In the last six days, I’ve done 13 rides, two lunge sessions and taught three lessons. Most professional riders do that in a day or two, but I haven’t ridden that much in one week in years. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but riding is hard work and can be pretty intense exercise. Anyone who tells you it isn’t has never really ridden.
I’m not in that kind of riding shape. My legs, core and back are really tired and a bit sore. I know that will improve as I continue this schedule, but the bigger issue is that I’m riding green horses or horses ridden by inexperienced riders. That means they are stiff and imbalanced, and boy does that torque your back, neck and shoulders. It actually can be pretty painful to ride these kinds of horses. They jar you and try to throw you off balance because of how they carry themselves or how they try and evade your efforts to help them.
As a rider, you have to try and show the horse the correct way of going, and that takes understanding what the horse is doing and having the skills and tools to work towards making it better. That doesn’t happen in one ride, and depending on the personality of the horse, it can get kinda ugly before it gets better. Some horses are quite resistant to change, and you have to be really assertive to convince them that what you are doing is worth them trying. Please note that assertive is different than aggressive. There is no need to be aggressive, although there are times when being strongly assertive can look like being aggressive. In that case one has to look at the intent behind the action. Assertiveness comes from a place of confidence. Aggressiveness comes from a place of anger. There is a huge difference.
For the green horses, you need to be confident to help show them the way, and for those young horses who think they know everything, you have to convince them your way is better. Boy that can be a challenge!
For inexperienced riders, you have to teach them the correct skills so they can positively impact their horses and gain confidence as they progress. To do correctly, all of this takes time, work and patience. It is not an easy path, but it is a worthwhile one.
In the meantime, I’m resting up for next week and looking forward to building on the work I did. Oh…and I’m taking lots of ibuprofen.