There will, without a doubt, be days where you feel like giving up. Days where you question every decision you’ve ever made for your horse. You will ask yourself “why do I even bother doing this on my own?” and you will worry, stress, and ruminate over all of the things you have done and will do in the future. You will obsess over making the “right” decisions for your horse. You will wonder if you are ruining your horse, if you are making bad habits worse, and if you should just send your horse to a professional and call your attempt at being an AOT a wash. You will question your knowledge, your capabilities, your level of confidence and ability, and basically any and everything having to do with your horse.
Your horse will test you, challenge you, infuriate you even. But when you feel like giving up, DON’T, and here’s why. That is how it’s supposed to be. That is how you get better. You will make mistakes, you will have accidents, you will mess things up. Stay the course. Have a game plan, figure out what works for you, the horse you’re working, and the situation you’re in. Make it work or make changes it until it does. Don’t give up after one failure. After all, failure is a huge part of the learning process. It can never click when something does work, if you never know what didn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, to look for answers, to question, re-question, and re-evaluate when something doesn’t work. Be constantly aware, and seek answers to questions you have. Live, learn, and move forward.
There’s nothing more rewarding than that moment where it does finally click, and you know YOU did it. You know you finally found something that worked. Amidst all the things that were working against you, you found answers. That moment when the light bulb finally comes on and the feeling you get from it, THAT is why you are an AOT. Remember that feeling in all the hard times. That is why you do this. You will know it when it happens. Then you’ll be caught up in this addiction that consumes every thought in your brain so much that you sometimes have a really hard time thinking about anything else. In those moments, you are happy and content that you are the one who made the choices to get you to that point. Remember those highs on the bad days, and never give up on your dream OR your horse.