الإثنين 27 مايو 2024

The Unridden Horse - Improving Connection and Communication with Your Horse

موقع أيام نيوز

By writing this article my hope is to give you permission to not ride your horse for a short time or for a long time or for the duration of your relationship. It may seem simple but overcoming the pressure the feelings of guilt or shame the weird looks and the judgements from family friends and barn mates can be a real challenge. As the steward of a 23yearold mare and an unridden eightyearold mare with chronic lameness I am writing this piece for myself as well.
We have been taught that not only are horses and riding inextricably linked horses are valuable only because of their rideability. Although untrue this mindset is deeply ingrained. For many people riding feels like the only way of relating to their horses and making sense of their extensive commitment. Engaging in competition consistently achieving greater skill sets constantly learning and pushing oneself often allows us to justify the layout of time energy and money. This makes it very tricky to let go of riding as part of our equine identity even if we dont want to get in the saddle or our horse is not willing or able to be ridden. For many riding through fear and patching together a relatively sound and safe horse is seen as part of the accomplishment and a necessary step if were going to have horses in our lives. 



Lets look at the horse thats prone to injury or unsoundness like my mare Raven with frontlimb arthritis. Some people will go to incredible lengths spending enormous amounts of energy and money to rehabilitate a horse to be ridden soundly or medicate or inject a horse to be sound enough to be ridden in relative comfort. Many horses are comfortable at a walk without a rider only to show substantial lameness with a rider at a trot as is the case with Raven. On one hand I get it but I also wonder if the horse wants to be continuously rehabbed or medicated enough to comfortably carry a rider. Or are we doing this because we dont know what else to do? Are we doing it because we are lost without the structure of riding to create connection and purpose? 
This past year I have been through several debilitating health events. I have ridden my mare Diva perhaps a dozen times a generous estimate in the past 12 months