One thing that will keep you from getting into trouble with your horse is if you “ride the horse you have today”. When we look back at a bad day with our horses, we may discover memories of signs that, had we paid attention, could have prevented our unpleasant encounter. Being that horseman that has good situational awareness and adjusts to what is rather than what we wish for can mean the difference between a good ride and a bad one.
A “bad day” story may sound like: Yeah, ol’ roanie was a little hard to catch that morning….I pulled him off the best, greenest pasture we have and away from that mare he’s so fond of. There was a little ear pinning when I cinched him up but, when I rode him 3 months ago, he was fine. He did walk off from the tie rack with his tail swishing and a big ol’ hump in his back but, when I moved him around a little he only kicked at the cinches once or twice. Come to think of it, he did have a big ol’ brace on that left side….not good remembrances from a convalescent bed!
A “bad day” turned into a “good day” may sound more like this: Yeah, ol’ roanie was going to be a little hard to catch so I took my time and made sure that he was catching me before we left the pasture. A couple of days ago I noticed he was getting pretty attached to our mare so, I moved her to another pen hoping that would help today’s ride go better. It had been most of the winter since we last rode so, I took some extra time with the grooming. I kept ahold of roanie so I could move him around me and my brushes hoping he’d get a feel for me again. When I put my saddle on his back, I took a little time to rub on him and I did a double check on how things were fitting since our last ride. I brought those cinches up easy and just tight enough to keep the saddle from rolling and then I moved him around me a little to see what he thought about things. I noticed a brace on that left side so, I took some time to work that out and make sure that left rein was working on that left hind foot. By the time I was ready to step on, ol’ roanie had blown two or three times and yawned. He looked like a horse that wanted to go with me. We had a great ride!
As we all get ready for Spring, now may be a good time to start assessing our tack, our pastures, and our horses. Getting back into the habit of thinking about what kind of situations we want to try to create to make our riding season one of the best ever! Looking forward to seeing all of you soon!!