First of all, some thankfulness.
Day 14 – I’m grateful for wonderful fall weather, perfect for evening rides.
I’m going on a vacation soon, and have asked a friend of mine to ponysit while I’m gone. She’s been horseless for a few months, but has been riding her whole life. Like me, her eventing experience is limited to lower levels over just the last few years, but she’s an excellent horsewoman and a reliable friend.
However I think being horseless has hurt her confidence, as she half-jokingly said she’d be sure to coordinate with my trainer to be sure she doesn’t “screw up” Hemie’s training.
Which is an interesting and uncomfortable notion, that I’d love to get others’ opinions on: the idea in general that a temporary rider could materially affect a horse’s training.
Several years ago, a friend was asked to ride a trainer’s stallion at the California Equine Affair breed exhibition. She agreed, and got one practice ride on the horse at home the week before, which went fine. At the exhibition, the poor stud was very distracted and hot, and their ride didn’t go smoothly. The trainer was extremely upset and dissapointed (after all, her goal was presumably to show the stud to advantage in hopes of getting some breeding bookings). She yelled at my friend that she had “undone years’ worth of training.” To which I mentally rolled my eyes. It was simply a tense ride, not some major incident.
On the other hand, each time we interact with a horse we are “training” it, even if just ground manners. Plus there’s plenty of anecdotal examples of one terrible jump accident creating ongoing mental issues for horses.
What do you think about this notion? And does it affect who you let interact with your horse?