When you are confused on training and equipment

As an older horse person, I have realized that there are as many ways to do things as there are people and horses. To find information on different ways to do something depends on what information you find that is backed up with scientific information and proven methods. Even then it may not work or work well for a particular animal or a person, at that time.

What I have an issue with is things that are programs, gimmicks or gadgets that are developed as the be all or flavour of the time or as a one solution fits all.

In my somewhat limited exposure to many of these programs, I have been reluctant to go all in mostly because of the commitment and money that was needed but also because I was not sure that was what was needed by my horses. Some of these programs when I watch the trailers, videos and websites, work in that they are consistent with their ques and training points. (As with any program) Fortunately, I have found programs that allow me to develop and work within the training and education I have. They focus on the horse and what is needed for them and not just what is standard for that method.

I often wonder at the amount of biomechanics research that has been done on that method or equipment used to put the horse into that program. I have totally changed my way of looking at the various trainers and instructors that I see online and in person. I look at the energy, muscles and anatomy that is being worked or strained in an exercise and for how long it is done. As we know from our own bodies that repetitive activity eventually causes issues. So, the degree and time that an exercise can go from strengthening to damaging, if pressed too long or too hard. There is also a difference with rehabbing and training the “normal” body for work.

Putting on certain pieces of equipment the horse, can allow for helping the body with strengthening, restraint, cause damage or just plain do nothing (there for show or as a trend in that discipline). Equipment should aid the horse in self carriage, safety of the horse and rider or be used for a short time to help train a muscle/muscle group. Equipment should not put the horse into a false body carriage or restrain the horse to the extend they feel trapped. While some horses will put up with the trapped feelings until they damage something in their bodies and mind, others will explode.

Like ourselves we need to ensure that what we are doing in our training, care and treatment of our wonderful horses is right for that time and mechanics of their bodies. Take breaks if working on an intense exercise at a try and praise. Do some groundwork and exercises that help the part of the body that is struggling. Be kind to yourself and your horse. It is a process.