Riding for Joy

I didn’t want to go to the barn today. I ALWAYS want to be at the barn, but today it was cold, and I was tired and, I didn’t feel like wearing a billion layers and trudging through the snow. It had been one of those weeks, you know the ones were nothing THAT BAD happened, but there were just little things every day that were slowly wearing me down. I didn’t want to go, but I did because Wyatt’s stall wouldn’t clean itself. Once I was at the barn and started enjoying time with Wyatt and my friend, Heidi, my motivation picked up a bit. I tacked up and climbed on Wyatt, but I was grumpy, and the wind was whipping through my jacket and breeches. As I walked around, I told myself that I had zero expectations for my ride. I was just going to ride around on a loose rein and hope for the best. Wyatt’s turnout had been limited due to weather issues so there was a 50/50 chance that he would be his usual chill self or have one of his rare wild monster days. Wyatt however seemed to sense my mood and stepped up to the challenge and we ended up having a great day. That ride ended up being the highlight of my day, turning my otherwise frustrating day around.

As equestrians and athletes, we often feel a lot of pressure to be in the barn training, working towards goals, always progressing. But that pressure is hard on us. It creates fatigue and burnout and takes a sport that most of us started for the love of an animal and turns it into a competitive experience. The sport quickly loses the joy and meaning we originally found in it. Equestrians I am here to tell you it is OKAY to take a day off from the barn. It is okay to just go to the barn, take care of your horse and go home. It is okay to just hop on and have an easy ride and just simply enjoy your horse. Horses are here to bring joy and fun to our lives, if you don’t take the time to enjoy the barn it doesn’t matter how many ribbons you have won. At some point in our lives, we fell in love with a horse. Don't forget to take time to ride for that person, that passion and the magical bond that horses give us. Don’t let the pressure to win ribbons, earn points or prove yourself take that love and joy away from you. Sometimes we need a break and a moment for ourselves away from the barn, but never underestimate the power of saddling up and taking in the magic of the bond you share with a 1000+ pound animal.