July 22, 2014

VC Blog Hop: Chock Full of Advice

The Blog Hop this time asks for the best and worst advice ever received from a trainer or fellow rider.

This is a great question namely because horse people are oh so fond of giving advice even when it is neither wanted nor asked for. I ran into this a ton at Crabby Acres last year. The BO would corner me every time I showed up to "school" me in my errors and offer up sagely advice that I didn't want.

1) Best Advice: This is going to seem oh so simple, but the best thing I ever learned was:

Horse + Rider = 10


I keep this in mind pretty much all the time when I ride Gem and it has really made the biggest impact on our relationship.

What it says is that if your horse is slow and sluggish and would be rated at a 2 on the scale, you better come into it at an 8 to make it equal 10. So come with energy, focus and bring that horse back up!

If on the other hand you are at the start of an endurance ride and find yourself astride a fire breathing monster that sorta, kinda resembles your mare and she is rated at a 9, well you better sit there nice and calm at a 1.

It works every time to help me either calm or amp myself up and I really notice the difference in Gem.

2) Worst Advice: This goes hands down to Crabby Acres BO last fall. Gem was running a bit amok in the arena and there were people milling all over the place, so I circled her tightly to avoid plowing into them. My usual technique for slowing her down and it works very well. Well, BO had to come over and suggest her own technique for not letting a horse get too fast on you (for the record she wasn't bolting or anything and was in complete control, she was just enjoying cantering in the arena and the people were milling about cutting us off) which included burying your left hand into her mane and not moving it at all while pulling back as hard as you can with the right rein and settling that on the mane as well. This causes an unfortunate amount of torque on her mouth and as the BO pointed out has been known to causes horses to rear to the point of flipping over "until they get used to it" Um...no thanks.