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Old 12-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Career choices (a bit of a very long rant)

So, I'm a front-end web developer. I make websites - I work on the way they look, and the user experience. Most of my background is in computer science - I started out as front-end web development, moved into Java application development (discovered I hated it), and went back to front-end work. I started when I was 15 - so I've already been doing this for ~10 years

Today it hit me that I kind of really get bored easily. See, I had a pretty hard time as a kid. Most of my "issues" started around when I was around 12. Prior to that, I was extremely physically active, but then...

Well, I get tired easily. Very easily. This leads to being unable to pay attention without drifting off to screw around and do other things, but when I DO pay attention, I'm like a sponge and never forget anything. This was written off as ADHD-inattentive (or, early on, ADD), but recently the doctor thinks I might actually have a sleeping disorder (my REM cycles are apparently extremely short in comparison to other people - I hit a dream-state in almost half the time of a normal person. On that note, to treat said sleeping disorder would require the same treatment/medication as my ADHD, so testing for it would be moot). In addition to this, I have SPD (sensory processing disorder - I don't process touch or sound very well) and an accident when I was a baby lead me to having occasional hip pain. Despite this, I did extremely well in high school, even taking 5 college courses my senior year.

So, you see I'm pretty physically limited... but also mentally limited. When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a veterinarian or a dog groomer or a horse trainer. As I got older, I saw more and more that veterinarian was out of the question, and the physical requirements of dog grooming/horse training probably wouldn't suit me very well. So when I realized I was good at programming, I decided to do that in college.

I nearly failed out of college. For one thing, I didn't have any insurance, so I couldn't get my ADHD medication. I'm back on it now, but let's just say my GPA went from a 4.0 to a 2.8. Luckily, I managed to get an internship, which lead to a slew of jobs at my current company (well, two). I love my company - but they also underpay for the field (the corporate share program barely compensates this), and I realized today that while I like my job... I'm not really cut out for it. My inability to focus (and the fact that I get bored easily) makes my work day feel longer than it actually is, not to mention the shape of my work is... well, not as great as it could be. Nevertheless, it's covering my college bills (despite going to state school, they're pretty high) and it's nice knowing that if there were an emergency, I could recover pretty quickly. Not to mention - the benefits and having a relatively flexible schedule so that I always know I'll be home on time to be with J. And, I do get to do some graphics art.

Today I began to wonder what life would be like if I could start all over again. With my medication, I might have been actually able to get into vet school, and graduate it. I know vets don't make as much as other doctors, but I love the idea of being able to work with animals (even if they're sick). I could go into vet tech... but that won't foot my college bills. I'd love to go back to school and challenge myself to try for vet school, but again - how would I cover my (nearly) failed computer engineering degree?

I guess I'm just frustrated. I really wish I'd had the guts to pursue a vet degree - but then I KNOW I'd be even more disappointed now, when I could still go to school and at least have a decent major GPA if I chose pre-medical (note that the only classes that kept me from completely failing engineering were calculus and physics). People tell me that it's "all in your mind" with my sleep/ADHD issues (despite medical evidence - we, as a society, really need to re-evaluate the way we approach mental illness) but at this point I know better. I know it's not a self-discipline issue, and I know that it isn't that I don't "try hard enough." To complicate things further, I know that if I were in a different setting (ie, dog groomer or trainer) I'd be more involved with my work and less likely to be "bored" - I'd just be in physical pain pretty consistently.

Augh, I feel trapped
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you ask me (and of course this just my opinion) what you have is a great deal more than what many have.
Like a great many folk I have always wondered shoulda woulda coulda I have taken a different route in life, well yes, I coulda, woulda, shoulda, but I had bills to pay, food to put on the table etc, etc.
Being a vet tech or dog groomer etc due to your disabilities isn't a very realistic option.
Fact is you have financial commitments that require you to stay in a job that pays the bills. Something a great many would give their eye teeth to have these days. And the fact that your job whilst boring it doesn't affect your health is truly a bonus.
I am not saying following ones dreams is out of the question, rather they need rethinking. Can you not involve yourself in this sort of work voluntarily. I think I need emphasise the VOLUNTARY because on those days when you have too much pain you could simply say today is not a good day. Whereas if it was a case of you either groomed that dog or starved you couldn't.
Basically, what I am saying is, I understand your dissatisfaction with regards life now, but fact is the grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes it is just painted concrete.

