Amateur Hour

Dear Non-Competitive Horse Person,

I see you. Yes, you with the chubby horse that may or may not be caked in dried mud at the moment.

I see that you’re busy and that maybe you don’t have the time you once had to spend with your horse. Maybe you used to compete. Or maybe you never have. It doesn’t really matter.

I see you hauling kids to Wal-Mart in your mini-van and when you pull up next to that shiny aluminum trailer with a “Barrel Race or Bust” sticker on the back, I know your feeling of inadequacy.

I see you watching show jumping on the television and remembering your own glory days—never mind that they were 15 years ago (and three foot fences). But now you can’t seem to shed the baby weight and your horse is 26. Sadly, those days are no more.

I also see you perusing the Internet, and pausing when you discover that article “How to Turn Your Pasture Pet into a Top-Performing Horse.” It’s a tempting idea, but you shake your head and move on to Amazon to order your horse’s favorite treats instead.

You still love your horse with all your heart, but maybe all you care to do is a weekend trail ride a few times a month. Or maybe a simple ride around the pasture is sufficient most days.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay. You are okay. And you are no less of a horse person because you don’t compete. I understand because I, too, am a non-competitive horse person. I have been for nearly a decade now.

There’s no need to feel guilty because you’re still paying a premium for board and feed and your horse hasn’t won a blue ribbon in years. And you shouldn’t feel bad that your trail horse cost as much as your neighbor’s three-year-old dressage prospect.

In fact, you should shove that guilt right out the door. It has no place in your life at all.

Instead, try to recall the first time you ever laid eyes on a horse. Do you remember?

If not, that’s okay too (remember, no guilt!).

But I bet you recall that feeling you got when you first began spending time with horses. How exciting and fun and romantic it all was. And I’d venture a guess that not a ribbon or prize was involved.

You loved horses simply because they were horses. You loved the person you became when you were around them. That high you felt when you climbed on their back. The freedom you experienced when you cantered across a field on a warm summer’s day.

What I’m trying to say is that your worth as a horse person is not based on the amount of money, ribbons, trophies, or buckles you’ve won. Nor is it based on your horse’s monetary value. It has nothing to do with the amount of time you spend in the saddle. Maybe one day you’ll enter the show ring again. Or maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter.

You’re a horse person simply because you love horses. And that, my friend, is more than enough.


About the Author

Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.