5.8.17

In defence of the short and quick ride...

The other night I saw on Facebook someone bragging about the fact that they had ridden their horse for 2 hours to get the horse going well and it made feel a bit anxious and to feel sorry for the horse. Now don't get me wrong I go hacking out for hours and I do get that for example some cross country training sessions take up nearly 2 hours, but this woman had been schooling her horse in the arena for 2 hours and it sounds like the poor little thing hadn't had a lot of breaks during it. I didn't have anything nice to say, so I didn't comment on the thread but it seemed like a lot of other people were also concerned for the horse.
I had a terrible ride on Vallu last Sunday where we were so close to having an argument about going on the bit in an extended walk, but the moment he gave me one step of what I wanted I ended the ride there and then, instead of riding for 2 hours trying to get him to go perfectly. He then had the following two days off, and on Tuesday before I even got on I had decided that I was going to have a quick, short ride. I wanted walk, trot and canter on both reins and nothing else because I didn't want a repeat of Sunday's ride...

And what do you know? He was fantastic! He was clearly feeling a lot better and happy to be in work and I wanted to reward for being so forward thinking and genuinely nice to ride by doing a short ride. I've carried on with this for the last couple of days and he's still been fab! Clearly his body and mind needed an easier time and a break from proper training so instead of forcing him to carry on, he's been kept happy with these shorter sessions 💖 These short rides have also been really good for Basse, who currently has a 1-2 week sick note and these shorter (max 30min in walk) have been super beneficial for him. He's one of these horses that after 4 days off he gets grumpy and bored as he prefers to work, and these short rides let him think that he is 'in work' and it keeps him happy!

So the next time someone criticises you for "only riding for half an hour" remember that you're doing a massive favour for your horse.

Two very happy ponies

13 comments:

  1. Sometimes it isn't about the length of the ride!

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    1. Exactly, more to do with the quality and happiness!

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  2. Great post! I also agree that it's better to stop when you're ahead or after the horse has put in a great effort than to just ride for an extremely long time. Now I just need to find the balance with that and still getting enough time in the saddle :)

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    1. Thank you! It's definitely difficult to find the right balance, I sometimes feel very guilty after only riding for half an hour but then I remember that it's important to stop riding that day when it feels right!

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  3. I've definitely had rides that went longer bc some things needed to be ironed out. Or rides that went shorter bc the horse answered every question beautifully. Honestly I think as long as you're listening to the horse and riding mindfully in terms of what you're asking and how you're allowing the horse to answer, the length of the ride is almost inconsequential. And at least in my experience it's really never needed to drag on and on, mostly bc I've never been a huge proponent of endless drilling.

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    1. Yeah okay maybe my point is more about the endless drilling rather than forcing people to ride a short crappy ride. But yes it's most important to listen to your horse. I just wish more people would do that rather than ride for an hour because they think they need to ride for an hour!

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  4. You know what? I couldn't agree more? I think it's important to change your riding times and also work with what your horse is telling you. Sometimes we are just not in the mood- horses or humans. Why fight each other? I like that the moment Vallu gave you what you asked you decided to stop there and reward him.

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    1. Yes why fight each other indeed? I just want others to listen to their horses rather than fight their horses when something is wrong!

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  5. Yes! I agree ������! Ending a ride short on a good note will make them internalize what they did right, they don't get worn out, and are more willing to offer what you want next time. Excellent.

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    1. "Ending a ride short on a good note = horse are more willing to offer what you want next time" Yes yes yes!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

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  6. Sometimes, short & quick rides are the best way to teach something new, and it means you can often do more of them to aid the learning process. I also think they help you get out of a muddle, because there isn't time to get in one!! :)

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    1. Yes this is a really good point, we as riders aren't able to create a problem as there isn't time to get in one! 👌🏻

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  7. This is very true! I actually have a lot of 10-20 minute workouts, because I want to end it on a good note. If Baldur is really good and listens and works like a champ, he get's to enjoy the short workout and have a well deserved break!

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