Being the mother of a 8 month old son has me scrambling to learn time management. Between housework, taking care of the boy, barn paperwork and training I don’t have much left for things like sleeping, or sitting… I know I am not alone.
Something keeps coming to mind that Charles, my former trainer/mentor, taught me. He was always talking about time. Time is important when you are training. It takes time to train a horse. People don’t make enough time… He said it in so many ways and in so many situations, I couldn’t help but remember. I don’t think he was criticizing people who can’t ride every day, I know that really isn’t realistic; however it is very important that expectations match the amount of time that is put in.
Horses need experience to become that well broke finished horse we all dream about. The only way to gain that experience is through a lot of hours. Hours of focused work, fun and games, new places, other horses, intimidating situations, and relaxed down time. Without all of these a horse will not be well rounded, and it takes a lot of time to expose and accustom the horse to all of these different situations. Many people hope they can put 30-60 days on a horse and have it come home “broke.” This is unrealistic. It can gain a great foundation in that time, but if it is not followed with a lot more it will always be unpredictable, and unreliable.
Horses also need a certain amount of time to get in shape. It is unfair to the horse to ride them infrequently, and then ride them long and hard. They will become sore. A horse who is often worked in this way will become sour, reluctant to work, reluctant to be caught, etc. A physically unfit horse is also more prone to injury, same as we are.
Besides the benefit to the horse, there is a benefit to the rider in being prepared to take their time. It allows the rider to take one step at a time, step back when necessary, and enjoy the process. This makes it less likely that the horse will be stressed by being pushed too hard, and more likely that there will be a healthy working partnership between horse and rider.