When it comes to horses, in any discipline, we all have our way of doing things. A lot of the things we do are because someone else told us to do it THAT way. Think about it. Who up and decided that we should always lead, saddle and mount from the left side of the horse? If I had to guess, it was a right handed person! If you are leading on the left side of the horse, your right arm is your strongest, so that would make it easier to control the horse. Makes sense. Saddling from the right side is a different perspective . Reflect back to when men carried swords. They carried them on the left side to make them easy to draw from the scabbard once mounted. Can you imagine swinging your leg over a horse that had a steel sword strapped to it? Makes sense for back in the day!

So now I wonder why we mount from the left in modern day. It’s the side that the latigo and girth meet up to tighten a western saddle. English saddles, it’s the side the elastic straps are located (on my English saddle) so I assume it’s easier to re-adjust when you put your foot in the stirrup to get one and feel that your saddle is loose. Makes sense!

With all this being said, why do we do it every single time? Horses are used to routine. Their brains prefer this, that and there. I know mine do! However, I have been in many situations where I had to mount or dismount on the right side. I’m so glad that we had already worked on that move because I was in a bad bind! I highly recommend that you practice mounting, saddling and leading your horse from both sides. One day you will be in a situation that you have no other choice. We do things out of habit and perhaps there was a real strong reason for it, but I don’t often carry my sword anymore!

It has been one month…

It has been one month since I was kicked in the chest. One month since a random hoof flew at me and into my chest. One month since I decided to turn my horse out, forgot to let the horse out of the other paddock and walked forward vs turning around and going back to the gate….and I got kicked in the chest. My oh my how one blink can alter your reality.

This was an average morning. I went to turn horses out. I didn’t let the one horse that sleeps in the paddock, that is located inside the back pasture , out before letting Lynx loose for the day. A simple thing. So I took the halter off Lynx, put it on my shoulder and stepped forward. I woke up 15’ from where I was standing. It hurt. I could not breathe. I did manage to get up and let that horse out before the ambulance arrived. I spent four days in the hospital and did not break anything. Blunt force trauma to my chest wall.

What I have learned since this experience? A lot! I learned that the world keeps turning. I learned that my child still had baseball. Dinner still needed to be cooked. Horses still needed to be fed. I also learned that my 42 year old body takes longer to heal! I learned that I have limits.

On my 14 year wedding anniversary, September 29th, my son got sick. Of course we got tested and come to find out it was the vid. My son was sick for maybe 24-36 hours. He is 100% now! I tested positive but do not have any symptoms aside from my “I just got kicked in the chest by a horse” symptoms. All I want to do is ride! But yet….I got kicked in the chest by a horse. Sigh.

So what does one do when we are in quarantine and healing from trauma? I’m not 💯 great but I am also way past the sleeping all day phase! I cleaned saddles. I cook dinner. I do laundry. Gah the laundry! What do we do? Watch tv. That’s it! So please go ride your horses and breathe in the ragweed air! Enjoy the little cool front that might make your steed a little fresh! Think of me while you glide along on that horse of yours! I can’t wait to ride again! But…I will! Why? Because “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” does not apply to people over 40! 😐✌🏻

Barrel Racing…

I have not really ever hauled a Horsw to the race without one for myself to ride. However, I did just that this weekend! One of my students, Maggie, went to her first big race! The whole weekend was totally different for me!

First, I will say that this kiddo is almost 12. She is a quick learner and such a positive kid! I’d like to think that I had a hand in that attitude but I’m going to give all the credit to her parents! She is a Boy Scout, (yes, Boy Scout), volleyball player, rides English and rides western! But… with all that going on, she made the decisions on what to do. Her parents encourage her to figure out her own path then help her get to where she needs to be to follow said paths! She is a middle child of 3. Not once have I ever seen this child throw her sucker in the dirt!!! Never! Not a single time!

To start off, she has gone to some playdays, attended several of my races to watch and always ends up on a horse. She has fallen off. She has gotten back on. She has made mistakes but corrected them and she ALWAYS loves on the horse she is riding!!! ALWAYS! This makes the coach a happy coach! (Me) I applaud her efforts every single time she rides yet she doesn’t need that constant pat on the back! But she will smile and love that horse like they won a million bucks! Man oh man! You just don’t get that sort of competitive yet loving nature all the time! This is why I had zero negative thoughts about loading up and heading out to a weekend race for this kiddo!!! I knew, no matter the outcome, she would come out with a smile, learn from the experience and get ready for next time! And she did! First run was a little sketchy. She did get a no time due to just having a little too much control on the seasoned 19 year old Splash. We made some adjustments and had them ride bareback late that night. Her comeback the next day was amazing! And that is why I coach! I love seeing them recognize the issue, putting the changes into action and seeing them progress!

As for me, y’all, I have only run my horse maybe 4 times in 2021. It’s been a rough year! I’m finally starting to heal and ready to get my horse in shape. It’s an odd feeling. Going to a race without my mount. I had so many friendly faces ask me if I’m ever going to come out of retirement. Last time I ran was spring break? I think? It doesn’t seem so long ago! I was simply shocked that so many thought I hung up my Spurs! I didn’t. I just had a lot of jaw dropping injuries (not all horse related but barn related) and just need some time to heal! 💪🏻 I need to get back at it! So thank you to all my well wishers. Is that a word? I will be back on my pint soon! Lynx was plum pissed when I loaded up his older brother and left for the weekend! He is still pouting!

So here is three cheers to barrel racing! To taking the time to heal myself so I can be the best rider for my main mount! Honestly, right now, I am enjoying coaching and watching my students grow and thrive through the love of horses! Rock on kids! This week, I may even coach from the saddle! 😜