My horse won’t… (fill in the blank)


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Christmas horse wearing antlers


I hear this one all the timeChristmas horse wearing antlers.

“My horse won’t ______!”

Frequently, it isn’t that he won’t. It’s that he can’t.

I’m in the process of losing a lot of weight. At this writing, I’m well over halfway to my goal. Unsurprisingly, a big part of this process goes on at the gym where I attend… heaven save me!… Dawn’s Lean Extreme bootcamp class.

Dawn’s nickname (that I will never tell her!) is ‘Santa’s evil little elf’, primarily because she pushes us hard, and I mean HARD.

There are things that she asks me to do that I simply cannot. It isn’t that I don’t want to, I really really do. My body simply hasn’t developed the strength yet and it will not perform correctly no matter how I try.

Think about this the next time your horse is not doing what you’re asking him to: “Have I conditioned him enough to be physically able to do what I’m asking?”

In most cases, the answer is no. The vast majority of riders think a lot about training and very little about conditioning. If we blame a physical cause at all, it’s usually pain in the body, but next time you hit a wall (or better yet, before you hit the wall) ask yourself if the real culprit might be a lack of strength or flexibility in you or in your horse.

If the answer is yes, give it time and build up gradually.

Patience isn’t a virtue when it comes to riding. Patience is THE virtue when it comes to riding.

(By the way, if you aren’t sure if conditioning is the issue or would just like to know how to condition yourself or your horse, jump on the riding lesson Christmas Special. The 24th (which is probably when you’re reading this) is the last day that it’s available!)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good ride!