Learning to take the good with the bad, or the bad with the good is the key to happiness. A life with horses presents many opportunities to check the level in the resiliency tank. Nailing a training milestone, winning a ribbon, or a relaxing hack through the field can be overshadowed in a split second by a career ending injury, the death of a foal, or a scary fall. You can cry a little (or a lot) and nurse your wounds, but ultimately you have to move on and get over it.
My resiliency was put to the test recently. I’ve been in the habit of starting my day with a ride before turning the horses out. Usually I send a text message or call someone just to let them know that’s my plan – on the off chance something should happen. Something did happen that morning. Luckily, my daughter had taken the day off work and was home when my pony and I hit the dirt. The pony was not injured, and my helmet did its job. After a thorough inspection at two hospitals it was determined no serious damage was done. My aches and pains are mostly healed, and now I’m getting on with re-building my confidence. The pysche can be fragile and is sometimes harder to mend than the body.
Auditing the recent George Morris jumper clinic in Windsor, Nova Scotia, was an excellent opportunity to sit and heal. The legendary horseman offered up simple but effective training techniques, exercises, and information that could be used (to some degree) by riders of all levels as much of it pertained to flat work (see Jana Hemphill’s clinic summary on page 22). I’ve never come away from auditing a clinic having learned and retained so much, and it was great to see clinic organizer Danny Forbes “back home.”
At almost 80 years of age, Morris personified toughness when he hopped up, brushed himself off, and climbed back on after falling from a spooky horse. Watching Morris ride random horses and talk through the aids he was using was especially interesting. His wit added to the clinic, but the pointed personal insults, especially those directed at younger female riders and helpers, did not. Strangely, with all we know about the damage of words, we still pass off this type of behaviour from an adult with celebrity status and a microphone as “character building,” or excuse it as spectacle.
Readers will find lots of variety in the August - October issue of Atlantic Horse & Pony – reiners, jumpers, legends, amateurs, and everything in between – it’s been a busy spring and summer in this part of the world. Our own HP legend, Dr. Helen Douglas is retiring from her writing duties with this, her final Vets View column – exploring equine neurologic disease. For almost three decades (YES, three decades), Dr. Douglas has presented timely and valuable health and soundness information in an easy to understand format. Many an Avon Pony Club stable management lecture with long time instructor Mary Henry have been built around this column. Thank you Dr. Douglas for your commitment to educating our readers. You’re a hard act to follow and we will miss your contribution. HP also sends a sincere thank you to Ruth Storey, our Newfoundland reporter who is stepping down after 16 years. Welcome to native Newfoundlander Alison King who is taking over the report starting with this issue.
Regardless of your discipline or locale, the “H” word is something many of us have looming over us as I write this. Teresa Alexander-Arab sums up that itchy experience nicely this issue in her column, On a lighter note. Enjoy the hot weather – even those hours spent prepping for the cold!
The photo caption on p. 17 of the May-June issue of Atlantic Horse & Pony should read Meadow Brook Stables in Alton, N.S., not Meadow Brook Farm. Sincerest apologies to Kaila Watters and Anna Briand, owners of this facility.