that will take the pressure off. DS is at the toddling stage and likes the yard so mucking out is easy. Turning out isn't so easy as horse is silly and DS won't stay at the stables while I go to the field yet!

Riding wise I am struggling at the moment as horse is going through the Kevin's and things are a bit of a battle at times. I think realistically I should have got something older but I wanted something that I could bring on slowly and that didn't need to be out competing right this second!

So I'm in a bit of two minds whether it was a good or terrible idea to get another Grin

Pixel · 18/09/2017 00:25

You say she's really fat and I wonder if she's got that way since the saddle was fitted and that's why it doesn't fit now. If you could get her slimmer and more muscled up it might be ok again. As she's safe and you are only walking out could you do it bareback for a while, or maybe lunge her to try and tone her up?

Scaredycat2016 · 19/09/2017 12:12

Greyhorses: you have no idea how relieved I am to see somebody else say they found the baby thing boring! I'm a fellow (new) horsey mum (6 rescues) and I feel guilty for much preferring playing ponies to playing mother earth 😂

Sorry for the hijack op xx

Greyhorses · 19/09/2017 18:12

It's a bit embarrassing to admit in real life isn't it Scardey Grin

I absolutely love DS but by the time DH gets back from work I'm itching to do something for myself. I hate sitting around (think most horsey people do!) and couldn't understand why people said I wouldn't be able to have time to do things for myself. There's only so much baby talk I can cope with and I find I feel like me again when I'm riding.

I did find out how difficult it is. I have DS plus two young large dogs, horse and also work shifts but I seem to thrive on insanity Grin

kitkat321 · 20/09/2017 22:52

@Pixel - there is no way the saddle ever fitted that horse. I'm lucky that we have a saddle fitter who keeps her horse at my yard who has confirmed it doesn't fit and recommended the type of saddle that woudl fit her - unfortunately they are averaging around £200 second hand and I don't think I can justify the cost :( You can actually see the saddle marks on her where the saddle is pressing.

I feel awful and don't know what to do - the wee mare is loving getting some attention and seems to enjoy getting out for our wee hacks. I'm also just about to order her some joint supplements as although she's sound, she's a bit clicky in her joints so I wanted to help that and hoped that combined with light exercise it would keep her nice and supple.

There is no way the owner can afford a new saddle - she could affort to get her feet trimmed this week and that only costs £20 - to be fair, she doesn't need trimmed right now but it gives an idea of her financial situation.

There don't seem to be any other decent shares in my area so I feel like my options are keep on with this horse and do the best I can buy her and hope that me riding twice a week in an ill fitting saddle won't do any real damage or walk away, leaving her to stand in a field which to be honest, probably suits her as an ex broody as that's just what life was like for her - I think I'd find it easier if she didn't seem to enjoy the attention so much - she seems to be thriving on it :(

OP posts:
Pixel · 22/09/2017 22:49

Oh well KitKat, it was just a thought as I know my horse changes shape quite a lot despite my best efforts (living on fresh air as he does), and he has to have an adjustable saddle because of it.

Maybe you could run to a s/h Wintec off ebay? At least they are easy to sell on because people are more confident buying online if they are getting something adjustable so you wouldn't lose too much if things didn't work out. It may not be 100% perfect but it sounds as if it would be a lot better than the one you currently have.

kitkat321 · 23/09/2017 13:10

I spoke to the owner and explained the issue and that I wouldn't ride while her saddle didn't fit - it's a wintec she's in but the tree shape doesn't suit her so changing the gullet won't help - she needs a different type of saddle. I've made the offer that I will buy her a saddle (thorowgood should suit her) and would just stop paying to share her for a few months to recoup the cost of the saddle - given I'm only sharing this horse a couple of days a week I think that is going above and beyond as it really is the owners responsibility to provide appropriate tack.

I've told her to think about it but I'm not hopeful which is a shame as horse I lovely and I'm building a nice bond with her :(

OP posts:
happygardening · 24/09/2017 08:37

I went back to riding last year after having been a horse owner for 20+ years, had kids couldn't juggle both so had a 10+ year break and am now looking for a share.
The first one I found was totally unsuitable similar situation to what you've described, nice owner, lovely horse but very limited finances owner had no time and no facilities. I gave it a two week trial at the end knew it was never going to work for me. But I'd started to put feelers out on the the yard where the horse was being kept, said I was looking for a share and now I've been contacted about a horse that sounds significantly more suitable (fingers crossed) and a yard with decent facilities.
If like me you have limited time I really don't see the point in sharing something that's not suitable, in terms of you can't do what you want to do for whatever reason. Your going struggle to go anywhere on overweight horse being ridden a couple of times a week with a badly fitting saddle, lets be honest your going no where. If all you want to do it go round the block a couple of times a week then fine but if you want to do anymore than that then its hopeless. This is what I realised with the first horse I found and was totally honest with the owner and it wasn't right fir me.
The good news as you probably know is that a good reliable experienced sharer is worth their weight in gold when I used to own horses I coudn't even pay anyone to ride mine. And as we go into the winter plenty of owners want help, make it know to horsey friends, livery yards, horse Facebook for you area etc that your looking I'm sure something more suitable will up.

kitkat321 · 24/09/2017 20:28

@happygardening - thank you for your viewpoint.

You're right, now that my horsey time is so restricted, I need to get the most out of what limited time I have and with this horse there are other compromises so it's not like the saddle is the only issue - they aren't huge compromises, the horse is lovely and safe but won't hack alone & can be nappy.

I think it might be time to walk away :(

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