The right horse… the wrong time?

Liz Daniels; EquiTeam coach talks through why it is important to recognise if you and your horse are not the right partnership

EquiTeam’s equestrian coach, Liz Daniels, chats about having the right horse at the wrong time.

This topic is a controversial one, but one that I feel quite strongly about. There is nothing more disheartening, for all parties, than the wrong horse and rider combination – and believe me it is much more common than you think.

Before people get annoyed and roll their eyes, I am most definitely not talking about those who are ‘ a work in progress’ or those who have had a small set back which they need to work through – I am talking about those people who despite all their efforts are having their confidence chipped away at brick by brick, making excuses not to ride and are falling out of love with their hobby.

When chatting with clients, and without sounding like a dodgy dating site, I always use this analogy:


If you were at a party there would be people that you spoke to but didn’t really form a bond with, people you chatted to who you might like to see again, and sometimes – when you are lucky, people who you hit it off immediately with and would like to build a strong friendship with.

This is no different to horses. There will be horses who you’ll have no strong feelings about, horses who you like, horses who you love, and a handful of horses which are your equine match. It doesn’t mean that there are anything wrong with the other horses, or those horses are not perfect for someone else – it just means that they are not the right horse for you.

Horse refusing

All too often people ‘choose’ horses for the wrong reasons and many over estimate their own ability, the horse’s requirements, and underestimate how quickly a weak relationship with their horse can spiral out of control and be detrimental to both horse and rider.

It doesn’t mean that this horse wouldn’t be the perfect partner for someone else and that actually that horse would be much happier in a different situation. It also doesn’t mean that a particular horse wouldn’t be the ideal match for you further on in your riding journey – they are just not right for you now.

The feeling of failing

Admitting that you don’t have the right horse takes courage – and yet people still feel like they are failing, or letting that horse down. I hear things like ‘but no one would look after him like I do’, ’they wouldn’t understand him’, ‘they might treat him badly’. I do understand the deep emotional attachment and bond that we have with our horses – but I would question those statements.

Whilst the next person may not look after them in exactly the same way – they will still do their best, the horse will still be loved and want for nothing. And what if – just what if – that horse is happier when they also find their right person?

Bond with horse

All too often our emotions get in the way and it clouds how we really feel.

Riding should be fun, for most of us it is our hobby. We invest financially and it is our down time. We should be excited to get out of bed in a morning to ride, we should feel inspired to ride, to grow and develop our skills.

Our horses should be our friends and together we should be a team with mutual respect on both sides. Naturally there will be ups and downs and this is normal, but if you’re reading this and you’re the one making excuses to ride, take a moment to ask yourself why.

Is an honest conversation needed?

Equally if you’re reading this and smiling – then congratulations on finding the right four-legged friend; they are hard to come by – but they are worth waiting for.

Liz x

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