Thanks to the many Best Horse Practices podcast listeners who sent us their summer plans and projects!
So far this year my horse agenda has not gone at all to plan. I work as an equine vet tech and March through June are incredibly busy. My riding time has been cut drastically, due to 12-16 hour days and trying to take care of other aspects of life. I ride locally in endurance events, ranging from 25-50 miles. I did have a standardbred foal born in April and she has taken a few of the extra minutes of my day trying to make her a quality equine citizen.
My main guy, Kai has unfortunately been put on the back burner more often than not. Now, we’re reaching July and the weather is hot and humid (Michigan) and no one wants to do anything outside. I have a few clinics coming up with Nahshon Cook, Jec Ballou, and Susan Fay that I am greatly looking forward to! Hopefully now that July is here, I’ll have some more flexibility as our schedule starts to wind down a bit.
In October, I suffered an injury that has kept us from riding until a few weeks ago. I’d only had him for six months by then, so we’d barely started our riding relationship. During my time off, I did spend time with him and bond in other ways, first just minimal time on my feet moving through to gentle hand walking and ground work. Gentle being the operative word, for me. Luckily, the last couple of months he’s had some strong riding by a trusted horse person. My plan, then, is to ease myself back into riding and re-start the getting-to-know-you-while-riding phase. Essentially, the same program as restarting a horse, but it’s the human that is the restart. He still knows his stuff.
I’d had a long illness time-off on my previous horse, so I knew this would be a challenge. Therefore, we’ve started slowly. Small things I’ve learned from your podcast and other places about focusing on what you can do to connect, remembering that you can have a plan but sometimes you just need to do what’s right for the horse at that moment, and targeted exercises are all a help. Mostly, no pressure to have to, should, or “gotta” get to any milestone by any date. Just easing into finding the feel.
Oh, and I am learning how to ride with a snaffle. My first horse was well beyond that stage when I started riding so I only did a few months of snaffle with her as we both rode well with her soft curb. And I spent most of the years with her in a bosal hackamore. Because of circumstances, Huck and I are learning to communicate from the start, again, so opted for the snaffle.
Thank goodness I’ve been able to continue my Pilates and keep the core strong. As the pieces come together, my hope is that my rising health and confidence will get us out of the arena and back on the trails. It’s many degrees cooler in the shade of the firs than in the dust of the arena!
Be Yur Huckleberry, Huck, is a Foundation American Quarter Horse with good breeding and training, and has a typical QH ease of character. As with any horse I’ve ridden, he has a lot to teach me about speaking his language. Once
I get the feel for the new bit, and the still new-to-me horse, I’m hoping that in summer of 2024 we might try that hackamore!
I have two OTTBs that I have a goal of starting their retraining with fun groundwork to include going over ground poles, as Jec does, to strengthen their back muscles and improve their toplines and balance. Both are super sweet. They can become excited when taken in a new area on my ranch; therefore, I also have a goal for them to remain relaxed no matter where I take them on the property.
I have a retired school master dressage mare, a Dutch Warmblood, that I am currently taking private lessons on. In the future, I plan to use the riding skills I am learning in my lessons with my OTTBs.
Thanks for all you do!
I board my herd of four horses on a private property 10 minutes from my apartment. There is an outdoor riding space and lots of trails are available in the area. Occasionally, I support the owners with their midsize beef cattle operation. This gives me and my horses jobs and purpose which is wonderful. Open skies, wilderness, and beautiful sun sets for my pleasure with my horses.
I was gifted the option to set up a small section of pasture which is currently over grazed by the yearling herd. I will need to add some fence posts, fill in and straighten a few too. Once fencing is done, I will try to harrow and seed the pasture to see if I can encourage a turn out pasture for my animals.
These are my immediate projects for summer 2023.
I’ve just wrapped up my manuscript, Riding with the Chakras.
Here’s a tease of what my new book entails:
Many equine enthusiasts have been told that in order to cultivate a stronger connection with your horse, both on the ground and in the saddle, it is first necessary to be connected within yourself. The question is, what does that really mean, and how do you achieve that?
Riding with the Chakras lays out a trail map of insights along with guided exercises for you to illuminate your inner wisdom and assist you in connecting more fully to yourself and the world around you.
Unlocking the doorway to understanding the nature of your body’s subtle energy and how it affects everything around you is enlightening. When you are solidly grounded, centered, and aligned, your mind-body-spirit connection grows brighter. Your horses will naturally resonate and your horsemanship and your riding will shift to a whole new level.