At 48, is it too start living a dream? Update 2013!

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Silver City Heritage Farmstead

Can't stop now (formerly Dragons Wish Farm)
May 29, 2012
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Raeford (Silver City) NC

I need help. As the title of the topic states, I want opinions, ideas and examples of people who started living a dream late in life. Doesn't matter if it's horse related, however, you MUST SHARE ALL THE DETAILS OF YOUR STORY!! (Don't be like my friend who went to Ohio for 6 weeks, came back and said "It was a nice trip...thanks".....only to have me pry the details from her....that they ended up on National news when a drunk man drove up their newly laid/landscaped driveway and crashed into the house!!
) If you don't want to share in public, please feel free to pm me.

My dream, which began with my first word "hoatie" for "horsie", has always been to own/train/breed Arabians. Both of my parents were active-duty Army, so having horses was ABSOLUTELY out of the queston. I did have the opportunity to apprentice with a National level owner/breeder/trainer during the late '80's. Showed my own half-Arabians at the Regional level and accomplished what I wanted to at that time. Life took it's turns, and I haven't had as much contact with the horses as I desired.

Now, I'm 48. Married to someone who loves me and supports me, even though he doesn't understand this NEED I have to be involved with horses. (He's from El Salvador, and had never had animals involved so intricately in his life until he met me!!)

I also have Lupus, which does occasionally present challenges. I was diagnosed 10 years ago...told my doctor "I don't wanna have it!" and decided I'd ignore it and hope it would go away. (Didn't happen..Imagine that!!

What I'd like to be able to do, on a modest budget but with a burning desire, is to train and be competitive in AMHR to the Regional level on a consistent basis. I'd like to train pleasure minis for people to enjoy, and to help them understand that you CAN DO THINGS with Miniatures. I'd like to promote geldings. I'd like to do like Harlan Moehlmann did (in Arabians..he's who I apprenticed with) breed/train/show a National Champion. My target market is the over 30's people, who suffer from the same "life got in my way..but somehow I need to be able to have horses in it" malady that I do. Lastly, I'd like to have a very tiny AMHR breeding program. I'm talking one GREAT stallion and 2 or 3 GREAT that even though my program is tiny, it's power-packed. I want my program to have a recognizable "look" and be known for horses with SPECTACULAR temperaments, conformation and performance abilities. this possible...or is it too late??? Am I being unrealistic?? I know this might be a little disjointed...I had another thread started but lost my 'net connection and had to start over...but I'm writing from my heart. Only other TRUE horse-people like yourselves can understand the yearning...the ACHE....that there is in my soul to do this. I'm hoping you can help me to direct it the right way.

Lastly...I believe God wants me to do this. I've asked him many, many, MANY times to remove this desire from me....and He hasn't. I TRULY BELIEVE that somehow, by using this gift of love for horses He's given me, in addition to my other gifts, I wil be just what someone needs, when they need it.

Thank you all so much...Julie from Dragons' Wish Farm in NC
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The great things about Miniatures is that you can do all of that for many years to come. I grew up being horse crazy. No way would my folks buy me a horse. After I got married, I got a horse and showed hunter jumper. In order to do that, i had to feed 48 horses on that farm 2x a day,plus muck 24 stalls a day. 5 days a week. But it was all worth it. I had two girls and enjoyed the stables (not mine, boarding stables/show barn) with my girls when they were young, but got a divorce when they were young. My horse had to go. A few years later, I got remarried and moved to MN. My kids grew up, I so wanted another horse, but my husband was dead set against one. So......I left him, and followed my dream. I was 47 when I got a divorce from him and moved to my own farm. I raised Morgans for a few years and had some miniatures "for the fun of it". Pretty soon it was all Minis. I recently moved to Florida and took 40 horses with me. When I got down here, the first thing I did was break my back. I now have Neuropothy because of the broken back. I am still following my dream, just with fewer horses. I am selling all but about 15 of my horses. I am also now 61 years old, and plan on continuing to follow my dreams. So girl, follow yours......
Well, I say "go for it". Yes, I certainly understand your desire and I admit I was lucky to have parents that understood MY desire when they bought me my first horse back in 1960. I have had horses in my life almost constantly ever since then and got into minis in 2004 soon after I "retired" at age 57 and started my own business which is still supporting the minis! I think our breeding program is lot like you plan except our horses are AMHR/AMHA and Pinto. We have one stallion, breed 2-3 mares a year, and had terrible foaling luck until this year. I sure hope your foaling record is better than ours. But we also strive for halter and performance horses and our first live foal Max was everything we could have asked for. He was VERY competitive in the show ring (A & R) in the short time we co-owned and showed him.

