Riding a horse is just one part of the whole kit and caboodle, and there is a whole lot more to it than just the hour or so a day you spend training your horse.
Mum taught me from a very young age that if you didn’t do the stuff yourself, you didn’t go out of home, and so I learnt the ins and outs of grooming, feeding, mucking out, cleaning, clipping, lunging, brushing, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on.
Sometimes this “lesson in independence” would go a little awry, and I will never forget the day I tried to give my shetland pony an all over body trim using the kitchen scissors. Gave new meaning to the word “chunk”!
When I arrived in Portugal, I for the first time, had the luxury of having a groom, but of course for the first 6 months I would not let them anywhere near my horse, and when I did occasionally arrive and the horse was saddled, I would usually inspect every inch, and sometimes even take the saddle off and put it on again myself, just in case 😉
Lately I have become a little more used to having my own personal strapper, and I must say that in a foreign country competing by myself, it is nice to have someone to help with that stuff so you can stress about all the other things like test riding, and staying on etc lol.
They say that no woman is an island, and my lesson is that while no woman is an island it is important to never become a dependant state either, and while a good support team is vital, never let yourself become dependant on others for anything.
It is very wise to let people help, but always make sure you know yourself how to do things, and check, no matter how must you trust in your team, that the things are done the way you like them, or the way that is best for your horse.
There is no point sliding off under the horse’s tummy, and then blaming someone else for not doing the girth up tight enough. Make sure that you are methodical enough in your daily routine that those things are checked, as the only one who will be truly affected by a slight overlook is YOU!
Don’t try to be an island, but don’t be a sinking ship either, and make sure you know your horse, and most of all, make sure your horse knows that you are keeping an extra eye on everything that happens to him.
Watch him, learn from the way he reacts to others, and always be aware if his reaction changes, and think about what may have caused these changes.
Be on the ball, and on the ground, and your horse will thank you, and when he does, you will understand him enough to know it!!!!!