Why do people ride horses when they are off?
This is a topic that has puzzled me for many years. When a horse is lame, has a significant injury or is just plain body sore, why do people still ride them? Riding a horse in pain will never result in a quality training session and usually causes more damage to the injured area. In addition, the horse suffers and will start to compensate physically to offset using that limb or area of their body.
In reference to my post entitled, ‘Why do riders take things so seriously, lighten up, it’s supposed to be fun!‘, why are riders in such a hurry to ride – most of us aren’t going to the Olympics nor even preparing for an important competition. I think people choose to ride their sore horse because of ego and insecurity. They want to ignore the fact that their horse is injured, hoping things will just work out – after all they do pay board and their horse is there for a reason, right? Also, by riding they can assure themselves that it is not as bad as it seems or their horse would object more. This is not always the case as many horses are very benevolent at least in the short term.
Inflamation is a nasty thing and often having a rider on a horse’s back makes inflamation worse. Give your horse some time! Hand walk! Do stretching exercises in hand. As the great trainer, Kurd Albrecht von Ziegner says, “the long way is the short way” – this not only applies to training but also to healing. When in doubt don’t ride, I’ve never regretted giving my horse some time and physio when they’ve not been right – on the other hand I’ve seen owners continue to ride their horses despite injuries, which eventually turns into chronic problems.