What’s the most important thing your horses have taught you?
[Top image: Lesson #1 Everything goes with black.]
A little background. I’m in my early 20s, and therefore I know everything.
In the past year, I started leasing my first horse, and through all the highs and lows, I unintentionally learned a lot of life lessons the hard way. Here are just a few:
Know what you want. Does spiraling in and out of circles make you happy? Or would you rather race along the side of a corn field? Sounds obvious, but if you don’t pursue what you really love about riding, you won’t get it.
Don’t buy stuff online unless you know the exact brand and size you need. Not breeches, not helmets, and especially not saddles! This can be an expensive lesson to learn if you don’t pay attention to the return policy, and you’ll end up with a lot of breeches that look like this:
It takes a village. Trainer, vet, farrier, a team of fellow boarders…you’d be surprised how many people it can take just to do something like go in the scary wash stall or put on standing wraps.
Ask for help. See above. No shame in asking for help when you need it, as long as you return the favor when you can. It’s much better to set yourself up for success with an extra hand when you’re doing something new, or something that could be hard with just one person, like trailering.
Progress is not linear. As in–when trying to get a hard loader on the trailer, it might be two steps forward, one step back, a bolt to the side of the trailer, and back to where you started.
Sometimes you’ve gotta switch things up. Riding different horses can give you the confidence (and new ideas) to progress with your own horse. And watching others ride your horse can give you insights on how he or she goes best.
Network, network, network. It might take a while to achieve whatever it is you want to do, but in the meantime, surround yourself with people who are already doing it successfully. Chances are they have the resources (like an extra spot in their trailer) and the connections to help you along your way.
Don’t let someone take photos of you with a high-res camera. Firstly, because you’ll inevitably jump like a herp-a-derp.
But let’s zoom in.
And the most important life lesson I’ve learned from leasing?
Don’t forget how to laugh at yourself. Because otherwise, you’ll probably cry.