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Old 12-20-2012, 09:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, thanks for your response. What you said is the other side of the coin - I'm thankful for what I have, and that's part of why I've kept it. My mom was pretty similar. She worked a slew of jobs because she ended up being bored pretty easily, and just was never satisfied in a career.

I'm not going to up and quit my job, obviously. I had a discussion about this with my SO over dinner today. What I'm considering doing is enrolling in a vet tech program, and then working Saturday's at my vet's office - perhaps to see if I can get into that type of work. We have one of the top vet programs in the US a 20 minute drive away (which was also my dream school), and while vet school is SUPER competitive, we talked about me paying off my current college bills, and then maybe seeing if that's still something I want to do. Keeping in mind that I'd be required to have some sort of voluntary or internship working with a veterinarian (or two) in order to be enrolled in this program. Like I said - it's incredibly competitive - but I also know that I can be a great student (while on my medication). I'd maintain my job that I have now, attend school part time, and probably do a few hours a week over the summer working with my vet. At least then, I'd still have my current career as a fallback, and I can really figure out if this is something I want/am able to do And at least then... I wouldn't have regrets later on down the line.

It's just a thought, though.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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^^^^ +1 with Toby'shuman.

zorianak - in many ways, you sound pretty normal to me and lots of people in your age category want it all ASAP, long a sense of entitlement it seems, and experience difficulty in feeling the happy life at work and staying focused and truly productive.
The grass is always greener on the other side, and you do have many positives to be proud of.
Don't piss it all away, chasing a pipe dream - your post secondary studies have lead you into a certain field of employment (good or bad), so make the most of it. Your choices thus far have consequences, so please accept the hand that has been tabled...more.
Nothing stopping you from persuing other job & field of study interests, on a less permanent basis, to figure out your likes and dislikes.

MPO - coming from a Baby Boomer Dad in his mid 50's and also with a Generation X/Y son.
I worked for one employer for 30 years in the Engineering & Purchasing areas. Some days I didn't want to go to work either, but realized it was easier to make the best of it and often a boring job looked pretty darn good, more times than not.
Below is an article I found interesting:
1946-1964 - Baby Boomers
1965-1983 - Gen X or the Busters
1984- 2002 - Gen Y or the Millennials
2003- Current Gen Z or the Digital Generation
http://askville.amazon.com/cut-birth...uestId=9298486

************************************************** ****************************************

Career Strategies by: Marcus Buckingham is founder of The Marcus Buckingham Company
Read more: Generation Y Workers Need to Understand Performance on the Job Matters | TIME.com
Note to Gen Y Workers: Performance on the Job Actually Matters

We’ve all heard about how millennials have been raised by “helicopter parents,” who hover over them and protect them from criticism and disappointment. The result is a “teacup” generation of young people who may appear outwardly perfect, but are easily shattered. For years, they have regularly been given pats on the back, often just for showing up. They made it to the end of the soccer season – fantastic, everyone gets a trophy! They took a test – how amazing! When they finally join the workforce, it’s no wonder members of Gen Y expect a promotion just for being on time to work for six weeks straight.

Sheltered from critique and failure, members of this generation ooze unearned confidence at the office, as many older co-workers and managers attest. The terms “self-involved” and “overly praised” are often used to describe Gen Y.

But their confidence may not be as deeply engrained as it first appears. When asked whether they need to build their strengths or fix their weaknesses in order to succeed professionally, 73% of Gen Y respondents choose to focus on their weaknesses — a much higher proportion than older generations.

However, Gen Y does have many qualities that can be extremely beneficial in the workplace. Millennials are very optimistic, thrive on volunteerism, and work hard when the work is something they believe in, or at least understand

So what does this mean for our workforce today, and how should managers handle their millennial employees? First, it’s necessary to understand this generation, especially in the following four ways:

Participation is enough. Eager not to puncture anyone’s self-esteem, parents, teachers and coaches have praised Gen Y children—and handed out trophies, awards, and medals by the truckload—merely for showing up. When this generation joins the workforce, it’s understandable that they continue expecting praise and prizes, and even job offers and promotions, simply for being present. As a matter of fact, 40 percent of Gen Y respondents in one survey said they felt like they should be promoted every two years, regardless of achievements or work habits. What’s even more shocking is that only 9 percent believed they should receive promotions when it was warranted by their performance.

(MORE: Just How Underemployed Is Gen Y?)

Everything is customized. Gen Y was raised on personalization. They played video games with avatars that were created in their likeness. Pandora knows which music they like and serves up more just like it. Their Facebook ads cater to their hobbies and interests. Which book should they read next? Not to worry, Amazon will tell them what they will enjoy. Everything is a reflection of their individuality. As a result they demand, even in the workplace, to be treated uniquely.

