Lessons I have learned from a horse I didn’t like in Mozambique

During my travels and work, I’ve met, ridden and trained hundreds of horses around the world. In this blog series I will go through some of the most impactful experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned from the horses I’ve had the pleasure of working with. This blog is about Baby, a mare I worked with in Mozambique, who I didn’t click with at all. 

  1. Lessons I have learned from horses around the world
  2. Lessons I have learned from a little blue roan horse in South Africa
  3. Lessons I have learned from a Criollo horse for beginners in Mexico
  4. Lessons I have learned from an old grey thoroughbred in the mountains

Accepting when a horse is not suitable for a job

When I met Baby, I still had to learn that not all horses are meant to be ridden. In this case, the horse was a traumatised mare of over ten years old. All she needed was a companion, and a human that would treat her right. Despite never finding out what happened to her before I worked with her (or after, unfortunately), you could feel that this poor horse had been through a lot. She reared constantly, broke quite a few of my bones, was a danger to herself and others when handled, and exploded constantly. It was unreasonable to ask from her to be trained to become a beginners horse and take tourists for rides. While I do believe that horses can enjoy taking beginners on rides, it’s not something every horse is suitable for, especially not a traumatised horse of unknown background. Now, I ended up leaving the trail riding holiday company I worked for because of Baby, as the owner just wouldn't change her opinion on what this horse could realistically and happily do! It made me furious and ended up teaching me a few things about standing up for what I believe in too. I really hope Baby is doing okay, even if I didn’t click with her at all, I really wish I could have spent more time with her and made her comfortable in her own body, albeit never with riding. I still often think about her, almost four years after seeing her for the last time, and she is always in the back of my mind when I see horses working a job they simply aren’t suitable for. She was also an incredibly important horse to me, as she was the start of a journey that ended with accepting Pigeon to be a horse not suited to ever be ridden traditionally. 

Horse riding holiday at Rancho Las Cascadas in Mexico
Gigolo (on the right) in Mexico

Sometimes it just doesn’t click with a perfectly fine horse

Accepting that a horse just might never end up performing the way you hoped it would, is a very different thing than just not clicking with a perfectly fine horse. Baby was a horse that I didn’t necessarily click with, but she also had a lot of behavioural issues and she had very high walls up against humans, which I don’t blame her for. Baby was a horse I couldn't get through to and I still feel bad about it, even though it was simply because we didn’t have enough time together. I know now that with more time, we could have gotten to a point where we did click, as long as I worked with her long and patiently enough. Sometimes however, we just don’t click with a horse that is perfect in every way. I had this with a horse called Gigolo in Mexico. Gigolo is a fantastic horse, and I would highly recommend him to any and all beginner and intermediate horse riders, and even to nervous experienced riders. I did not click with him whatsoever though. Don’t get me wrong, I thought he was cute, well behaved, with a bit of personality, and an extremely comfortable canter. He probably has the most comfortable canter of any horse I’ve ever ridden. I simply just couldn’t connect with him. This happens occasionally on horse riding holidays. Even though the horse is simply perfect, it’s just not a good match. The same goes for people that on paper should be best friends, but in reality just don’t have a lot to talk about. 

Horse riding holiday at Rancho Las Cascadas in Mexico
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