To save you doing the math, I am now 66 and had a pretty packed show season this past year and have big plans for next year. Since I love performance and the all around horse, I am usually showing in halter, showmanship, hunter, jumper, trail, and several driving classes on the same day. When I was "younger" (early 60's) I was able to show multiple horses in a jumper class immediately following a hunter class but I can't do that any more. One jumper at a time now, but the last show I had enough energy to go all the rounds. I do have to work to keep in shape, but jumping a horse or two every day helps.

We got really lucky this year and have 3 gorgeous weanlings that we plan to show next year, along with our all around show mare. Most of our showing has been on the Pinto circuit but we plan to do more showing in A & R next year, especially since one of the foals is SOLID. Even though the foals are very different in size (small, medium and large LOL!) we think they do have "look" to them and their temperaments are the best. Can't wait to drive the two larger ones in a few years! We also have a 4-H Club with our minis which I hope will help keep us going. Two members were here tonight for Open Barn where we all worked on ground training a former broodmare and her 2 year old son (gelding) for driving. Now, we have had zero luck selling anything, but that is partly because my husband keeps finding excuses why we can't sell them.
Funny you should mention 48... I'm 61 now, but when I was 48 I finally decided I could afford my first horse. I was told all my life that horses were too expensive, etc. etc, etc. I was out riding with a former friend who had a part time job (working for the Avalanche in Denver) when I had a job where I earned way more than she did. I was living frugally in an apartment, no debt, etc... So, I started looking for my first horse, which happened to be an Arabian. I bought him knowing he'd never been on a trail in his life. I ended up having to de-spook him on every little thing... strollers, joggers, inline skaters, traffic, LLAMAS (which he thought were going to have him for breakfast!). After awhile, he got too much... started rearing and I paid big bucks for horse whisperers to no avail, then he started bucking and I rode out quite a number of those incidents...

I ended up contacting a previous owner (endurance facility) and she wanted him back. She offered to trade my choice of horses that she had for sale at her facility. I ended up trading Zach for an Arabian pure Polish bred mare... I loved her! But, I quickly found out that my idea of endurance riding was at odds with my 'stop and smell the roses' personality. I ended up selling her (and the Mustang I had adopted from the BLM) because I just couldn't keep up with either of them. I also hit a rough economic patch and after almost 3 years, I gave up on the big horses... (This was 2001). btw, these first 3 horses were kept at stables and I had almost an hour drive just to get to them and I was still working. My 'dream' at 48 had turned into a nightmare.

Fast forward to 2006 and I finally moved from my apartment to a house... I rented from a friend and she happened to mention that her property was zoned for horses (this was in Denver city limits, but grandfathered in.) But, by that time, I'd decided I didn't want big horses anymore (I was getting older, wiser and finding out I just didn't bounce anymore when I hit the ground. <g>) So, somewhere during this time period I discovered Miniatures... I still can't remember when I 'twigged' to the idea that Miniatures would be super, but I started looking around, reading up, saw some Minis at the National Western Stock Show, etc. I ended up going out to California to visit my family, but also to look at some Mini farms out there. Then came back and started looking in Colorado and ended up with two geldings in June 2007. I also bought two Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats because I also wanted goats' milk to drink. (I had already been buying goats milk from a friend and loved it!)

