I talk a lot about setting a horse up for success. You could go back and read this article on My Secret Weapon for a reminder. In that article I talk about seeing the little things and how they add up for the better or worse!
Horses are remarkably quick studies. They are also designed to want to get along. In Mary Hunter’s kind review of my book she quoted one of my favorite sayings: “If the horse knew what you wanted and was confident that he was able to do it, he’d BE doing it.” So, if it seems like your training issues just never seem to get resolved you need to look at the bigger picture. It is truly mind boggling sometimes how little it takes to block a horse from being able to cooperate with us.
It could be your equitation is the source of the block and I see that a LOT in my teaching. But that isn’t the source I wanted to talk about today.
Since moving to East Tennessee three years ago I’ve been without the support system that I had access to up north. This included quality dental care among other things. I’ve been having the local vet (who I do like as a vet) float my horse’s teeth. I would have preferred an equine dental specialist but finding someone who would come to this area was a challenge. So, this was on my radar but not until recently did the stars align to get the person I was looking for to me.
For the last couple of years I’ve been encountering a building resistance in my mare, Danke. I’ve been in a quandary wondering why she was so resistant when I picked up the reins to make contact. Now, Danke can be persnickety anyways so when certain issues began creeping in it was easy to blame any one of a number of possibilities. Like the footing or pulled muscle or maybe my equitation!
A few weeks ago, Krystin Dennis of horsefloss.com, a Natural Balance Equine Dentist, came to visit with my horses. She found a number of small but crucial anomalies in Danke’s mouth that could be performance inhibitors. In the weeks that have followed when I’ve ridden Danke I’ve become more certain that the work that Krystin did was the missing link. Danke was trying to tell me that something wasn’t right. The resistance to taking up a feel of her mouth is gone. The resistance to backing that had been there before is gone. Now, we are back to being able to focus on building balance and suppleness without fighting against the spots where Danke was saying, I really really can’t.
There are plenty of challenges in horse training under the best of circumstances. Give your horse a chance to be successful by removing the obvious roadblocks like an unbalanced mouth, or unbalanced feet (another subject I’m passionate about) or saddle fit. Then your efforts to improve your training skills and equitation will have a prayer of being successful!
To learn more about equine dentistry check out this informative presentation by Krystin Dennis.