“If you’re comfortable with remaining where you are and never striving to learn, grow, or take healthy risks, you’re missing out on true happiness.” - Cara Alwill Leyba, author of Like She Owns the Place
Cara’s book isn’t equestrian-related but since it relates to overall self-improvement, we riders can definitely benefit from her advice. I feel that every morning I get to spend at the stables pushes me to learn, grow and take healthy risks, and I never drive away afterward without a sense of happiness. Cara lists five particular elements that have contributed to her happiness, and again, we can experience all of these during our stable time.
1-Practice a gratitude ritual. I’ve seen enough problem horses that I don’t take anything for granted now. I thank Tara for coming to me when I go out to her in the pasture, I thank her for behaving well as we walk to the hitching post and I definitely thank her for a great ride.
2-Do something you love every day. That’s easy! I love everything the barn scene offers: the exercise that chores provide, the meditation time I spend while grooming, the excitement of the ride. The days I can’t make it out to see Tara I always spend at least a half hour listening to a horse podcast, watching a lesson video or reading a horse-related book.
3-Help others. Many hands make light barn chores. At the barn, we all have our individual assignments, but if anyone needs a hand they always get it. Mary holds Thunder for me while I spread shavings in his stall, I’ll hold Rusty’s stall fan in place while Linda ties it to the window posts with twine, Mary gives Linda a hand lifting an extra heavy muck bucket.
4-Move your body. I easily get in my 10,000 recommended daily steps on a barn day.
5-Visualize your ideal world. Visualization is definitely a part of my pre-riding routine. Before I sit in the saddle I have a distinct picture in my head of Tara and me in our proper riding postures, and I picture us relaxed and having fun.
Sometimes that’s all it takes to have a great ride, which to me equals a happy day.