There is an unspoken rule about being an equestrian; that if you really, truly, love horses you will never stop riding no matter what.
That no matter what challenges you face in your life, you’ll overcome them to make sure you can continue riding and working with horses every day.
That if you really loved and cared about horses, there would be no stage in your life that didn’t include or center itself around horses.
I’m here to tell you this is absolutely, 100%, not true.
I’m here to tell you that I’ve set aside horses at times in my life, and in no way is that a reflection of me as an equestrian or my love of the horse.
And it’s not a reflection of you as an equestrian either.
When I went through these times, I didn’t have anyone to tell me it was okay, normal, or not some terrible evidence that my commitment to horses was damaged. Instead, I suffered through a great deal of personal shame and having to feel alone through it all.
I was visiting my parents in southern Wisconsin a few weeks ago, and spent time with a long-time friend who happens to be one of my favorite people on earth. Sometimes I think we should be twins-separated-at-birth we’re so alike, and often our lives seem to parallel each other.
We were talking about horses, she had to sell her mare and isn’t working with any other horses right now. And she’s been feeling very guilty and ashamed of this, as though it’s some reflection of her as a person and equestrian. She described her experience exactly as I remember feeling when I too had to set horses aside in my life.
And when I told her about my experience which mimics hers so closely, she was genuinely surprised to know someone else went through the same thing.
This was several weeks ago, but I was reminded once again about our conversation when Kim shared her experiences on a Facebook post:
This message isn’t for everyone, but for anyone who has had to step away from something they love so much — working with horses — this is for you. You’re not alone and there are at least a few people who understand what you’re going through. Sometimes just knowing this can help make this strange life journey we find ourselves on easier to navigate.