Ask, Receive, Give: Horse Appreciation Post

I thought I would take the time and share the appreciation towards horses. Show season starts this month and sometimes we forget to truly take the time to admire and give back to our horses. Whether you own, lease, or simply ride a school horse, these creatures are not only majestic but also allow us to ride them when they can easily injure us in an instant!

“What these horses do for us is incredible. They become part of our family. They really change our lives. It is a sport we choose because we love it and it is sport we choose because we also love the animal. It is not like breaking a hockey stick or breaking a tennis racket. We become very close to these animals and we have great respect for what they do for us. We are in the limelight with them.”
                                                                                                     —  Eric Lamaze

Having a chronic injury, I truly learnt to appreciate every single second spent at the barn with Tofino. Even if we are not riding off in the desert, or swimming in the ocean, simply sitting in the paddock or stable and admiring his ways is enough for me to say that I am blessed to have him (9 tips on horse bonding).

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When I am able to hop on and ride, honestly nothing can compare to the feeling you get when you put both feet in the stirrups and get ready to ride. Sure, it’s something you know you’ve done countless times, but the start of the ride is like an open book. Anything can happen. And as soon as you sit in the saddle, it’s you and the horse, and nothing else. Every other sound is silenced. No other thoughts can clutter your mind, and your head feels clear and indescribable.

“Remember, the conversation between you and your horse must never be dull or inert. It should be, “Ask, receive, give. Ask, receive, give.” Ask with your body and legs; receive through your body into your hands; give primarily with the hands, but also with your body and legs, so that you can ask all over again, receive again and give again. The give is your thanks. If you don’t give, you must ask harder the next time, and even harder after that, until you end up with a dead or resistant horse.”
—  Sally Swift

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Being in the equestrian world is not easy whatsoever. There is actually a quote I found on tumblr that explains it pretty well in a funny way 😀 :

Ten ways to get in shape to own a horse: this is only a joke, do not do this!

  1. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don’t pick it up right away. Shout “Get off, stupid! Get off!”
  2. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice “Relaxing into the fall”. Roll into a ball, and spring to your feet!
  3. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse/pocket and write out a $200 check without even looking down.
  4. Jog long distances carrying a halter and holding out a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you’re doing. They might as well know now.
  5. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling it to a halt. And smile as if you are really having fun.
  6. Hone your fibbing skills. “See hon, moving hay bales is fun!” and “I’m glad your lucky performance and multi-million dollar horse won you first place – I’m just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place”.
  7. Practice dialing your chiropractor’s number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder, and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.
  8. Borrow the US Army slogan; “Be all that you can be’…(add) bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled.”
  9. Lie face down in the mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself: “This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience,…”
  10. Marry Money!

With all that and more, we still choose to stay in the sport where you speak to your team mate – your partner –  in silence ❤

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Sure, commitment is everything, but taking days off with your horse is needed not only for your mental state but for theirs too. I often hack out a lot and Tofino wasn’t always easy out, but with time I could even go bareback out with him (necessity & safety of hacking)

“The best thing I try to do for myself is to try to listen to the horse. I don’t mean let him take over. I listen to how he’s operating: what he’s understanding or what he doesn’t understand: what’s bothering him and what isn’t bothering him. I try to feel what the horse is feeling and operate from where the horse is.”
—  Tom Dorrance

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“Riding is a partnership. The horse lends you his strength, speed and grace, which are greater than yours. For your part you give him your guidance, intelligence and understanding, which are greater than his. Together you can achieve a richness that alone neither can.”

—  Lucy Rees, The Horse’s Mind

So, on an end note:

  • Always make sure to do and get what’s best for your horse. Do your research beforehand; whether it’s giving some treats, fruits & veggies, buying new items, building a nutritional diet, planning a proper schedule, getting them checked by a vet, physio, osteo, etc.
  • Never penalize your horse for something they didn’t know yet, but train yourself to know better, to ask better. Always take one step at a time with your horse; never push them beyond their limits, when they are ready, they will let you know.
  • Learn to warm them upcool them down, and build muscles the right way.
  • And most importantly, appreciate and enjoy

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