Does this sound familiar? My horse did this, and he didn’t do that, and I had a terrible ride today. Insert your scenario into “this” and “that” to complete the picture.
So why did your ride really go south? I believe the majority of the time, that “bad ride” is really our fault. I know that is hard to swallow, but I believe that to be the truth so hear me out.
I used to be that girl that would complain about my horse. How he did this, and he didn’t do that, but you know what, I blamed him for all of the things I could have done better and all of the things that I did not adequately prepare him to do. It takes a long time to build a real relationship with our horses and to understand their needs. Ask yourself, “What does he need from me so that he can do his job, and we can dance together?” This answer will vary from horse to horse, but you get my drift.
Our horses rely on us to teach them the ways of being a trusty mount. They have to learn how to do all of the things that we ask of them. Have we fully prepared them mentally and physically to do what we ask? Did your horse have previous owners? If so, what baggage did he bring into the relationship? What baggage have you brought into the relationship from your previous experiences? It takes years to train a horse, and even longer for our training. We must work on ourselves so that we may help our horses.
Please, for the love of God, stop blaming your horse, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and change your perspective. Rather than complaining about the “bad ride,” try to figure out why you think it was bad in the first place. Did you let your bad day at work ruin your ride at the barn? Was your ride bad simply because it did not go the exact way you had pictured it or was it something else? Ask yourself what your horse needs from you and what he is trying to teach you. Try to see it all as a learning experience rather than good and bad rides. Every time you interact with your horse, you are either training him or un-training him.
It is essential to have someone you can check in with who is farther along in their equestrian journey than you are, someone who can help you see what you and your horse need to work on to make things easier and better for both of you. I recommend finding a highly educated instructor to help you and your horse work through your issues (and I do mean YOUR issues…LOL). All jokes aside, I know that sometimes our horses can be little turds, and I also know that sometimes they need to see a vet. Spending time with your horse and getting to know him will help you to know the difference. If you are either unable to get to or unable to afford a trainer, Cody’s mentor, Dominique Barbier, has some great books to read as well as DVD’s to help you on your journey. Dressage for the New Age is a great start.
CH Equine is here to help you and your horse. We offer clinics in and out of state, horse training, seminars, and weekly lessons. We would love to help you and your horse build trust and understanding so that you may have a wonderful partnership.