It’s so cliche, don’t you think? The whole ‘girl meets horse’ story. But what kind of horse lover would I be if I didn’t unapologetically declare how much they have changed my life! I was always into horses as a child and teenager, but stopped riding at the age of 15. And ever since, there has always been a sense of emptiness in my life. Even during all the happy times, the emptiness spreads like a massive sink hole slowly growing bigger and bigger.
Looking back on photos of my very first riding lesson in 15 years, I was on cloud nine. I don’t think you could of wiped that smile off my face if you tried! I felt like I had just spent the last 15 years searching for the unknown and found home. And funnily enough, an hour lesson once a week just wasn’t enough.
Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, it is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole, and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that their life will be radically changed forever – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To me, horses are the best kind of teachers. There are no words spoken, just actions given. And although horses have undeniably changed my life, there is one horse that truely defines my life, and that’s Nigel. I have to admit, most people laugh when I say his name, but to me his name represents self worth and purpose. I battled myself for a very long time on whether my passion for horses was selfish, constantly reminding myself of how expensive and time consuming they are, trying to convince myself that I deserved this one thing, and I deserved to have the things that make me happy. But over time, the thing I began to question more was, where did I get this sense of guilt to begin with?
It’s a funny thing, guilt. It sort of manifests slowly over time, sometimes years, collecting all your decisions and mistakes and misconstruing it into this feeling of unworthiness. But the moment I rediscovered the most expensive addiction in the world (ahmm, horses), this started to change. Instead of the ‘what if’ I found myself thinking ‘why not’. And once I had this moment of realisation, it started to spread through my life like wildfire, burning away any guilt I had about doing things for me. Horses taught me to do what makes your soul shine. Don’t postpone happiness!
So my advice is, live the ‘why not’ and not the ‘what if’. Hold onto what makes you happy. And if it tries to buck you off, just hold on even tighter!
Below photos; My first riding lesson after 15 years, riding Sultan. Photos taken by Christine Johnson
This blog is the personal opinion and experience of the author. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor or trainer for your own specific situation or circumstance.