Get Out and Ride Now!
Here we are in the middle of summer.
How time flies! Many of you have been quite busy with your horses. From early foaling to training, showing, backpacking, importing horses, and just enjoying your horses in your own back yard! I feel so fortunate to talk to so many horse owners and really get a 'feel' of what is going on in our horse world. Our common thread is being involved with our horses...and one question that I have for you is, "How much are you able to get out there and ride?"
Some of us have owned horses for years, and some are just getting into this wonderful 'life' of living with horses. We all know that our passion involves us 24/7, 365 days a year, rain or shine! We are truly devoted to our equine friends! For some of you with families, demanding jobs, or just busy everyday life situations, there seems to simply be no time to ride. I would like to personally challenge you today to think about how you can get control of your day or week, and make some quality, and I mean quality, time for you with your horse!
We recently had a clinic at the RAMM Equine Research & Development Farm.
Many horsemen brought horses that had not been touched in years, in hopes of finding ways to get the 'bugs' out of that horse and get back in the saddle again. These horse owners watched as they saw their horse transformed from a "problem" (really put a lot of frustration into their lives), to horses that they could get on and ride and with tools to help them go forward. The faces of these people were beaming...they could ride once more. The worry was gone, and was replaced with hope, happiness and a sense of accomplishment!
You don't have to be afraid of finding the right way to get started again.
There are so many resources to help 'back slidden riders'; many dedicated horsemen that are so willing to help you get started. Some ask for a small fee, others are willing to just help. If you think about it, the cost of one riding lesson can give you time to de-stress, forget about the world for a while, exercise, breath good clean air, and put a smile on your face!!! Whew! Priceless! Save up that money you use for fast food or coffee - pack a lunch, brew your own, and very soon you will have 'a little stash' to get on your way to a happy relationship with your horse.
No time to ride?
There are many things that you can do to get some extra time in your day or week. It may take a bit of creative thinking or some sacrifice, but it will be well worth it! You may be able to pre-plan so that you get up a bit earlier, or do a few extra things daily to have a bit of time on the weekend. Are you worried about getting back on your horse? Perhaps you could find a good horseman that is looking for a horse to ride. Many horse owners have had to sell their horses, unfortunately, in these times that we live in. Many 'horseless' horsemen would love to have the opportunity to ride again. You may be able to find someone willing to half-lease your horse, get some extra help and get your horse going again. Then when your do ride, your horse would have some consistency in his life and you would have a much more enjoyable time with him. (Be sure to have an agreement that is solid, find out the riders background and observe how your horse is handled).
Here are a few other ideas:
- Get involved with a local group. This is a great way to find others that are willing to help you.
- Contact your local cooperative extension agency for resources. Many times you will find that the office staff are the people that can immediately help you or put you in touch with someone that can.
- Attend a clinic; it may be the thing you need to just get you 'jump started'.
- Seek out a good trainer, one that understands your position, will be patient and will work around, and with, your schedule. Weather you have a lesson two times a week, once a week or once every two weeks, once a month...you are moving forward!
- Try a new discipline! It can be so rewarding and extremely interesting... every discipline broadens your experience and shows you how versatile your horse truly is! It also allows you to be open to 'new' ideas and can make you a better rider.
- Just go get your horse out of the pasture and groom him, spend time walking in hand. Try lounging. This will help your horse listen to your voice and he will listen to you better when you do get on his back. Not sure how to lounge? Once again, seek out a good horseman to show you how. One short lesson will have you on your way! It's that easy.
- Take baby steps. Don't feel that you have to go out and do a full 'routine'! Take time and enjoy even a short 20 or 30 minute groom, lounge or ride... A little bit of time means more sometimes than trying to do too much to start. Before you know it, you will be spending a bit more time and enjoying every minute of it!!!!
Like I said, we are already in the middle of summer; one of the most beautiful times of the year.
Before our season is over, please think about taking time to be involved with your horse. We have many chores and barn work, but don't forget that the most rewarding time is when you can ride. Your horse will be so happy to have a 'job' and you will even see your own attitude change for the better. Laugh much and ride often!!
If this article has 'hit home' with you and you would like more information or just like to talk about your situation, feel free to email me. I would be thrilled to know that you have 'gotten back in the saddle again'!
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.