September 21, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

If you don't know by now, I think the worst thing you can do to your sporthorse is make it an arena baby (edited to add:  ok, obviously not the worst thing.  I mean, you could beat it with sticks and never feed it.  But that would just be uncool.).  Biologically, physiologically (I have the degrees to back it up, go ahead, check me!) to make a tissue or system strong, you have to challenge it.  Obviously, the equation of equine soundness is one of multiple confounding variables, but I think a powerful influence is the lack of "off-roading" and far too much arena grooming, track prettifying, and grass fondling, which only leads to weakening soft tissues and bones.

What do I do about it?  GET OUT THERE.  It was Encore's first time in the Uwharrie National Forest and it took him a couple of hours to sort it out, but by the end of day one, he could power walk through a rock field without tripping even once.  Lessons: balance, agility, strength, decision-making, and focus.

A commenter asked me if I thought it would really make a difference in his training and I said yes.  Because it's not a walk in the park:


This face always makes my heart skip a beat.

Pete and lifeshighway share a moment.  Or perhaps Pete wonders absently when dinner is.

It was a short trail with a simple name...

Turns out, it really was that simple:

We even saw a wild sponge.  Which was odd; I rarely find them outside their normal aquatic habitats...


But at the end of the day, it was all about team building and enjoying a beautiful weekend with friends.  And yes, my horse is tied by his reins when I am standing next to him.  Sue me.  ;P


  1. What a feisty post!

    Looks like you and Encore had a blast. Glad ya'll were able to hit the trail. Loving Encore's mohawk... ;D

  2. Now I see what you mean about walking only. That looks like a great time!

  3. Holy crap, that is a lot of rocks!! Both big and small. :-) Looks like a whole ton of fun, though.

    So, are you saying that it *wasn't* animal cruelty that today I made Salem trot around the horribly uneven, coral-rock-filled, tree-root-abundant ground that we unfortunately have at our new place? Because he pretty much felt that it was. There were many faces, a few stumbles, and some Tennessee Walker impressions (I put his Cavallos on him, which he has not worn for work in quite some time!).

  4. LOL, CFS, I may have been a bit tired and crabby when I wrote it up at the end of a workday...

    Val, would you believe that lifeshighway and Pete race (like NOT walking) over that stuff in other places. Pete is one tough cookie! I don't tag along for those rides, ha, I do have a line where I will only risk my investment but so much.

    Frizz, you HORRIBLE HORSE ABUSER, HOW COULD YOU? Poor Salem should immediately be given heaps of carrots and begged for forgiveness. With boots on, no less, for shame.

    It was very fun, although 5 hour rides remind me why we invented ibuprofen. Ow.

  5. Looks like you had fun! Makes me wish I had my own horse again to do trail riding with.
    Wait a minute...I have a "replacement" horse. Now if I can only find a truck and trailer to haul me....

  6. Wow, that WAS a lotta rocks! I bet Encore was tired and a wee bit sore, too, after picking his way around/through those. Definitely made him think about where his feet were. I agree that too many horses these days are treated like hot house flowers - a new perspective and challenging footing are great ways to keep him interested.

  7. I was very proud of him for figuring it out. It was neat to watch him really start to think about it and slow down and make choices!