I totally went through this for about 15 years. I was working really hard, then had 2 kids and moved to a farm with my horses…I literally said for a decade I had to “sneak a ride in.”
I changed disciplines, from jumpers to low level Eventing to dressage. I finally found a local trainer I love who does dressage, and decided being “good” was more important than what discipline it was in. No great jumper or eventing trainers here.
My kids finally got old enough that I am able to do a lot more with the horses. Then I cycled through a few horses with limitations, and optimist that I am, I spent too much time before rehoming them to a career they enjoyed/could physically do well.
I still always wish I could ride more, but I’m off to Regionals tomorrow and if the stars align, I can be competitive! If I don’t get nervous and screw it up. Either way, I started the year with the goal of showing at Regionals at First, but halfway through the year I dug in and moved up to Second and got my scores for that too. I probably won’t be THAT competitive at Second, but we can do all the things well, so fingers crossed. Putting it all together is a lot.
Anyway, long story short, you can have a LONG dry spell and still get it back.
If you are in a dry spell, what are the reasons why? Time, money, fitness, lack of structure/program? What can you do to fix it? Or is it just not the right time to fix it for you? That is OK too. Sometimes life just isn’t in the right spot to compete. This is a lifelong sport, you can hit pause.
I will say that one thing I have learned to do is move on from a horse that isn’t the right one for me. I now have an absolutely lovely horse, but it took a long time to find him on a budget, and I have spent a lot keeping him in training (he was unstarted).