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When To Move On From A Horse That Is Not Right For You

Oct 04, 2023
eventing horse tack change

There are a lot of “Big Pieces of Advice” I give out. Overarching ideas/concepts/theories that are transformative and foundational to success with horses.

But if I had to choose, there is probably one piece of advice that ranks far above the rest:

 

This sport is hard in many aspects. It’s difficult. It is time-consuming. It’s dangerous. It’s very expensive. 

You *HAVE* to have a horse that you can enjoy and have fun with. (In whatever discipline/interaction that you pursue).

This sport requires so much time, effort, and money. It is simply unacceptable to waste all of that on a horse that you do not enjoy. Or a horse that you are scared of. 

 

This sport/hobby is dangerous. So dangerous. Even with a good horse, things can happen and you can get seriously injured or even killed. But to compound that and actively partner with a dangerous horse is too far. I’ve unfortunately seen too many social media posts or heard people in person discuss their fear and trepidation towards riding their horse.

Now, there are of course personal fears that we have as riders that we may need to overcome. But I’m talking about a fear that is actually caused by the horse’s objectively bad behavior.


There are so many horses out there. There are so many good horses out there that will meet your criteria and needs. Horses that will put a smile on your face as soon as you walk in the barn and see them. Horses that will make you feel safe around them and on their back.

 

If the horse is dangerous, it’s not worth it. If the horse isn’t cut out for what you want to do, it isn’t worth it. If the horse takes away your enjoyment of this sport/hobby of ours that we spend so much of ourselves on, 

IT ISN’T WORTH IT.

 

It isn’t failing. It isn’t giving up. It’s realizing that you spend way too much of yourself on this sport to not enjoy it.

 

I was in that situation many years ago, to nobody’s fault, just a bad pairing. One day, after about 7 months of trying to push through and figure the horse out, while walking out of my college dorm to head to the barn, I realized that I was dreading going to the barn. 

 

It wasn’t fun. 

 

It wasn’t enjoyable. 

 

It wasn’t something that I was looking forward to anymore. 

 

It was a chore that I had to begrudgingly complete. I almost quit riding because of him. The sport that I had loved and dedicated so much of my life to up to that point. That’s when I said “enough”. 

 

Long story short, we found him a new home and I rediscovered my passion for riding when I got Cayenne.

 

There’s not a single time I’ve ever hesitated throwing my leg over Cay. There’s not a single day that I’ve regretted hopping on him. Sure, we’ve had bad rides. I’ve fallen, I’ve had refusals, I’ve gotten eliminated at competitions. But there’s not a single time I’ve not enjoyed the journey with him. Bad rides happen. But there’s a difference between a bad ride and a bad horse (or at least, a “not right for you horse”.)

 

So don’t stick with a horse that you actively do not enjoy. It is just not worth it.

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