Constant, immediate feedback required. Their parents, teachers and peers have given them instantaneous responses. They send a text to a friend and receive a reply 30 seconds later. Post a witty Facebook status and receive 30 likes in under an hour. Take a picture of the meal they’re eating and they expect people to ask for the recipe. They can’t imagine only receiving feedback once a year at their job – instead they need constant check-ins with their supervisor.

Change must be embraced. Nothing in this generation’s life is permanent. The world has been in constant flux. Lives are longer, but marriages are shorter, or perhaps not necessary. The economy swings between bubbles and recessions. Gen Y employees aren’t looking for companies wanting to retain workers for 30 years. Gen Y workers will instead hold at least seven jobs in their lifetime, and 60% of millennial employees in one survey recognized their current positions as mere stepping stones. This group grew up with options, and they expect their careers and work environments to also be filled with choices.

So where to we go from here? Three of these factors can’t be put back in the box. Immediate feedback will always be expected. Customization is here to stay. Permanence is gone. But what we can — and SHOULD — change is the mindset of the generation that says simply showing up is enough to justify rewards, in the form of praise and promotions. Performance does and always will matter.

The good news is that the generation’s greatest strengths — optimism, confidence, sensitivity, truly caring about the world and their place in it — can be powerful tools to changing the apathy toward performance. Managers can be a guiding hand in transforming the outlook of young workers. By utilizing personalized leadership development tools available anytime, anywhere, we can push Gen Y team members to enhance their strengths and become top performers. The result will be a sense of fulfillment, not for merely arriving at work, but rather for ideas, results, and performance. There is no question that Gen Y is and will continue transforming the workplace. By capitalizing on the unique contributions and strengths of this generation, we’ll be creating a better workforce as a whole.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I too became very bored with my career choice. Something I wanted to do since I was eight years old. I even had a paper I wrote on it from third or fourth grade.

I had to work a full time and a part time job while going to school full time. I had one day off in two years, but I succeeded.

However, after about 20 years I reached a point that I was so bored with it I didn't even want to talk about work when I got home. I tried branching off into similar but different things, but still I became unchallenged.

Thing is its said to be one of the most exciting jobs there is to have - a paramedic. Don't get me wrong, there were times it was, but after a while to be honest I got tired of being nothing more than a glorified taxi service. I tried supervising, 911 dispatch, ER work.

Then I became disabled, boy do I wish I could go out there and run those calls again. Life sure was easier when I was doing a job that gave me self worth, a reason to change clothes, a way to pay the bills. I thought I was bored then, HA.

I think you get my point. Plus I could never be a veterinarian. No way I could put a dog down, especially because no one wanted it or couldn't afford it.

Be careful what you ask for...



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Old 12-20-2012, 11:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Throughout my life I have had a succession of jobs, some I wanted to do, some I did because I had too.

You obviously understand the worth of having a career that whilst it may not be fulfilling does pay the bills and lets face it, we have to be realistic in this life. And that realism is, without money, we cannot function.
Whilst working with animals may seem wonderful, and it is, up to a point it isn't all that it is cracked up to be if you are being evicted for non payment of rent/bills.
Of course such an event is the extreme, many Vet Techs do pay their bills on time, pay their mortgage etc and yes, sometimes a SO plays a part in it all.
But if you were to change careers, how easy would it be to manage if you were experiencing pain on a daily basis. An odd day off is one thing, but if you are like me, (due to a chronic injury) you have to take weeks, sometimes months off of work, then how understanding will an employer be.
I can tell you, not very.
However, I am the last to say, forget your dreams, stay where you are.

I think if you do wish to go for it, to try to better yourself by changing your career then the way you are thinking of doing it is the best way.

However, be careful you do not burn the candle at both ends. I did this when I studied law, I had to hold down a job, take care of a family (2 kids, hubby and dogs) and fact is, I damn near killed myself doing it. Yes I succeeded, but hey, when it came down to it, I was bloody miserable for the 3 years of hard slog it took to get my Bachelors. With never a day off in between.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yet another Boomer curmudgeon's opinion

I know this runs counter to a lot of recent opinion, but the TV psychologist Dr. Phil made a really good observation once. He said that "Winners are the ones that are willing to do the things that Losers aren't willing to do." It may not be fun, but sometimes you have to just gut it out and find enjoyment on your off time- doing things like volunteering at the shelter.

