Passing by a stall at the horse show today something caught my eye. I went back to check it out and found a girl sitting in her horses stall. It was such a beautiful picture, both literally and figuratively, that I ask to photograph her and now I am writing about it.
The image took me back in time over twenty five years and gave me a glimpse of a much younger me. Me, when I knew that my happiest moments were with my horse. Me, back when I believed that my horse also felt this way.
Fast forward to my early adult hood when I was told, through actions more than words, that horses didn’t really care…that horses were just horses and that if I imagined anything more, it was all in my head.
So much of the other things I was learning from these people were true; they could train a horse to do flying lead changes on command…they must really know the horse. Very slowly my young girl dream faded, discolored…and almost died.
This was happening inside me. Belief is a powerful thing. As I lost the belief that the horse enjoyed time with me…a part of me was dying.
I thought I had it all; I was a horse trainer, I had a big barn, a big truck, a big indoor arena. People paid me to ride…and I was miserable. Miserable because the sacrifice I had made to get there was to give up what I knew about horses.
Like most things in life, hitting rock bottom makes the direction to move next more obvious. I decided that I would rather quit being a horse trainer, get a ‘regular’ job and own a few horses on the side. I would do this horse thing my way…even if that meant that I no longer could have horses as my profession. If I had to choose, I would choose the relationship over the job.
I cut back on horses…what could it hurt? I was willing to leave the business anyway. I spent more time with the ones I did ride. I laughed more, cried less, enjoyed more…and achieved more. To my shock I didn’t have to give up my business, I just had to define how I was willing to do my business and accept that the result might even be needing to get a new business. Within months I did my first bridleless freestyle….I had found the marriage between what they had taught me and what I had always known.
So today, when I saw this girl spending time with her horse, and her horse, obviously enjoying spending time with her…it was an amazing gift to me. A gift given by a girl who had no intention of impressing anyone but was simply doing what she loved.
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WHY IS MY HORSE...?
No one taught you the skills you need to work through these things.
Riders often encounter self-doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other challenging emotions at the barn. The emotions coursing through your body can add clarity, or can make your cues indistinguishable for your horse.
Learning these skills and begin communicating clearly with your horse.
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