I truly cannot imagine where my life would be if I didn’t get into horses. Sometimes people ask me what I would be into if I didn’t get into horses, my response usually is ‘I would probably be very messed up and maybe a druggy’. Now most people think this is a joke, which it sorta is, but if it wasn’t for horses I truly would not be the same person I am today. Here are just a few things horses have taught me over the years.
How to take care of myself
If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you suppose to care for another living breathing animal. This includes going to bed at a decent hour, staying healthy (because riding and conditioning your horse is a lot harder when you are not). For example, taking care of myself includes taking care of a cut on my leg so that I could ride again later. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way. I did not take care of myself and the consequences were another surgery. Taking care of yourself is hard in the equine industry but is vital in order to succeed.
How to make adaptions in life to succeed
No horse and rider are ever the exact same. Everyone has to continently make changes in order to succeed. This can start anywhere from your horses nutrition, tack, training or with yourself. One very huge adaptation that I continually have to make is that the skin grafting on my leg is very prone to chaffing while riding.This means I can not ride in a saddle with any kind of tooling, odd shape, or in riding pants that have an inseam. So in order to do what I love and succeed I have had to seek out and get custom riding pants, or specific breeches. In addition to also get gloves customize to fit my 4 fingers.
Strength and balance
Riding helps build your core, center strength and balance and without it, it is very hard to ride. Trust me! Besides for working out, riding has helped me gain all around strength. I realized just how much strength it really took to ride when I lost all of my strength after having my appendectomy. Throughout the healing process I lost a significant amount of my core strength, and getting back on a horse felt totally different and it was a lot harder to do the things I once had done so easily.
Confidence and trust
When working with horses you are working with a living animal that is strong enough to kill you if they wanted to. While working with horses you develop a sense of confidence in yourself and trust in this magnificent animal. This then for me translated into my day-to-day life.
How to work in a team
To ride a horse, you and the horse become a team. Riding is about having mutual respect, and doing your best in order to be able to succeed at what ever you’re doing. I have also learned more about what it is like to work, and be on a team through different clubs, and teams in the equine industry and being apart of my colleges equestrian team.
How to be a leader
To be successful with horses you must help be a leader to them and guide them. I have also learned leadership while helping others gain knowledge to help them succeed in the horses.
How to set goals and succeed at them
Growing up riding and competing with horses, I got very competitive. In order to succeed I would set goals of what I would want my horse and I to achieve and would take lessons. Then I would do my ‘homework’ to achieve that goal in hopes that I would do meet that goal at my next horse show.
Nobody but you is going to get up and feed your horse every morning for you (unless you board-but still you have a lot of responsibilities of caring for horses) or call the vet when needed.
If you truly want to be good at something you have to work hard for it, especially with horses.
To be a continual learner and always take advice
In the horse world nobody knows everything, and if you think you do, you don’t and often people’s respect for you goes down. It is impossible for one person to know every training method, for every discipline, all tack, for all disciplines and all types and breeds of horses, and bloodlines. The list goes on. In order to succeed and be successful with horses you must always be learning.
How to manage money, or how not to..
Okay, we all know horses can be expensive but that being said it is because of horses I have learned how to manage my money. When I first got my horse at 14, my mom and I sat down and set a budget on how much we would be willing to spend on vet bills, heaven forbid if something bad happened to my horse at the time. We also set up a budget when I started showing. Every summer I was given a set budget, each year was slightly different because I wasn’t able to always work due to surgeries and recovery time. But I had the checkbook to manage this account and I had to manage it. If I wanted to go to a show or get a new outfit or tack, would I have enough money? Or was I going to have to work harder to get it?
There you have it! Here are some of the many lessons I’ve learned from horses. If it wasn’t for horses I truly don’t know where I would be in my life today.