This excellent post by Dawn reminds us all to keep what is best for our horses in mind. Be it different tack, training focus, mindset, or goals - this is something we're asking THEM to do for US, so WE have the responsibility to ensure THEIR needs are met to the fullest.
When I got away from showing and trying to adhere to "tradition", only then did I really start moving forward in my horsemanship. I know that sounds odd, but I found NOT having the time & "tradition" constraints required for showing allowed me to really focus on my horse and what her needs really were. Boy-oh-boy was it ever an eye opener for me! I started riding treeless, with bits that weren't "traditional", and even started riding bitless. My mount improved by leaps and bounds to become my dream horse in other ways, and I found a whole bunch of fun things to do that I'd never had time to do before. As a matter of fact, my beastie became such a wonderful, well trained horse that she and I gave lessons to others.
Sometimes our horses just aren't cut out to do what we want, whether that's showing at the top levels in breed shows, endurance riding, running barrels or whatever. That's perfectly ok! It just gives us permission to seek out other fun stuff to do with them. Not all horses adhere to breed standards, some have had past injuries or past training issues that prevent them from using "traditional saddles". And maybe they're better at being a rock solid trail mount, or CTR's. Or they'd be really good at teaching others how to ride. The key to unlocking your horse's true potential and letting him/her shine is by keeping them healthy, *comfortable*, and the communication between horse & rider clear. If you take the comfortable part of the equation out because you want to pursue things that you can't make your horse comfortable in (because you have to use certain types of tack), you're killing any level of confidence your horse has in you. That
confidence takes a looooooong time to build again - ask me how I know ;-)....
I'd love nothing more than to turn my sweet little Peruvian Paso into more of an endurance horse. I dream of doing the Michigan Shore-To-Shore ride on him, which would require us to ride 18-26 miles per day for about 2 weeks straight. But the reality is that he's just not built to do that. So instead, I'm going to pursue my dream in a different way - I'm going to do parts of the Shore-To-Shore at my own slower pace this summer. Bottom line is that I want my sweet horse to remain strong, healthy and sound for as long as possible, and I'm putting my own needs and wants behind his. If one dream won't work, figure out
others that will!
Fuzzy Logic Equine, Inc.