6 September 2023

The Horsemanship & Riding Journey that Never Ends

The Horsemanship & Riding Journey that Never Ends

By Phillipa

Horsemanship and riding are skills that we can never say we have finished learning.

Even those riders at the very top of their game, the Olympians, the medal winners, the riders whose stories we follow and whose advice we admire, will never say, ‘I’m done now, I know it all.’

Of course we can look up the ladder and learn masses from the people who have garnered vast knowledge of horses. We watch them in the saddle and know that their apparently effortless riding is in fact down to year after year of practice, frustrations, triumphs and disasters. They have learnt what works and what doesn’t; they have taken chances, and not only trained themselves with unremitting discipline but have also worked with their horses to develop a level of mutual trust and empathy that definitely doesn’t happen overnight.

You may be one of those people. You may know that you are observed by new, young riders and horse people and feel a sense of responsibility towards their education.

In fact, whoever you are and wherever you are on your horse riding journey, the chances are that you will feel the same emotions as our equestrian superstars have felt. We all know that feeling of everything somehow coming together, feeling at one with the horse like some kind of centaur. And if you’ve been working with horses and riding for some time, you’ll know it’s generally best to savour these moments.

Because the next day, it could all go south. Sometimes you can sense, the moment you see your horse’s eyes peering out of his stable, that it’s going to be one of those days. Yesterday’s feeling of total synergy with him has fled in the night, and suddenly you can feel as if you may have tacked up the wrong horse.  And even if you are lucky enough to have one of those enviable horses that just truly never put a foot wrong, sometimes we ourselves are just somehow not in the zone. The reason may be obvious to you – stress, worry, illness – but sometimes it’s just not clear why you and your horse are not connecting. You just don’t feel it, feel clumsy and useless and on a really bad day, can ask yourself why on earth you got into the horse world in the first place.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it can be easy to feel defeated and question your ability. Whatever you have set your sights on will sometimes feel unattainable.

It may be that you simply want to improve as a rider, enjoy some schooling and hack out whilst developing a bond with your horse. Perhaps you want to set up an equestrian business, studying to become a riding instructor, biomechanics coach or any of the numerous equine career paths available.

Or you might have ambitions to compete in a particular discipline, win your first red rosette, move up to affiliated classes. Your ambitions might be to complete at international level. You may want to be an Olympian. And why not?

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, please remember that like most things in life, this journey we undertake with horses and riding has many twists and turns, rough terrain and dead ends.

But….the fun, the excitement, the moments of pure bliss and those times when you are in a bubble, you and your horse…there’s no feeling quite like it. It’s something only horse people really ‘get’, and it’s difficult to describe but I’m guessing if you’ve read this far, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.

So while it’s great to have achievable goals, there’s really no finishing post. Accept the hiccups on the way but most of all, enjoy the journey.

If you want to ensure you have the very best facilities to work with your horse, take a look at our arenas page and our stables page. We understand horses and their owners so can work with you to ensure you get exactly what you want and help you continue the journey.