Will a tricky horse work out?
Are tricky horses more rewarding in the end? Quite possibly although I have never seemed to reap the benefits of such hard work. You see horses will wear you down, break you down, and even knock you down if you have a particularly tricky one.
Is such frustration worth it? Spending time, money and sometimes the cost of enjoyment to ‘persevere’ and make a small breakthrough. It feels like you take 5 steps back for every one you take forward, making no real improvement. But those glimpses of something, the one day when something goes right that’s what you thrive from, somedays quantum leaps, others just an inconspicuous step in the right direction.
Will it all work out in the end? That untapped possibility, the huge potential. Top riders say the brain is as much to play as ability? Is this why tricky horses are so tricky, do they just not have the brain? Would buying the brain be an easy option though, or are these top riders simply superior to all of us amateurs who are having a particularly tough time with a horse? I think a huge factor to play in this is that the majority of us amateurs don’t have many horses, we invest our time, money and hard work into one horse. We ride only that one horse. We care for only that one horse. We cannot simply hop on another. When something goes badly on that one horse it hits you like a tonne of bricks because that one horse is our sole pursuit. Being stuck with a tricky horse may make you feel so low, almost depressed in fact. You see all your friends enjoying competing, winning and having fun. Then there’s you who makes a fool out of yourself when you even try a competition. Of course you try your hardest not to be jealous but it really is difficult, so very difficult. Especially when all you see is the propaganda on social media. Jealousy gets you nowhere but it seems to be a side effect of insecurity. You should never compare yourselves to others, you have such different baggage. And yes even those people with tons of money, lovely horses and huge lorries have some sort of baggage.
I think that’s the problem with equestrian sports, the fact that money can get you far in the sport. You can buy the readymade, fresh off the pro’s yard, horse who will take you far if you have the funds. I can almost guarantee all of the pony team kids go to private schools. They never seem to battle with the tricky horses. We cannot hide from the elitist tendency of the sport. So does it make it more rewarding to get that tricky, perhaps cheap, horse to compete against the elite. In my opinion definitely, but will you get there?
Is the nature of competition right for me? The tense atmosphere and pressure. Why can’t I just enjoy a quiet hacking partnership for my horse? Should I adjust my aims based on my horse? But you see the immense highs of a competition going well are incomparable to any other feeling. Of course the lows feel like a put from which you will never ever get out from, almost feeling the heat from the magma below the Earths crust.
Tricky horses are the hardest of them all. We invest such a tremendous emotional attachment to these horses and horse riding in general. The experience both ends of the spectrum at the extremes. They test patience, tolerance and character. If you succeed, I take my hat off to you. If you choose to move on from the tricky horse I wouldn’t blame you. The depressive states they bring over you, the money you spend, you deserve to enjoy your hobby. Admitting defeat is sometimes the most noble thing to do. I wish I could say persevere it will all work out, but I simply cannot. We have to remember these are the half tonne animals that let us govern their lives. We have to respect them, we have to be in debt to them. We are so lucky to be graced by simply having a horse, many are much less fortunate. All of the questions I cannot answer apart from the fact that tricky horses are more rewarding if they succeed. Will they succeed? I don’t know. Is it worth it? I don’t know. Would a win be more joyful on a readymade horse or a tricky horse who you’ve succeeded on? Possibly the later but really I don’t know. These are questions for our own conscience. Do you persevere or admit defeat? What is morally right is up to yourself but any decision is alright. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t lose hope whatever you choose to do.