When it comes to riding, I used to think changing my perspective meant looking at a problem with another lens. Mind you, said lens would be a mere thought. Maybe if I thought about a problem a different way, I could solve it. Maybe if I learned something new, I’d solve it. But road blocks aren’t conquered by thinking your way over them (what?! Who knew!).

And yet, when you step away from your road block and you look at the barrier from a new angle, a different view, it’s likely you’ll begin to see where the weak parts of the barrier are. Where the chain links are loosest.

My go-to “change of perspective” has always been to leave the arena and my road block behind. I love trail rides, even though sometimes they leave me a little white-knuckled on a horse who may not be a fan of them. But I love them, which is to say they’re my go-to “change of perspective”. So what do you do when you have a road block, and a horse who could not care less about leaving the ring?

I didn’t realize, at first, it was in my inability to see the horse didn’t see my change of perspective as useful. This horse in particular also wasn’t mine, which limited my creative direction. See, while he’s easy-going, he’s certainly not laid-back. He’s not the kind of guy who wants to leave the ring when serpentines and circles become too much. Instead, he’s the kind of guy who would rather snort, flare his nostrils, spook, and potentially join the circus.

While this is all well and good, it left me confused because my go-to tool wasn’t the right fix. Sure, there are other tools, but I find they’re generally elusive in times when you need a change of perspective. This horse quickly became ring sour, and I quickly became frustrated that I didn’t have an answer for him. And I definitely didn’t know where the weak links of our barrier were.

­­His mind wasn’t soothed by a carefree walk around the property, or a quiet ride through the woods. How would his mind be soothed, how would we conquer the ring-sour attitude? The answer was delivered via soreness, and while that’s not exactly the best way to discover a method of changing your perspective… it just so happened to do the trick.

I gave this horse a few days off of work to stretch his muscles, loosen up, and have time away from his job (of being a noble steed, of course). When we returned to work, I was armed with a weekly riding plan that helped organize the training for the week as well as his rest days in between. The ride after his “vacation” was one of the most accurate, effective, and lovely rides I’ve ever had on that horse.

Bingo! Rest-days for the win. He needed a chance to clear his head, and recharge in the way that suited him best. Which, of course, was by having a day-cation.

Changing your perspective of how you handle a problem, obstacle, road block, whatever it may be… in our sport, it has to suit both of us. With a fresh mind, and he a fresh back, our combined efforts took our ride to the next level.

The next time you find yourself stuck, or in need of a change of perspective consider your horse. You have to find a way to change the perspective for them, too. Find a way to give them peace of mind. That way, they can come back to the arena ready to work and kick it into next gear. You never know what sort of new solution you’ll get when you change your perspective.