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To Ride or Not to Ride? That Is the Question

Updated on July 6, 2019
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.


To Ride Or Not To Ride?

I actually think that when I was a kid, I had a t-shirt that said that on the front. Then on the back said "silly question". I wore that t-shirt to shreds. Then before I gave up on it completely I used it as a tack cleaning rag!

Anyway, should we ride or should we not ride? There are a million things that could affect our decision on whether or not to ride. The weather, how much time we have, the ground conditions, how we are feeling physically. The list goes on and on.

Today specifically, I want to talk about when we are in a bad mood. Say you had a terrible day at work or school. Maybe you aren't feeling that great and everyone in your life is driving you crazy. It is just one of those days that you can't shake the tension and attitude.


Leave The Bad Vibes At Home!

I'm not judging anyone in any way! We all have those days. They are a fact of life with or without horses. Learning to handle them when you have a horse is very beneficial to learn.

Our horses are very perceptive of our energy. Reading energy is part of the way horses read one another. It only makes sense that they read ours as well.

On a day that you are calm, relaxed and happy, your horse will feel the same way. If he doesn't you should be in a good frame of mind to help get him focused again.

What happens when you head to the barn to get away for a while. You had a bad day and you just need to escape! Those sort of vibes are not the ones you should bring to the barn.


Maybe You Are Super Human At Controlling Your Emotions!

If you are a super amazing person who can control their emotions all the time(not me), then you will be okay going to the barn in a bad mood. You will be able to just block out everything except your horse. You will focus on your horse and what you are asking him to do. In turn, this will probably help you relax and take a breath. Maybe help you to think today wasn't such a bad day after all!

Then There Are The Rest Of Us!

For those of us who aren't so great at compartmentalizing and putting our bad feeling behind us, this can be a problem. If you go to the farm and you are tense and angry. Your interactions with your horse will feel that way to him. He might have been in a calm state of mind before you got there. We have to remember though our energy affects our horse's energy. If we are having such a bad day that we are angry and tense you should think twice about riding.

If you get on your horse in this frame of mind it is asking for trouble. He is going to feel your tension and possibly respond negatively. Then if he does respond negatively, all that tension and frustration you have, you might take it out on him. That can spiral a bad ride to an even worse one.

That's why I pose to you the question "To ride or not to ride". Set yourself up for success. If you haven't had a great day and feel like your temper is short. Take a day off from riding. Spend time grooming and hand grazing your horse. This kind of thing should help you to relax and put all that negativity out of your mind.


Take It Easy If You Get On

If you really think riding will make you feel better, opt for a trail ride. If you don't have trails, ride leisurely in the ring. Maybe bareback for a change. This way you can still get on your horse without causing you to feel like you are picking a fight.

There Will Be Plenty Of Days To Ride!

Remember, horsemanship is a journey, not a day trip. There will be plenty of days that you are feeling great and ready to ride. It doesn't hurt to take a day off every once in a while. A mental health day for both you and your horse!

Have You Noticed If Your Horse Is Perceptive To Your Moods?

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