The Therapeutic Value of the Routines of Riding

When the rest of life is stressing me out, being at the barn is like going to my own private fluffy cloud of peace and quiet away from everything else.

I needed a trip to the cloud on Monday. And even though there's still snow and slush everywhere, and any riding is limited to walk-only, there is a value in going through the rituals of riding as if I were going to do a full-fledged school or lesson.

Groom thoroughly. Curry, stiff brush, finishing brush, comb out the tail. Pick out hooves and brush off the mud. We're not going anywhere anytime soon, but I trimmed up Dino's chin, whiskers, ears, and bridle path. Because looking like we're a real, serious team somehow makes me feel better.

Tack up completely. Adjust saddle pads just so. Put on spurs, gloves, chaps. Pick up a whip. Make sure browbands and nosebands are straight and mane is tamed. Maybe it's not "worth it" to go through the trouble for "just" a 30 minute walk, but the process is soothing.

After the ride, careful untacking and grooming. Brush out marks from saddle and girth, stuff pony with treats, tell him he's a good buddy.

Clean tack. There is something so, so good about the process of cleaning tack. I can do it almost on auto-pilot, and the end result is beautiful and satisfying.

At the end of all this, I've spent about two hours drinking in the peace of the barn and the comfort of my riding routine, and it's one of the most grounding, calming parts of my day. There's nothing else like it.


  1. This post is my life.
    I definitely look forward to the relaxed feeling of pulling into the barn's driveway. And tack cleaning is so therapeutic :)

  2. I think the routine itself is super nice and calming, even if there's not much riding to be done.

  3. very well written and I couldn't agree more! :)

  4. I agree with this completely! I always tell myself to "fake it till I make it" and it's amazing how much doing the little things right makes my riding so much better.

  5. Yes, agreed. Barn time is my oasis. It is amazing how something as small as your pony giving you the kissy face... ie 'cookie?' face but I say that is love right there!

  6. yep - i'm practically more relaxed after just reading that post, let alone going through the motions haha


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