Why do you love riding
Ride horses! Why this cannot be taken for granted
"The happiness of this earth lies on the back of a horse." Isn't that a true sentence? Do you also love to ride and gallop through the forest on your horse? Can't you imagine more beautiful than being carried through nature on the back of your horse? Do you have a horse and ride it several times a week because riding is just a part of you and you love riding? Now I ask you a question: does your horse love that too?
If you listen deeply, what answer can you give to this question? No matter how it turns out - it doesn't have to be bad. But you can derive something from it and maybe go new ways or design the training differently.
You can also ask yourself the following question: What exactly does your horse love?
Because then you can give it more of it in your time together in return for all the things it does for you.
Do not get me wrong. This is not supposed to be an anti-riding article. I love to ride and enjoy riding in the saddle. My horse is a riding horse, or at least on the way there. I am concerned with our basic attitude towards the horse. I thought about that recently while taking my horse for a walk. But my thoughts today do not only concern riding, but ultimately our whole awareness of the horse.
By the way, I LOVE my cotton reins - you can take a closer look at them HERE
But let's get back to what the horse loves and how you can deal with a no from your horse.
Are you “too nice” to your horse?
How do you deal with your horse? Can it say “no”? Where are your limits and how much can your horse have a say? Write to me in the comments!
So much in advance: If you - like me - give your horse a say in the future and want to include it in training, you will have to reckon with one or two comments or shakes of your head.
I want to give you an example: We were out in the field with two riders. The new saddle was on my mare's back, but I didn't ride, I ran with it. Since I have a young horse that is only now being properly ridden in, I like to saddle it, go for a walk and run a lot with them. Every now and then during the walk I sit on the saddle for a while and get off as soon as I notice that my horse no longer wants to carry me.
So I got down twice after a while on this walk because my mare had shown that she needed a break from carrying ... and then immediately got to hear that I was "much too nice" with my horse - it could " carry me calmly ”.
This is exactly where I want to start. Do you agree with me when I tell you your body is yours? Shouldn't we therefore assume that our horses' bodies belong to them? So how unpleasant it is when we ignore their opinion and believe that we have a right to always sit on their back according to our ideas.
Of course, I also want my horse to be respectful and polite to me. This article is not a call to anarchy and limitlessness. Because borders give security and regulate cooperation. But limits ultimately apply to all members of a society, only then can relationships and togetherness function.
I have to Written an article HERE: Why rules should apply to both sides
Besides, I can get hold of you HERE the difference between dominance and leadership skills together
Riding is a privilege
In a nutshell: It is now a privilege for me when they carry us and not a matter of course.
After all, what right do we have to put a saddle on their backs, pull a belt around their belly as tightly as we want and put a bit in their mouth or a bridle around their head? What right do we have to brush them in their most vulnerable places, shower their bodies or put them on three legs to scratch their hooves and thus out of their natural balance?
We can do all this and so much more with our horses if we prepare them well and take them with us on this common training path. We even have to because we brought them to us: They need care, training and exercise.
But we shouldn't take all of this for granted, but instead keep in mind that horses do a lot for us that actually doesn't correspond to their nature.
- Horses are curious and happy to get involved in a lot if we explain it to them well and fairly
- They enjoy working on the ground, training and riding if we do not ask too much or too little of them
- I think that they can easily get used to carrying us if we give them the ability to carry us healthy and pain-free through the right training and the right equipment
Do you have a horse or a riding horse?
But we shouldn't take this for granted. Of course we have our ideas and ideas about what we want to do with the horse. We also pay for his accommodation, the feed and the vet and we may have bought the horse as a riding horse and with this idea of riding we slid into the whole relationship with the animal.
For example, at the beginning I wanted to make a riding horse out of her when I bought my horse as a matter of course. From the beginning, my plans for the future also included cultivating relationships and establishing a good bond, but above all I thought about how I can train them step by step and prepare them for riding, where we will then ride together and what we will train.
