Well. This fall and winter have been extremely busy. As I am continuing in my studies and practice of Equine K-Taping, Cranial Sacral therapy, and pain cycle recognition, and exercises. I attended my 3rd On-line dissection with #EquineStudiesNL recently and it was fascinating. Zefanja, Thirza and the Equine Studies group are so incredible at what they know and can show the rest of us. Both work with and mentor with Sharon May-Davis and this shows in how passionate they are. It really does make you realize what these amazing animals go through at times.
When I started this journey, I would have never thought that I would be on this path. Like all things worth wild it has not been easy. To work with my own 2 horses, work full time and to constantly learn about the biomechanics, nature and path that I am on has been challenging. Riding has its own challenges as well as I learn more. I don’t know about many of you but for me as an equestrian, I get into my own head way too much and over analyze my every move (especially after my ride). To be in the moment and react to what is presented at that moment, is totally foreign to many of us.
If we are lucky, we get that one horse that changes everything. My gelding is that one. I bought as a 2yr old, and he is now 17. For that last 9 years I have not been able to ride him, and he started me on the path of what to do to help him and keep him exercised and interested in life. He is a real people horse so turning him out into a field would have not worked. First, he had a growth & tooth removed from his left lower jaw. Then he started bucking and rearing, and it was discovered that he had osteoarthritis in both front legs and was super reactive when you got on him. I also suspect that he had back issues as well. When we put him on paddock rest and away from the people and separated by a fence from the other horses, he got very depressed and angry at everything and everyone.
So once we got the pain managed, I decided to get back his trust and put him into work from the ground. This proved to be a long process from both the trust issue and the groundwork issue. Learning to be just with my boy and him with me for trust, grooming, walking/lunging, and hanging out was a huge step. Like many, when I was with him before it was getting ready to lesson, lesson, grooming after a lesson. Focusing on what we had to do that day. He had always been a bit of a goofy boy, but I really did not appreciate that until all he was, was a grumpy, unhappy, in pain boy.
Being from North America, I had many people suggest the natural horsemanship ways for the groundwork. Somehow, I knew this was not going to work for my boy. Moving the hind quarters around just put the weight on his front end which were already sore. The rope halter was not something that I was comfortable with as well, due to the previous injury he had.
I started researching online for something that taught me to do groundwork and in-hand work properly as well as being able to lunge and long-line him (which he already knew how to do). This research has introduced me to so many ideas and as always with horse people opinions of how to do things.
As part of this research, I discovered people like Manolo Mendez, the Science of Riding, Straightness Training, and the Art of Riding all from Europe. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least. I was able to attend a straightness training clinic as an auditor and that started me on a path to many friends, mentors and ways of learning.
To say the amount and presentation of the information I was given, has been overwhelming in many ways, is an understatement. Doing on-line was the only option for me at the time and so having things spelled out and demonstrated to me was invaluable. When my horse continued to struggle with lameness and attitude, I looked to what made more sense for me. To learn more about the biomechanics and inside of myself and my horses.
It also allowed me to realize that I am not the only one in this place.
And so, the journey began …