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!

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!

Fear? Where did that come from?

When you have horses, at some point, you will experience fear. Gah the dreaded word! I was reluctant to even make this post but I feel like it’s something we all experience and should be discussed. After all, we are literally putting our lives in the hands of a 1200# plus animal and letting them go. We have to trust in our training, trust in God and let them go. Of course, this is not in all sports involving equine but most of them!

Zbar Lynx To Cash 1/30/2021 Imagehounds

When I make a run on Lynx, I do get the jitters. We have been running together for over 10 years. I raised him. I’m the only one that has ever run him on barrels. We have a bond. Someone made a post about when riding a hot horse you just let that anxiety wash off because it’s all you can do. Lynx is a back forty, full blast down the alley horse. When warming up, we are warming up. If I stop to chat, he will give me about five minutes then he does this little kick out and attempts to get back to warming up. When we are in the holding area waiting to run, he is… well… an ass. I’m constantly apologizing as he shows out and insists on long trotting or loping and might kick out here and there. It’s not that he doesn’t want to run. The issue is, HE DOES WANT TO RUN!!! He wants me to let him at the gate to go! He has always been this way. But this weekend, something clicked in my brain. It was fear. Oddly enough, it didn’t happen before or during my run. It was way after. I cannot explain it. All I can say is that when I was unsaddling I had this “what was I thinking? He could have really hurt me!” But this horse has my heart and gosh darn it, I LOVE to run him! He had just been a bit extra that day. The fear was there. I gave it to God in the warm up and holding pen. I had to step off him and hand walk him until before my drag. I prayed. I prayed with so many people! A nice person came over on her horse, whom was also acting out, and it seemed to calm them both down. Luckily, we were in the same drag. We had a great run! I didn’t fall off! He did his normal victory lap! I loved him and gave him cookies! But he was talking up a storm about how I got behind and he needed me to stay with him. Yes, we talk to each other a lot!

When I got back to my trailer, I was struck with the fear of “what if’s”. This is the same horse I give lessons to all level of riders on and he is a saint. Truly. He is only like this for me. So where did this sudden fear come from? Here is my thought…. I got too much in my head. He and I feed off each other. I was nervous about him hurting someone else. He was wondering why I was nervous. He was confused. I was trying to keep him calm. He wanted to run. I was trying to not get him anymore excited than he was. He was feeling my negative energy and my worry so he was worried. So I think the fear came from him. I think he thought that he did something wrong (he did, he bucked and tried to kick at a little girl) and I confused him. It hit me hard at the trailer and I think he was afraid that I was unhappy with his run. I wasn’t! I was unhappy with his attitude towards innocent bystanders! But he didn’t know that. He thought I didn’t trust him.

So what do I do with this fear? Obviously, I need to work on reassuring him that he is a good boy! I need to stop getting on him too soon (25 riders before me was evidently too soon) and I need to warm him up where there is not a ton of people. I need to work on MY confidence in HIM. I need to trust my training. I need to send positive thoughts to him. I need to give it to God and leave the jitters at the trailer! This is my rockstar! This is my awesome, totally broke, athletic barrel horse. I need to get myself stronger so I can ride him better.

As we get older, we start to gain self preservation. It’s normal. I need to forgive myself for that! I have a family! It’s ok to be aware. It’s not ok to loose my Faith. God had me. He always does! My horse had me, he always does! So I will have to start listening to music or something before my run to keep my brain from the rabbit hole!

Lynx did pull his biggest check this weekend in one run! We won 2nd in the 3D and won $1235!!! Other than a few thigh bruises, we are fine! We both really had a great weekend! I think we need to just ride and enjoy each other more! With the weather, that had been challenging!

So if you are like me and catch a dose of the fear, say your prayers and don’t feed that energy to your horse! Literally, peace out! ✌🏻

Hard Decisions.

Have you ever had a horse that you loved but didn’t click with and just could not figure out? I have had a few. But this last one, well, I raised him and God kept telling me “do what Is best for the horse”. I was perplexed.

So at first, I decided to invest some money into training and see how we could do as a team. It wasn’t working out. I put him up for sale and when I had to talk to someone about him….I immediately took down the ad. I could not do it. Nope. God told me again….do what’s best for the horse!

Round two, this horse and I had some arguments and some medical bills….I decided to sell him…..this was 5 years later? I even had people “try him”. Once again…..I brought him home with no offers and took down the ad. I cried. Ugly tears. See, the folks that tried him were from Florida area. One of his issues is humidity, allergies and the general “I can’t breathe” situation. Again, God said “ do what is right for the horse”. I took down the ad. I decided I would put a lot of effort into working out our issues, finding out how to keep his body happy (and mine), and really really tried! We pulled our first check almost exactly a year ago today! 2nd in the 1D! I was pumped! Well, then he started having a hard time again……I decided that he needed to go North.

I have some Facebook friends that have loved Goose for many many years and things just never worked out for them to buy him when I had him for sale the two times… Keep in mind, I KNEW he needed to be in a different environment. His allergies are horrible where we live. To the point that from March 1- October 1, he was in a dry lot to keep him away from eating things in the pasture he was allergic too (never could 💯 pinpoint what it was) and he was miserable between snot and heat as well as being “alone”. God again said “do what is right for the horse”. So we made the drive to Wyoming! I have to say that trusting my gut and my God, once again, was the right thing to do! After being in the trailer for 17 or so hours, he unloaded and I could already tell he could BREATHE. The next day we took him to the arena for his new mama to ride with help from me…..he was great! I mean….long haul, new EVERYTHING, AND HE WAS GREAT!

This decision was hard. Really hard. But at the same time, I felt at peace as soon as I set it in my brain. I was washed over with Grace. I don’t know how to explain the feeling. I just knew it was finally the RIGHT decision and I was doing what was best for the horse! I thought I would cry. I thought I would have a hard time telling him bye. I love this horse. I do. He is so full of personality that you can’t help but love him! But, I haven’t cried yet. It’s not that I’m like “thank God he is gone”. I would have kept him forever if he was comfortable here. Nope. This is a “Wow! He looks so much happier where he is now! He really likes his new jockey! He is finally comfortable and happy!”

I look forward to seeing him and his new jockey reach all kinds of new levels! She is a really awesome kid with some mad skills riding horses! I saw them as a team from the first five minutes of her riding him! Once she goes pro, I’m sure her and Goose will have already climbed all the ranks!

I guess my point is pretty simple. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions about our lives, horses, dogs, kiddos etc. But when you pray on it and get an answer, try to find out what God is saying. Sometimes He can be really vague. But I promise, if you keep praying about it, He will guide you to your answer! And that answer will bring you so much peace!