It's not been easy... Moved from Denver to another town south of Denver in 2008 - Louviers-renting again, but that didn't work out (met my current business partner during the same time) and we ended up moving to Brighton, CO (40 acres-rented) in 2009. That lasted a year and because of drought and no pasture, we decided to move to Oklahoma on 20 acres of pasture (rented)... Wonderful place, bermuda pastures, seasonal pond, great neighbors, good hay prices when necessary... until a big storm blew in August 9, 2010, and knocked the trailer we were living in off the foundation, log-rolled it 360 degrees and collapsed... with us in it! The trailer was totally destroyed, debris (metal sheeting, insulation, wood, glass, etc. blown all over the property and into the next door neighbor's cattle/hay field, blew half the roof off the barn... Totally destroyed the place. And, our landlord was underinsured so couldn't replace the trailer. I offered to buy my own, but no go...

Once again, we were forced to move. This time to Missouri since that was where all the hay was coming from... But, bad luck there as well. The first place didn't work out because the landlord ended up not moving out of the other house. This was 36 acres, but she had 16 big horses, and had almost destroyed the pasture anyway. We ended up moving to another place in Missouri last December (2011) which would have turned out fine, except the house was foreclosed on last May and we were asked to move by Fannie Mae. We left Missouri in June.

We now live in Tucson, AZ on 5 acres (again rented). Another bad move because our Minis were used to grazing all day and night, so didn’t adapt well to being fed twice a day with only sand to stare at. This was also during the hottest part of Tucson weather and shortly after we got here the monsoon season set in… We lost four mares (pregnant) to colic. We eventually learned a combination of lack of grazing, bolting their food, and not drinking enough water was causing impactions.

We finally learned how to feed (3 times a day) by consulting several breeders in Arizona and have not lost any mares since July. I did lose a 4 month old filly to what may have been colic, but the vet really didn’t know what was going on. She was in so much pain we had her put down…

A weaker person would probably give up, but I’m a bitch on wheels and refuse… even though my family thinks I should sell all the animals and move back home… I’d rather dig my eyes out with a rusty fork.

One of the joys of miniature horses is, if you have horse knowledge and can handle a big dog, you can deal with a mini. If you have "the burn" in regard to training and showing, I say go for it.

Just be careful.....with numbers. The old saying is true, " Minis are like potato chips, you can't have just one." Be wise......
That is an ambitious dream but since you are already horse savvy, I don't see why not. Me, my dream, was to have a horse but I never owned a horse before and I am 53 years old. I am good with dogs and we have done fine with the goats. Nice animals all of them. I thought back to when I had seen the miniature horses at a show I went to in Reno.

I decided to give it a try by finding someone who would give me driving lessons. I have a feeling she thought I wasn't all that good at it but I know me, I am just s slower but more thorough learner:) She helped me when I found my little man on Craigslist. He is a sweetie although I must say the whole adventure has been challenging.

There is a lot to learn about horse behavior since they are not dogs or cats or goats!!!!

Unlike yourself, I have no interest in breeding. I just want to improve as a horse owner and trainer and trail driver. I probably want to own another gelding so he can have a friend and I can have a second horse to drive. I won't do that until I have a second pen set up with its own shed. You never know when they will need to be separated for what ever reason.

I also want to get a round pen set up so that I can have a more effective area for lunging my cute little critter.

This has been a wonderful experience but I probably couldn't have done it without the website, since I get so much information from Lil Beginnings...and the help of a few local people that I can call and e-mail. Lil Beginnings really helped me out when I had what felt like a major problem with the whoa.

