Hi Zebras, I'm Emily or @theory_of_flight on instagram! I'm a 25 year old adult ammy eventer/dressage enthusiast from Ohio.I didn't grow up in a horsey family. I started weekly group lessons at 14 and for the most part only rode once a week until I bought my first horse at 22. I had a half lease here and there, but the majority of my riding career I have been horseless. Which is why today I want to talk about some things you can do if you find yourself horseless. I'll admit, as a teen I just could NOT understand why everyone around me had horses but I was still scrounging to get a lesson a couple times a month. I wanted a horse so bad I swore it hurt, and unfortunately it made me kind of bitter. Hindsight truly is 20/20.If you google the average cost for horse ownership per year it ends up at about $4,000... but from tallying up my own numbers I would estimate that a sporthorse or show horse averages more in the $8,000-$10,000+ range per year. That's a HUGE financial commitment alone before you even calculate the time and emotional investment. The average American household income is $50,000 per year, and on average $25,000 of that goes into living expenses. A horse can eat up (literally, have you seen how much they eat??) The rest of that easily just by adding an unexpected vet bill or a few shows into the mix.

So horses are expensive, that's not new information, but what are some things you can do if you find yourself horseless?• Get involved. One of the best ways to improve your riding outside of the saddle is to get yourself around horses! Volunteering at shows helps the community and you can learn a ton by just watching. Volunteering to be a dressage scribe, for example, will teach you a ton about what judges want to see in the ring across disciplines and will help you learn what you want to work towards when you are in the saddle!• Audit clinics / Watch lessons. This really ties into the last point, but the more information you can soak up the better! While you may not agree with everything that you see, expanding your base of knowledge can both help you find equine professionals that you would want to work with and teach you a lot! Plus, a lot of horse professionals appreciate someone who truly wants to learn. Maybe this could open the door to an opportunity to work off lessons or a more hands-on learning opportunity.• Work on training your mind. It might not be directly horse-related, but almost all riders can agree that at least 30% of your ride is mental. Books like Mind Gym by Gary Mack and Brain Training for Riders By Andrea Monsarrat Waldo are a great place to start!• Improve your fitness and flexibility. Yeah I know, no one wants to work out. But horseback riding IS a sport and requires strength and flexibility. If you're horseless it will absolutely benefit your riding to be fit and flexible the next time you are in the saddle! There are tons of videos on YouTube to get you started for free!• Disband the pity party. Believe me, I was there. I know it can be SO hard to watch those around you lesson or show on their own horse, but the best thing you can do is set the bitter feelings aside and think of how you can make your own situation work. Riding is an individual journey and everyone is on their own path. Set those big goals, but remember to cut them into bite-sized pieces. Focus on the present and how you can take steps forward towards them no matter what situation you are in at the current time, and remember that this too shall pass.