In horse sports we all get focused on our animals. All they really just want is to eat, socialize and roll in the dirt, but we ask then to work for us on a regular basis. So it makes sense that we care for them physically as well as emotionally. No horse "shrinks" here, but time to decompress, do something they seem to enjoy, a vacation basically. What about riders? Does anyone ever address the stress and even possibly burn-out that can happen to a competative athlete?
Recently, I was unlucky and in Florida's warm humid spring I contracted pneumonia. As a physician, I recognized and started treatment immediatly with powerful antibiotics which knocked out the fever and wracking cough quickly. It was then VERY tempting to go right on with all my activities as though I was fine. But my education tells me otherwise. Those powerful drugs work but at a drain on my system. If I keep taking energy and health out of the system and not restoring it I will only get into worse trouble down the road. I HATE taking time off to be sick, and heal. So many years of my life have been spent in such endeavors, but bodies take real prisoners and can find tough ways to make you slow down in the end.
When sick or injured, allow time to heal. Be considerate of the insult your body has had and make sure to eat well and rest physically and spiritually to get back to being your best you. This advice also holds true for stress of all types, such as travel, love, divorce, job loss or change and many others. Treat yourself at least as well as your mount and you may be amazed at the changes.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Lately training has focused on asking Erik to reach further under his body with his hind legs with each stride he takes. Simple physics states that this long lever arm (the hind leg) placed further under the body will be able to lift that body more easily with the same force applied. From a rider standpoint this has several important points. Each leg produces more lift and forward impulsion, so that less aid is needed on my part for the desired result. Often I need to back off my aid so that I don't drive the horse through my half halt and alter his balance more then he can handle. It also means that any slight straightness issue becomes a glaring problem if the hind legs push off with differing ammounts of strength due to their position under the body. It becomes quickly obvious from the saddle how much power is lost when the horse is not aligned properly in his body. It has become a new increased focus for me to actually moniter all four limbs and not just front versus back. More mental work rather than physical, which is good for me.