Rider Burnout Bill Dunigan
Over years I have noticed a situation that develops much to often. That is problem of burn out on part of rider. How often have we known someone who started riding, and at some point decided to pursue a particular discipline to exclusion of any other activity involving horses. I am sure you have encountered this just as I have. The sad part is that it doesn't need to happen. Think back to when you first began to ride. You, just like I, enjoyed doing almost anything you could imagine on horseback. Remember trail rides, those days at barn that never seem to have enough hours in them, all new friends, and what about different shows you were so excited to attend. It didn't matter what kind of show it was. It had horses and that was all that mattered.
Somehow a lot of riders got side tracked. By that I mean they reached a point where they became enthralled with a particular discipline. Now I m not saying that there is anything wrong with having a real desire to excel in any of these specialties. What I am trying to highlight is total exclusion of vary things that attracted us all to riding in first place. Now I know there are those who really enjoy being completely immersed in one aspect of riding. However, I do believe they are not majority of those owning and riding horses. Far to many times I have heard someone say, " I'm bored with horses, and selling out and taking up golf". Others are going skiing or traveling or a myriad of other activities. Why is it that these individuals are losing interest in riding while others are almost fanatical about it?
I have been riding, competing and teaching for over forty years. During that time I have had opportunity to observe and listen to many comments from a wide variety of horse enthusiast. That's why I am so concerned about what I am seeing. At a time when Expos are packing in spectators by thousands, how can any of this be true.
As I see it, real problem is in limitation of our activities involving horses. Once we embark on a path to focus on one discipline, unless we garner an enormous amount of success, it's only a question of time before discouragement sets in. While I do firmly believe that people are happiest when they are learning and progressing in some endeavor, few can sustain interest indefinitely without some obvious success.