I think the hardest part of the equestrian lifestyle is saying goodbye. Not only to friends, coaches, but also to your furry partners. They may frustrate you and drive you to tear filled rants at times, but they can almost always warm your heart with their cuteness and love.But, when faced with the looming thought of having to say goodbye everything can change. This makes you really think about your horse life and goals, the realistic ones of course. These are the times where to big picture comes into play.
You have to think about what is best for the both of you, this is a partnership after all. If you have to say goodbye to save your partner pain, it may be hard but it’s the best. Honestly, that’s one of the easier types of letting go. For me, the hardest thing to do is let someone else have the reins of my loving partner. When faced with this type of pickle, I really have to step back and think. What do I want? What do I need? And, what do I need to want?
If you are faced with the fact that your horse can only do up to a certain level and that’s all you want to do, that’s great. But, if your horse can’t handle your big dreams, that’s not so good. You really have to think about where you want to go. Are you ok staying at that level for the rest of your riding career or do you want to go further? Of course, you still have to be realistic. You can’t lump your daydreams in with your wants. This is the time to think about what you can physically and financially handle and if your current horse is a part of that. If you want to be heading to the 2020 Olympics and your horse can’t do anything more than a schooling show a month, you have a problem.
Sometimes, the wants and needs overlap. Can your horse do what you want to do? Are do you need to upgrade? What do you need to get where you want? If you need an upper-level fancy pony to get where you want and don’t have it, go get it. Of course, you need to figure out if this need is realistic and financially possible. Maybe, all you need is a new trainer or new gear to take you to the new level. That’s an easy fix. Unfortunately, some horses just don’t have it in them to go past a certain level. Sometimes, age and build get in the way and wear them down so that thy don’t fit your needs anymore.
Need to Want
Do you need to change our thinking or way of doing? Face it, you may be holding your horse back. This can be fixed by talking to your trainer about it and asking if they can help you change. Or, is your mind holding you back? If you want to make it in the horse world, you need to be willing to trade in your horse for the next model if need be. It is possible to outgrow a horse. Trust me, I have several times. If this happens, you need to want to make it so bad that you can hand over the reins. You need to want what is best for you and your horse. If trying for the next level with your current partner causes either of you pain, you need to ask yourself, why am I here? If you are just here for the bright lights and ribbons, find yourself a new sport. You need to want success for the right reasons.
Giving up a horse is never easy. But, one thing I find comfort in is that we will both be happier eventually. It may bring tears and some heartbreak in the beginning. Finding a new horse doesn’t mean you are replacing them, it means you are willing to put both of your needs above your wants. You can still have a place for them in your heart even if they don’t have a place for hem in your barn. Learning to let go is hard, one of the hardest lessons to learn, but unfortunately it’s necessary.