By: Guest Blogger Lynn Del Vecchio
It’s 7 p.m. after a long, sweaty day of horse showing on a Sunday, and I’m exhausted and sunburnt. The horses still need to go home and be taken care of. With a 6 a.m. alarm set for work the next morning and a handful of ribbons and an empty wallet to show for my efforts, I ask myself… why do I do this?
I consider myself among the average adult amateur equestrians out there. I work in an office from 8-5 and have the privilege of boarding at a wonderful full care barn, with super trainers and the horse of my dreams – but with those amazing things comes hard work, lots of money spent, and sometimes heartbreak and disappointment.
After my young horse passed away due to complications of colic surgery and chronic colic, I immediately began my search for a new horse. Many people were surprised that I wanted to continue riding, let alone a new horse so soon. I wasn’t looking to replace him, but to fill the void in my heart that felt was reserved for horses. It didn’t take long for me to find “the one” that was meant to be.
After all that heartbreak, the countless long nights spent with my sick horse, and the copious amount of vet bills that would make anyone sick to their stomach… why do I ride?
I ride to unwind after a long day at work. After a particularly stressful day, riding allows me to put my mind at ease and focus on the horse and task at hand. Whether it’s a tranquil ride around the property, or a hard jump school, I leave the barn with a better mindset than I walked in with.
I ride to challenge myself, and set and accomplish goals. I love the feeling of success after reaching a goal that I worked hard to achieve. Whether it’s something more tangible like moving up a division, overcoming a mental block, or finally getting the response I want for my horse, there’s something rewarding about overcoming challenges.
I ride to sooth that competitive itch. I’m not an extremely competitive person by nature, but when I get into the ring against competition, I want to perform my very best. There is no better feeling than hearing your trainer whoop as you walk out of the ring after nailing a course, knowing you rode the absolute best you’re capable of.
I ride to stay fit. I feel my best when I’m riding four to five times per week and feel that my physical condition has a direct effect on my mental health. Spending time outdoors releases endorphins for me that cannot be replicated inside of a gym.
Most of all, I ride because I love horses and the unique partnership that comes with them.
So despite the show nerves, the unexpected vet bills, the less-than-stellar ribbons, and the early mornings, I have a horse to greet me at the end of a long day at work, the occasional champion ribbon, and the countless memories that I owe to the horses and people involved. Riding has brought me new friends, a sense of camaraderie, and a new purpose in life.
Why do you ride?
Lynn Del Vecchio is a marketing coordinator by day and adult amateur hunter by evenings and weekends. When she's not at work, she can be found at the barn, riding and spending time with her horse, Remi. She also enjoys binge watching Netflix with her husband, Anthony, and spending time with her dog and two cats.