A friend expressed her frustration in learning to ride. She is living in France and has a bit of a language barrier with the trainer. I said:
“Just remember one thing: horses don’t speak French. They don’t speak English either, for that matter. Just relax, and try to *feel* what the horse is doing, and how he responds to your cues. Let the horse be your teacher. We don’t have to learn French; we have to learn Horse.”
Riding should absolutely be fun; otherwise, why do it? We don’t have to do it for transportation anymore. Still, it IS work. The love of the horse has to be greater than the cost of the struggle. True equestrians never stop learning. That’s because horses are large, intelligent, sentient beings. You are never alone; there are always two of you.
There are times, even now, when I just want to jump up and down and scream; I am the *Queen* of feeling stupid. My language would make a sailor blush. And my horse’s response is, “So?” What I’ve learned is that when I’m having a really bad riding day (which are fewer and fewer as I become a better and better rider) I go back to basics. There are some days when if we can just go forward and straight at a walk, I call it a good day.
And, I wouldn’t give it up for anything! When I’m old and hobbling around, somehow I will make sure there are still horses in my life, even if they are just pasture pets.
Hang in there. In learning to ride, you build on little successes until one day, you’re a better rider. Then you build on more little successes – learning from your failures – and then one day, you’re better yet. And so it goes. Sounds like real life, doesn’t it?