Being a full time University student and trying to balance my schooling as well as trying to get a leg up in the Horse World has proven to be quite the challenge. It has been tough to spend as much time on fitness and training and lessons as I would like to while the school year is on. One thing that stands out to me that I can do is reinforce the bond my horse and I, as a rider, can have. When you think about it, your horse can be as fit as possible, the perfect feed regime, and all the newest tack; as the rider can also have a personal trainer, and the newest gear. However at the end of the day, if you get a little off balance jumping through a triple it can be up to your horse to carry you through. This can make or break your day or even a qualifying score. You have to have trust in your horse, and your horse has to trust you as well.
Celebrations after a pretty test in the Sandbox
Do not get me wrong, everything I mentioned is very important but I think what stands out to me on the amateur level and the professional level is the connection between the rider and horse. It is the things that only someone so close to the horse can pick up. “He’s standing a bit off”, “He did not have the spunk he usually has on cross country today”, or “He needs a day off.” This can also go the other way “He loves this new bit”, or “He was so confident over the ditch today”. All these are things a rider should be able to pick up on, and that can only happen if you know your horse well, as he can’t tell you in words what he needs.
Team work makes a dream work
We as humans need some fun in our life. If someone told me that I need to do all my homework until the course was compete I would be miserable. I would be so grumpy and would not want to be in school. Same goes for horses. Practice is obviously important but so is fun. Taking a day to go hacking or doing a simple exercise to boost your horse’s confidence is important. These things are sometimes forgotten but yet can make the world of a difference in performance on show days. Barn time and grooming time can also be a good chance to play with your horse and have some fun.
Enjoying an evening hack around the farm
I love the fact that when I walk a cross country course I know what my horses are going to be thinking and how they will act at each obstacle. And when I am trying to make the optimum time there is nothing more reassuring then knowing “how much gas is left in the tank” or knowing to give my horses a little praise and tell them to keep going. It has taken lots of time to get to this point of being total partners, but it gives me confidence in our future together.
Bath time turns in to play time almost every time
They say in the sport we love, there is a passion that lies deep within us and the reason we choose to have horses in our life. I do not think this could be more accurate for myself when I do the final night check before I go inside to bed I know that my horse and I have an unbreakable bond. With this bond we can conquer our goals. Whether it is to go out and have a better score in the dressage ring, keep just one more rail up while show jumping, or have a confident cross country round. And if to make this all happen I need to put an extra flake of hay in the opposite corner of the stall for my horse and turn the radio down because he does not like the sound, so be it. That is what makes my horse my horse and strengthens the bond between us and hey, at the end of the day maybe that few more hours of quiet gave him the rest he needed for that qualifying score.