I’ve never had to admit I had or was riding the wrong horse. The more time that goes by since I sold Dexter, it’s becoming more and more apparent how wrong he was for me. Does that make him a bad horse? Absolutely not. He has a lot of fabulous qualities and I believe the timing was right to sell him when I did.
I never wanted to admit he was the wrong horse for me because I felt like that would have been the same thing as saying that I had failed. That I wasn’t a good enough rider to ride him. That I wasn’t good enough to bring along a green horse. I kept trying to convince myself I could do it. That I could and wanted to ride him.
Truth be told? I didn’t want to ride him. Did I have the skill? Yes. Can I ride a green horse? Also yes. Despite our 5+ years of being mismatched, many days I loved that horse more than life itself. He was my best friend. The best thing I could have asked for happened before I sold him: I was enjoying riding him again. Which made the decision to sell him even more difficult. However, as I continue riding new horses and overcoming my many riding-related fears, I’m reminded that I am a good rider. That I can ride. Most importantly: I’m enjoying myself. Being in an environment I am familiar with and on horses I am much better matched to has made all the difference.
Do I regret my time with Dexter? Absolutely not. Many good things came from it. What I do regret though is letting myself be in a situation where I had so many fears. Where I let my fears determine my worth as a rider and let myself believe I couldn’t ride. None of those things were or are true and I can’t believe it took me this long to realize it.
Moral of the story is: you are not a failure for realizing you and your horse are not a good match. There is a horse out there for everyone, but not every horse is a good match for every rider. Learn what horses are your “type”. I most definitely have one and chances are most other riders do too. Just because you can ride a horse, doesn’t mean you should. At the end of the day, trust your brain and your gut feeling. Always listen to your heart, but don’t allow it to be the final decision maker. Finally, enjoy the ride.