The Battle

Yesterday, I pulled up to the barn and waited for my student like usual. I expected to see her walk in the from the field excited for her first lesson back and ready to jump. Instead, I saw a hanging head, tears in her eyes, her mud-covered horse dragging along at the end of the lead rope and I heard the words that have crossed every rider’s minds a dozen times…

“I’m done. I don’t want to ride. I don’t want a horse anymore.”

My heart sank for her as she fought through tears and tried to explain that horses are a lot of work and it just wasn’t fun anymore. And I knew exactly where she was coming from. How many times have I battled between my passion and the work that has to be put in to pursue that passion?

A lot. The answer is a lot. No one tells you as a little girl how many sleepless nights you’ll have wondering when an abscess will drain, how many tears you’ll cry when your horse doesn’t feel like being caught, and how many times your heart will break when you felt like you gave it your all and it still wasn’t good enough. Or maybe they did tell me, I just wasn’t listening… In any case, it’s scary, it’s hard and it doesn’t get any easier.

Run! She’ll never catch us!
What are you doing on the ground?


I felt that same feeling when I opened my e-mail and saw the subject line that read: Your Thoroughbred Makeover Application Has Been Accepted. I was ecstatic, elated, excited (and I’m sure a bunch of other e-words I can’t think of right now) but at the same time, my heart sank. I knew this journey would not be an easy one. It would mean more late nights, tears and anxiety wondering if my training methods would hold up against the time crunch, wondering if I had chosen the right horse, wondering if I would make a fool out of myself when it came to packing up and heading to the Kentucky Horse Park.

But, just like my student promised to give it her best shot and leave the negative thoughts on the ground, I, too, will do the same. And the feeling she felt after nailing her 3-stride line on a horse that had just weeks before left her with stitches in her lip, the same feeling I had when she dismounted, hugged her horse and thanked me for the best lesson, that’s the feeling that keeps us all going, that promises things will get better (but only after they get worse) and that convinces us to pursue a crazy dream that we never know if we can accomplish until we get there.


10 thoughts on “The Battle

  1. Dane

    Horses and riders both have good days and bad days. The good days way out number the bad days. If you feel that you are done, just walk away, get a good nights sleep. You will feel re-energized and more positive tomorrow. Your horse probably feels the
    same way.


  2. Sian

    Awesome article revealing the heart ache and emotional roller coaster that produces so many wonderful characteristics: persistence, empathy, understanding, hard work, knowledge that you must focus on the journey and not a destination, and so much more.


  3. Marcella

    Being a horse parent is never easy. The rewards out weigh the hardships by far. I am 45 and have had the Blessing of horses in my life for 42 years now my oldest huge fur baby is 38 will be 39 next month . Can I count the times i wanted to throw my hands up and say i quit ? Im not sure theres a number that high. Am I glad i never gave into my thoughts of giving up ? Everyday i thank God I stuck in there and pray i can until my last breath. Life for me would be a lonley place without mud bruises and horse breath on my neck. The true love of horses never ends but grows with understanding and love for 4 legged furkids.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erica Larson

    Thank you for sharing Lauren! You outline so well what we all feel at some point. It feels good to be reminded this is normal and worth it!! And so excited for the thoroughbred makeover thing- can’t wait to follow this! I’ll live vicariously through you on it!!


  5. Anne

    My gosh, do we all experience this? I have wondered why, many times, why I sill do this. It’s in my blood, that is why. Do I get scared? You bet I do. I am not a youngster anymore. I plan to ride until the day I can’t get on a horse any more, BUT, I bet I will still be involved in some way, shape or form. We just have to have patience, step back and take each horse as an individual and try to understand each personality. I often ask myself, why do I love horses so much. I truly don’t know why. I know they make me feel peaceful. I love the bond, but you can have that with any animal. There is just something about the HORSE.


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