Were you head-over-heels obsessed with horses as a child? Did you spend entire weekends at the barn, and maybe even sleep there a time or two? Was your closet brimming with more breeches than blue jeans?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll understand how much all that quality time at the stable shaped our character as adults.

You’re not afraid to get dirty—really dirty


©Carolyn Raymond

Despite its reputation, riding is not a glamorous sport. We’ve shovelled more poop than snow, and we’re no stranger to sweat—especially sweat laced with loose dust. Horses have taught us that life isn’t going to be squeaky clean and comfortable all the time. Sometimes you need to embrace the grime and just enjoy the moment.

You can handle constructive criticism


©Carolyn Raymond

While riding is a physical sport, there’s no denying that mental resilience is just as important. On a good day, lessons were a trial of our not-quite-fully-developed processing and motor skills. On a bad day, a lesson could border on emotional abuse. Sure, we cried sometimes, but mostly we mustered the grit and determination of a tireless warrior.

Perfectionism. Period.

©Carolyn Raymond

©Carolyn Raymond

It was ground into our minds that we must take meticulous care of our horses and tack, or else…? We never really understood why trainers required things to be done just so, and we never questioned it. Now, that same obsessive behavior is apparent in our adult lives—often to the frustration and bewilderment of our partners and roommates.

You know what it feels like to “let go”


©Carolyn Raymond

Whether it’s a beloved pony or the actual reins, horse kids know what it feels like to let go of something they thought they couldn’t live without. As heartbreaking and terrifying as it may be, you learn that for the most part, what comes next is even better than what you had before—and you’re tougher for it. Making this, perhaps, the most important lesson of all.

Carolyn_Raymond-IMG_0056_copyAbout the Author

Carolyn is a writer in San Francisco. She spends her free time riding, reading about riding, watching videos of others riding, and scheming up ways she can squeeze more riding into her life.