1. Not every horse will be a perfect fit.
It’s really OK to admit that a horse isn’t the perfect match for you. This doesn’t mean give up after the first few rides—riding a new horse is a change, so try to adapt your riding to this horse the best you can. However, if after months of riding you still feel as though you’re fighting more than you’re having fun, it’s OK to sell your horse to someone who is a better match.
[READ: How to Connect with Your Horse]
2. There will be good rides and bad rides.
Riding horses can feel as if you’re on a roller coaster, especially on a young horse. By “bad ride” I don’t necessarily mean that you get thrown off—although that does indeed count as a bad ride. But it could also just be a ride where you and your horse are having trouble understanding what the other is trying to say. Choose your battles with your horse wisely, and remember that a bad ride isn’t always the horse’s fault. When a ride does go bad, don’t get discouraged, because a good ride is probably just around the corner.
3. You can—and should—learn from everyone.
There’s someone out there who knows more than you know, no matter what level of rider you are. Expand your knowledge. You don’t have to pay to go to clinics to learn, either—although clinics are great learning environments—you can attend a horse show and watch riders in the warmup ring and show pen. Watch and ask questions as much as possible; this will develop you into a better horseman. Even top trainers have a beginner’s mindset, meaning they’re willing to take knowledge from anyone—even if they can only apply part of it to their program.
4. Horses nudge out other activities.
The cost and time commitment involved don’t leave a lot left over for other pursuits. Scheduling and budgeting are a necessity with horses, most of your paycheck will go towards your horse’s needs and most of your time will be spent in the barn taking care of your horse or riding. Not to mention, horses can’t take care of themselves. So vacations, holidays, and sick days don’t matter, someone has to clean pens and make sure they have food and water.
5. Horses are a privilege.
Don’t take owning horses for granted. Someone out there is wishing to be in your shoes and would squeal to be able to pick out pens for the privilege of spending time in a barn around horses. Horses can be a headache and a lot of work, but only a lucky few are able to own horses. So, as you grumble when you clean stalls or throw hay into the hay loft, remember you’re living a life that some can only wish for.
6. Horses are the answer to all of life’s problems.
Whether you’re happy, sad, or somewhere in between, horses will make your day better. I mean, is there anything that planting a kiss on a soft, fuzzy muzzle can’t fix? They say horses are the best therapy, and it’s so true! The sound of horses munching on hay, the smell of a horse’s coat, the feeling of the wind in your hair as you lope across an open field—there’s simply nothing better in life. Once you accept this reality, you will be living your best horse life.