I love February, don’t you?
It’s the last month of winter, the promise of longer, lighter evenings is finally starting to show. The relentless dark, mud, wind and rain - and even snow this year - is nearly over. The end is in sight, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that we’ve all made it through. Hang on in there for just a few more weeks, and all the ‘is this really worth it?’ doubts will melt away.
February is also the month of love. Love is a very complex emotion, shared in many different ways with many different meanings. We love our family, our friends, our pets, and our horses. It’s a feeling that’s just there, and brings us great happiness. We use this emotion far more than we realise, and that famous saying ‘love conquers all’ is one we really buy into because it gives us hope that everything will be ok.
But is this really true, and should we always think that way? Or should our minds play a bigger part in making a decision. Especially when it comes to buying a horse. Did you follow your heart or your mind when you chose your horse? Did it work out for you, or were there many challenges?
Most of us start out the buying process with our minds. We have a list of ‘musts’ that we lay out: ‘must be bomb-proof’ or ‘must be suitable for mother/daughter share’ or, for the brave and the bold, ‘must be young, green, and have potential for eventing.’ We set our budget, and start our search, ruling out anything on paper that doesn’t tick our shopping list. Then we start going to look, to meet, to ride. And that’s when the emotions take over.
When I’m talking to clients, I always ask ‘What made you choose your horse?’ And 99% of the time the reply is ‘I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him. There was just something about him that made me think he would be perfect for me.’ And the list - and often the budget - is completely forgotten. The heart takes over, and before you know it, you’ve invested your money, your heart and your whole life into looking after your new companion, and promising to give them the very best life they deserve.
I love this type of person, because they are fully committed to their new horse. They may not have their perfect-on-paper horse, but they are willing to put their heart and soul into making it work.
They are fully aware that it takes times to build up trust, and so will not rush into riding or doing anything with their horse. They will give him time to settle in and adjust to his new surroundings, whether that takes weeks or months. They will book the vet and farrier and any other health professionals needed. They will check saddles, bridles and bits, research diet and nutrition, and really get to know their horse’s character. So any ‘behavioural’ issues can be addressed properly, once everything else has been ruled out. They will listen to advice with discernment, trying different techniques until they find the right one that works for them. And acknowledge their mistakes, learning from them and moving on rather than beating themselves up. They work hard to overcome their self-doubt, rebuild their confidence and keep on going, no matter what.
We all love our horses, and our relationship with them is something that is so unique, it cannot be described or understood fully by anyone who’s not experienced it. And yes it’s hard sometimes, and frustrating, and we have our tears and fears and feelings of not being worthy or good enough. Stop and re-set, remove the pressure and never tell yourself you ‘should’ because so long as your horse is fed, watered, has company and is in good health, then all will be well. Take some time to just ‘be’ with your horse. Remember why you chose him, and that he will also have chosen you.
Recall all the love you felt, and know that he trusts you to do the right thing by him. Because you’re a team and you’re there for each other, and with time and the right help, and all the love you have for each other, everything will come right in time.
If you're struggling in any way at all, please book in for a telephone call and I will be happy to give you any help and advice for keeping you and your horse relaxed and stress-free throughout the lockdown.
Tel: 07850 465493