My two cents..
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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But you do know that if you can get more student loans and once you go back into school full time your old loans go into deferment. Part of me wants to tell you to say Huck it and do it, find a way and be happy. Even if that means you may have to live in a van down by the river!!!


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Old 12-21-2012, 10:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I just thought I would throw in here that Vet School being super competitive doesn't say it all. It is harder to get into Vet school than Medical. They really control how many people are "allowed" to enter Vet school and you have to be top of the field to get in. With a poor track record, you will face an uphill battle.

However, have you looked at HFE as a job? It is interesting and leads to all sorts of different work. We have 8 HFEs in our smallish group of about 50 people. I love that you need so many different facets to consider but you have to want to understand people. They are also better paid than web designers and better respected.

My stepson couldn't get into Vet School (because he is lazy and does the GEFN approach to coursework) but he is studying Animal Husbandry. There are many related areas for working with animals that don't lead to working on farms or becoming a Vet.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That's an excellent idea!! I would like to do that!


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Old 12-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I went through pre-vet, had the grades (and instructor support) to get into vet school and was planning that path. Thankfully, I interned with a large animal and small animal vet before I did it. I then realized that I did NOT have what it takes to be a veterinarian. Large animal calls went like this;

2:30 am- farmer calls, cow having difficult labor, come AT ONCE. You suit up, hustle out and arrive at farm to find cow LOOSE in field. No pen, no barn. You spend 2+ hours chasing after cow to finally corner exhausted cow with gates and are finally able to pull (now dead) calf. Cow life is saved. Farmer blames you for "killing" calf and grumbles about why they even bothered to call you since you "didn't do anything". Pay= $115-150. My large animal vet loves me- he knows that if I call I DO really need him, and my animal will be in a stall or pen, haltered, with all triage/basics already complete. One winter my pet cow had a difficult birth that I was unable to pull- he came and assisted, and both cow & calf had full recoveries. It was the ONLY good outcome he had that entire calving season.

Small animal was worse- the emotional aspect of it very nearly killed me. You would not believe the neglect you see, or the heartbreak of having to PTS a beloved pet almost every single day. I just couldn't deal with it. The good days very rarely outweighed the bad. I LOVE my vet, for being able to do what she does and with such love & compassion.

I am MUCH happier doing what I do now, but had I gone on to school without interning first I would have been in terrible debt and trapped in a job that did not actually suit me.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Small animal was worse- the emotional aspect of it very nearly killed me. You would not believe the neglect you see, or the heartbreak of having to PTS a beloved pet almost every single day. I just couldn't deal with it. The good days very rarely outweighed the bad. I LOVE my vet, for being able to do what she does and with such love & compassion.

I am MUCH happier doing what I do now, but had I gone on to school without interning first I would have been in terrible debt and trapped in a job that did not actually suit me.

I agree with you 100%. I like animals way more than I do people, lol.



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Old 12-22-2012, 12:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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There is nothing wrong in having more than one career - especially these days. I like the idea of paying off your old bills & working towards something different.

It may be that you won't like it & will choose a 3rd (or 4th) option. What I think is important is being self-supporting & continuing to learn. You can make a decision to try something new without burning any bridges until you are ready.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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When I was out of high school I had no thought of going to college. One of my mentors talked with me about going to college for just one year. I did which ended up to be a degree in education . I taught for 19 years and after 9/11 I made a decision to leave. I've never looked back or regreted my decision. I've worked as a Office Manager which has opened doors for me to work from home which I love!! This also has been the worse employment time I've ever seen. But it hasn't stopped us from moving forward one step at a time. We have suffered many set backs but don't let those stop you.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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However, have you looked at HFE as a job? It is interesting and leads to all sorts of different work. We have 8 HFEs in our smallish group of about 50 people. I love that you need so many different facets to consider but you have to want to understand people. They are also better paid than web designers and better respected.
What is HFE? I'm not actually familiar with that.

@ rest : I haven't exactly had an easy life. Long story short, I've had to pay for all of my college - never had real parents or parental figures, either, until into my teens. So I had to learn early the value of holding down a job. I was pretty lucky to have my first full-time job just before the crash in 2008 - it allowed me to get some experience before it became the catch-22 of "Need experience to get a job, need a job to get experience". I honestly wouldn't say that I feel - as some have called it - a sense of entitlement. If I felt entitled, wouldn't my complaint be that the world owes me something? I think that's quite the opposite of my view of working hard to be where I am now. I worked full time and attended college full time for about two years.

