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We Are Flying Solo

April 7, 2010

Burnout Is Real

Yes, all work and no play makes Solo one very dull, crabby boy.  He pretty much gave me the horsey finger as I tacked him up the other day and then proceeded to stand there with his head hanging like I was going to take him out and beat him with a stick.  This, then, is the end result of working on dressage All. Winter. Long.

But there is an escape!  We have finally managed to work out how to access miles of wooded trails out the back gate.  And have been busy over the last few days trotting merrily along them.  Which Solo loves to the depths of his soul.  Now if only I could get him to translate that loose, back-swinging walk and forward, lifting trot to the arena!  But what I do get is a horse that returns to the gate at the end of our ride with bright eyes, pricked ears, and a spring in his step.

Moral:  even I, a HUGE proponent of getting horses OUT OF THE RING, can fall into the trap of working only on work, thinking it will improve one's horse in a continual, linear fashion, and forgetting that this causes one's horse to go insane with boredom.  Horses like routine, but they also like things that are fun, low pressure, and relaxing.  So give those ponies a break and head out to soak up some birdsong and spring sunshine.  Just don't forget the tick check afterwards...


  1. Smiling in approval.

    All of this advice also translate to the rider.

  2. Oh, that sounds wonderful! So happy for Solo!!

  3. So funny. I know a BIG TB (not mine) that burns out mentally in the ring and she tried showing, showing and no success. She is now doing cross country and grabbing up all awards, etc and her horse is a very happy boy. Different scenery and different schedules helps BIG time.

  4. Totally agree. I just got out for the first XC school of the season yesterday, but I've been trying to hack out as much as I can. It makes them so much happier.

    Have you tried hacking and then schooling, or schooling and then going for a hack? Mine seem to love going for a nice hack before we go school - gets them warmed up, loosened up, and they get some fun time before work time.

  5. very good points my friend. ring sour is no fun! I will remember this myself when bringing along my baby. I tend to be somewhat of a work horse myself...

  6. Reminders from your horse are always good, LOL! MM, no I have not tried that, although that's a good idea.

    And Rachel, definitely do it with a baby! I have convinced BO to bring her new prospect out on trails with us, it is SO good for their minds!