Not that I speak AT ALL from experience.
I’ve always tried to maintain the ability to hold up the mirror to my own behavior and look critically at the way I lead my life. Otherwise, how will I ever grow?
And boy, have I noticed a few things in the few months since I acquired my newest horse… things that I’m sure will look familiar to anyone else who has added a new equine to their life. Turns out there’s a horse-crazy little girl in all of us, just waiting to be released.
1. Your social media feed is full of the new guy.
Not only have I flooded my Instagram and Facebook with endless posts about my new horse, but I’ve also started soapboxing with stupidly-long descriptions of my training process, small setbacks and what we’ve done to overcome them, and of course the classic #ThrowbackThursday or #TransformationTuesday or whatever it is to show everyone how much physical progress may or may not have been made. The fact that some people actually seem to enjoy this kind of content is certainly doing very little to convince me to pump the brakes. You’re welcome, social media followers. There’s plenty more where that came from.
2. You talk to everyone in your real life about the new horse and all the great/cute/weird/quirky things he does.
This is extra fun when you work from home, so that the only people you see on a regular basis are family members who are already pretty convinced you’re a crazy person. They certainly seem to be learning what kind of triggering questions (“how’s the new horse?”) they should avoid completely in order to not be verbally cornered for several minutes while I prattle on about his progress in learning to neck rein or how he keeps his footing in muddy conditions.
3. You overshare in equestrian groups with photos and stories of the new horse.
I’ve started doing this so much that I’m annoying even myself, and have tried hard to sit on my hands the past few days. Just because there’s yet another thread in a giant online group asking for photos of my Canadian-bred western OTTB working cattle doesn’t mean I have to post yet another photo and story gushing about how amazing he is… ha. Who are we kidding. Of course all of these strangers on the internet want to see him again!
4. You lay awake at night overanalyzing every aspect of your last ride and what you can do to be a better horseperson the next day.
No, the importance of self-reflection as a horseperson cannot be overstated — it’s important to recognize our mistakes and work to improve them. Perhaps not to the point of actually losing sleep, however, simply because the gelding tossed his head once and you’re paranoid that your bit is too harsh or your hands are too heavy or you’re courting his despair and poor health by not calling out the equine dentist pronto. He’s a blank slate to you — you’re definitely going to ruin him if you don’t fix all of this like yesterday.
5. You use the new horse as an excuse to go tack shopping.
Every horse is unique, right? So there’s no way that the 3,487 saddle pads, 45,879 bits or 4,653 headstalls that you already own are going to possibly work for him. He definitely needs his own stuff.
6. If there’s anything at all unique about his situation, everyone has to hear about it.
It’s kind of like doing Crossfit or veganism — if you have a new horse who also happens to be a rescue, or a mustang, or an OTTB, or a rare breed, you have to tell everyone about it. Legit, ask me how many times I’ve used the #OTTB hashtag in the past two months. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed.
Eventually, yes, this honeymoon phase will pass, and my new horse will work his way smoothly into the fabric of my equestrian life like he’s been there all along. Until then, though…