Horse Free Day

Whether I like it or not, some days are horse free – no riding, no grooming, no trailer practice, no nickers, no barn smell. The residual horsey odor in the laundry basket and car upholstery really don’t count. Work, commuting, family time, laundry, more laundry, dogs, exercise, eating, time with the husband, yardwork all have to fit around barn time.  I guess I should not forget sleeping in that list.  The life of the average, adult amateur rider is a juggling act with too many balls to count.  Throw in my lack of grace and it can be balls flying everywhere – the only one who appreciates that is my puppy.

I did receive my USDF Connection magazine ( as well as The Virginia Horse Journal ( in the mail today.  In the USDF publication, there is a wonderful article with Christoph Hess about The Pursuit of Happiness.  He believes that through correct and hard work by the rider, you become a better partner with your horse and thus a happier pair.  Applying this to Ike, we need a lot of time at the bottom of the training scale working on rhythm and relaxation.  Hard to have rhythm when we have body parts moving in three directions.  Ike definitely gets tense when he does not understand what is being asked of him, then the strides get short and choppy.  NOT a pretty picture of relaxation.  So we stop for a moment to regroup.  He almost always is good on the restart, and I make sure that I’m clearer with my aids.

We ride again tomorrow.  Another day closer to the 29th.




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