While surfing the internet, I came across the following online quiz from the Noëllefloyd website:
“Horses get hurt and our plans go out the window. We are limited by our bank accounts. We have an off day at a show and feel embarrassed. The ways that this sport and lifestyle challenge are innumerable . . . Have you ever asked yourself, honestly and truthfully, if you’re bringing a resilient mindset to the ring?”Noëllefloyd website
This quote may be oriented to those who ride and show, but I think the general idea applies to anyone who is involved with horses in any capacity. Whether you ride or not. Whether you show or not. Whether you have your own horses or not.
As much as we love horses, sometimes equestrians have to dig deep not to drown in a sea of hurt and disappointment. That old backyard horse we have long cherished dies. That young horse holding so much promise goes permanently lame. The lease with a perfect partner comes to an end. The lesson barn closes. There are a thousand ways our horse lives can go dark when our desires do not match our reality.
Developing the capacity to pick ourselves up off the barn floor and carry on is vital to our longevity as horse people. Some of us come by this naturally, but many of us have to learn the skills involved in creating a resilient mind set.
Without those skills, we can easily let the hurts, the failures, the missed opportunities suck all the joy out of our horse experience. I know some people even leave the horse world behind because of them.
While the above referred quiz may not be scientific, it certainly can serve as a great contemplation starter. Horsemanship is not only about developing our physical skills but our mental skills as well.
If you’d like to further explore the topic of developing your mental fitness for all things horse, I highly recommend the book Inside Your Ride: Mental Skills for Being Happy and Successful with Your Horse by Tonya Johnston, MA.
I also really like the material designed by Barbra Schulte, Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee, at https://barbraschulte.com/. She has lots of articles and videos on her website on the subject of mental fitness for horse people. You can also sign up there for her courses and clinics as well as her email newsletter. I particularly like her free “Just For Today- daily thoughts to bring out the best with you and your horse” emails.
“Sometimes I get discouraged when it seems like I’m not making progress or even going in the wrong direction!
But, today, I remember that no one person or no one event can ever diminish my love of what I do with my horse… or my desire to keep going.
No matter if my ride measured up to what I wanted… or not…
when I think about why I ride, it always puts everything back into perfect perspective, again.
I’m gonna’ keep reaching for more… for better or for worse.
I know I’ll keep improving in sometimes tiny steps… and, in tough times and good times, I’ll never lose sight of how fortunate I am.”
Barbra Schulte- From her Just For Today emails
Developing the skills to keep going despite tough times and to hold events in perspective can truly enhance our horse life. Growing in these areas is an ongoing process for me as it is for so many of us. Let’s try to keep this in mind. Let’s remember that we can encourage ourselves and each other to hang in there, whatever that may look like for each of us as individual horse people. Let’s use our thoughts, words and actions to build up ourselves and each other.