Creating An Equestrian Support System To Help You Reach Your Riding GoalsPosted on November 20, 2017
I often say, “horses are predictably unpredictable” (maybe someday my quote will be as famous as Charlotte Dujardin’s “short reins win gold medals”)! This saying couldn’t be more true. We witness the highest of highs and the lowest of lows when we have horses claiming a large portion of our hearts. The only way to get through this journey is with an equestrian support system.
What kind of support you may ask?
1. If you find yourself googling “reasons why my horse is limping,” you need the support of a vet.
Be prepared, they like telling you “it’s just a stone bruise” even after you’re convinced it’s something much, much worse because “Google said so.” (Guilty 🙋🏼) Add a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, etc. on this list because horses need help recovering from aches and soreness, too!
2. Are you taste testing your horse’s feed? Calmly put the feed back in the container and call an equine nutritionist.
They are professionals that can help you solve all kinds of feeding dilemmas and medical woes. From horses with serious food allergies to picky eaters and everything in between, they have you covered.
3. If you haven’t heard of a saddle fitter, you need a saddle fitter.
Over a short period of time, wool flocking settles to match the musculature and bone structure of your horse for better or worse. Experienced saddle fitters can help alleviate any discomfort, check the integrity of your saddle’s tree, and identify areas of compensation on your horse. It is important to remember that with training, muscles change; a saddle that fit when you bought your green horse probably isn’t going to fit the same after a year of training. (This applies to getting air panel saddle fitted too!)
4. Do you have riding goals? Did you switch disciplines? Are you taking on a new equine project? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you need the support of a trainer/coach (see the USEF rule book for the technical difference, but for the sake of this blog, I’m going to use ‘trainer’).
Whether you meet with your trainer 5 days per week or once a month, having someone to help guide you and your horse towards your goals and nipping bad habits is never a bad idea. If Charlotte Dujardin, Beezie Madden, and Boyd Martin have trainers, so should you! 😉
5. What happens when something goes wrong with your horse? What happens when something goes right with your horse? What happens when you get done early at the barn on a Friday night? You need friends and family to help keep you grounded…
and sometimes even sane; people to celebrate with; and shoulders to cry on. My ‘people’ are my backbone and I need them just as much as I need my horse.
An equestrian support system can range from emotional to physical and from product to monetary… some days there is a need for one more than another. What is important to note is that the journey of your equestrian life, regardless if you are a die-hard competitor or weekend pleasure rider, is not a solo act. If you want to maximize the support of others, as well as gain understanding, start with genuinely showing gratitude and respect to the hands that feed you and your mount.
In what ways has your equestrian support system benefited you?