My horse, Annahi, is full of words of wisdom for those horses around her who are willing to listen.
She has quite the resume and has been there, done it all: she did lessons, participated (and won her share of awards) in western, english and dressage shows, rode in parades, even became a reliable enough trail horse to lead many a public ride. She has learned much through her many and varied experiences, and now, at the ripe old age of 25 (her birthday was in June), she decided she'd like to share her wisdom by writing a short post on my blog.
Although her intention is to help improve the daily trials of fellow equines, I'm sure us humans can benefit too. So here are her words of wisdom.
1. Stop and smell the roses - err... chomp on a bit of grass (especially when things seem to be getting a little hectic during the ride)!
There's always a good time to stop for a leisurely munch, but one of the best times is while your rider is desperately kicking to get you moving! Take extra time and go for that one last mouthful before you bring your head up. Then, dive down for one more bite!
2. If your feet get stuck in mud, give a good buck and carry on!
For some of us Princesses, there's nothing worse than the extract-your-shoe sucking action of deep mud. What do to? Just swish your tail and throw in a good buck! Oh, and yes, make sure that your human can hold on.
3. There's nothing better than mutual grooming.
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours - this was invented by us horses!
4. If there isn't enough grass to eat, head for the trees.
Leaves make good alternative nutritional sources - so even if there still is some grass in the field - give leaves a try!
5. When you're hot, find a full water trough and splash around!
Ahhh... there's nothing quite like a splash in the water trough on a hot day! Make sure it was just scrubbed and filled before you start digging your muddy hooves into it. Flail away and get as much water out as possible! Humans enjoy filling water troughs.
6. Put your ears forward and charm the one with the treats.
Put on that cuddly, bright-eyed, ears perked face and no human will be able to deny you those delectable yummies! If you know how to make that look, you'll always get what you want!
7. Releasing your topline makes it easier to carry the load.
There is no better way to travel! Let go of your tension and put a little bounce into your step. All you have to do is let go, let loose and swing! The rest just flows along easily!
8. Snooze short but often.
Sleep often. Sleep well. Eat in between!
9. Clear out the flies from your face with a reliable swish buddy.
Sometimes, a friend is all you need to help you solve your problems. Find a swish buddy and there will be no more flies on your face! Just be ready to give back.
10. Jump high enough to make it over the fence.
Well, if there are any obstacles in your way, you just have to figure out how to jump high enough! A little practice and that should do the trick.
11. Give a loud, wet snort to acknowledge your contentment.
Deep snorts mean so much. They mean that you're happy, breathing well, even soft in your muscles. Be sure to let your human feel the depth of your contentment and snort ON them when they are standing in front of you!
12. Slow the legs to float longer.
It is possible to go too fast at any gait. Have you ever found yourself scrambling to get your footing? Make it easier on yourself and slow down to bounce higher and stride longer. Then you will feel this floating sensation that just can't be beat!
13. Go balanced into the corner, and full steam ahead coming out!
Collect a bit before the corner, but be sure to add a little "oomph" on the way out. That little extra energy can set you up smoothly for the rest of the ride.
14. Bending left and right makes for a better straight ahead.
They say that going straight needs a good left AND right side. So get out there and be your ambidextrous best!
15. Always have someone on the lookout.
When you feel a nap coming on, be sure that one of your trusty herd members is prepared to stand watch over you.
16. Life is all about finding the right rhythm.
That's what they say, and it's the truth. There is nothing better than a steady, reliable rhythm - whether in walk, trot, canter or in everyday life. So get out there and find your rhythm - and enjoy!
17. Always give before you take.
This one goes without saying. Take the half-halt, for instance. The best half-halt is the one that gives first, then holds for rebalance, then gives again. And so it should be in life.
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If you enjoyed the above article, here are more:
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Softly Determined – A Poem: I found this one on the Internet long ago, with no indication of the author. However, it has stayed with me, blending intensity with passion, being so eloquent and yet knowledgeable about the “path”.
Starting to Breathe Again: Written before Hickstead’s untimely passing, this post described what it felt like to watch his $1 million CN International winning round.
Ask 25 Horse People One Question…: … and get 25 different answers! What to do with all the opinions out there.