Rider Story

Horse Riding Moments to Be Grateful For

16 March 2016

Horse Riding Moments to Be Grateful For

We’ve all heard it a thousand times before- if you want to achieve anything in horse riding, you must set goals. Maybe your goal is to go up a grade in competition this year. Maybe it’s to ride a clean flying change. Maybe it’s to ride out alone beyond your front gate.

Whatever your goals are with your horse riding, they are a guiding light, the destination that you aim yourself towards as you work and train and learn and play with your horse.

And as they say, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it with remarkable accuracy!

So I’m not going to tell you how you should plan your season, or set your goals, or how to write them down, or create a vision board of everything you want to do or achieve this year with your horse riding. That’s nothing new, you’ve heard all that before. I’m pretty sure you have that covered.

Something that has been made clear to me this last year is that while setting goals are a key, always thinking about the future, about what you need to do next, where you are going next, often means that you forget about the now.

It often means that you forget to be grateful for what you have right now. You forget to be grateful in the moment.

Some people recommend keeping a Gratitude Diary and writing a list at the end of the day of 3 things that you are grateful for. Now that’s a lovely idea, but often you end up writing the same 3 things every day. If you’re like me, it goes something like this:

“I’m grateful for my husband, I’m grateful for my pony, I’m grateful for the lovely wine I drank with dinner…”

The other downside with keeping the gratitude diary, is that you miss out on the power of being Grateful in the Moment.

Let’s face it, keeping a horse- any horse, from a rescue to the most expensive important fancy pants competition winner- is a privilege. It’s a privilege that we are grateful for in those special moments, but are often too busy, or rushed, or focused on something else to really notice that and enjoy it.


So here’s the challenge…

The next time you pop out to see your horse at his agistment, and he pops his head up from the grass to look at you and nickers, and it fills you with such joy, and puts a massive smile on your face-stop.

Literally stop.

Stand still.

Stand tall.

Take a big breath and just be grateful, right in that moment, for how you feel.

The next time you nail that transition in the arena, pause. Give him a pat. Take a breath and be grateful for the skills you have learned, the techniques you are refining, the communication that is improving.

The next time you’ve had a crappy day at work, or with the kids at home, and you just feel terrible, and your horse does something that makes you smile and you feel the tension melt from your shoulders- pause. Take that breath, and be grateful for that, right there, in that moment.

This is more than adopting an “attitude of gratitude”. This is such a powerful habit to get into, that it has the potential to change your whole life.

In this fast paced, modern world, where we are all working our butts off just to keep up with the Jones’, there is not nearly enough time in the day where we are grateful for what we have, for what we do, for how we feel, or for what we can experience.

Our horses are truly amazing, magical and wonderful creatures. They offer us so much. They help us in ways we can’t even put into words.

So while this year you work and train and school towards your goals, no matter how big or how small, also remember, every day to take just a moment. Take a moment, every day to be still. To breathe. To be present in that moment, to appreciate it for all that it gives you, and be grateful for it.

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