By April D. Ray
As a kid who didn’t particularly enjoy school, field trips were always a welcome distraction. Even that day we went to the local dump, I enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed a day spent in the classroom.
With horses, field trips can be exciting, stressful, scary, but most importantly they can be fun and good for a horse’s overall mental health and training. When I bought my trailer last year, I thought it would open up the world for my horse, Fire, and me. And it did, but not as much as I would have liked. Going on field trips with a young horse takes a certain amount of planning, an awful lot of time, and maybe a little (or large) amount of bravery, too… more than I had to spare over the last year, it seems.
April holding Cowboy and Fire back at the trailer while Riki grabs some well-earned carrots!
So, with a little bit of planning and a lot of bravery, I took Fire out to horse show warm-up day at a barn she’d never been to before. I was worried – about real things and a lot of made up things, too. Admittedly, I spent days going over all the things that could go wrong. I was going to voice these worries to my friend who was graciously trailering us with her own young horse, but decided not to. Expressing my worries would only give them more power, and I wanted to focus on being positive and not getting unnecessarily stressed out, which is something I spend far too much energy on. And it worked. I was able to tack Fire up at the trailer without too much of a headache – apparently grazing while being tacked up is incredibly helpful. We got to the ring and although we had about five minutes of a lot of calling and drama, she eventually settled down to give me one of the best rides I’ve had in ages.
I spent so much time and energy on thinking about what could go wrong that I forgot to think about what could go right. And it went so right that I was able to have a lot of fun and feel a great sense of accomplishment. I let go of all the worry and I just had fun, dealing with anything that went wrong when it came up but not wasting energy on things that didn’t matter or were out of my control.
This field trip inspired me to go on more in the future. We went on a trail ride the following weekend, and I have a few more outings planned over the next couple of weeks. I am going to try to let go of the worry, and start to embrace new adventures both in and out of the barn.
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength." ~ Corrie ten Boom
Main photo: Riki on Cowboy and April on Fire after a very successful ride.