Pain and Athletes.

When you are riding horses, in competition, you are riding an athlete. If you are using your horse to gather cattle, work the ranch or check fences, you are riding an athlete. In my opinion, all horses are athletes! Well, broodmares may not but they are still carrying around a lot of extra weight!!!! I do have a point… hold on…

Any time you stress your body to achieve a goal, your body must recover. Wether it be to get those miles in or finishing the fence that you have been building, your cells NEED to recover! Same goes for animals! Throw in some aches and pains…. and think about how you feel the next day! But, you as a human, can make the choice to lay low or push past. Our animal athletes do not get that choice. So how do we help them? What’s the game plan? Do you want your equine partner to have a bad day? Let’s see if I can help with that!

Gabe The Babe giving a lesson! He is 20!

So I have 3 geldings, Gabe who is now 20, Splash who is now 19 and Lynx sitting at 14! Seems odd that everything in my pasture is finished out training wise! Such a change for me! Anyhow, these geldings all have various things going on. Old injuries causing arthritis, being power houses when you ride or in Gabe’s life, being fat and lazy! Because I use my horses for lessons and two of them for barrel racing, I need to keep them feeling their best! First I will say, they are on an excellent feeding program! Next I will say they are ALL ON SUMMIT!!!!!! Summit has changed their lives! www.summitjp.com/resbarrelracing

Summit has helped them recover, restore and perform to their best of their abilities! It’s truly an amazing product! It is Chondriton 4 Sulphate! There is now a human product as well! Pure C4S!

So not only do I choose to take care of these equine athletes biologically, I also choose to work them out. Each horse has their own plan. Obviously, Gabe gets less work outs than the other two! Lynx gets the most! Splash gets at least 3 days a week! But I always start out with walking then trotting then loping. Lynx’s workout goal is 3 miles. Splash’s goal is also 2.5-3 miles and Gabe is more like 1.5 miles. I found that getting their heart rate and respiratory system moving helps them during the work day as well!

As far as soreness issues, I have found that for both me and my horses, Summit if helping beyond all expectations! I noticed that they are more eager to work out on day two. They are not near as grumpy on day two as they were before Summit came into our lives!!!! Lynx can easily handle a two day race now and even a three day! He no longer stocks up in his stall or fizzles out on the second/third run! 😱 Splash is just ready to rock out! I have to slow him down a little to get him to warm up! But he is a lot more consistent in his warm ups now!

Overall, I feel like we may be expecting our horses to recover and repeat without thinking about how they feel. By adding in something to help with recovery, you will be helping them to be their best!

Horses Are My Therapy

Recently, I learned of an organization called DTOM220.org This organization helps Veterans work through mental and physical issues using horses. Did you know that horses are very therapeutic? I actually did a paper on it for my Master’s degree. I won’t get into the technical terms but I’d like to open your eyes to what horses provide for therapy in different situations! (Disclaimer- This is my observations, thoughts, feelings)

I worked with a youth home for kids that were in the system and at risk for going to jail. They had a full blown ranch for these kiddos. What I observed was shy, absurd kids finding their voice with horses. They smiled and talked to the horses. They learned to communicate without words. See, horses can sense distress. The right horses will foster a bond with the distressed rider and help them to open up. On the flip side, I watched the “bullies” soften. They learned that they could not be rough with the horse and angry words didn’t foster what the child needed when working with horses. They learned to soften, trust and open their hearts. A lot of the bullies had fear when it came to horses. It was very humbling for them when they sat in the saddle! To watch these kids BLOOM around horses was simply breath taking!

Hippotherapy also helps with disabilities. Anything from pain, amputation, muscle defects right down to autism and other challenges! First, you move when they move. So wheel chair confined patients get the opportunity to have four legs under them! It has been shown to increase circulation and endorphins! For people with disabilities, horses open a door that humans can’t. I have watched an autistic kid go from not talking, severe touch sensitivity to openly communicating with the horse followed by hugs!!! I have seen kids in wheel chairs find their legs! I have seen the impossible, possible!

If I keep going, this will turn into a thesis 🤦🏼‍♀️. So I will add this…. when I’m over run by my anxiety, fears, stress, etc, my place is with my horses. It’s my therapy. I went a year without a horse to care for and it was the longest ever. I went to bed at 8pm. I woke for work every morning. But I lost my “purpose”. As a mom, I can say I have way more purpose than I did back then, however, take my horse away and watch me crumble. I can testify that riding horses does, in fact, help with PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and other issues us humans deal with daily. The right horse will change your life. I encourage you to look around for organizations that offer therapy using horses. Most all of them are non-profit. Make a donation! It can be time, used tack, or financial. These places are few due to insurance expenses and lack of volunteers! www.dtom220.org is just one of many! Let’s help them out!!!

The Second String

We all have the first and the second string of horses….. the first is going to be your favorite. Your ride or die horse. Your bliss. That is Zbar Lynx To Cash for me! It’s been a tough several months trying to keep his leg healed. We have made a few runs here and there but I don’t want to continue to stress his leg to run smaller jackpots. It NEEDS TO HEAL. Dang it! So the second string aka the back up, has been brought into full force!

Now I don’t run more than once or twice a month. Maybe 3 times if i’m lucky! But I will say this… my second string, my backup, is starting to become a favorite to run!

I wanted to put it in words as to why Splash aka A Splash of Jet is so much fun! I think I have a set of lower expectations for him. I think I’m going back to “running for fun!” As a barrel racer, we always want to improve ourselves and be the best rider we can be. On Lynx, I can tell you exactly what I did wrong. When I didn’t sit, when I didn’t look up etc. I can literally shred my run down second by second. I have been working hard to remember how super blessed I am that he “lets me run him”! I’m so blessed with him! But it’s in my nature to pick on myself. Lynx has left some pretty big shoes to fill when he is out of commission. So I stopped. I stopped expecting the others to fill those shoes!

My second string is Splash and Goose. Goose is currently being ridden by my friend Tori as she wants to start barrel racing and he is a pretty easy going dude! So that means Splash and I get to soak up the good times! I legit rolled into a race yesterday with no expectations except to have fun! And I did! My little 18 year old, 4-5D horse decided to show me that he is super fast! He clocked in the 2D 😱 And thank you Lord for letting him stay under me on the first barrel! I forgot to sit! I forgot a lot actually! He was flying! It may have been a smaller jackpot but we had some nice horses and riders come to play in the dirt! I will not discount his run!

So my thoughts are pretty simple. Enjoy the run. I think when we have no expectations and just want to go make a run for fun, our soul is so much happier! I know I’m on cloud 9! No money won, I blew past first but I stayed on, my pony ran hard and dang it, it was FUN! Count your blessings and enjoy the ride!

A Splash Of Jet 9/5/2020 County Line Arena, Wills Point, TX 7th in 2D 17.6