Monday, December 8, 2014

Equestrian Journey Blog Hop: What Will You Not Do?

Equestrian Journey asks "What will you not do?" I am going to answer this in regards to both what I will not do with my horse or in reference to horse related stuff.

First on my list: I will not ride without my helmet. This might seem like a slam dunk to me, but there are a lot of people I meet or see ride who don't wear a helmet. I wear a helmet because accidents happen and horses are horses. I wear a helmet because I have a spouse and a son that I want to be able to laugh with and cook for and torture on a daily basis. I wear a helmet because I enjoy eating with a knife, fork and spoon, and making my own decisions. I wear a helmet because I want to continue to ride my horse and I enjoy working. I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, or roller blade, so why would I risk so much by not wearing a helmet when I ride? It was one of the first things we started talking to T about when he was eighteen months old: Our rules were 1) always wear a helmet, 2) never smoke, 3) always wear a seat belt and 4) math is easy.

Second, I will never do something with my horse that he does not enjoy. I want him to enjoy his job, which means I can enjoy my ride. We are doing WE because HE enjoys it, not necessarily because I want to compete in something. He likes learning new stuff and I like giving him the opportunity to learn. We also trail ride and might some day do an endurance ride, because HE loves being on trail. This is, in part, self-serving. If we are doing something HE likes to do, then he is much more willing to learn, be engaged, listen and respond. It's just like hanging out with friends - it's much better if everyone likes what the activity is, instead of doing something that one person wants to do and everyone else hates. It is my opinion that is one of the reasons why horses act out - they don't like their job.

I will not house Ashke somewhere I think the care is compromised. Going forward, my expectations for feed quality and quantity will be the highest standard that is reasonable. I will not cut corners on his supplements or his shelter. I will never house him with another horse (shared space) due to his past and I will not neglect his feet, his teeth or his sheath.

I will not pay a trainer in advance. Paying a trainer lesson by lesson is the best and most effective way to keep a trainer invested in a rider's improvement. Payments made in advance means the money is already spent and there is no reason to work to keep the client. Plus, if something happens and you no longer want to take lessons with that trainer, there is no way to get the money back. Additionally, I will never use a trainer whose philosophy does not match my own and who isn't interested in working on what is important to me. (This philosophy can apply to so many different situations.)

I will not ride a horse with spurs. First, I think that would be enough to break Ashke's trust in me. Second, I think Ashke would hand my ass to me if I tried. Third, it goes against my personal philosophy of my interaction with Ashke to use something like spurs. If I need to use something to reinforce my aids, I prefer a dressage whip or a small crop, since I can choose when to use them or not. Typically, just carrying a whip is enough to encourage Ashke to respond a bit quicker to my ask, and most of the time I don't even have to touch him with it.

I will not stop loving Ashke or caring for him or making time for him. I will not stop feeding him carrots (even if J thinks 10 lbs a week is too much) and I will not stop giving him peppermints. I will not stop grooming him or letting him lick me. I hope I will not stop riding him for another 15 years, until we are both to old to go on. I will not stop working toward Co-Being with him.


  1. Great answers!! I love every bit of this post!! Also I had no idea people pay trainers in advance!!! I pay by the lesson. Thanks for joining the blog hop!!

  2. Your answers are my favorites. Beautifully written!

  3. Ideally you can choose when to use spurs and when not to, much like a crop, but it's true that many people just have them kinda jabbed in there at all times. My leg control is not nearly good enough to ride with spurs so I don't for the same reason as you!


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