The Cob Company Archived Newsletter - January -The Winter Challenge
Happy New Year!
Well here we are in January, with some of the turkey still clinging to our waists,and moving sluggishly downwards . Thighs always lay claim to any benefits of digestion, and so naturally a lot of us will be keen to get back in the saddle and start shaking the liver.
Of course the days are still short, with cold weather all around us, and with the best will in the world, riders can feel brittle at this time of year. Muscles are slow to respond let alone bend, while feet can lose any feeling of a connection to the leg.
Contrary behaviour can be observed in our horses, and they are likely to be quite skittish at times. Full of food, with long hours in the stable, horses can come out looking for action. So while owners and riders are often hoping for an easy time of it, horses can display their most challenging behaviour at this time of year. If you have not long taken delivery of your new horse, then what steps can you take to ensure that your riding can glide seamlessly from artic tension to ideal, in one easy stride?
The two main areas to be looked at are feeding and stabling. The longer your horse spends out in the field recreating with friends, the less of a hard time he is likely to give his rider. Unless you plan to hunt or compete regularly, then a diet of hay is enough for your horse. Just think about it, you're probably not asking more than five hours riding a week at this time of year, and the rest of the time is his own. Without the need to find food and shelter, and with all the warmth he needs in his rugs, all that he eats will provide condition and energy. Sometimes too much energy if we are honest about it. Then the horse becomes "fresh." Now not everyone is at ease riding a fresh one, so it's best not to look for trouble. Have a strategy for winter riding that you feel is within your capabilities.
If you secretly know you're not going to look want a canter in that open field today, then perhaps it's best not to go with friends who do. Choose another option.
If you know inwardly that your resolve is going to crumble when you try and ride past that pig, then it's better not to try. Choose another option.
If you know in your heart you will feel clutchy when you take your horse down that busy road and meet a bus, then it's best to avoid doing so today. Choose another option.
By managing your fears in relation to your ability, you will have the best chance of having a successful partnership with your new horse. By putting yourself in a situation that inwardly you know you're unlikely to deal with successfully, you are setting yourself up subconsciously for a "fall."
With the arrival of spring comes new hope and aspirations. Make goals for yourself that are small and achievable. Your riding and understanding of your horse will make strong and remarkable progress if everything you do you can turn to the positive. It's far better to have a short ride, incident free and carefully planned, than a long hack that goes badly because the rider hasn't taken enough responsibility for what she is asking of her horse today. There is always tomorrow.
We would also like to say that we have chosen a name for Melody's foal. When Debbie Girard suggested Harmony, we couldn't think of a better name. Thanks Debbie, and to everyone who emailed suggestions. They won't go to waste, because they have been added to the book of names which keeps being raided. We admit that we sometimes struggle to find names we haven't already assigned to other "Family Members."
Until next time,