Therapist Talks: Horse People

Therapist Talks: Horse People

“I wasn’t hurt, but I had a lot of feelings and when they all mix I turn into a mush. I wanted to go have a meltdown, but it was time to get back on the horse.”

“Oh yeah, get back on the horse.” she said. “Like the saying!”

Because I am me, horses come up a lot. I try not to get too technical, because therapist isn’t exactly a horse person. But here, she found some common ground and smiled at me knowingly. That’s when I realized we weren’t on the same page.

“Um..” I filled the space.

“Wait—that’s a real thing?”


“So what would happen if you didn’t get back on the horse, and went to go have a good cry instead?”

“Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. Toughness is highly regarded in the horse world.”

She stared at me.

“It’s a point of pride to get through hard things, and put your feelings in a box. People get praised for their war stories of riding through injuries and crazy situations. Literally yesterday someone told me how they got thrown into this huge jump, had an injury that probably should have been seen a doctor, and then went to compete in a horse show the next day. And we were all impressed,” I explained.

Through the zoom screen, her brain slowly broke into pieces.

“I mean, one of my favorite horse stories is the time I got thrown into a jump at a horse show. I hit this metal piece that holds the jump rails up, which tore through my breeches. So I safety pinned them together, showed the rest of the day, and still have a huge scar on my ass to show for it.”

“Okay,” she paused, processing. “Do you have any injuries that you maybe want to seek medical attention for this time?”

“Oh no,” I replied. “I’m totally fine. This is not a big deal.”

She kept a straight face, though I was fairly certain everything I just explained was against every self-care, “feel the feelings” training she’s ever had.

“Yeah, I’m not sure if I’m the way I am because of this sport or I like this sport because of the way I am.”

“Well,” she finally spoke. “I’m glad you didn’t go cry?”

14 thoughts on “Therapist Talks: Horse People

  1. “I wasn’t hurt, but I had a lot of feelings”

    ^^^ This could accurately sum up my entire riding career.

  2. This is funny, yet says so much about what is maybe not so good about our sport.
    Also, 100% agree with Shauna.

  3. Taylor at Ambitious Equestrian had a really great post on similar sentiments recently too. like, we encourage these attitudes in equestrianism that are the literal antithesis of self care, but then wonder why there are so many toxic equestrians…

  4. Yeah, I remember sitting in a new Dr’s office filling out my past injury history and the Dr coming back from reading it asking me questions about my home life and romantic relationships.

    “Oh, you think I’m in an abusive relationship.”

    “Yes, I was trying to figure out if you are currently in harms way.”

    “I mean all those injuries are from horseback riding and I keep going back, so I probably do have a problem.”

  5. When you are sitting in a Dr.’s office, he walks in, takes one look and says- “Let me guess? This is horse related. So what happened and which horse first aid products did you use for this one?” Because he knows the equine med box is well stocked and a normal first aid box doesn’t exist.

    I’m glad you didnt get hurt. It sucks coming off.

  6. This sums up so much. We take too much pride in carrying forward despite our feelings. Horseback riding can definitely be a metaphor for life. At least in the white-European sense.

  7. I am laughing wayyyyy harder at this than I should. I often find myself asking, “What do normal people do for fun? Because I’m pretty sure *this* is not it…”

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