I have witnessed about 15 people come off of their horses in the past week alone. What blows my mind about each and every one of them is the rationalizations people come up with for why it happened. I think it’s time that someone sheds some light on the subject of reality instead of blowing rainbows and butterflies up everyone else’s rear end on the subject. There are faults to your horse so take ownership and be proactive, I am sick of people just excepting it as part of the sport or the breed of horse.
My favorite example is a lady who came off her horse and said, “Well that’s what I get for not listening to my trainer. He told me not to get on unless it was above 80 degrees outside.” Really? The weather that day had to have been 79.9 degrees, but she was convinced that’s the only reason why it happened.
How many times does it have to happen, how many people need to be hurt, how many farriers have to deal with this crap before people open their eyes? Horses need a solid foundation, not just educated show riding. It goes way deeper than how you look on top of your horse or how you’re going to place in a show.
How is your horse outside the arena? How is your horse with tarps and flags? How is your horse with ropes? How does your horse lead, or does your horse lead you? The questions are never-ending and the things that really matter are all behind the scenes. A lot goes back to how the horse was started: was the colt allowed to explore and keep his sense of curiosity, or was he just forced to fit the human from day one, taking some of the unique spirit right out of the horse?
If the foundation is correct and built upon, you should be able to turn your horse out for long periods of time and just tack them up to do a job without any issue. Can you imagine if you gave these show ponies one day off in the winter in Colorado and had to go check cows or gather horses? You probably couldn’t even saddle the horse up, let alone get on him and do a job. Most show ponies behave only because of monotonous, scheduled, daily work. By no means am I saying that all are this way, but a vast majority of them are from what I have witnessed. The owners know that if they gave them the day off, ole fluffy might give them a little more than they could handle, but rightfully so. The horse is always trying to show the way. Are you listening?
It doesn’t matter what I am doing, whether I am picking up garbage, cleaning my room, listening to a friend, or, a recent endeavor of mine, painting a barn, I am going to do the best job that I can do from start to finish and try not to overlook any of the small details. If you ignore the small details there, you can guarantee you’re going to miss them with a horse. If you miss them with a horse the results can be fatal so don’t pretend that coming off your horse is all part of the game.
Instead of rationalizing something as small as your horse trying to bite you as cute or your horse being tight and bucking you off due to weather, why not look at it as a sign that something in the foundation of the horse hasn’t been taken care of. Once you realize it, take time to work your horse through it on their terms. Chances are it has nothing to do with the work from the saddle, but rather with basics all the way back at the beginning.