Anyone with horses whether they ride professionally, at an amateur level or unridden horse’s owners will pretty much tell you the same thing; ‘Owning a horse is a rollercoaster’. Everyone will have their own term of course but I think rollercoaster explains it well. The highs; winning at a competition, having a good ride at home, a fantastic lesson, catching your horse at the first attempt on the same day and getting the all clear from an injury. Then the lows come and they can hit you right in the feels; an injury to your horse, injury to yourself, financial challenges, confidence crisis, having a bad riding session...
We equestrians can deal with some pretty hard blows on what feels like a regular basis. It’s damn hard work to keep yourself, your horse/s and your finances in check all at once. I see so many of us horsey folk giving it everything we have got and still end up out of luck. A lot of my horsey friends work high pressure jobs to be able to afford our luxury hobby and they still keep enough in the tank to care for their horse and ride after a long day. Some of my friends even have children and to put that in the balancing act, I honestly don’t know how they do it.
With all that being said surely as a group of like minded people we should all support each other and encourage our fellow comrades in this tough game? Sadly this is not always the case. Social media has created a nasty group of villains collectively known as keyboard warriors. Some of the comments I read online are completely unnecessary and disgusting.
Unless a horse is at risk or a person is endangering themselves or others I strongly believe in keeping your opinions to yourself.
Yes there are some riders I meet whose mind frames and methods I don’t agree with. But ultimately they are harmless and I do not have to follow their ways myself. If it works for them great! I enjoy seeing people do well with their horses, I know how hard it is first hand so even if I wouldn’t have gone about achieving my goals that way it doesn’t stop me being happy for the person who has. Anyway that gets the negatives who often hide behind their keyboards or group chats out of the way.
I am lucky enough to have some amazing family and friends whose support, kindness & honesty I couldn’t be without. It’s so so important to have a support network, which is one of many reasons I love being part of #teamequissimo. The ladies I am on the team with are all supportive of the good, the bad and the ugly! With lots of good advice & words of wisdom to help us all out, I am very thankful to be part of team.
Back to my rollercoaster theory, and the worst drop is coming up. This is where your stomach drops and makes you question your sanity for getting on this ride. The negative voice in your head. My own demons hurt me a lot more than anyone else’s words. I hate to hear that horrible voice piping up that your horse really is poorly and it’s all my fault, I’m not good enough for my horse, I’m making to many mistakes or wasting money that I don’t have getting nowhere. When you start to agree with your worst thoughts it can really take the wind out of your sails. We are taking part in a very psychologically demanding sport. It’s ok to not feel ok but please look for help. Whether it’s guidance from a mental health charity or talking to a good friend just do it. Whatever it takes to get you back on the uphill and then the straight, just do it.
There are fantastic charities and people out there who can guide you through the dark times & help you enjoy the good times. Mind is a charity very close to Equissimo‘s and my heart. I strongly recommend heading over to their website whether it be for yourself, to support someone else or for a better understanding of mental health and why it is so important to keep a check on.
I could write or talk about mental health in general for hours so I will leave it at that for now. When it comes to my own mental health, not always such an open conversation. It’s something I’m working on constantly ‘behind the scenes’ and for now that is where my own experience with it will stay.
If you are experiencing issues with your mental health please contact MIND or reach out to a friend of family that you can trust.