Well written and thoughtful article here.
We forget sometimes the dedication required to be successful with our horses, thinking we can put them away like a book on a shelf, and come back to them at will, training still intact. There may be horses out there like that, but my mares did not read nor subscribe to that line of thought. Phebes more so, and Journey nearly as much are horses that you do not put away, and expect a pattern of willingness and respect when you saddle them up after a week or two break. They both require consistent work, at a minimum of about every other day to stay responsive and respectful riding partners. Journey just recently had a two-week break as I worked myself through a break from distance riding and finding something else to do to fill the resulting void. She was The Spotted Disaster when I saddled her up. Journey reclaimed her buddy\barn-sour behavior and made her move to reclaim dominance. I'd broken the rules that day and had not left my husband the usual note of where I was riding (as I planned to not leave the property), did not have my cell phone, nor a walkie-talkie. Dumb, dumb, dumb. It became evident that she was quite willing to have a full blown battle, I was at high risk of getting dumped, and the scenerio on the whole was looking less than optimal for a good outcome. Had I been in possession of my phone, and a ride plan on the desk I'd have stuck it out right where we were and thwarted the eruption of behavior. As it was, I felt dismounting to be the lesser of two evils, and took my battle to the ground, shifting the focus to her yielding respectfully from my space as we walked home quietly, unsaddled, and then hit the round pen for more of the same. Much nicer horse last night, but still we did not ride off, we worked in the round pen, and then under saddle on the back up. Pretty soon the Spotted Wonder was compliant, and willing. Successful riding takes diligence, patience, and consistent work. I read once that a lesson may need repeated for seven or more hour long sessions before it begins to cement to the horse's brain. Here in the Kingdom of Mare it apparently only takes fourteen days to evaporate into the ether. ~ E.G.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association