At the end of the ride, what is the sweet spot for you?
What keeps you coming back to the barn day in and day out?
…is it what you want it to be?
Passion and obligation are intertwined so closely with the horses. What starts off as passion can quickly become obligation. You get the horse because you love riding, but somewhere down the line, the situation turns out a bit more than you bargained for and BAM! you’re required to be out at the barn 7 days a week, when you only expected 5 days.
With horses, it really doesn’t matter what “it” becomes that slowly takes your passion and turns it obligation– perhaps its training, or maybe its medical or dietary or the barn help quits or the trainer you loved moved on and the replacement isn’t as good.
Where exactly does your passion lie? Is it in riding a trained horse? Is it in your horse’s personality? The relationship you have with him? Is it in training a horse up the levels? Is it in spending time out at the barn? Is it in nurturing sick horses back to health?
Whatever it is, identify it.
Perhaps you keep riding because you love the feeling of your horse’s gaits and the peace of mind that his training level provides, but that passion will morph into obligation if it isn’t nurtured regularly.
Be honest with yourself.
If you are in an obligation situation, is there an end in sight where the spark of passion can be flamed again? If not, is there a graceful way to transform the situation to where your passion can be front and center again?
Being honest with yourself about how much passion vs. obligation is in your relationship with your horse can be an immensely liberating experience. After realizing I was in a situation with more obligation than passion, I was able to give myself permission to find a different rider for my horse. He ultimately moved onto his soul-mate situation and I was able to get back to cultivating my passion without feeling guilt.
What do you need to do to fan the flame of passion in your riding?