I'm still thinking about it. If I were to go back, it would be to the city college nearby. I spoke with an admissions counselor to the local university (the vet program) - my track record is still saveable, especially given that they look at the last two years more closely than (in my case) the middle 3 semesters (and, apparently, they prefer to admit area students, so I do have a leg-up in that respect). So, there's still hope - but I'd have to work my a** off. So I'm looking at doing one class in the evening a semester so that I can maintain my job, and preferably not murder myself. But, it'll wait until next fall - I want to make sure I sleep on it enough
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am both a certified vet tech, and a professional horse trainer (I was fortunate enough to grow on up on a large breeding/showing stable). I love being a tech but it is emotionally draining, and I've had many a day where I wished I was doing something else.

As for the horses...well horses are my life. It's what I do best, I've trained world champions for my main breed (Morgans, the one I grew up with). That said, I don't make a lot of money off that as I only take on a few horses at a time now as I had a very bad injury during my time training/exercise riding racehorses. I can no longer take on a large enough training clientele to live off, but I will never get out of it entirely as it's what I truly love.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know how you feel, I've felt that way myself. The one thing I love most (training) I no longer have the physical health to live off what I make. I am very picky about the horses I do take on now, and I know my limit. I do love being a tech, but I could never be a vet, emotionally, time wise, bull s*** on the job (ie things like the calving cow loose in the field story...that happens A LOT). I just don't have it in me. I also have 2 kids with autism, so for the time being I have had to give up my tech job, and stay home most of the time. I live off what I make off the few horses I continue to train, and off running my partners business for him out of our house (which I HATE doing, but for now it's what I need to do).

I rambled, and I've kind of forgotten my original point (sick kids, and Christmas craziness). I guess I'm just saying that even being in the fields you wanted to be in (and I do love them) there is always something that will make you feel "stuck" at some point. It sounds like you are really good at what you do, take pride in that, not everyone can do what you do (I sure as hell can't, I'm lucky to just turn my laptop on ). And hang in there, keep working towards whatever makes your heart happy

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Old 12-24-2012, 03:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Oh, wow. We had a Morgan at one of the stables I lived at for a while - we bred/trained Quarter Horses primarily, though He was such a BEAUTIFUL boy, but as a rescue, I'm not sure how Morgans normally are - he was incredibly shy, but such an awesome cutting horse (nearly as good as some of our champions). I had originally wanted as a kid to be around horses for that reason, but I know that with my physical limitations I can't. Though, it's funny - being in the saddle has never caused my hips to hurt. Ever. Actually, I found that if I rode on a particularly bad day, they'd actually feel better - I wonder if it's just the way the horse moves? I know that it can help loosen a stiff back. I actually discovered this about two years ago, right around the time I met my SO - I was training to go into eventing, but not having the money made it hard (I probably could now, but I REALLY want to divert extra funds either into Jaina or paying off my school bill).

I also admit I wanted to be a large-animal vet - but even after doing weight training in college, I think that's a bit out of grasp for me When I lived on the farm, I helped deliver a few foals. I think that's part of what made me want to go into large animal at the time (though I know better now!).

Thank you - I think the point of posting was that I wanted to kind of get some perspective from people already working as vet techs/trainers/etc. I will probably end up sticking with what I have - as I said in my previous post, I don't intend to re-enroll in classes until next Fall, when I've had plenty of time to really think about where I want to go from here
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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The typical Morgan is very loving, very goofy, laid back but HOT when asked to put on a show. The LOOOOOOVE people, and are very affectionate. Versatile as s***, you ask, they do. Typically brave and loyal, not skittish usually. I have a few (past WC's) that I can put my 4 yr old on and give voice commands to, then turn around and get on myself, and they perform like they did the day they won WC titles. They are a really amazing breed, and their looks are just (extremely pretty) icing on the cake. I'm glad you didn't see my post as a "I do what you want to" type of gloating, because that was not the intent at all. I just wanted to give you a little bit of perspective from a day in my life .

PS In highschool I barrel raced a few QH's, theyre a great breed also.

Riding is amazing therapy, both physical and mental. I use one of my retired show mares as a therapy horse for my kids. It does incredible things for not only their developmental function but for fine and gross motor, behavior...everything really. Horses are amazing healers.

Don't get me started on Morgans (unless you want to ). I can go on, and on, and on for hours...lol Everything from breed history and bloodlines to todays uses and champions.

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