On social media, what we see is the highlight reel of someone else’s riding career. It’s screenshots frozen at the pinnacle moment to show picture-perfect equitation and a nice round horse.
It’s the ribbons posed with the glass of wine that pop up as Instagram stories on Sunday afternoon. Or the 30-second clip of the smooth, correct distance through the in-and-out or over the log and into the water.
These are the moments we often cherish the most, and as such, they’re the ones we want to share with the world. And we should! They detail the results of all the hard work that goes into developing a horse, or stepping up a level, or just the magic of all the good things coming together for one day, or one round, or one weekend. It’s pure bliss.
What we don’t see as often are those moments of hardship, that when accumulated, lead to those hard-earned ribbons. Nor do we share those brief periods of calm as frequently, like the magic of a clean barn aisle at the crack of dawn, or the sights and sounds of the horses munching away on their morning hay.
We don’t share videos or photos, or even mention the mediocre mid-week rides. Or the 15-minute hacks outside in the field when we’ve run out of time for a real work out, but still need to get our horse fix before heading home for the night.
The snort-cackle laughter between sweaty horse friends over who has the worst helmet hair is reserved for the intimacy of the dusty tack room, and not social media.
I’m not saying we need to share every moment of our lives on our Instagram accounts or Facebook profiles. But there are plenty of moments we cherish with our horses that don’t make the monthly highlight reel. Those quiet moments are important to our sanity. And our sanity, at the end of the day, means a heck of a lot more than one blue ribbon.