Moving on?

Mary Poppins

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It has now been one month since I lost Ben. I have sort of muddled through this time and felt very lost and incredibly sad. I have so much time on my hands that I don't know how to fill and there is a huge void where Ben once was. I have tried sharing a horse one day per week, but this just made me feel worse because I didn't have any connection with this horse at all. He was just a horse and the whole thing seemed pointless and I didn't enjoy it so I have stopped that now. I have no interest in going for riding lessons in a riding school. After having Ben for 10 years (with not many lessons!) I don't want to be told what to do and after hacking solidly for over 3 years, I don't want to go round in circles in a school. I have visited friends horses and brushed them etc. but I don't feel anything towards them either. It feels like all my emotional connection to any horse has completely gone. I help out at my local RDA but again I don't feel much. I don't think badly of any horse I meet, but I have no real interest in them either.

So what happens now? Is this it for me and horses, or will some feeling come back at some point? Has anyone else had this experience? If so, how long did it last for? The only solution I guess is to find a new horse to buy, but when I look at the ads I don't have any inclination to go and view any of them. I just feel very numb but also very lost without Ben.
 

carthorse

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Oh @Mary Poppins a month is no time at all, particularly when you had such a strong connection with Ben. I felt numb for ages, particularly after losing Jim and at that point I already had Little Un . It sounds a terrible thing to say but it took me months to stop resenting that he was still with me and Jim wasn't, though eventually I got over that and learned to see him entirely in his own right for the lovely lad he was - in the end I was grateful he had his time being number 1 as he clearly loved it and I was very upset when a few years later I lost him too.

I found a place that did hacking, rode a friend's horse a bit, and had a few lessons too - not so much because I wanted to ride but simply because I knew I needed to get back in the habit of getting on different horses and making an assessment fairly quickly, something I used to be good at but had got rusty on with years of riding only my own. It was a shock to find I had to use legs to keep horses moving lol.

Looking at adverts was very disheartening, the few I went to view even more so because in most cases it seems sellers aren't advertising the horse they show! I saw one mare who while I didn't get a strong feel for was so polite that she would have done the job nicely and I don't doubt would have grown on me, but she had a big question thrown up at the vetting. Luka was mentioned to me by a friend who knows what I like and when I saw him he straight away had something about him that appealed to me even though he didn't tick several of my sensible boxes - story of my life. No I didn't straightaway have that bond there I'd had before, but that is always going to take time to develop, there was however a strong attraction to who he was. I was put out when the mare had a question on her vetting but had no hesitation in walking away, Luka I had a sleepless night before and opted for a two stage because I really really wanted him to pass!

I'd say keep your eyes open and let friends know that you're looking. Keep scanning adverts and be open minded if something catches your eye but doesn't necessarily tick all your boxes. Don't rush into anything, you need to at least feel some sort of basic connection though there is no way you're going to immediately have a Ben connection because that's grown in time, love, and trust. I would say try to go for rides or a few lessons but explain to anywhere you go why you are doing this - I found a nice place and after explaining my background and why I wanted some lessons they produced a different horse each time so that I could work on getting a feel and making an assessment quickly, they also generally stayed to the type I was wanting. I never looked to form a relationship with those horses, they were a stepping stone.

I do know where you're coming from, and having typed all of those ramblings I still think you have to do what's right for you and that may be very different to what was right for me. My back up plan if I didn't find what I wanted was to go and buy a 3yo, or possibly even a 2yo, Sec D so I had a fairly clean slate and could get to know them before doing anything much. I'd probably at that point have gone to the Welsh breed society sales with a friend who's very experienced at buying there so I could have had a good look at quite a few and hopefully one or two would have caught my eye.

Good luck, I often think of you x
 

Doodle92

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It’s no time at all. I lost minto and people said “but you still have soli, enjoy him” then 6months later I lost Soli too. Suddenly that “horse time” was empty. I had to wait for the insurance pay out to buy another sk
I couldn’t do it immediately. I felt if I didn’t do I soon tho I never would. At that point I still did a few hours as a groom so got to ride. But I wanted MY horses, I didn’t want to ride other peoples horses.

A friend said I was rushing in to getting another horse but went to see quite a few. I was just Meh about them all and a few were plain disasters. They were mostly “fine”. Nothing really wrong with them but nothing made me interested. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get that feeling again and I should just get something that on paper was suitable. So about 4 months later I bought Tom. Big mistake. The first day I had him I realised he was the wrong horse. I should have listened to my gut hoping he DIDNT pass the vet. We were both miserable. After 5 months my boss said just sell him. Great, someone had given me permission and he was gone a month later. To someone who commented on how cuddly and affectionate he was, he never was with me. They however “clicked”.

