What Being an Equestrian Taught Me

First of all, I must address what an “equestrian” is, because many do not know the proper term for this sport. Equestrian is the correct term for what most of us will refer to as horseback riding. I’ve dedicated the large majority of my life to this sport, and have had to sacrifice many things and dedicate much of my time, which could have been spent elsewhere. Being an equestrian has taught me an abundance of life lessons that I believe can only be properly learned on horseback.

 

1. How to be a friend

Even though my horses couldn’t speak to me, I learned the art of communication and kindness that could be mastered through body language and tone of voice. Having these tools alone to speak to my partner helped me to perfect my skills, and to learn what is too much and what is too little in order to communicate with others. In addition to communication, kindness goes a long way. For a friend, it may be a hug, but with my horse, I can get away with a carrot.

2. How to get down and dirty

It is no secret that when you take on the task of taking care of an animal, cleaning up their messes will be involved. Now, imagine your dog, and take that to the next level, and you’ve got my horse. Not only that, but a horse cannot be kept in your house, so getting up close and personal with nature is a must. Cleanliness is not an option. Not only do I know how to deal with being dirty, but I’ve also learned how to avoid it, which definitely helps me in the everyday.

3. How to graciously win and gracefully lose

Competing on top of an animal practically forces you to be calm, cool, and collected, no matter if you come in first or last. If you go off the handle, your horse will feel it and react accordingly. It also helps to put things in perspective once you’ve noticed that your horse doesn’t care what number is on his ribbon, and that life goes on. So when I don’t land the job or fail to ace an essay, I’ve simply learned to move on!

4. How to face my fears

Imagine you’re in control of a 1000 pound animal and you're careening at full speed towards a 3 foot tall solid object. To this day, I can’t say that the thought doesn’t scare me, but I’ve learned to enjoy the thrill. At least I’m somewhat in control (which is why amusement park rides aren’t my cup of tea).

5. How to be responsible

As I alluded to above, the responsibility of owning an animal is a huge one, and it gets even bigger, with the bigger the animal gets. When I’m not doing schoolwork, I’m usually at the barn so that leaves barely any time for a social life. I can't simply not see my horse because I don’t feel like it some days, or I’ve got something else more important to do, because owning a horse requires that you commit at least 2-3 hours of your day to them, every day. Thus, in my everyday life, I embrace commitment with open arms.

If experiencing life with a horse in it is something that sounds interesting to you, checking out our brand new SFU Equestrian Club would be a great place to start!