“Happy Place” is a state of mind based on your safety and comfort; when you are there you can unwind and re-energize your soul. The world has been a bit of a roller coaster this year, full of ups and downs. Did you get caught up in the chaos and lose your Happy Place?
Was your Happy Place once with your horse, and now that does not seem to be so? What happened? Where did it go? Did life get rolling along, and riding became another task on the list? Are you feeling unsafe or uncomfortable? It may be that what you really want to be doing has changed (and that is okay!). Or perhaps you lost touch with the peace and joy you once had with your horse.
How can you find your Happy Place again?
Clear the clutter from your head and take some time to look at yourself and your life honestly. Or another way to put it is, do some “soul searching”. Dig deep inside yourself and ask yourself critical questions. Yes, those hard questions!
Are you no longer comfortable at the level you are riding? Are you doing something because everyone else at the barn is doing it? Or have you become so caught up in an overloaded schedule that time with your horse is more of a chore or task? Are you experiencing pain? Is your horse having some issues? Or has your life situation changed? Wherever you are or whatever your situation, here are some tips to help you get on track to your Happy Place:
- Make a list of what makes you smile and feel joy
- If financial strains are an issue, make a list of necessities and nice to haves
- Add to that list what makes you feel safe and comfortable
- Take a look at yourself and your situation; look from the outside in, like you are an observer
- List the steps you need to progress from where you are to where you want to be based on 1, 2 and 3
Do not allow this process to shut you out entirely or shut you down – don’t get too bogged down in the details! This process should be exploring and empowering. Well, okay, sometimes it is a bit tough, but worth that pain.
Another don’t spend a lot of time talking to others about this; too much talk lessens action and increases the drama. Besides, this is really nobody else’s business but yours! Now, you may need an ally, someone that is supportive and helps you stay on track but do not share your story with everyone. Keep your words with others about your journey to a minimum. You have enough on your plate without adding baggage from others.
If you have physical pain, get that resolved. If you have pain or physical limitations, your ally may be able to help you with things that you cannot do for yourself (like lifting – saddle, trailer ramp, etc.). Also, hiring someone to do tasks that you are physically unable to do or zap the energy you otherwise need to ride your horse. For example, if you have back problems and mucking stalls, lifting feed or cleaning the floors makes it so you cannot ride your horse, then hire or trade out with someone to do those tasks.
If finances are strained, then dig through your unused tack and sell or trade-out for services. Where can you save on expenses without compromising your horse’s health? Perhaps you are in a situation where you can work off some of your horse’s expenses? Get creative.
If fear is your hurdle, get coaching to build your skillset. Step back and rebuild your foundation skills; when we have the skills/knowledge to handle a situation, we are less likely to be frightened by the situation. Sometimes fear builds because your horse’s behavior changes (like he is stopping or does not seem to want to do his job anymore). Get him thoroughly checked over by your team – the entire team – veterinarian, farrier, trainer, and you be present as well. Having the whole team assessing together may cost a bit upfront; however, it will save in the long run! Everyone can get on the same page.
Everyone deserves to spend time in his/her Happy Place. Life is not always easy, so be kind to yourself and take the steps needed to regularly get back to your Happy Place.