My horse Dee is a pretty big unit. I’ve had him since he was 2 years old who just never seemed to stop growing and it feels like I looked out into the paddock a few months ago and was like, huh, I think Dee is filling out. All of five years later.
Dee is the first horse that I’ve started under saddle myself and I feel like I know him inside out. Under saddle, it’s taken a while to for him to find co-ordination and strength, and we are still only doing limited amounts of canter as a result.
One of the biggest things I’ve had to let go of is the idea that I should be going faster than I am with him, and I think that’s a mental burden many people feel. The competitive world has set psychological benchmarks that have imprinted us with the idea that we should be at a certain stage of training by a specific age, and even if competition holds no interest, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, shouldn’t I be further along or moving faster than I am now?
It’s a thought I’m mentally detoxing from all the time.
What I always feel grateful for is how my main interest, focus and fascination is always in the small stuff. I love the training, the learning, the understanding of how to help both myself and my horse feel more ease inside the edges of our skin.
When Dee was three, he slipped in the paddock and was lame on his off hind for a good while after that. Since then, I can sense he’s slightly weaker on that leg and have been really educating myself on exercises and movements we can do to help him find more balance.
He had a few weeks off prior to Christmas and we’ve come back into work using Jec Ballou’s Core Fitness program, which I am really loving. I highly recommend checking her out if you haven’t done so already. Now, we spend a good 25- 30 minutes of our time doing walk work and various exercises both with and without poles, and I can see and feel the difference in his posture as a result.
The slow way is always the fast way.