What Do You Do When Your Dream Moxie Is Gone?

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We were on vacation last week so I didn’t ride my horse. This gave me some time to think about my dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian. I began to wonder, “Where did my riding moxie go?” I used to have “riding moxie“. And, “When did it leave?” I thought that maybe by examining those two questions, I might be able to get it back. I came up with a couple of things:

  • Trainers: I think I started to lose my moxie when I moved away from Kathy Meyer, the trainer I’d ridden with since I was about 14. Kathy is supremely confident and tends towards the cavalier side. She thought I could ride so I thought I could ride. “What specific cues do I use to get this horse to canter?” I’d ask when climbing on a new mount. “The horse knows how to canter. You know how to canter. So the two of you go figure it out together” was a typical Kathy answer. My current trainer is a bottomless well of knowledge but he tends towards the cautious side and gives extremely detailed instructions to ensure that everything is done exactly his way.
  • Injuries: I’ve fallen off plenty of horses, plenty of times. However, in college, in a freak, lightening-related accident, I got trampled by a horse (not my own) and wound up having knee surgery. I’ve always counted myself as lucky to have come out of the situation only requiring knee surgery but it was the most serious injury I’ve had. And, I couldn’t ride for a fairly long time. I don’t think my riding or even handling of horses, has ever really recovered. My knee still troubles me at times and my shoulder is subluxated (partially dislocated), as I’ve mentioned. Plus, as my husband pointed out, I’m older and have kids now which is probably, subconsciously at least, making me more cautious.
  • Horses: Right after graduation from college and before moving back to California and getting married, I had to put my beloved horse to sleep. While I have no regrets and no doubt that it was time, I was devastated. The next horse I bought, Smitty, turned out to be the wrong horse for me. Trying to make that horse-rider relationship work for a couple of years took further tolls on my confidence. So, now I have Nikki and am having trouble with him because, well, let’s face it . . . I’ve lost my riding moxie.

And, my horses know the riding moxie is gone. They can sense that kind of stuff. Last night, I turned my horse Nikki out. On the walk back to the barn he decided he needed to eat grass. I got after him, he got irritated with me, started to jump around, and eventually knocked me down. I held on to his lead rope for a few seconds (remembering the ingrained “never let go of the your lead rope” rule) but not wanting to be trampled (again) or dragged, I finally let go. Nikki then ran around the property in the dark, lead rope flying behind him, scared to death. I just prayed that he wouldn’t hurt himself. I eventually caught him and everything was fine. Fine, that is, except for my new bruises.

More ibuprofen please.

OK, so I think I know why and when my moxie left. Now I need to figure out how to get it back.

Any suggestions?  What do you do when your dream moxie is gone?


Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian

  • Kim

    I love reading about your adventures with your horse. It takes a lot of courage facing an animal as big as a horse! I wouldn’t want to! Hope you find your moxie soon. I’m sure it will just “happen”.

  • Catherine, the writer and motivator

    This makes me think of the poem …

    That hoss wasn’t built to tread the earth,

    He took natural to the air,

    And every time he went aloft,

    He tried to leave me there.