Then my mare came: Proud, self-confident, complex, high-ranking and rarely ready to do everything I wanted from her at the first step. She taught me that nothing with horses can be taken for granted, because she has always asked for compromises and made it clear to me that horses also have a right to their emotions and their bodies. If you had asked me beforehand, I would of course have confirmed that to you. But if you look at it from a practical point of view, it means that you cannot always implement your plans as you imagined, because your horse may have other plans or does not want to agree to your plans 100%. Or at least not right away.
Because that is also a fact: With love, small steps, patience, creativity and treats, you can motivate your horse to do almost anything and take it with you on your way.
Two elementary insights into the horse
In the beginning I often found myself being upset because, for example, my horse didn't want to be saddled relaxed even after weeks of practice or that she had days when she didn't want to be brushed. I was annoyed because I was always patient, had been considerate and still didn't always get a YES. I've never dealt with a horse before that had such a strong will and such unbelievable self-confidence. Of course, that was also frustrating, because I had completely different schedules than my mare.
Nevertheless, it was absolutely clear that I didn't want to train with pressure or force. Because this is neither my way with other living beings nor my training idea with horses. At the same time, of course, I wanted to get ahead with this horse and was also frustrated when something supposedly normal or everyday didn't work out.
Until at some point I realized two things:
- If you want to have a right to your body and your emotional state, then you have to allow your horse his emotional state and physical condition on the day
- If you want a relationship with your horse and want to have communication with your horse, then you also have to live with the fact that it sometimes gives you answers that you don't actually want to hear and that it wants to have a say
It's that easy and that difficult.
I stopped being angry (almost most of the time - I'm only human ;-)) because, for example, she did not want to be saddled again or reacted bitchily when I wanted to clean her on certain parts of the body or always at times once again withdrew the hoof while scratching the hoof or tripped while riding and preferred to start researching the causes in these special situations instead of reprimanding my horse because these were all things that worked out better.
4 practical examples with the horse
I'll just pick up on these four examples so you know what I mean:
- Topic hooves: I trained with balance pads and didn't lift the hoof particularly high when scratching. At the same time, I always chose the same order in order to create expectancy and routine, paid close attention to which legs it was particularly difficult for her and, firstly, I was particularly quick and secondly, I gave a treat when she tried hard. If it worked, I said thank you - if it didn't work, I just started again and didn't react angrily
- Subject brushes: I developed a special brush technique after trying a variety of things. How my "brush zen" works exactly, I described it to you HERE in the article. In the end it was “trial and error” until I found a variant that made brushing comfortable for her again.
- Subject saddle: Since my horse was unfortunately compelled to saddle, it was a long story, but I managed that too with a lot of patience, love and treats. Today I can usually saddle and strap them without any problems - you can read HERE how I did it step by step
- Paddling while riding: When my horse trembles while riding, it tells me that I feel uncomfortable. A few steps are enough and I know. Against all advice, I then dismount. Because the body of my horse belongs to her and I don't want to train beyond her strength or discomfort. My mare just has days when she is obviously more sensitive when riding. On the one hand, we were able to improve and minimize this enormously with a really well-fitting and thick padded custom-made saddle. I tried different harnesses until I found a harness that she likes to use and that she likes to use for riding. If she starts to trip after a long riding lap, then I dismount. Sometimes it is just not "warm" enough. As a quarter she has very tight muscles, so on days like this I easily walk an hour before I ride. That's almost always okay for her and she carries me on with her ears pricked up and a happy expression on her face.
So you can see that I never simply ignore a “no” or train away, but always think about what it could be and how the horse and I can find a way or a compromise to which we can both say “yes”. That is sometimes exhausting and there are also days when I simply wish for a dead good horse by my side for a few minutes or hours, that when told to do what I want. But when I see the empty eyes of these "always dead good" horses and then look into my mare's watchful, attentive eyes again, I know for sure that in the end I would never want that.
All of this brings me back to the initial thought: Riding horses is not a matter of course. Point. At the same time, riding can be a nice joint task in the colorful training potpourrie, if we listen to our horse, convey joy in riding, do not overwhelm it and treat it to suitable and good equipment - so that nothing pinches, pinches or hurts while riding.
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