In this post, I’ll be talking about how to avoid getting burnt out as an equestrian!
The most frustrating thing out there? Feeling burnt out from the barn. You can’t help but wonder, “Maybe it was just a ‘horse girl’ phase” or “Maybe it’s not for me anymore”, etc., etc.
At the end of the day, equestrianism is such a dangerous and demanding sport that you have to put your all (physically and emotionally) into it; otherwise, it can feel more like a chore than a sport. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid such burnout, but you need to get to the root of it first.
I remember a few years back… oh I don’t know – maybe the summer of 2018? My family usually goes to a two-week event where hundreds of people come for Bible studies and seminars, and my mother and father always host Primary classes for children. Anyways! Though I love helping out for those two weeks, it does tend to be draining.
When I arrived home in early June, I didn’t feel like doing ANYTHING. I didn’t even want to go to the barn?? Looking back, it’s so obvious that I just needed rest, but little ol’ me started overthinking it, “Why didn’t I want to go see my horse?” “Was I growing out of my pony phase?”, and it started to freak me out.
Now, the barn itself isn’t why I felt burnt out, rather, I was tired. After a few days of sleeping in and going to see my horse, Legend, I was back to my horse-obsessed self.
Being an equestrian is such a wonderful thing, that I would hate for you to no longer enjoy it. So here’s how to avoid getting burnt out as an equestrian!
Avoid getting burnt out by letting go of high expectations!
Have you ever just had a couple of months that were spectacular and you were so excited for the things in-store; however, your horse stuck its leg through the fence, leaving everything at an abrupt halt? Now, nothing could possibly go right.
It’s no longer exciting to go to the barn, seeing that all you’ve done is hand-graze your horse, and you can’t look forward to anything because as stated before: nothing could possibly go right. It can feel quite foiling to learn that your plans have been put to an end after all.
Realizing that horsemanship is a fickle sport, it’s important to let go of those high expectations. You’re working with 1,200-pound animals who are as delicate as butterflies: they’re going to have days off, or even months or years – same as you.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have goals or dreams, moreover, really enjoying the “now” will ensure that childlike thrill for the barn.
Take a step back from training
Forcing a positive ride when you can’t get that certain skill down-pat can lead to burnout – quick. I remember last year when I just wasn’t making any progress with jumping, that my lessons were starting to feel like a chore. One day, my trainer took me out for a gallop and a good ol’ trail ride, and voila! I was back to being excited for saddle time!
Try trailering your horse to a cool, new place, or just going for a trail ride behind your barn. There are so many amazing aspects of being an equestrian… take advantage of that!
You may be seriously training for an upcoming competition, but never take you, or your horse, too seriously. Those ribbons are just fabric, but you only have so much time with your horse – and you can’t win any more of that ; -)
Take a break from the barn to avoid getting burnt out
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to revive that excitement, it just won’t come. In this case, taking a step back from the barn itself might be the best thing for your situation.
Take a week or two to focus on yourself and rest. You don’t have to feel guilty about this – you only have so much to give. This doesn’t mean that you want to quit being an equestrian, instead, that you’re human and need a break.
As I said before, back in 2018 I started to question if my heart was still in it: “Was it just a phase?” All in all, I just needed to take a few days to recuperate. Forcing yourself to go to the barn will just create resentment.
I guarantee (but don’t quote me on this) that if you take a few days off from the barn, that you’ll be eager to go back in no time!
Give your horse a pat!
In the end, just dropping by to give your horse a pat is still a successful trip to the barn! Do what you can, where you can, and don’t feel guilty that you’re not giving it your all – there’s a time and place for that.
Remember that everyone has ups and downs and at the end of the day, that’s A-OK!
And there ya have it, folks! How to avoid getting burnt out as an equestrian!
All the best,
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