What if I can’t…

I’m feeling a lot better now but there was a point a few weeks ago where I was thinking, ‘What if this is my permanent level of health? What do I do about my horse?’ Now I’m seeing significant improvements in my health l think the reflections below are hopefully not likely to be relevant to me but I thought I’d share them anyway.

With the clarity that comes from being mostly alone with one’s own thoughts for long hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to give up my horse. I am lucky that he’s on full livery and this year, weather permitting, they have some turnout every day so if I can’t get there I know he’ll be ok.

But what about riding? What if I can never expect to trot or canter regularly? Surely it would be unreasonable to keep him? But I want to keep him… Could I keep a horse that I only rode in walk?

Well why not? Since getting to know Lee Pearson a bit I’m a lot more aware of para-riders. It occurred to me that in a world with walk-only dressage tests there might be plenty of precedent for horse owners who were confined to walk.

Assuming I was careful with myself I could still lunge him in trot and canter, and I know on his reduced work regime he’s trotting and cantering more in the fields when he’s out. If he didn’t seem happy with that pattern of exercise l might have to consider finding someone to make a regular arrangement with for them to ride him – l couldn’t afford to pay for him to be ridden regularly long term.

l decided I could give him a good life still even if it wasn’t exactly what I’d chose in an ideal world. And I felt this sensible and respectful horse would look after me and keep me sane and safe.

But what would we do together in walk?

l googled for schooling exercises that can be done in walk and didn’t find much of any use. I think there must be loads that could be done in a walk-only work-out. To quote Lee Pearson, “Walk is a working gait; it’s not a coffee break!” So my next post will be about my ideas for schooling in walk, because I bet someone else will find it useful sometime. I can’t be the only one wondering what they can do to put variety into an all walk schooling session.

3 thoughts on “What if I can’t…

  1. Liz Dexter says:

    I’m glad you’re starting to feel better, but I’m also glad you’re considering researching and writing up something on the walking idea – if you needed it, someone else will!

  2. Elinor says:

    Oh dear, that is a Looong time feeling unwell. If you ever had any thoughts about it – of course you can keep the horse! Without having to pay people to ride him. Surely some additional turnout could be arranged for him, if he’s in too much now and needs to work vigorously often. And, I know this first hand since I was one of them – you will be able to find a respectful, loving, and capable person who would love to ride your horse for free (in just the manner you like), should you decide he needs more of what you’re unable to offer. Best of luck! Keep us updated!

  3. Walk…two…three…four…, turn, two, three four, front (pause), rear, front; Lol. Walking is where it’s at a lot of the time! My students used to dread their laborious walk lessons. I had one young rider once that actually said “Sabrena will wear you out at the walk.”
    There are thousands of walk exercises that are so beneficial for both you and your horse, don’t you worry for a moment about not having you and/or your horse be useful because you’re working in the walk.
    I have Karl Mikolka and my own health to thank for the abundance of walk exercises I know. I’m so excited that you are feeling better and heading back to being with your horse (no matter how much or what you are able to do).
    You’ve got this!! Just take care of you and enjoy your horse!

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