If I have learned anything these past few months that Chance has been off, it is that there is more to owning horses than riding. I have been riding some of the other horses at the barn, but even if I wasn’t I would still be out to see my boy regularly! It is actually really nice to just groom and bathe him, or go see him and his buddy out in the pasture.
I think that it is important to keep up the relationship with a horse that is not working, so that it is still there when they go back to work. I also would never want a horse to think that he/she is only good for riding! Yes, I do think that these sensitive creatures pick up on that and that. Some people like to claim that horses are not like dogs, in that they do not care about affection, but I am sorry I just think that is bull s***! Domesticated horses do like affection and attention, at least all the horses I have been around in my fifteen plus years of riding have! Horses are living, breathing, sensitive beings that do not become worthless when they cannot do their specified jobs. Chance’s value right now is not in the height he jumps, or how well he can flow around a course, it is in his ability to make me laugh with his goofy antics and the happy look he gets when I go to get him (most days anyway)!
I really think that so many of the problems in equestrian sports stem from too many people forgetting their love of horses. I have found this year that truly loving horses means loving them, even when they can’t do anything. It means doing right by them, even if it holds you back.
I want to encourage anyone reading this post, that perhaps has a horse that can’t work right now, to choose not to see him/her as worthless, but for everything else that he/she is! Go and see him/her, and remind yourself why you starting riding in the first place! Build a relationship with your horse that is more than riding! I know that it is really tough to put your riding goals on hold for a horse that cannot work, and I am not saying that it is wrong to sell a horse, or find it a new home if it cannot do what you need it to do. Just be sure to do right by your horse – whatever than may mean. Owning horses is so much more than riding!