Why I do it

I had my usual Wednesday riding lesson last night, and though I think my lesson updates are done with for now (unless I have video or an update to report) I had a thought that I wanted to share on why I chose to return to riding. Why do it when I don't own my own horse, I'm not competing [yet] and it's a financial strain to participate in this hobby? This post may sound like a classic TEN REASONS YOU SHOULD RIDE HORSES, but oh well.

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What I’ve grown to love most about riding and just being at the barn and around horses is how much it puts life’s stresses and minor problems into perspective. It both removes the worrisome thoughts from my mind while there and brings me enough confidence to conquer those problems [when I return to real life].

Riding, at least for me, takes every ounce of concentration and brain power I can muster. There is no room for thoughts about grocery shopping, did I make the dog a vet appointment, crappy work meetings, that one time I embarrassed myself last month, or anything else. Other than the straight distraction, it’s great confidence-building which sounds a little lame when you’re not talking about a child, but it’s true. I don’t think it’s just the hopping on a 1,200 pound animal and steering it around a jump course that does it, or even having a bond with an animal that large. I really think it’s the continuous improvement. 

If I can return to the same challenge time after time and make improvements, why should any other challenge in my life be any different? And I think this is true with any hobby, or anything else in life. Compare yourself only to how you did yesterday and focus on continuous improvement.

My favorite part of finishing a particularly hard lesson, even though it’s definitely never perfect, is being able to say that I did X better than last time. In my mind, that’s really what it’s all about—the continuous struggle to overcome a challenge.

This is only in addition to other obvious benefits like it's some of the best exercise you can get, it gets you outside, you get to hang out with animals which make most souls happy, character building, etc.