I truly cannot imagine life without a horse out back even though I have only been a horse owner for 9 months. There are no other creatures like them. It probably is a crazy idea having a horse but love of the horse is quite common throughout the world and the miniature horse has allowed me to have that love in my life in a cute, adorable, small package:)
Yes, Yes go for it!!!!!! I grew up with horses the big guys but after high school my family sold our boarding stable. Well life went on, I got married, had 3 children, we lived overseas for 6 years, came home and I began teaching until last year when I retired. My children are grown, 2 are married, one is living on his own, 2 grand babies with a 3rd one on the way. I am 56 and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 4 years ago. I knew I could no longer handle a "Big" horse but I have always wanted to get a young horse to raise. So I started to look into Miniature horses after visiting a farm in my town. I read a LOT and did some research and decided I would do it, "get a young mini"!!! This spring I began my search and I found a beautiful little filly. She was 10 days old when I first saw her and I knew she was my dream horse!! And.....I got her little friend that was born one month before her, she is a dwarf. I built a little pole barn and so far Misty and Josie and I are living happily ever after!!!!! So YES you should do it, we only live once and if sharing your life with a mini is a dream you have then "Live Your Dream!!"
Yes its never too late to live a dream......I didn't start in ponies until, well its been almost 8 years. And not only did I fall in love with the Shetland ponies - I wanted to show the fancier division - Moderns. But no one would sell me a Modern, not until two years ago. But I did buy ASPR ponies, which are 2" bigger - and am very competitive in the ring.

Don't let age dull your dream, shoot don't let physical limitations dull your dream - build it, dream it, live it - GO FOR IT!
Of course GO FOR IT!!!!! There are so many facets of JOY that mini horses provide! You're younger than me, I'm 49 and still filled with many dreams.
You have been given great advice. You're definitely not too late to follow your dream.

I grew up in the Southwest loving horses for as long as I can remember anything.......... but living in a city! My parents wanted me to be happy so the whole family (my two sisters and I and my mom and dad) would go on Thursday afternoons after school to this stable out of town and rent horses to ride for an hour! hahaha I loved it but of course did not really become a good rider that way and riding the dude horses.

Anyway, I always wanted to raise kids and horses more than anything and hoped to have it happen on a ranch, so I left home after highschool and went to the University of Wyoming. I got my degree and married a cowboy and had 5 beautiful kids. But he did not own a ranch, only had worked as a cowhand and it was impossible to live on a ranchhand's pay and still raise a family.

So we ended up in the oilfields and he ended up finding someone else.

So I started my own daycare to take care of my small children, as a single mom. But my dream of horses never died.

After a few years I married a wonderful man who also wanted my kids
. And even though he was not a cowboy or a rancher, he did live in the country! We tried owning riding horses, but were not really experienced enough to know much of what we were doing, and for years I had taken Western Horseman Magazine and seen ads for miniature horses. And he did not say No when my mom down in El Paso, wanted to finally help her horse crazy daughter start her dream. Yay!

She helped me buy the start of my little herd of miniature horses.
I was 39!

That was 24 years ago, as I am now 63. But I have been raising minis for 24 years and still love them. I would HAVE to love them to endure the super cold severe winters we have for a huge part of the year on the high plains of southwest Wyoming! I still miss the desert Southwest weather. But getting to live my dream makes the weather at least bearable.
And my kids and hubby all are happy for me! In addition, I know that making myself go out and do my two + hours of chores each day keeps me healthier by far than if I did not have to do them!

