When you just know, you know!
Following on from last weeks topic on equine body language.... this blog is taking the focus off the horse directly a little and aiming the spotlight on to us as riders/owners!
Have you ever thought that there was something wrong or not quite right with your horse but you either brushed it off, or a riding buddy has said "no he looks fine to me", or even your trainer has said "no, get him going better, more forward, more straight" etc etc?
Now sometimes this works cause as we all know, horses are very good at the whole suffer in silence thing. So often, they will get on with the job with enough encouragement or force from us and will suddenly start going better in a lesson or training session and we think "ah, we have fixed him" then that little voice in our head that we had earlier telling us something was wrong, is temporarily subdued.
Now lets look at another angle that is very real here too. A majority of riders aren't professional bio-mechanics instructors or equine vets etc, they are lawyers, real estate agents and shop owners. So, when that little voice rears up in our head but we are told "no, the horse looks fine" by the professionals in our lives, then we tend to doubt ourselves and think that we are over reacting or not getting the signals right (and sometimes this may be accurate)
I want to encourage you to believe that voice in your head! Not because you know more about equine behaviour or soundness issues in horses than your coach or vet, cause that would be ridiculous! But for one reason only and that is.....
WHO KNOWS YOUR HORSE BETTER THAN YOU DO??
Seriously, you have been riding Jack, or Molly, or wee Spice for years now. You know what he can and can't do, you know what a good canter FEELS like for him and that this one isn't quite right, you know he has never stopped at a jump in his life and you certainly know that he's never resisted or put his ears back going into a trot before! All these things are so easily put in the 'behavioural' box. We all know and are taught what 'feels' right and good when schooling a horse.....but do we really know what 'feels' wrong? Sure, we can say, oh that canter was awful, lets try again.....but have we stopped to think why? Yes, horses have bad days just like you or I. They might be a little sore from work or have an upset tummy or even a cold coming on, so don't chock up every bad ride to the horse having something wrong with it!
But if you have a gut feeling (instinct) that there is something not quite right with your horse.....chances are you are probably right.....and for that, you won't necessarily need a vet to tell you (although you will probably need help getting to the cause, so don't delete your vet or bodyworkers number yet!)
Focus on your thoughts when you ride, how does he REALLY 'feel'?
A bad day? Or something else?