Poll Recap: Horseless Times of Life

Poll Recap: Horseless Times of Life

Of the 439 respondents, 348 (79%) said they have been horseless at some point in their life.

Photo: iStock

Owning and riding horses requires a certain amount of commitment, time, and resources. When combined with additional work and everyday responsibilities, it can easily become overwhelming time-wise, physically, and financially. During these times, some equestrians have to make the difficult decision to step away from horse ownership for a while. 

So, in last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they have every spent a portion of their life horseless (without owning or regularly riding/working with horses). More than 400 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 439 respondents, 348 (79%) said they have been horseless at some point in their life, while the remaining 91 respondents (21%) have not.

Additionally, more than 150 people commented about their horseless experiences: 

Several people commented about their horseless experiences:

  • “I’m 56 years old and horseless for the first time in my life. Thank God I shoe horses for a living.”
  • “Six months now. It's the first time without a horse in 32 years. It's been depressing.”
  • “I had horses since I was 10; at 26 I needed surgery and I had to give up my horse; it was very difficult.”
  • “I had a 20-year break due to work and life circumstances. I'll never be horseless again.”
  • “A year without horses cured my barn burnout and reminded me of how much I love to ride!”
  • “Due to financial reasons I have been without horses for way to long...it's killing me.”
  • “No horse in 45 years. Now I groom every week. The horse and I love and adore each other!”
  • “The first 12 years of my life were horseless, but the last 45 I've never been without.”
  • “I am probably typical: go to college, lose the horse, get married, get divorced, get a horse.”
  • “About 30 years away from active horse duty. They were too expensive along with raising a family.”
  • “It was during a school/work/relationship transition in my life. I again have horses now!”
  • “Yes, to experience a 'normal' life but deep down I missed horses and returned after 18 years.”
  • “Being horseless has pretty much been 95% of my life. I'm too poor to ride the dream.”
  • “I was without a horse for several years. Found a therapeutic riding program to get my horse fix.” 
  • “I was horseless between age 11 to 64, then bought a horse for me and my granddaughter to share.”
  • “Military life and training can limit horse time and occasionally make you horseless.”
  • “Multiple times, going to college and starting career, older horses passing, now again have a new one.”
  • “Three times in the past 63 years I've been without a horse. Always dreaming of next equine companion.”

Some shared that an injury caused them to be horseless for awhile:

  • “After a near fatal car accident I was unable to walk let alone take care of horses.”
  • “After a fall I had fractures and a concussion. I was unable to drive to the barn or ride for four months.”
  • “I had a broken hip! No riding for four months. I missed it but my horse was very patient and happy for vacation.”
  • “I was seriously injured by a hard-bucking Tennessee Walker. I haven't been able to build my confidence up.”
  • “It took a year after severe fall to get back on. My stable helped get me back riding.”

Others linked their horselessness to work-related hardships:

  • “Work required travel five to six days a week. I had no time left for horses.”
  • “Working in the city, I had no time to give the horse the life they deserve.”
  • “I was not able to have a horse because my job required me to be away from home five days a week.”
  • “Two periods of work-induced horselessness. There was lots of traveling and irregular work schedules.”
  • “Yes, when I travelled a great deal for my job, I had no horses for seven years.”

Some mentioned that they were horseless during school:

  • “Only in college, and I hated being without my horses”
  • “When I was in college and couldn't stand it!”
  • “During college and first three years after.”
  • “During college and some high school, I did not have access to horses. A sad thing, indeed.”
  • “One year while at college. Other than that, I have owned and ridden horses all my 56-year life.”
  • “I took a break to clear my mind and experience other things during my first year of college.”

A few people commented that they didn’t get a horse until later in life:

  • “I finally got one when 57. Now 80. Have two. Love and ride/work them three to four times per week.”
  • “I didn't get my first horse until I was 50 years old.”
  • “I didn't get my first horse until I was 47 years of age, but now, 27 years later, I have two.”
  • “I wished forever for a horse and finally got one after I turned 40.”
  • “I did not own horses until I was 67 years old and had to learn everything from scratch.”
  • “I didn't ride until I turned 40. Now I can't stop.”
  • “I didn't have horses in my life until I was 50. Didn't know what I was missing.”

Several respondents commented that they have had or ridden horses for long periods of time:

  • “Fortunate enough to grow up on a horse farm and have been around them since I could walk!”
  • “No, I've owned horses 52 years. Truly blessed!”
  • “I'm 42. At 12 I got my first horse and have had one or more ever since.”
  • “I've had horses and cared for them since I was 7 years old. I hope to have them until I'm very old.”
  • “I wouldn't even know what horseless means!”
  • “I have had horses from the time I was 10 years old and still own them at 49 years old.”
  • “I've been fortunate to start with my own horse at age 9 and still have one at 53. Lucky girl.”

And others left general comments:

  • “Having horses is central to who I am. They keep me grounded, active, kind, understanding, and curious.”
  • “I didn't realize how much I missed my 'horse world' until six years ago when I started actively riding again.”
  • “Life is lonely without a horse.”

You can find more information about how to stay involved with horses when ownership isn’t an option, get tips for things to consider before buying a horse, resources for the new horse owner, and more at TheHorse.com. 

This week, we want to know: is your horse vaccinated against rabies? Vote now and tell us why or why not at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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