On being (physically) responsible for my horses

Do you ever feel like you let your horse down sometimes?

That’s how I felt last night.

I’ve had ongoing problems with my right hip and glutes for the last couple of months, and this is making it very difficult for me to put my weight down through my right leg, tipping me over onto my left hip and sending my left shoulder forward. Yesterday my hip was particularly troublesome and I was in quite a bit of pain.

So it’s no wonder when I got up on Paddy that he didn’t particularly want to bend left, and I couldn’t keep him in a consistent contact on the left rein. And funnily enough, I had problems maintaining inside flexion on the left rein with Willow too. The right rein was fine for both of them – in fact Willow felt the best she’s ever felt on the right rein, go figure! I made the decision with them both to keep the session short and just do what I could correctly, staying in trot as much as possible and doing some work in light seat.

We spend so much time worrying about how comfortable our horses are, getting regular treatment from physios, vets and dentists – but we often forget how big an impact our own physical condition can have on a horse’s way of going. It is our responsibility to ensure that not only are they in peak physical condition to do their job, but that we ourselves are in a physical condition that allows them to do that job.

I left the yard feeling deflated and actually quite disappointed with myself that I had let my two lovely horses down. They are the most adaptable and forgiving animals, and really did get on about their job with no complaints regardless of the potato that was on their back

Today I woke up feeling much brighter after a good night’s sleep, and the first thing I did was book an appointment with a physiotherapist to look at my wonky body and see what needs to be improved. And I feel very grateful to have two very lovely horses who will let me get on board again this week and give me 100%. Today they’ve earned their day off.

Natalie xo

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