We are all going to have bad rides once in a while. Whether we are show riders, pleasure riders, or trail riders, sometimes the thousand-pound animals we love so very much just don't cooperate. To be successful with horses, you need to learn to not let a bad ride get you down. Here are some things to ponder after you have had a bad ride.
Do you know how many people would love to get to ride a horse? Be grateful that you get to be around horses and get to ride. So many people hear about you owning a horse and wish they were you!
It's Not Personal
When our horse misbehaves, it is most-likely some sort of miscommunication between horse and rider. Learning to ride is learning an unspoken language. Sometimes our wires get crossed. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to get on the same page.
You need to remind yourself that the things your horse does that you get frustrated with are not personal. Horses don't have the ability to reason and plan how they are going to be bad today, because they want to make you mad. Horses live in the moment. They are in the here and now all the time. If your ride isn't going well, it is because of something happening on that very day. Just a miscommunication of sorts.
There is always a chance that a physical problem is hurting your horse and causing him to act out. You should always have this on your radar as a possibility if your horse has a major behavioral change. That is a different article for a different day though.
This is a friendly reminder that your horse doesn't do things intentionally to frustrate you. They are just being horses and acting like horses do when they don't understand. Maybe you aren't being assertive enough. No matter what, don't take a bad ride personally. We all have bad days, horse and human. When we both have a bad day on the same day, it is no fun! But it is not the end of the world!
What Did You Learn From This Ride?
Often times, we learn more from a good ride on our horses than we do a perfect one. When your horse doesn't go perfectly, this forces you to step up your riding game. It makes you think through what is going on and try and figure out how to fix it. On these days you are really riding, not just a passenger on your horse as he goes around and around.
Having an issue on a ride and being able to work through it is a great way to build confidence. The more experience you get, from bad rides or good ones, is all adding skills to your riding toolbox so to speak. You will have these experiences to look back on and use in the future.
Just Let It Go!
We can sit and stew for hours after we have a bad ride, trying to figure out what we did wrong, or what is wrong with the horse. Sometimes you will be able to figure it out but not always. You have to learn to let it go. Don't dwell on it. When you get your horse out to ride next time, it will be a new day and a new start. Unless they get really scared or hurt, they don't dwell on things. They let it go.
You Are Awesome
Who cares if you had a bad ride?! It happens! Do you know how awesome it is that you even dedicated yourself to learning how to ride? It is not easy or for the faint at heart. Yet you keep on keeping on, and that's amazing!
You are brave enough to climb up on a thousand-pound animal and tell it what to do. That is pretty darn cool.
As we go through our horsemanship journeys, it doesn't matter where we are in it. We will always have a bad day from time to time. So many people start riding, realize how hard it really is and quit. Your perseverance and dedication are awesome and something to be proud of!
So when you have a bad day with your horse, remember, you are a rider and that is pretty awesome in of itself!