Back to the search for a new horse. Went to see one who was “ok” he would have done but again no spark. Then next day I went to see Robin. Immediately I knew he was for me. I didn’t even need to see him ridden or even rugs off. Just that immediate I need this horse. Owner rode and I wanted him and within 2 mins of me sitting on him I knew he was for me. I have now got as much of a special bond I had before.

So what I am saying is, there will be another horse out there for you. I don’t know why you click with some horses instantly. You CAN get that bond again. A month is no time. But also it is ok to say this is not for me anymore. I’m not sure of your situation but after selling tom I continued to pay livery to keep my space/stable. If that is something you could do it takes the pressure off. Yo was delighted to be getting money for nothing.

I still have pangs for my boys 7 years on. I still miss them terribly and would do anything to go back just for a day. But I have Robin now who is just as amazing. If I hadn’t have got Tom I wouldn’t have got Robin as he wasn’t for sale at that time. So it has all worked out. That said I’m not sure I will replace Robin as it is simply too heartbreaking (he will never be sold so I know I will loose him at some point).
 
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Lollykay

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When I laid the horse I had raised from birth-to-29-years to rest, it took me a year before I was able to even look at another horse. I was 13 when Sonny was born and 42 when I had to let him go.

I could never bring myself to sell my tack and trailer. One day, the following spring, I heard a truck & trailer rumbling up my road. Unconsciously, I rushed to the window to see who it was and try to see a glimpse of their horses.

It was a neighbor taking a load of cattle to the local auction:). That was the moment I knew it was time to start looking for a new companion to replace my beloved Sonny that I had not only raised from birth but had trained under my grandfather’s tutelage. Sonny had a lot of ownership of my soul so letting go was really tough.

I knew better than to look for another Sonny. It took several months before my beloved Duke came into my life as a coming three year old. Duke was a registered Tennessee Walker, whereas Sonny had been an Arab/Saddlebred. Duke was with me until his end time, at age 27.

To coin one of my mom’s favorite phrase, “a watch pot never boils”. When the time is right, you will find your next heart horse. Don’t push, lest you end up with the wrong horse - the right horse will find you:)
 

Trewsers

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I too was thinking of you the other day and wondering how you were getting on. I don't have any real advice because when Joe died, it all happened so quickly finding Chloe as we felt we had to, thinking that Storm wouldn't be okay on her own (they were at home). So her cheerful honest face peeping out over Joe's stable door sort of jollied me up and in a way made me move on (that might not be the right term to use because I hadn't moved on really). I totally understand not really enjoying your lessons and riding other horses at this stage, I know I wouldn't have either. Hell I'm still not in the zone really for riding Zi - I feel like I can't move on from having to retire Storm (and that's been four years worth!!!!). And she's still in the land of the living. So anyway, after that waffle, I shall just wish you some more good thoughts and hope that your grief lessens and that at some point you feel a spark again and want to get back on board whole heartedly. x
 

Doodle92

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That is a fair point about looking for something different. The second horse I saw was a soli double and also and exracer. He was stunning but I thought too similar. He then bucked the lady off and knocked her out which made the excuse of no an easy one.

Although there is a lot of Minto in Robin. Not so much to look at, but the bouncy cheery lets go attitude.
 
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Jessey

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A month isn't long. I do think you have a different connection with your own vs a horse you just ride, and for me it just doesn't tickle my fancy now days, riding is a relatively small part of the enjoyment I get from having my own. Take your time, ride when you want to, don't until you do.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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A month is nothing. Of course you are still numb, when you gave so much of yourself to Ben and lost him after trying so, so hard.

After Ziggy died I rushed into getting Charlie and it showed. I didn't do well by him and never had much of a connection with him: plus he was beyond my competence! Sid came almost 2 years later, and although he wasn't what I was looking for at all, I've started to grow that bond and understanding with him that I developed with Ziggy and that's what I am looking for in horse. In appearance and character they're completely different.

You'll know when it's time. If you feel like keeping your hand in with friends' horses, well, that's sensible and good physical practice, but don't worry if they don't float your boat. Why would they?
 

MrC

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This is why I got the wee guy. Something completely different but what I wanted without any pressure or expectations.

