I tried to ride this morning, but a storm came rolling in before I got on so I just gave Chance a good groom. I didn’t even pull him out of his stall. Sometimes it is nice to just spend time with our horses, even if we cannot ride. Perhaps the weather is bad, or they are sick or injured, or we are sick or injured. Although I am never a fan of skipping a ride, I would rather spend time with my horse on the ground than not see him at all.
Today got me thinking about how there are people out there that never groom their own horses, and would never be happy just hanging out with their horses on a day like today. Trust me, I have known plenty. The horse world is so wrapped up in competing and constantly improving that we can forget why we began this sport/hobby/passion/career in the first place: because we love horses. I see so often how people just have horse after horse after horse to get ahead in the sport. I do not think there is anything wrong with wanting to win, or wanting to sell a horse for a high price. Ambitious competitors do need different horses throughout their careers, and most competitive horses end up in great homes wherever they go. I hope to be competitive again someday, and I know that it will take many horses for me to reach my goals. I just think that there is a mindset problem in the horse world. Horses are treated like equipment: disposable as soon as they don’t work right, useful only when they are sound and winning. I think however far we hope to go in this sport, we must never stop thinking of our horses as our partners, or companions.
Having the mindset that Chance is my partner and companion has really helped in his training. We are more trusting of each other, and more in sync (except at horse shows, of course). Most of all, we enjoy each other’s company. Yes, I believe that my horse enjoys it when I come to see him. People try to to claim that horses don’t “love us” the way our dogs do, but I think that is absolutely false! Every horse I have ever had has acted happy to see me when I come to ride (most of the time, anyway). Horses can be just a affectionate as dogs too. But we have to treat them as our companions, not our minions. Even if we know we are not going to keep them forever. Allowing ourselves to be a little emotional about our horses, in my opinion, can help us to keep our integrity when it does come time to part ways with a horse. We will not just get rid of them, but rather find them new humans to be companions to and homes in which we know they will thrive and be happy.