Let’s Discuss: When to Walk Away

“Life’s too short to ride bad horses.” (Maria Wachter)

Flickr/Ken Bosma/CC

Flickr/Ken Bosma/CC

Yes, I did just quote myself. And I’m about to bring up what might be a touchy subject — but we’re here for the discussion, so differences of opinion are welcome.

Sometimes certain people with certain horses go together like oil and water. Some horses are above our ability level and some horses are more than we can handle. After you rule out all psychological and physical issues causing the horse to act “crazy,” you might be left with the conclusion that some horses are not meant to be good riding horses. If all horses out there were perfect, people like us wouldn’t have anything to write about, anyway.

No matter how much you spend on lessons and trainers, you will never be able to buy the confidence you lack from riding an unpredictable horse if that horse truly scares you. I get it — some people get a kick out of riding ornery horses; most people do not. I used to get paid to ride — I would ride anything if I was getting paid to do it. Now that I ride strictly for my own enjoyment, I will not own one that tries to kill me on a regular basis.

I’m not saying just because the horse is a known bucker, rearer or kicker he’s a bad horse. After all, Lunatic Fringe is one of the best horses out there, and know what he’s good at? Really good at? He’s good at bucking and is one of the best bucking horses the NFR has ever seen. He’s not a bad horse at all, he just likes to buck. Humans have discovered what he’s good at and made the most of it.

No amount of promises, negotiations or treats will turn your horse into the horse he isn’t. We’re all guilty of humanizing our horses more than we ought to, and when they misbehave, we think they must hate us. A horse isn’t a human — a horse is just a horse. They’re not our soulmates, even though we might call them such. A horse is our partner, and just like human partners, some relationships just do not work out.

Sometimes the healthiest thing for both parties is to part ways, and hopefully along the way we find someone better suited for us.

Let’s discuss, Horse Nation — have you made the decision to part ways from a particular horse? What led you to your decision? Do you believe that every relationship can work with persistence and patience? Or do you believe that sometimes you just need to walk away?

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