I want to take a minute to give a shout out to all equestrians. Riding is hard. No matter how long you’ve been doing it, what your discipline is, or who you train with. This stuff is hard and sometimes scary and sometimes we’re nuts for doing it. We throw our leg over a thousand pounds, day after day, knowing full well these creatures are a recipe for broken bones, disappointment, and a gambit of their own emotions and whims and baggage.
Who does that?
I didn’t set out to write a touchy-feely post or anything but I guess it’s turning out that way. We had a group ride last Tuesday night. We had a reiner, a western pleasure horse, a rescue pony who’s just learning about speeds other than mach 5, a super green dressage horse, and a dressage rider on an old all-arounder (spoiler: that’s me). Instead of being my introverted self, I intentionally tried to be more outgoing and friendly. I’m still the new girl and I know I can come across as stuck up when in fact I am just quiet until you get to know me.
With an open mind, it occurred to me that while we all looked really different and were at different stages in our riding abilities, we all had a couple things in common:
- We are crazy enough to love and ride horses.
- We are all out here in 15 degrees for nothing more than a fun ride.
- We are all seeking to learn more and be better for our horses (I know because I’ve slowly gotten to know these girls).
It would be so much easier to judge and say hmmph, she’s in a chair seat or woof, that horse is super post legged. And we all do that sometimes. But it hit me how important it is to support one another. If we’re all out to nitpick each other to death, we become slaves to comparison. (Note: Trainers are the exception to this rule. We pay them to tell us we suck – and we love it. Again, we’re a special breed of crazy, us riders.)
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Riding should be an expression of joy.
I’m personally competitive and want to compete. I want to do my best not to be a slave to scores but rather use them constructively to continually improve. And even those that really, really want to win – there’s nothing wrong with that!
This sport is hard. Mentally and physically. We have broken bones and broken hearts to prove it. My torn ACL? From a horse. My first broken heart? From a horse. My broken ankle? From a horse. My most frustrating moments?
husband kidding! From a horse. So I just want to say to all the equestrians out there:
Keep doing whatever it is you do. Keep loving your horse and keep getting back on over and over. The world of horses we live and breathe doesn’t exist without all of us being a little bit crazy.