Do you look forward to riding your horse? Do you feel safe and in control with him? Can you handle him by yourself? Are you both relaxed when you’re together? Does he respect your space? Are you happier after riding him than before? If you answered yes to all these questions, congratulations! If you answered no once or twice, ratchet up your activity level a bit and things will get better. If you answered no to all of these questions, well … Houston, we have a problem.
Most people in this situation end up doing little or nothing with their horses. If this is you, please understand this: it doesn’t mean you’re a failure or your horse is a bad horse. Could it be fixed? Probably, but it would take a lot of time and work on your part. I want you to have fun with your horse now, not months or years from now!
The solution is changing horses. Changing horses doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the horse you can’t ride. Many people are too attached to their horses to even consider that. But it does mean getting a horse in your life that you can and will ride right now.
Often the best candidate is an older, been-there-done-that sort of horse with a calm personality and a willingness to please. (I'll have some ideas on finding this horse in another post.) This is the horse you should be riding every week. Get busy and watch the joy and confidence come flooding back. Watch your feel start to develop. Who knows, one day you may decide it’s time to take another crack at your original horse. He will probably see you in a whole new light, and I'll bet many of the problems you had before won’t be around anymore.
On this journey from human to horseman, action is your friend and inaction is your enemy. Sometimes that means making a change for the better.