What are your New Year's resolutions for you and your equine friends? Is it as simple as adding one more ride a week? Or finally making the commitment to buy the horse of your dreams?
Some of us will try to advance in our chosen discipline. Some will try to learn a new one. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and lope those first steps, or enter a new class at your local club.
If you have questions about the best way to feed your horse, now is a good time to learn about the nutritional needs of horses in the area you live in. I know that on the prairies of Colorado we need at least five acres of ground per head to sustain a horse. From what I've seen, it should be ten. Even though I love my “feed store guy”, I’m going to talk to my vet to learn the best way to keep my horse happy and healthy.
If you have always wanted a horse, maybe this is the year to take riding lessons or volunteer at your favorite rescue (or both). You can learn to ride, shovel and feed. What better way to make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you buy an animal which could easily live for the next 30 years?
I have several plans for the upcoming year. Most of them involve absorbing the shock of working in an office all day and finding a way to still enjoy my horses. I have learned that if you are chained to a desk 40 hours a week, 5 horses are 4 too many. Well, maybe three. Or two.
I also have been invited to become a regular contributor on http://www.equestrianink.blogspot.com/. I haven't learned all the rules and regulations yet, but I do believe I post on Saturdays, or every other. I'm going to try to change up on the things I write about over there. Maybe talk about the pain of trying to get published, finding a niche in the equine writer's market, learning to improve my writing skills, what's happening at the newspaper...see? My mind is already clicking along.
Anyway, here’s some of my thoughts and aspirations for 2009.
1. I will learn to cut. This is my priority. As a Reined Cowhorse competitor I cut to a limited extent. Although we call it herd work. Which is a good thing, because cutting is a complex entity unto itself and what we do in cowhorse really isn’t cutting. The more I learn about cutting the more I realize how hard it is. It fascinates me. So I am going to work and compete in cutting events to the best of my ability in 2009.
2. I will get all of my horses broke to a rope. I can’t rope. So I use it as an excuse not to have my horses comfortable with a lasso. I realize the world expects a western horse to be able to have a rope slung off it. So mine will.
3. I’ll compete in an endurance ride. Just one. NATRC hosts a beautiful ride at the Air Force Academy. The last time I rode in a NATRC ride was 35 years ago. It’s time to expand my horizons.
4. I’m going to go through each of my horses from the ground up. I’m going to check their manners (I know of a certain yellow horse who is in for a rude awakening), their responses on the ground. Then I’m going to ride and take each horse through his or her paces. Any time I find a hitch in their git-along I’m going to fix it. In other words I’m going to give each horse the time it deserves.
5. I’m going to enjoy my time in the saddle. For the rest of my life I get to ride because I want to. I get to ride because I love horses. I’m going to remember this every time I throw a leg over.
Happy New Year's guys. You are all a wonderful addition to my life. Thanks for reading. What are you doing with your horses in 2009?