Horses are individuals, they are all so very different.  When we listen to what they have to say, it can make both our lives and their lives better!

Horses are individuals, they are all so very different. When we listen to what they have to say, it can make both our lives and their lives better!

So I just have to say, this is why I always try to listen to my horse…in early July, my little buckskin mare “Sandie” reached a milestone.  With the help of my awesome trainer Gretchen Bender, she became light and supple and started to truly push herself from behind…in a simple snaffle bit! Now that may not sound like much to a lot of riders, but to me it’s something that I never dreamed would happen for us.  She has always had issues with being heavy in my hands, resulting in many a different bit in her mouth from pelhams to elevators.  Nothing too strong, but definitely not the simple French link loose ring snaffle she goes around in today.

So naturally when we had this breakthrough, I was on Cloud 9!  And then as quickly as she had reached it, she lost it a day later.  All of a sudden she was back to her “old ways” of hanging on my hands, pulling me forward out of the tack, and running around with her front and back disconnected.  She seemed to be trying to push from behind, but she wasn’t lifting the front at all, just kind of paddling along.  It became a battle of brute force just to fake our way through a dressage test.

Dressage breakthrough!

Dressage breakthrough!

But this is Sandie we’re talking about here…she wasn’t being bad, I just knew it.  That’s just not in her nature.  Something was bothering her.  So I called the vet out to watch her go and do a physical exam.  We found her biggest problem was a very sore right shoulder, but there was some general lethargy there as well.  He suggested we put her on a bute regimen for the shoulder and do some bloodwork to rule out anything serious.  As it turned out, Sandie was on the low end of the normal range for her red blood cell count, so he recommended an iron supplement in the form of Lixitonic.

That was a couple weeks ago…and as of the day before yesterday, I suddenly had my dressage pony back!  Light and supple and pleasant to ride, obviously pain free and MUCH happier to do her job! I am SO glad that I listened to her and trusted her, that I knew something just had to be wrong and didn’t just go back to one of my previous heavy bits again (let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of that from time to time).  I’m glad I didn’t just chalk her behavior up to being lazy or stubborn…had I done that, I would likely still be dealing with the same frustrations I was a couple weeks ago.

Riding is a partnership...I fully recognize that she could throw me off her back at any moment...but she chooses not to.  Don't I owe it to her to at least listen to what she is telling me?

Riding is a partnership…I fully recognize that she could throw me off her back at any moment…but she chooses not to. Don’t I owe it to her to at least listen to what she is telling me?

I know this girl…and she knows me so well too.  She tries her heart out for me, and I hope that I never forget that and I make the right decisions by her.  Little Sands, you are one tough cookie girl…and I love and admire you for it!  My only hope is that I can be half the owner to you as the trusty mount you have been to me.

Stefanie