I just think that maybe some of my sorrow, confusion, understanding, and experience might help other people, so why not write about it?
I used to be a lesson rider, 1 or 2 days a week. Then, everything changed when I got my own horse. I was a 3 or 4 day a week, consistent, committed rider. I felt courageous and amazing going on the trail with my stoic mare, or outstandingly tough after doing a deep-seated (kinda, hehe) canter in an old beat up english saddle. Even if I got to ride around the barn parking lot under the fluorescent lights, or took a goofy picture riding bareback, it was wonderful.
I consider myself to be a grateful person, but I definitely know I have a way to go. We all do, I believe, personally, because we aren't perfect, and the more we acknowledge that we aren't perfect, the closer to perfection we will become... although we won't reach that full perfection as long as we're alive because, well, we're human.
As I became closer to my horse, our bond grew both in and off the saddle. We had our fair share of challenges, of "learning experiences", and priceless memories.. I'll never forget our first ride, trotting into the moonlight... it was the biggest moon I'd ever seen.
However, as I became closer to my horse, I became more serious about riding. If I couldn't grasp a concept on my inexperienced mare, I would get frustrated with myself. I would become angry with myself. I was grateful for my mare, but I shed some unnecessary tears. I focused on the silly parts of riding, and forgot to be grateful for the fact that I was riding. We were progressing. We didn't have perfect rides all the time, but that made the perfect rides (probably far from it, but it felt like it) even more worthwhile.
The past couple months, things have been pretty downhill. My 5 year old gorgeous little mare was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. A few days ago, I sat on her back, and tried to get her to move forward, and it felt like she was trying to buck me off. She's not sound. How could I have complained (several months ago) about not getting her into her dressage frame consistently, when now I can't even ride her in a straight line? I don't know if this will be the case for now, or forever with my babygirl, but that doesn't change the fact that she is my best friend, and I love her so much. I wouldn't dare leave her side, even if it's not always easy and "fun and games." I wouldn't trade in the memories that I've had with her, the good and the bad, the character building and the confidence building.
I'm just saying, it's too easy to get caught up in our imperfections and say, "I can't believe how terrible things are going." Instead, we should all be saying, "I can't believe I'm blessed enough to have a horse in my life."