Motivation – Why Do you Ride?


I have started rereading “In Search of Your Image – A Practical Guide to the Mental and Spiritual Aspects of Horsemanship” by Jill Keiser Hassler.  I bought the book a number of years ago, and found it too spiritual for me.  Times change, and so did I.  My life is different, and now the book seems so much more relevant.


In the first chapter, it discusses the motivations of why we are involved with horses.  I never gave it much thought, before. 


Here are the most common reasons that are listed:

-          Love of horses

-          Exercise

-          Challenge

-          Profession

-          Recreation

-          Companionship and Social Interaction

-          Mental Well-being


Upon consideration, I decided that these are the reasons I ride:


Love of Horses.  I have loved horses from the time I knew what a horse was.  I bet a lot of people would include this on their list, but honestly, I have known a few people who didn’t even seem to like horses, let alone love them.  They must have had different motivations for riding.


Exercise.  I love the exercise I get around horses.  I know that exercise is good for me, and around horses—I don’t even feel like I am exercising at all.  It is a big bonus—but not real reason I spend time with horses.  I’m just glad my hobby furnishes me a chance to exercise and helps keep me in shape. 


Challenge.  I like how horses are always challenging me with something new.  Whether it is a problem that I need to solve, or just something new that I am trying to learn, the challenges give me something to think about and learn from.  I think that is why, even when Cole was intimidating me in the arena last winter, I never gave up.  My biggest challenge became overcoming my nerves.


Recreation.  Riding is just plain fun.  I love to ride.


Mental Well-being.  I usually feel better after being around horses.  There was a time back when Mingo was very sick that I felt worse with each visit to the barn.  I had even considered giving up on horses during that time, because I was feeling so sad about all of it.  It was then that I realized how much my mental well-being is tied to my horses.  It wasn’t just the sadness involved with Mingo’s illness, but I didn’t get that boost in spirit that revived me for the rest of the day.  Now that my heart has healed, I feel terrific after a good day at the barn.


So, you see, I have lots of reasons to be involved with horses.  What are your reasons?  If you would like, let me know, and I will share them in next month’s newsletter.

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Comment by Judi Daly on September 20, 2011 at 11:13am


Sounds like horses saved your life!  What a wonderful thing they have done for you--and probably still are dong for you.

Comment by Jackie Cochran on September 19, 2011 at 8:31pm

I have MS.  Horses kept me walking in those dark hours, when I still had horses I HAD to feed and water them, and while I wore out an electric wheelchair doing so I still had to get up and walk some.

When I got back to riding horses I did not replace the wheelchair when it finally died.  I walk so much better after several years of riding that I no longer need a wheelchair or walker though I still walk with two canes most of the time.  At least I'm walking!

Trying to figure out the horses and how to help them certainly gives me a mental challenge.  I spend a lot of time thinking about my rides and the horses I ride and trying to fit it all together. 


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