Many times I’ve heard folks comment about how theirs or someone they know, has a horse that is such a pleasure to ride out and around the pasture, in the arena or down the road to a friends. Then they turn and head for home and the horse started to feel like they were jogging up to the starting gates at a race track. They would pull back and the horse would toss their head, rear up, back, kick up and turn circles, all with sweat pouring out of each pour. So it is not much of a surprise by what happens next, as to why this behavior continues each and every time these rides are taken. As soon as they get home the rider would do the following: Remove the saddle, possibly even rinse off the sweat the horse had produced, rub him down, give him a treat and turned him loose in the pasture or stall to do as they wish. The owner then heads for the house with no idea of what they just set up, the exact same ride the next time they saddle up. You may think, well what I am going to do differently? The horse has to eat, drink, get rinsed off when soaked with sweat and rest – that is correct, but it doesn’t have to happen the instant you get home.
In order to adjust things where they don’t continue like this try the following ideas – even if you are not having these issues with your horse apply them to prevent issues like this occurring, and having to “fix” them later. Working on these issues now will give you more time to enjoy your riding time.
When you reach your home, barn or trailer and are done riding. You want to give your horse a little job to do before you unsaddle or put him up. You can do all of this at a walk to cool them out as well as setup a calm relaxed walk back home to the barn or corrals next time you ride. Begin by taking a walk around the barn, ride through it, asking them to bend and flex, stop and then go some more. The main objective is to keep their feet busy, where they are used to just standing around eating, drinking, and relaxing. With making these changes in your routine, start your ride earlier to allow you extra time to prepare your horse for the next ride. I like to do this a lot with my young horses, even with only a few rides on them, helping to set up the foundation from the start.
These are great exercises to do as warm up as well, just include some trotting in the warm up and when you are done with the ride do them again at a walk. Take 15 to 20 minutes to do these warm up and cool out exercises. When you are done with the cool off routine, and have feeding, mowing or other responsibilities, leave your horse saddled and tie him up in the barn, on a tree, to your trailer or where ever the issue is for them, wanting to get back to in a hurry. If there is no issue, tie them up anyhow, to any of these places. Doing this each ride will help and prevent, issues getting worse or ever starting. – Written by Tom Davis- please check Tom’s website for current Clinics or to schedule private lessons. www.ColtTrainer.com