Today I was reading an article by Equirating’s founder Sam Watson. It starts with a conversation between him & his wife and their young sons as they’re heading out the door to a show:
‘Daddy, why are you and Mummy going away?’
‘Because we’re taking Ben and Toby (the horses) to an event.’
‘Because eventing is fun and it’s what Mummy and Daddy do.’
Because Daddy gets to go cross country and jump lots of cool fences really quickly.’
‘Er, because someone thought that would be a good idea a long time ago…?!’
He then goes on to analyse the meaning behind eventing, which is a thought provoking read – check it out on Equiratings or on Eventing Nation where is has been shared. However, this conversation got me going in a slightly different direction – why on earth do we ride at all? Why do we give up our weekends, our money, our sanity and our physical health to pursue this sport? What is it about the equestrian world that pulls us away from family, friends and any semblance of a ‘normal life’ (whatever the hell that is!)
I’m afraid I simply don’t have the answers. Or rather I don’t have a simple answer. Right now I’m taking a break from riding as I don’t have a fit horse. My bank balance is a lot healthier, that’s (at least) 5 hours a day extra that I have to work in my business, and I’m loving the chance to reconnect with my family, having the energy to listen to my son describe the weird and wonderful facts he’s learned that day, the concentration to help my daughter with her A level assignments and the time to go for long Sunday strolls with the whole family and the dog. My physical health has also improved (if you discount the couple of extra kilos I’m carrying) and I now have time to work on my mindset. Yet I’d still jump at the chance to get back in the arena.
I miss it so much! I miss the anticipation as I drive into the yard. The banter with the team as I get my horses ready. The checking in with my horses to see how they are today. The feeling of being ‘at home’ as I settle into the saddle. The sense of wonder that this powerful creature trusts me to sit on them and guide them. The physical sensations as they move off underneath me. The absolute joy and delight as they do one excellent movement. The stunned shock of achievement as I actually manage to see an ok distance to a fence. The smell of the horses, the yard, the arena. The lift that being outside and physically capable gives me. The satisfaction of a job well done. The quiet companionship of a horse that understands me. The physical tiredness as I drive home. I miss the excitement of shows, the felling of camaraderie as you catch up with people that you don’t have to explain yourself to, the challenge of striving for goals and the absolute thrill of making a new milestone.
It really is difficult to explain to the uninitiated why riding horses is so special. And it will be different for all of us. But it’s an important question to ask yourself, to get to the root of what drives you. Once you know your why, you’ll never lack motivation.
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