Do You Suffer From OHS?

The beast at GMHA

Breaking news: OHS has been spreading like a contagious virus around the globe and cannot be treated. Once you are infected, there’s no known cure. Oddly enough, OHS only harms equestrians. In fact, if you own your own horse and you have huge hopes and dreams for that horse, you most likely will become ill. I myself am a victim to OHS, or more commonly known as “own horse syndrome.”

I am not alone here. Thousands of equestrians fall victim to this incurable syndrome every single day. With every disease, or syndrome comes along side effects (both positive and negative), so listen closely.

Possible negative side effects associated with OHS:

1)      We may become irrational when it comes to our own horse.

2)      We might lose sight of reality with our own horse.

3)      We may ride our horse differently, or more aggressively because we expect too much.

4)      We might have a challenging relationship with our own horse because we have such high expectations.

Possible positive side effects associated with this syndrome:

1)      We might actually ride our own horse better than we would ride anyone else’s horse.

2)      We might take it “easier” on our own horse because we want to keep our horse happy and not push the envelope.

3)      We might have the best relationship you could ever ask for with our own horses.

I suffer from OHS big time. I have goals and deadlines in my head all the time when it comes to my own horses. I most noticeably suffer from OHS with my mare, Valonia. I started her in the fall of ’09. I was the first one to ever sit on her and I have been her only rider since day one. A few people have sat on her, but she knows me best. Valonia’s the first horse I have ever owned that I immediately put all my eggs in one basket.

Skybreaker over the ditch at THF

Skybreaker, the other horse I ride, I have less of a relationship with because I didn’t start him, and I haven’t been riding him for as long. I am beginning to really bond with this guy, but I am not as desperate for things to happen immediately. With Valonia, I want it all, and this intensity works against me at times. I actually need to ride Valonia more like I ride Skybreaker, with less urgency and intensity. I need to almost ride Valonia like she isn’t mine and we have no relationship. Sounds strange, but it’s very true.

Do you suffer from own horse syndrome? If so, does it work to your advantage, or against you? If you own your own horse, do you ride your horse better, or worse than you would ride someone else’s horse? How can we have an unwavering relationship with our own horse, but not allow those feelings and emotions to cloud our ability to ride and train them? How can we love our horses more than life itself, without losing all sense of reality? OHS comes with the territory, and its up to us as riders and trainers to acknowledge this syndrome and make it work to our advantage.

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