I could write an entire novel on the frustrations of riders that claim they want to get better, but never actually take the initiative to help themselves. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll limit myself to one post.
*Clears throat and steps up onto soapbox*
Suppose a person has a horse that they have deemed as “difficult”. Now I understand that difficult can mean something entirely different to every person reading this, but what I don’t understand, is that if you, and maybe only one or two other people think your horse is difficult, but the REST OF THE WORLD thinks he isn’t… who do we think is probably right? Do we think that three horse people are right, or that maybe 596 horse people are right?
Perhaps you are over-horsed or perhaps you have had a few rough patches with your riding. That’s understandable. We all have those days, and we have all sat on a horse and thought, “I should have never bought this.” But just because the going is uphill, it does not mean your horse is a bad horse or that you are a bad rider. It just means you have things to work on.
So your horse goes on the bit. He goes forward (when you let him). He can take a joke over jumps, and even if you catch him in the mouth and pull on him for let’s say, FIVE YEARS, the horse still wants to jump. He hunts his fences, and if you pull on him, he takes you to the fence by his mouth. No matter what weirdness you are doing up there as a rider, he always does his job. This is what we call a saint, people. Your horse is a freakin’ SAINT!
You do take lessons occasionally, but to no avail. It seems that your bad habits are here to stay, and generally speaking, no progress is to be found. At the end of the day, you feel like you’re letting your horse down. (May I take this time to remind you: your horse has no goals.) So now, you are at your wit’s end and have decided it’s time to sell him. You want him to be used to his full potential. But it’s heartbreaking because you love him, and you desperately want it to work.
So you take him off the market (for the third time this month). You reach out to the horse people in your circle and your extended circles. You have this great speech about how you really want to learn to ride your horse, and you think he is really great. You have no good help with him near your house, your family doesn’t support you, and since money doesn’t grow on trees, you can not afford to send him into training* and can’t even travel to get regular lessons.
*(Even though you were offered a seriously discounted price for someone competent to put some rides on him.)
By the grace of God, a friend of a friend has noticed you! She wants to help you! Praise Jesus! Here is the answer you have been looking for! She has a ton of experience with training baby horses from the ground up. She is a great instructor. She knows all the steps. She can help you become that confident rider you have been wishing you could be. AND SHE HAS OFFERED TO DO IT FOR FREE!?
Holy crap! Did she say free?!
Why yes. Yes, I did. The friend of a friend has decided that your horse is a rockstar, and with a little of her help, you could finally be on the same page as your horse. You could be the rider that allows the horse to go forward. You would even allow him to jump! The horse would be so relieved to not have to drag you over the fences by his mouth anymore, that he would jump everything perfectly and fulfill your every dream! (Or something like that. You at least wouldn’t be at wit’s end every other week.)
You tell her no! (Gasp in horror!)
You do not actually want help. Apparently.
What you want is attention. It is much easier to sit behind your keyboard and complain about your saintly horse on social media. You continue to list him for sale any time you are feeling emotionally unstable and need some coddling, then proceed to take him off the market as soon as your mood passes. The pile of excuses continues to grow. When a solution is offered, it is promptly ignored, because you don’t actually want a solution.
Insanity!! That’s what it is. Are you reading this and wondering what on earth this person is thinking?! So am I. So is the friend of a friend. This seriously hurts my brain.
The plea for help has to stop. You either want help or you don’t. If you really just want to go trail riding and jump 8″ crossrails on Sundays, then so be it! Your horse does not care. And nobody else does either!
In grade school, we had to stay in from recess one day, because a little girl was feeling left out. We told the teacher that we had tried to include her a number of times, and she never wanted to play with us. So, after awhile, we just stopped inviting her. So, our teacher told us we had to keep inviting her, but that it was the girl’s responsibility to accept the invite and to try to make friends too. The teacher’s instructions to the little girl were this: “Don’t sit out and pout”.
The same goes for those of us in the horse world. I know that motivation comes and goes. Trust me, I know. I sometimes go weeks at a time without so much as lifting a single curry comb, let alone looking at a bridle. But you know what? The motivation comes back. I go take another lesson. I cram in 15 rides on my long weekend and proceed to walk like a penguin for a week. But guess what? I get better because of it. No, I’m probably not progressing as fast as I could, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I have goals, and I’m working toward them despite all my own excuses.
Money is a problem for me too, and as you all know, Christian has pre-inherited my firstborn child, because I will likely never be able to pay her for all the lessons I have taken. But I don’t let money stop me. I went and got a second job. I take the free horses. I ride the dopey Thoroughbred, who, even though she’s 12, is just figuring out she has four legs.
My parents come support me at some events, but if they can’t make it, I don’t tell a sad story about how I’m not supported. I’ve actually never once had a boyfriend come to a horse show with me, and guess what? I still go. He can support me from home, and send me the “Go fast!” text on cross country morning. That’s good enough for me. I don’t need somebody else to make me want my dream.
And I live in the boondocks too. You know how easy it is to lose motivation when you live in the boondocks? Its 90 minutes one way for a riding lesson around here. But I still go (when my truck isn’t sitting in the shop with its innards falling out.)
I don’t sit out and pout. And neither should you.
*Steps off soapbox*
Did this offend you? Good! You probably needed to hear it. <3