It has been a while since the last blog. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it certainly gave me some additional motivation to chase that dream. I started school again a few weeks back to become a behavioural trainer. Hopefully I will be able to help a lot of horses and their owners in the future with any issues they have.
Circling back to the subject of this blog. We sometimes forget to listen to our gut feeling. In the equestrian world, as well as outside of it, there are always people with good intended advice or opinions. Take a look at the socials, every posted article leads to people, ready behind their device, eager to share their opinion, founded or unfounded. Probably the most common is when your horse does not want to load. Within 10 minutes you have over 20 people asking: do you need any help? Or remarks like: I can get him in, meanwhile walking to the closest broom. Thanks, but no thank you. I used to resort to methods like that in the past as well, because I did not know any better. I do now. You are never old enough to learn new things or to make mistakes. If you actually need help loading your horse, feel free to contact me, every horse deserves to feel safe in a trailer.
In the past years we have learned so much about our horses and their behaviour, but still we keep doing things as we have always done them. This is the way I learned it, so it must the best way. Picked up my 3yo stallion 3 weeks ago from the rearing stable and quite often get the questions if the saddle has been on, if I already hanged on the side or even sat on him. When viewing it from the way it has always been done: Lunging, desensitizing, hanging, if that goes well sitting, and let see where we end up 😉, it all seems very logical. He is doing great by the way, learning really fast, attention span of a peanut and still learning how to learn. Minor outbursts when he gets too much information, trouble with the canter on the lunge (just not enough balance yet), we even hanged for the first time this week, so super proud of him. But still want to make sure I listen to my gut feeling and make sure I prepare him for what is coming as much as possible. That he feels confident that he can handle it. To make sure his balance, focus, and confidence level are at the needed point. As well as installing the Ho-button and learning to find his balance without the added weight of a rider.
Different example is my gelding. He became quite difficult bending on the left, first thing I thought was he is getting a bit older, it is his difficult side, let’s take it easy, and change our training schedule. Then he started stopping at certain fences, my gut feeling started acting up, but it were all fences with a lot of white in them. Maybe he just had some tension for those, since the second time he would jump them. So, probably I am doing something wrong and ignored the gut feeling. Until a few weeks ago. During a competition in the training area, he stopped at the very last second in front of a bigger oxer after already having jumped it several times. In the course I couldn’t get him over the second jump. Back in the training area he would jump a low cross without any difficulty. Something had to be up. He loves jumping more than anything, lives for it. Day after he was compensating even more than normal. Planned a visit to the vet to get his front legs x-rayed. And indeed, his right front pastern was full of fluid (his arthritis leg). Totally logical he has pain going left, landing after a fence, and was locking his back up to minimise pain. Vet injected the area, week rest, now we are in the week of building up and then we should be able to do everything again. But his wellbeing will always be #1, so let’s wait and see.
Point of the story; listen to your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you have the feeling something is off, het it checked. Need more time, take more time. Often it will turn out your gut feeling was right on point..