For the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling especially apathetic about most things equestrian. I’m certain some of it is related to the onset of hot, humid summer weather and busy work and personal schedules that have kept me occupied on weekends. I’ve struggled to find the motivation do more than feed the horses and take Gina back and forth to the vet; even cheerful friends asking me to go on trail rides or hack out fail to inspire excitement. The impulse to write has also been absent for much of this year. I’ve been blogging here at Hand Gallop for six years, and writing about a trail ride at a place I’ve ridden before where nothing notable occurred or posting another list of summer essentials feels stale.

My lack of progress with Candy has also contributed to my apathy. She’s made improvements since I began riding her a year ago: she’s much more tolerant of going out in a group, hasn’t kicked another horse under saddle in months, is more steady at the trot and canter, and is more confident on trails. However, I’m frustrated that she’s still counterbent more than she’s not, that she randomly becomes very anxious about going over ground poles, and that the excitement she greeted water with last year has been replaced by nervousness. While I understand the horse training and learning process is non-linear, it’s disheartening to feel like your shiny young(er) horse is regressing. I’ve committed to taking dressage lessons with a local trainer I like and respect, which I’m certain will help some of these issues.

Have you ever felt apathetic about riding? What did you do?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

12 thoughts on “Apathy”

    1. I have no suggestions because I can’t even figure out what to do for myself haha. Lessons sounds like a promising avenue though!

  1. Ugh. Yes. For me it happens when things are kind of down the tubes. I currently have four horses, none of which I can show. My “project horse” is heading off to a retirement farm at 8 years old (double ugh), my fancy show horse tore half his foot off in the spring and is currently walking and trotting lightly…. etc etc. But I try to stay positive by thinking about the future. I make plans (which frequently don’t come to fruition because horses, amiright?) and try to figure out how to make things work. Current plan is to move Romey out, maybe find a leaser for Jamp, and then try and figure out Badger’s future. Once Badger is figured out, I can either focus on him or start shopping for a new horse (depending on said future). In the meantime, I keep riding Jampy and Rio and trying to keep myself fit for whatever this future may be.
    I hope Candy gets more consistent for you so you can get out of the indifferent rut. Green horses… They’re so frustrating!

  2. i feel your apathy. it’s hard to sustain a high level of motivation and energy over long periods of time. for me, it’s useful to plan out periods of lower activity – like a couple months of zero expectations or taking it easy. where it isn’t a big deal if we just don’t wanna or don’t feel like it. the reality, tho, is that it shouldn’t be a chore. the horses will always be there when we feel like it, so there’s no sense torturing ourselves when we *don’t* feel like it.

    the flip side to that, tho, is that sometimes the hints of progress are often what keeps me going, what energizes me and makes me excited about the future. so sometimes i will really dig in to try and move us forward just to reap that excitement and reward when there’s a breakthrough.

  3. I feel you. It’s hard to stay motivated when there’s not much going on. Having events I was working towards/goals helped me, but my equines are using injury to get out of work this year and I’m accomplishing nothing.

  4. I sometimes (maybe unfairly) feel like Murray and I spent the last three years in a plateau. We started trying to compete at BN in 2015, and just now are we successfully doing it. Most of the pieces were there, but it seemed like bits and pieces kept falling apart right when I needed them most. And when I felt like we were making progress on new movements or new skills, I later learned that I did them wrong or need to back off to teach some other important element first.

    Remembering that riding and training has a lot of flat periods in addition to the peaks and valleys helped. (I wrote about this, I call it punctuated equilibrium.) And thinking about the little valleys before the big learning gains that Emma talks about are helpful too.

    But for me, having goals for me and the horse are the real key. Even if those goals are far off, or I need to change tacks in order to get there (installing better ground manners in my horse in order to develop a better relationship and learning program with him), goals help. And being okay with chipping away at the one, five, twenty, or two hundred minutes at a time. One minute is better than no minutes, and sometimes five minutes is more valuable than twenty minutes.

  5. You are surrounded by it 24/7. It is your job, passion, and home. It is ok to need a break or breather. First step to getting back on track? Acknowledge it is ok to have apathetic moments. 🙂 Best of luck

  6. I feel the same way right now, so I don’t have a lot of suggestions unfortunately. With going to the barn, I try to only do things that are fun to me — and sometimes that’s just grooming my horse or going for a bareback hack. With blogging, I only write about things I am excited about. Lately, that hasn’t been writing about horses.

  7. I mostly feel apathetic when my horse is not fun to be around, like when her ground manners devolve. In that instance I tell myself to just go out and do 10 minutes of something with her. Once I’m at the barn I usually end up spending a lot more time than that. Maybe that would help you? Just convince yourself to pull out a horse to groom them or something, if that’s where you stop that’s fine, but once they are already haltered and in the barn, maybe you’ll feel like you might as well throw a saddle on and do more. Sometimes it’s easier to do more when you take the pressure off yourself. Whatever you go with, I hope you enjoy yourself and get your mojo back soon!

  8. I have definitely been there. Like anything in life, it’s going to ebb and flow some. I can’t maintain that ZOMGZ EVERYTHING IS AWESOME energy all the time, so as long as I’m generally pretty satisfied, I don’t worry about it too much. I definitely do the math on cost of hobby: amount I enjoy hobby. If it’s not balancing out for me, I find ways to make changes until it does. Sometimes it’s big changes like switching disciplines or horses and sometimes it’s little changes like a new browband. Sometimes all of it at once. 😉

  9. I absolutely do. Mainly because of the heat. I just told myself not to sweat it, and take a break. My horses don’t want to be riding in the heat, either! I feel the same way about blogging, too. Everyone’s blogs seem slower right now, as well as comments and page views. I think it’s safe to say, it’s not just you! So, I’m trying to use the time to get excited mentally about the fall. What do I want to write about? Should I go to a show? Etc Etc

  10. Yeah I’m there right now. Lack of funds is a big part of it for me. There’s a lot I can do on my own but lessons/upcoming events make me a lot more motivated (and not a ton of those on the horizon at the moment…losing momentum is for sure happening).

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