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We Are Flying Solo

January 20, 2012

Don't Forget To Not Ride

I spent this evening in the aisle with Encore.  A mild rain tap-tap-tapped the metal roof as I ran my hands over his neck, back, and hindquarters, seeking out knots and tension to ease away.  Each time my thumbs dug into a hard burl of muscle, Encore's lower lip quivered and his head dropped lower...and lower...and lower.  He licked his lips and sighed in thanks.


Remember that our partners are athletes.  It is hard work, especially as they are building muscle, learning new skills, and adjusting their bodies to sport.  Tendon, muscle, and joint each need time to rest and recover from micro-injury and stress.  It is our responsibility to respect that need and to ensure that we are not asking our horses to work in pain or discomfort.

We finished with some carrot stretches to each side -- I make him stretch his nose at least to his flank (no cheating and moving his feet!) in each direction, which was very difficult for him a few months ago, so we have progress.  Upon recheck, his back muscles are softer, his withers no longer sore and the knots in his neck are smaller.  It's a continuous process, but one I need to be sure not to forget in the race to have a better ride.  Happy body = happy horse.  Happy horse = happy me.  It's that simple. 

10 comments:

  1. Nice post and very true! Do you release the muscles under his scapula? My teacher does something like that right where your fingers are in the picture. I learned to do the same. Harley loves it.

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  2. I didn't ride yesterday, did something very simular. The horses enjoy it and get as much out of it I think.

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  3. I just found the muscles on top of the scapula, Val, Encore liked that very much indeed!

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  4. Excellent reminder - thanks!

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  5. Love everything about this entry.

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  6. So true. I try to do this often along with just grooming my mare and being with her.

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  7. Congratulations on your Area 2 smurf award! I've never heard of these before but what a great idea!

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  8. Awww, thanks, Amanda! I just found out, I was shocked!

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  9. Good equation at the end of your post. And a good reminder. Our horses need rest and recuperation too. Although, in my case, my horse gets more R & R than exercise. Yours is a true athlete. You are a thoughtful, caring owner to think of those muscles building below that beautiful coat of hair.

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  10. Thank you! And UO, I am often admiring your twin greys, they are the picture of equine contentment.

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