Galloping up the beach racing the dart was only one of many talents that my 15.2hh, Irish draught x cob 5yr old gelding had when I was only 14 years old. Man, he was fast. We hacked, showjumped, hunted, huntertrialed, did fun rides, I even taught him to pull a trap. And that same horse went on to bring me to my wedding. That horse had the biggest heart that never stopped giving. I was a lucky girl indeed.
As I got older, and he retired, I began new journeys with other horses. I took a liking to starting and training young horses. Some I kept for a while, some I started, backed and sold on.. the ones I kept for longer, I took a liking to and maybe fancied keeping them for myself… but I just couldn’t stop comparing them to Flash… the wonder horse that made me.. as much as I felt I taught him.. there was so much I learned from him.
But as a girl at 14 has so much time on her hands when weekends and school holidays came around, it was so hard not to spend every waking moment with him. I spent hours brushing, talking, hacking, grazing .. making jumps, and exploring places together with other friends too. It was no wonder the horse ended up as good as he did.. look at the amount of time I put into him… days, months, years… it was never ending.. I retired him at 23yrs old, so in those 18yrs together we never stopped learning…
But sometimes we forget this, in the busy lives we live, the house needs cleaning, the kids need feeding, bills paid, etc..etc.. and in the midst of it all, you get possibly one measly hour with this new animal you just got, to teach him something new every time you see him.. and sometimes it might not be every day, it might only be twice a week because of the weather, or the broadband man is coming on Tuesday, or there is a meeting in Dublin on Thursday and Friday you have to bring the dog to the vet and your kid has to go to football, and well, Monday you have to get the shopping in, is it worth paying the babysitter money just for your hobby?? Surely the horse will be OK for one more day without riding .. or 2 or 3.. but aren’t you putting him up for sale soon? Shouldn’t he have done cross country by now.. the customer won’t want him if he hasn’t done everything 🙄… Oh why can’t he be like flash, he did everything… but the thing I forgot was I had time back then.. that is the biggest thing a horse needs from you ….T I M E.
This is what makes a horse, a good horse.. dedication, commitment, and TIME.
A friend once said to me, you can turn an average horse with little talent into a great horse with time, hard work and good education. But on the flip side, if a well bred talented horse is not given the time or energy to achieve its highest potential, it won’t work out in the end, resulting in the trainer/dealer’s old owners being blamed for a “bold horse” even though the new owners never put the time and work into continuing its education.
And well, we all know we can’t buy time so we have to make it. Organise a time slot for you and your horse. Plan it out. The sessions, the goals, your journey together to get what you want.. so many people want a QUICK FIX, but you can’t rush horses, there is no QUICK FIX, it just ends in disaster in my opinion, and take it from me, I once had a youngster to bring on and felt I had to prove something to someone, and I admit I rushed it. Well it didn’t take long to fall apart in front of my eyes, my ego got in the way, and I was afraid of what people would think if I didn’t get this done in a certain timeline. I fell victim to the pressures of everyone else out on their horses and why I SHOULD be at the same stage, mind you, this is just after having baby number 2, (what was I thinking?).
Take the time to teach your horse the things you want, that make you happy. After all, isn’t this what we love, it’s not meant to make us stressed out, or feel rushed, it is our love for these beautiful creatures that fuels our passion to be with them in this life. Take the time because you can’t get that back … 💜