Why Riding Equestrian Benefits Young Girls
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'Cowgirls Don't Cry' And 5 Other Life Lessons I Learned In The Saddle

Equestrianism doesn't just teach you how to post and trot, it instills important lessons to makes riders better, stronger people.


I've ridden horses since I could walk. Lessons I've learned in riding and life lessons have been tangled together by my dedication to equestrianism. I've found strength, patience and trust on top of my horse. To save you time and a broken bone or two, here's the universal truths riding has taught me.

Cowgirls Don't Cry.

Just like how there's no crying in baseball, one of the first lessons I learned in my equestrian career was that I couldn't cry while riding the horse. As a crybaby and a 6-year-old, this seemed impossible. I quickly learned not only did crying ruin a lesson, but it also scared the horse.

Horses are very intelligent and can sense when you're afraid. This simple rule, which I broke many times, forced me to discover my ability to deal with hard situations. Crying is you just feeling sorry for yourself and not dealing with the situation at hand. Being told not to cry helped me learn how to stay strong in the face of adversity.

You have to work hard to play hard.

Riding horses was only a fraction of what I did. To be able to ride, I had to feed the horses, saddle them, brush them, have their hooves maintained, clean the tack and clean the stalls. I would spend hours at work before and after riding. Taking care of the horses in order to ride taught me the importance of responsibilities.

I also learned that only if I was dedicated and worked hard would I be able to reap the benefits. This has still stuck with me today, and he pushed me to work hard in every aspect of my life.

Practice makes perfect!

The movies lied; no one gets on a horse for the first time and rides like John Wayne. It takes years of practice to be able to do things like barrel racing and jumping. Not only does it require perfect balance and posture, but muscle memory and extreme focus. This doesn't develop overnight.

To grow any skill, you have to keep practicing. Even after a decade of riding, I'm still learning new things every time I get onto the saddle. Whenever I try to learn something new, I try to work as hard as I do as when I'm riding horses.

Relationships require dedication, patience, and compromise.

Unlike most sports, equestrianism doesn't depend exclusively on the skills of the human athlete. Horses are the ones literally and metaphorically carrying the team. The horse and rider are a team that communicates in minute ways like shifts in weight and swiveling ears.

Not only does the human member of the team have to tell the horse what to do next, but the horse lets the rider know if it's going to do what is asked. Equestrianism might look effortless, but it is a constant conversation between the two, just like in any relationship. With my two-legged partners, I work to listen to them as well as I have to listen to my horse.

If you fall, get back up!

Falling off your horse is just part of the equestrian sport. Everyone experiences the pain and embarrassment of falling off. What you can't do is let falling off keep you from getting back up. I was always made to get back up on the horse, even if I was hurt and terrified. Now, getting a set back on only inspires me to try again. Riding taught me hardships are only part of life.

You have to take risks to succeed.

Riding horses is obviously a dangerous sport. You're sitting on a two-ton animal that runs at 25 mph, kicks, bites, and is smart enough to get you off of it if it doesn't want you up there. I've been thrown into fences, trees, and of course the dirt. I've been kicked, bitten, and even fallen on by horses.

I still love every second of it.

There's a lot of soreness and a couple broken bones that come with riding horses, but it's all part of the run. You have to risk getting hurt, or you'll never be able to experience to joys that only happen in the saddle. Life requires you to take some risks, whether it's trusting a horse to carry you over a jump or package everything up to move to a new job.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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