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It’s okay to have a Bad Day.

Having a Bad Day

Riding is my sweet escape, my go to when I feel like I need my spirits lifted. And as much as I wish everyday was a good day when it comes to horses and riding, horses have bad days too! Which can even turn our good days into bad ones.

I should’ve realized this day (pictured) was going to be a bad day… I mean, how’s that for color blocking??

This is my now-gelded off the track thoroughbred, known as Bruce. I bought him in 2015 as a rising 3-year-old colt. I remember him starting off his showjumping career as such a fast learner, willing to please, brave, LAZY but down-right sweet until this day.

I remember it like it was yesterday, I approached a cross. He jumped it well, landed. Put his head down to play (which I by all means allow as work must be fun for both horse and rider, especially young horses). Abruptly, our canter came to a sudden stop. And… up he went. (thankful that I know how to handle a rear) Then back down, and back up, then back down. This carried on until I realized he wasn’t going to stop until he got me off, so I jumped off at the first opportunity I saw.

But that’s a riding sin. To get off your horse when he/she is misbehaving, right? So, back on I went. Only for the same to be repeated, for weeks on end. And if he wasn’t rearing he was bucking me off. Oh, young horses. They really do humble you.

Dealing with the Bad Days

What we don’t often realize or see as riders is that not everything bad that a horse does, stems from them being naughty but also due to discomfort, pain, feeling anxious, nervous, scared, excited. You name it. Just as us humans respond to different events or feelings, so do our horses.

As easy as it is to feel like it’s the end of the world (dramatic, I know but that’s me) when you have a bad ride, don’t feel discouraged. There is always a positive to learn from negative situations, find the positive. Let the negative teach you a lesson, gain wisdom from it and thereafter will come growth. Growth within yourself as a rider, your horse and your partnership.

From my bad day, I simply learnt that spurs on a lazy horse isn’t always the answer. His rearing came as a result of him not liking my spurs. Crazy, isn’t it? As soon as my spurs were removed from the equation, I had my sweet boy back. Down the line Bruce’s testosterone levels became an issue where he began to rear again but that was fixed by a simple snip snip… and now we call him Caitlyn. (just kidding)

Fast forward to 2019 and Bruce is now probably the horse that has taught me the most and had a great influence on the rider I am today. He is also (I think) my best horse with the most promising future.

It’s important for us as riders to remember that our horses are just as human as we are, just without the ability to speak. So, for that we need to think that much more and question occurrences about, ‘why?’. We need to realize that every action has a reaction and a lot of times I see anger being used as the answer. Anger should never be the answer, but rather patience, time and kindness.

Quotes to Remember

“It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

“You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”

“You can’t appreciate the good days without the bad ones.”

5 by 5 Rule: If it’s not going to matter in 5 years’ time, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.”

“Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.”

“There is good in everything, look for it.”

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You receive from the world what you give to it.”

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” #PERSPECTIVE

“Hold onto what makes you happy. If it tries to buck/rear you off, hold on even tighter.”

“Some horses will test you, some will teach you, and some will bring out the best in you.”

“If you have gained the trust of a horse, you have won a friend for life.”

“You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear! There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid.”

written by Savanna V.

instagram: @savanna_valjalo_equestrian

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