Susan O.
go for it ... its the things you dont do that leave the biggest regret
I say live life to the fullest! There has been a lot of death and diagnosis of terminal illness in my family in the last year so you get scared. I have been doing everything that I ever wanted to do. I drove 14 hours to Kentucky and drove a horse I trained in an event I wished that I could attend. Hubby made it happen for me. About 7 years ago I have a bad fall off a horse that I was training. Well the fall was just a little fall but I landed on a rock in the centre of my back. I was paralysed from just above the waist down for a few weeks. During that time the Dr's didn't know if I would get use back or how much I might get back. I ended up with about 95% use back which is great. I went out and bought a completely trained dressage horse because I still wanted to ride. Well in the last couple of years I have been having loss of feeling in my right leg while riding. I have tried different saddles and no change. I started to get depressed thinking that my time with horses was over. Then I found minis. I now have 5 of my own and I borrowed 2. I try and drive as often as I can. I plan on making the trip to Kentucky again next year and the year after that. If feeling starts to be constant in my right leg, I can still drive. My hubby will be there to help me in and out if need be and I can pack a crutch in the cart no problem. So I say again live life to the fullest, every day is a precious gift from God.
My Mom is 83 this month and is showing in western pleasure driving, single draft, halter, costume, halter obstacle. If she could "run" or jog longer and better she would do hunter/jumper too!!! You are most DEFINITELY not too old!!! I think you sound like an incredible person! Keep your dreams and plans. Make a list of the 'order of go'. You may even find your husband possibly takes a liking to the little "critters"; and possibly even gets hooked! My husband did and he shows in halter and driving events; his favorites being draft hitch and roman chariot! We are in are mid-late 50's now. And since you already mentioned it; keep talking to God. Remember it's in his timing, not ours-but pray and plan! You are going to have such fun!
This is a wonderful thread! You only live each day once, so live it to the fullest and appreciate each minute of it! I could write 12 books on my life of adventures, but the mini version is this; Salida, Colorado I spent years training, a little showing, 4-H in Quarter Horses that belonged to friends. Herded cattle, repaired fence and all the other ranching duties off and on for years, for friends. Job opportunities moved hubby and I to just north of Tucson, AZ for 18 years where we did well, had our own property and lots of Paint and Quarter Horses for pleasure. We rode all over southern Arizona. I kept miniature horses in the back of my head after seeing my first one, a leapord appy stallion at the CO State Fair in Pueblo in 1985, but not many were around. I got tired of crappy office jobs even though I had two degrees, so at 48 I went back to school to combine our EMT experience (DH was also a firefighter) and my degrees for something useful. Tragedy struck and once again we had to start our lives over and sell our property to move into smaller quarters and we still kept our horses with the Sherriff's Posse grounds, where I also worked parttime in Animal Control. Tragedy and Murphy's Law followed us and we had to start over again, then again by moving to where we are now in Northeastern Nevada. One of those tragedies involved my first and only horse accident that ended my riding passion. Once here I was determined to not give up horses, we bought a small place with two acres and my first two minis were from Susan O. She has helped me a lot and so has Lil Beginnings. That little mini gelding is now living the high life in Montana with my granddaughters, spoiled rotten. And over the last 6 years we have all learned about the curse of "you can't just have one mini". I retired to spend most of my time with my wonderful little ones and hope to soon learn to drive competently. You are never too old to learn anything new, and never too old to follow your dreams. I have my handicaps that have slowed me down a lot, but I still think and *try* to feel 25! I just can't keep up with myself as well lol.
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Are you kidding me??!! You're just a 'kid'! Nobody is ever too old to try to fulfill a dream! Yep, better than looking back on life with regrets cause you didnt try. Go for it!
We will have to meet at the next show in Reno! I need to find someone to help me learn to drive too!
I am 56 now and got into miniatures 6 or 7 years ago. I love being around them. I have MS and they are a wonderful support for me. I love to drive and with having special needs classes I can do halter as well. Good luck! Follow your heart.
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Just a quick check in to say, most humbly and sincerely, THANK YOU. I'd have been satisfied with one or two responses and now I feel overwhelmed!!

I will be posting more completely on Monday. Until then, I will be praying about my plans, and saying thanks for each one of you. Your personal examples and words of encouragement make me realize that there is no reason for me to pursue this.

Again, from the bottom of my heart and soul...THANK YOU!! Julie
As the other posts have said you are never too old to follow or start a dream. If you give up you just grow old and die. What fun is that. I too am 58 always had a horse or 2 or 3 and god knows how many dogs. The big horses are now a little more than I can handle so I decided to look at a mini. She has been the best thing I could have done. My husband and I have so much fun with her. He says she's like a big Barbi Doll for me. We enjoy dressing her all up for the parades and decorating her cart. It's given both of us something enjoyable to do to keep us active without killing these old bones.

On another note. When I was 26 I wanted to start my own dog grooming business and my dad said you'll never make a living it's stupid just get a job working for a big company like your mother as a secretary. Stubborn as I am I followed my dream 30+ years later I have made a very good living grooming jobs always owned my own business and have had a clientel of over 3000. Don't let any one say it's stupid to follow your dreams!!!!!!

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