Unlimited access >

Suggestions? How to feel more fulfilled

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).


I wanted to add to my post above…I went to lunch today and my non-horsey husband said something really profound. He was like “it’s so cool that you can continue to grow in your riding. In my mid-40s, I am as strong and capable as I will ever be in my sports (running and biking). But you can keep getting better for a long time!” It was a really nice insight I thought I would share.


That is the dream fordtraktor! Thanks for sharing!

1 Like

Sometimes we ride for training and progress and sometimes we ride for fun. I do 2 things when I’m in a slump. 1. I put on music and ride with it -which helps me relax my brain and not feel so hard focused or 2. I tell myself we are just going to “walk on a long rein” for 10 minutes and see where the ride goes from there - and it usually ends up great.


You can do it! It’s much harder now when I am pulled in so many directions, with career and family and horses, but it is still SO rewarding. I struggle to find the time to ride even now, but I never regret it.

And some days work explodes (attorney so my day can go sideways quick), I just have to text my trainer midday and say “this isn’t happening, ride him if you can fit him in please.” Sometimes she can, sometimes she can put a working student on him, and sometimes he gets a day off. It’s OK. It took me so long to let go of that guilt…but we have to make compromises as adult ammys.


I was very much getting to post the exact sentiments, thanks for also my me some typing! I’m thankful every day I have a healthy horse waiting for me in the barn.

I also volunteer at a therapeutic riding center and while I find the whole experience very rewarding, working with the horses there doesn’t feel anything like spending time with mine. I’m just another volunteer to them, or maybe that’s just in my head!


What a great topic and such thoughtful replies. My thought for you @JimmineyCricket is could you reply with what you think would be fulfilling? Describe your perfect situation and maybe we can help you close the gap?

Fulfillment in life is close to my heart for many reasons. I work in wealth management and the greatest gift of this career and seeing that money doesn’t make you happy. Sure, we need enough not to feel stressed (too much).

I’ve seen many people who need very expensive things and they compare themselves to others. There will always, always be someone with more and better. I think it’s a gift to grow up without much and work hard for it. Not have the expensive horse. Not fit in. Makes you stronger.

Some of the most unhappy people I’ve seen had everything handed to them. Like Arnold says, “If you want something be ready to work hard for it.”

What is fulfillment and what is success is different for everyone. I’ve known people who if they couldn’t compete completely got out of horses. I cannot imagine. For me, being in the company of a horse goes to my soul. And I want them happy and feeling good. Their happiness and relaxation comes before my ego. I try at least.

And here’s to the wierdos and those who don’t fit in. My tribe. Of course I am an only child so you’re that way from the start. It’s sometimes not a comfortable feeling when you’re in a cliquey crowd, but you learn to be happy while alone.

I’ve shown and had success and now at a place where riding in a clinic, working on being a better horseman, and always improving the relationship with my horses is most important. Maybe show once a year just to get dressed up and have a fun day. But that’s just me. I would much more prefer to be bareback in the woods on my horse listening for wildlife just like when I was 10.

I agree though having someone to pal around with is important and not easy to find. Some of my most cherished memories have been horse times with friends. Sometimes you have to accept you’re on your own and you’ve got your horse as a best friend.

So tell us Jiminey can you define what might have you feel more fulfilled?


Really good post. It has to be fascinating seeing firsthand how money (generally) doesn’t buy happiness once have have your basic needs plus a little accounted for.

The quote resonates with me as another only child. I grew up entertaining myself in large part my parents spent time and played with me, but they also let me learn how to entertain myself…and I did! I’ve always been happy on my own and am a full fledged introvert. I wonder if that’s a good part into why I really don’t give a hoot as to what other do. My poor childhood Guinea Pigs that got my Grand Champion tack and riders sometimes…:joy:

OP - I can’t relate to where you are and never have. We gave my childhood horse to a friend when I went to college and that friend took great care of her until she passed in her late 20’s or early 30’s of old age. I was thankful to be able to ride in my colleges equestrian program for 4 years even though I wasn’t a major and even more thankful to get connected with a now long time friend that I rode with from 2003 until I got my boy in 2020. When I bought him, my goal was to ENJOY. Whatever that means at whatever time. Sometimes it’s showing. Some days we just do Liberty/tricks. On hot days in the summer, i just give him a shower and we chill in front of this stall fan. I’m thankful every day I wake up and have a happy, healthy horse to go see.

1 Like

This is me in a nutshell.

1 Like

I was meditating in my tack room this morning and thought of this thread. Meditation, for anyone who hasn’t done it - is just clearing your head. Stopping your thoughts – for 10 min or longer if you can.
It’s so powerful for me and calms the tornado of life. The pressure of what all needs done.

Another gift of horses is we develop resilience. There are the good times and hopefully you are aware of it and don’t take it for granted. Friends, laughter, a sound horse, riding in beautiful places, maybe glory in the showring. You, your family, your horse… are healthy. Life is good. And then, there are all the other times. You’re solving problems. Someone is sick. Something is wrong. Work or home is stressful. You’re not getting enough down time and relaxation and FUN.

For me, feeling fulfilled is not constant by any means. I grew up with horses at home and as an adult boarded for the past 30 yrs. I wrote down my dreams, listened to Wayne Dyer and Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s Big Magic and DID IT. Designed it and built it. Horses are home and I’m in control and they are better for it. But I’ve never worked harder in my life - working away from home FT, building and renovating a home and 20 acre property. It’s hard, very hard and there are times I am not happy. Unless you have the money to pay for the barn work and mowing you’re busting your arse to get it all done.

So I just needed to come back to Jiminey and everyone else and relay my experience of life and horses. The gift of resilience is priceless.


I felt more fulfilled when I moved out of the show barn. Not having the constant round of train, prep, show, gave me the space to figure out what I enjoyed and do more of that. Injuries were much less stressful without the daily reminders that show season was slipping away.

Saying yes when another boarder asked “Do you want to go do X with our horses?” opened new activities. I joined a riding club and met a new friend who got me into a whole new discipline, just by saying yes when a fellow boarder asked me along on a club ride when her usual buddy couldn’t go.

Bringing along my young horses (now 25 and 15) was overall very fulfilling, though there were times it was nothing but frustrating. As I can’t really ride either this year I have been riding other people’s horses - something I have not been interested in doing for years - and I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m also putting manners on a 2 year old (not mine) and remembering how much I enjoy that part of horses.


I really appreciate the little things…I have been doing the same in life lately. I slow myself down and take a small piece of the training and educate myself on the cause and effect of my aids. It’s making me more cerebral about my position and timing. It’s always such a pleasure when it works!

1 Like

Dressage training is the avenue i chose for my continuing education. I’m really enjoying brining up the various horses i own through my coach’s lesson plans. Each horse is so very different from each other one. And within the same riding tutelage i’m getting a spherical education. I love learning the new language and am enjoying learning each horse so very well. The horsey friendships i’m making are horses, not people. I’m not really interested in making human friends actually. But i am all about getting deeply involved with my horses. My enjoyment comes from them, the tiny little things that improve over time with each of them. That is my fulfillment. OH, and not just riding in my weekly lessons. Training these off the range mustangs and getting them underneath me is a thrill and a half.


So relatable. Thank you.

1 Like