So, last night I laid in bed formulating a plan with military precision. I had ridden my new/old horse Pea on a hack earlier and whilst this little horse is fun, safe and brilliant in every way, she has a seriously frustrating guilty pleasure.
She LOVES to impersonate a camel in her spare time. She doesn’t accept the contact well, favours being inverted to working over her back and takes great delight in convincing vets and physios that there is nothing wrong with her… she just has a fetish of the humpy animal variety.
So, trying to make a plan to help my little Pea horse build some top line is not just working those muscles over the top of the horse that aid the ability to carry my fat arse, it’s convincing a minx that she’s come up with this bright idea all on her own!
My plans always go something like this:
Open wide: so many problems can be solved when you understand the mouth. Not just the teeth, but the conformation of the mouth plays a massive part in choosing your weapons. (Bits… I meant bits!!)
Poll to tail: is there any soreness or tightness? Try and learn what is normal so you can see any changes and get a check from a qualified professional as early you can.
Nutrition: is she getting what she needs to build muscle? This is a mine field and not for a short Tip Tuesday post but I feed ad-lib forage (grass/hay) teamed with Dengie Alfa A Oil, Micronised Linseed and the Dengie Performance Balancer. This provides her with enough amino acids, lysine and oils/fats/carbohydrates to build up her muscles.
Equipment: does the saddle fit? Is the bit right? Are you lunging? I use a well fitting, lightweight saddle, soft padded cavesson bridle and jointed loose ring snaffle (that I’m definitely going to re-evaluate). I lunge in a roller and loose side reins.
Attitude: Pea likes to be hollow, she doesn’t accept the contact well and is fussy in the mouth. In the past I ignored this and just rode her how she was most comfortable and happy, ignoring what it looked and felt like. Now I’m older and wiser with more tools in my bag I’m addressing it from the beginning. I’m breaking it down and fixing it rather than covering it up with too much rein pressure. I want her happy and I want to be riding her for at least another 10 years! She needs to think this is all her bright idea!
Now I’m looking at bitting options, varying her work and I’ve just bought a rather old school harbridge to have a play around with. Once I’ve ticked off all of the above points, I’ll start outlining my training and how I work her. This is definitely for another day!!
So my tip today is: don’t expect miracles if you aren’t Jesus!
Be the best and most knowledgeable person you can be for your horse. Research, read theories, soak up information and use it wisely. Learn from anyone you think has value and discard the stuff you know isn’t for you.