9 Life Lessons I Learned In The Barn

As a lifelong horse person, being around these animals has certainly shaped who I am today. I’ve learned more from these large, four-legged creatures than I have from most humans, and I’m grateful for all the lessons they’ve taught me. Some of this wisdom is pretty easy to come by when you’re working with horses.… The post 9 Life Lessons I Learned In The Barn appeared first on Heels Down Mag.

9 Life Lessons I Learned In The Barn

As a lifelong horse person, being around these animals has certainly shaped who I am today.

I’ve learned more from these large, four-legged creatures than I have from most humans, and I’m grateful for all the lessons they’ve taught me. Some of this wisdom is pretty easy to come by when you’re working with horses. But others are more subtle, they change you a little at a time, until one you day you look back and see just how far you’ve come.

I am a better person because of horses, and because of the the people horses brought into my life. Here are some of the realizations I’ve come to appreciate.

Horses Are The Best Listeners

They don’t nag or gripe or judge. They may pin their ears or offer a buck when it’s time to point out you’re doing something wrong, but for the most part, these inquisitive animals are kind and honest. They keep all your secrets. And they always offer a warm shoulder to lean on when you need it most.

Never Take A Ride For Granted

There are good rides and there are bad rides, but boy, are we lucky when we are able to ride at all. A recent lameness scare with my personal horse had me staring down the barrel of a career-ending injury. When we finally got the blessing from our veterinarian to go back into full work, I was so grateful to climb back in the saddle aboard my heart horse. I learned from that stressful period to never take any ride for granted.

Good Things Take Time

Whether you’re moving up to the next level or division, or training a young and green horse, it’s easy to feel frustrated when you’re not seeing immediate progress. “Good things take time,” a smart trainer once told me. And it’s so true. Take a minute to enjoy the process. Celebrate every little win. They all add up to something great in the end.

Horses Are The Best Confidence Booster

I’ve ridden and competed all my life, and can’t think of a time I felt more confident than when I was in the saddle, staring down a line or large fences or galloping around a cross-country track. Horses inspired me, they showed me I could do anything if I put my mind to it, as a young girl and still now, as an adult. They gave me something to dream about and work hard for. It feels pretty darn good when those dreams become reality.

Failure Will Teach You A Lot

We get knocked down, mentally. We fall off. Injuries are more common than they should be. There is so much heartbreak in this sport. But from it, there’s something new to learn. Every time I’ve failed, I’ve come back stronger. Horses taught me to persevere. As the saying goes: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Fear Is Excitement In Disguise

A coach told me this recently, and my gut reaction was to laugh it off. No, I’m an adult amateur, I am actually afraid to jump that giant Training Level table on the cross-country course. But then I’m in the start box and they’re counting me down. A few seconds later all I can hear is the wind in my ears as we gallop up to said table. My heart is pounding and we soar over it. And then I realize, the coach was right.

There’s More To Life Than Chasing Trophies

I am a competitor, through and through. Not just with horses, but with almost everything I do. It takes skill and dedication to win in horse sports. But also a bit of luck, too. I’ve come to enjoy the process, and have realized that it’s not all about collecting ribbons. Every time my horse and I go out there, my goal is to best myself and only myself. If we made progress on our own journey and had some fun along the way, that’s way more fulfilling than another 50-cent ribbon.

Be Humble

This sounds like a cheesy one, but it’s true. Riding and caring for horses has reminded me over and over again that I’ll never know everything. I learn something new every day, and horses are quick to put me in my place the minute I’m feeling too proud or boastful.

Everybody Needs A Herd

I can’t think of another group of people in my life who just ‘get it.’ At a moment’s notice, too many horse women in my life have shown up when I needed them most. Or even when I didn’t know I needed them. Horses have helped me carve out some of the most meaningful relationships in my life and I am forever grateful for that.

Photo Credit: ASM Photography

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