I know that there are many people who have trainers ride their horses regularly. I think that’s awesome. Tristan always makes progress by leaps and bounds when someone who actually knows how to ride horses sits on him. It’s almost like experts do stuff better than out of shape amateurs who jump on bareback three times a week.
I’ll be gone for nearly two weeks for Wedding + Aftermath, and right now, Tris is in a somewhat peculiar and precarious place. He’s overall in good health, but his physical shape is utter shit. He’s turned out on a hill, and I’m walking him a few times a week, but…that’s it. Yeah. I know. Last week, I asked him to trot the (mostly flat) cross-length of the hay field and he was blowing hard when we got to the other side. Goooooood grief.
So I had a long conversation with the barn manager last night about what Tris will need while I’m gone (thankfully, not too much) and I voiced my problem(s).
Problem the first: I’d like to keep him in work while I’m away.
Problem the second, which is the larger, underlying problem: he’s out of shape, and I’ve become too nervous to whip him back into shape. If he seems sore, or too tired, or breathing too hard, or anything, I get nervous. It looms much larger in my head than it should. I should just push through and stick to a program, but I back off and noodle around instead.
But he needs to be in better shape. Right now his muscle tone is poor, and he’s week through his hind end, which means he’s tripping even more than usual, and his body feels disconnected all through even in the walk. He’s got a hay gut and no topline, and just overall an even more sedentary attitude. He needs more muscle, more energy, and a better body feel. He needs to go into the winter with a base of fitness.
Solution: while I’m gone, the assistant trainer will sit on him, maybe two or three times. She’ll work out a program. Between the assistant trainer, the working student, and the barn manager, they’ll get him started. When I get back, I will sit down with the assistant trainer and she will tell me to get the hell over myself and what I need to do.