As you all know, this has not been my year when it comes to horses! This year has really tested my patience and resilience when it comes to this sport. I honestly never thought I could handle taking so much time off, but apparently I can – though I do hope that I never have to again! I decided to come up with a list of ways to deal with the inevitable setbacks that come with this sport that can keep you out of the saddle for a time. Or at least the ways I have dealt with this year.
So, here goes!
- Remind yourself why you do this. When horses get hurt, or life gets busy, or things just flat out are not working out the way you want with your riding, it can be easy to forget why you even ride in the first place. Reminding myself why I love horses, why I love to ride, and that it’s never been all about the jumps and ribbons for me has helped me to keep perspective this year while riding out Chance’s health struggles.
- Keep going to the barn. Continuing to visit your horse, even if he/she is not able to be ridden keeps your bond strong – along with your passion! For me, riding horses has always been a way to clear my head, and I have found this year that just being around them (even if I’m not riding) has the same effect.
- Stay active. Unless you are out with an injury, stay active! Keep your fitness up! It will not only help you to keep your muscles in shape for when you can ride again, but it’ll also help you to get your mind off of things.
- Write it out. I have always been a person to keep journals. Writing helps me to work through all sorts of emotions, and even though non-equestrians may not get this not being able to ride (for whatever reason) is a very hard thing for us emotionally! For most of us, riding is a part of who we are and it can be devastating to not be able to do it for a time. Writing about your feelings can help you to work through them, and maintain a positive attitude!
- Pray. If you’re a praying person, then pray! I pray for my horse, and about my riding situation all the time. It has really helped me to stay patient (or as patient as possible) through this time. Like I said above, not being able to ride is a big deal for a lot of us, and I think it is perfectly okay to pray about it!
- Keep busy. Don’t just sit around and mope during the time you normally ride! Trust me, I tried that and it doesn’t help! First off, like I already said, keep visiting your horse even if it is just to groom. Also, maybe take some of your extra time to do other things. Try something you’ve always wanted to try, spend a little extra time with your friends, or devote more time to another passion! Sometimes a setback in one area of your life can lead to positive change in another area. So, don’t sit around, but rather keep moving forward in your life!
I hope these tips help if you find yourself in a situation in which your riding goals have to be put on hold. I will say it again, not being able to ride is not a small thing for us passionate equestrians. It is okay to be emotional about it, as long as you can find a way to keep moving forward with a positive attitude!