Staying Sane When Your Horses Won't Stay Sound
The dreaded head bob.. The gouged leg in a padded stall.. For how big and indestructible they look, our horses will sure find anything or anyway to hurt themselves it seems. And it's always right when you finally get them where you want them, when they are really working good isn't it? I have had three main horses with similar stories. And I know that so many others do too. It's discouraging and can be really easy to throw your sucker in the dirt at these times. But there are ways that we can turn these rough times into growing times, and it's really important that we don't let them stop us from competing.
My experiences have taught me to always reach out. You will never realize how big of a family rodeo is until you have people offering you their own horses left and right. Lease, buy, train, borrow. Keep running something. It will keep you involved and make you better in the meantime. Don't feel like you can't keep growing without your own horse there to ride. Take some time to focus on you. When you ride different horses it teaches you so much and gives you a different perspective. So eventually, when your four-legged- friend comes back to work, you will bring those new skills with you and be that much better with them.
Another thing that reaching out to different horses does is take some of the pressure off of you. So often we get really caught up in the competition and can ruin the sport for ourselves. When we’re riding someone else’s horse it can remove some of that pressure and make it fun again. As much as we still want to do well, when something doesn't go quite right, it isn't as big of a deal as if it were our own animal we were competing on. So as you are reaching out to stay motivated and improving, let yourself take a deep breath and take some pressure off. Remember what you love about our great sport.
And the biggest thing that I have learned to do when my horses are hurting is to find something to believe in. I have become so much closer to God and myself throughout my struggles. Finding the bright side to hardships can take a little bit of faith in something. God has used them to put things into perspective to me. His ability to take the pressure off and remind me why I am doing this, what it is really about, and how much joy and growth we can get from rodeo with the right outlook has made all of the soundness issues seem so small.
-Cassandra Chism, Kimes Rodeo Blogger