Stress and discomfort tend to get a bad reputation in our comfort and happiness obsessed society.
Stress and discomfort are not inherently bad. You have to stress muscles to grow them. You have to stretch your comfort zone, ie get uncomfortable to grow our skills and abilities.
We can’t run from stress and discomfort, especially since they are a reality for most of our lives. It’s what we chose to do with these feelings that makes the difference.
Those of us who own horses know that they are easily stressed. A quick look through history, however, proves that horses are extremely adaptable. They have been used for war and travel, farming, hunting and everything in between. All these required horses to step out of their comfort zone. In order for this to happen, people had to be willing to step out of theirs too.
If you let your own feelings about stress and discomfort limit you, they will also inevitably limit your horse.
Obviously there are some ways more ethical than others to expose a horse to a variety of things. We can build on the old ways of having working horses while still treating them as sentient beings.
We live in an unpredictable world. The best thing you can do for your horse is prepare it for stress, and teach It to be adaptable.
Photo is by Diana Matthews