It can be easy to forget we are human beings first and equestrians second. The personalities drawn to this sport tend to approach challenges with the perception that nothing can slow us down - until it stops us in our tracks. Though this approach is rarely sustainable, we often persist solely on willpower.
In our industry, it is our greatest sin that:
Suffering is Displayed as a Badge of Honor.
“A combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal” is how psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit. We equestrians are in no short supply, but let’s not mistake grinding for grit.
Suffering is not a strategy to accomplish your goals. Suffering is not grit. The passion and dedication required from our lifestyle comes with high energy demands, and at the end of the day we often haven’t saved any energy to focus on caring for ourselves.
We need the know-how to channel our passion so that we are not just grinding day-in and day-out. When the little things start to feel overwhelming or our daily routines become messy, we need to take a step back and ask the question, “Are we going beyond grit and creating unnecessary suffering?”
Most equestrians have a desire to improve for the sake of their horse’s comfort and longevity, but when it comes to our lives away from the barn, we forget that powerful motivating factor. The intention to improve IS a step towards being a good partner to our horse, but leaving ourselves as an afterthought is the road to hell. Is the road to hell leading to shortened or hindered riding career? It’s time to forgive our sins and turn our good intentions into self-awareness and self-care.
Edited by Alexandra Grant and Catherine Respess