I knew Kia was going. Not as soon as he did. I though I had another three weeks or so but he was ready and knew I had another soul to care for and that I’d be ok
 

Ale

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I think it's only natural that you are struggling to connect with any horse at the moment, you are grieving and possibly guarded about getting close to another at the same time. As everyone else has said a month is no time at all, so perhaps if you feel it's right for you have a little break from horses. Can you use that spare time for self care or anything else you have always wanted to do or anything you enjoy. If you find that nothing interests you at the moment then perhaps it would be good to talk to a doctor or someone about that, but if it's just horses then I think that's understandable and you should try and give yourself time.
 

Huggy

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Like MrC I knew I was losing Ramsey, and I knew I'd struggle to want to find another horse, so Hogan found us. You're in such early days of the grieving process, roll with it, do what you need to, to get through it. If the stars align, and the time is right, a horse may catch your eye when you least expect it. Just don't feel guilty if you start wanting to be around horses again.
 

Mary Poppins

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Thanks for all your thoughtful replies. I love the support in this site and it is very comforting to know people are thinking of me.

It the lack of routine and structure that is hard as well. This morning I am still in bed, whereas I would have previously been at the yard. Later this afternoon I would have been back at the yard. But with no yard to go to I have no structure and nothing to plan my day round. It’s not just the loss of Ben which is hard enough, but also the loss of my routine, exercise and social life. I have so much time on my hands!

I will be OK and have plenty to keep me busy. I just saw an advert for paid pop picking work which quite tempted me. Maybe I need to ‘trust the process’ as the saying goes and just wait for a suitable horse to find me. I never really thought about losing Ben and how difficult it would be. It really is hard. Thanks all for listening again.xx
 

domane

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Nothing to add from me, as others have covered it all so well, but I agree with everything they've said. I didn't want to not comment, so just to add that you are also often in my thoughts.

Do you have any animal/rescue places near you? Was thinking that maybe you could offer to do some voluntary work, just to keep you idle hands busy and your brain occupied.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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It's hardly any time particularly after an intense relationship with one horse. Could you try to get an ex police or army horse? They are a known quantity and they would be honest about their ability and health status. And they would so enjoy a less regimented more fun life and give you many years of a reliable horse who's been there done it if not necessarily what Ben did but at least would be traffic proof......
 
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Kite_Rider

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Another who been thinking about you, please give yourself time, I think losing an animal is for me like losing a family member, because let’s face it that’s what they are, you need to give yourself time to heal.
I haven’t any advice to give you, just know we are thinking of you and sending virtual hugs and strength.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Another who been thinking about you, please give yourself time, I think losing an animal is for me like losing a family member, because let’s face it that’s what they are, you need to give yourself time to heal.
I haven’t any advice to give you, just know we are thinking of you and sending virtual hugs and strength.
Apart from my husband and children, I don't think that a loss could be greater to bear. Ben was quite literally my 3rd child. I bought him instead of having another baby and he immediately filled that longing and that gap that was missing. My youngest son was only 18 months old when Ben came to us and having him in our family is all he has ever known. Every day revolved around Ben and he became the 'person' who I would go to for all my emotional needs. He was my support and my rock really. But aside from the strength he gave me emotionally, I really miss his personality and how he always made me smile. He was such a character and I simply loved spending time with him.
 

carthorse

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(((hugs))), in some ways I think it's worse because we have to make a decision and we can't even discuss it with them. I would have found it so much easier if I could have said to them "have you had enough, is it time to go or do you want more time?" . Would they have decided sooner?

Mine gave me different things. William was very much an independent free spirit who taught me his value and my own. Jim always gave me a feeling of peace which was maybe odd given how he could be, but even at his most difficult he seemed to give out peace and protection - I just needed to survive in order to appreciate them! And Little Un was a needy joker, he'd always raise a smile to go with the sometimes exasperated "really?!" and he was the gentlest of souls. Luka I'm still learning about, I haven't got him in the right yard yet and that's having a big impact.

Give yourself time xxx
 
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Doodle92

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It was much much harder to loose the horses. after i lost them I lost my dad in grisly circumstances, I had to give dna to identify him. Mum and him were separated and I am an only child so everything fell to me. Dealing with police (and a particularly helpful police man concerned I wasn’t upset enough and did I understand the gravity of what had just happened?!?) at midnight and all the awful stuff I had to deal with about that. That I coped with. I cried a little at the funeral and then it was done.

Shortly after that my cat died. That was the end for me and was also so much harder than my dad.

Making the decision is that hardest. But also easy as I just wanted their suffering to stop.
 
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