I will try to keep this thread as short as possible, but I feel like I have so much to share! My sister and I are looking for some advice as we are feeling very torn.
A little under a year ago, we purchased a horse after a 5 - 10 year hiatus from horses. I felt a yearning for another companion to love, and my sister enjoyed riding so we thought it would be a great escape for us from our two jobs.
My sister fell in love with a mare, and we took the plunge. At her past home, she appeared relaxed and at ease in her environment. The past owners even had photos of a small child riding her, and while we knew she had some energy under saddle, she seemed much more at ease when we tried her out. Her past owners took great care of her and definitely cherished her.
Initially, she was nervous in her environment but we figured it may take a few months for her to settle in. Other horses definitely bothered her / caused her anxiety. We had to switch her first stall to an end stall since she kept kicking the stall wall. We were concerned for her safety. To help ease her anxiety under saddle and around the stable, we did the following:
- Switching stall to end of stable to prevent kicking
- Switching feed to ration balancer to help her lose weight per vet’s advice, but now slowly changing back to a 12% pelleted feed supplemented with alfalfa to prevent more weight loss
- Internal examination of reproductive system
- Mare Magic for several months, then switching to Quiessence for several months, and finally now giving SmartPak SmartCalm Ultra Pellets
- Two saddle-fitters, nearly 10 saddles, and now two flocking adjustments to her saddle
- Riding lessons several times per month
She just seems nervous even though she has been in this environment nearly a year now. I’m afraid my sister is only comfortable riding her in the indoor arena or a round pen since she is so distracted / anxious.
My sister and I are worried that perhaps there are too many horses and/or stimuli for her. And to make matters worse, I feel burned out and anxious too! My sister has other hobbies that I would like her to pursue, and I don’t want either of us to feel held back from them. I was hoping the barn would be a relaxing and enjoyable escape from work. I am having regrets now. We are both beating ourselves up right now. My sister is especially afraid of feeling like a failure if she contacts the mare’s past owners. When we were teenagers, we had a family pony that we rehomed due to busy school schedules and personal anxiety. I thought I was ready for horse ownership - and dreamed about it for years - but now I feel like the passion is not there.
I apologize for the very long thread! Thank you for bearing with me!