21 Nov The Importance of Learning as a Young Rider
T&R sponsored rider Chloe Gee shares her take on the importance of learning as a young rider in our latest blog post.
Learning. Kids do it at school all day, five days a week; and the last thing they want to do when they come home or on the weekends at horse events, is learn. But as a young rider with aspirations to do big things, whether that be competing at the Olympics or World Games, or start your own riding school or stud, it’s so important to learn as much as you can in the world of horses now; because this is what’s going to set you apart from the rest of the riders later on.
I don’t mean that you have to get the fattest horse management book you can find and study it within an inch of its life. It’s just little things as you go about caring for your horse that can make the world of difference. So how exactly do you learn as much as you can without sticking your nose in a book and studying? Here’s some tips to get you started:
1. Always go to the vet with your parents
This is so important. Whenever your horse goes to the vet, whether it be a general check-up or for whatever reason, always tag along with your parent. Why? Hearing first-hand what your horse need’s to improve its soundness, help its hind gut, or treat certain diseases, will give you a massive edge in the future if you end up with another horse with a similar issue. Being exposed to the ways they manage things at veterinary centres and watching what they do will surprisingly help you a lot more than you think.
Obviously you’re not going to turn into a vet this way, but you’ll learn visually how to properly clean areas or wounds, the types of medication used to treat conditions like ulcers, and even how to spot lamenesses in your horse! These are all so important skills you need to look after your horse in the best way possible, and a vital quality of a high level rider!
2. FOllow some Good informational pages on social media
This is a very easy way to learn little bits of information all the time! Feed companies like Thompson and Redwood regularly post on social media about the horses’ digestive system, what they need to perform at their best, and how feed can influence this.
This is another way of giving your horse the best chance at performing to it’s full potential, and what will give you an edge over your competition. Whatever you choose to feed, learn about it and why it’s ideal for your horse, and if you do this for all of your horses as they come and go, you’ll know a hell of a lot more without having to put in a lot of effort.
3. Watch your farrier when he comes to shoe or trim your horse
Looking at being a farrier when you grow up? A lot of us will say no to that, and therefore we’ll never learn how to shoe a horse. When my farrier does my horses, I always watch and he’s explained how he does it to me before, and I still don’t quite get it. But I figure if I keep watching then maybe I’ll be game enough to put one on (under his supervision of course!) because you’ll never know when you have to tack a shoe on!!
This has become even more evident for me after pulling a shoe right before my dressage test at the recent Swan River CCI, and all I could think was ‘thank goodness the farrier was there!’
4. Ask questions when you get your saddle fitted
I’ve gotten to the stage now where I can usually tell if a saddle is fitting well, couldn’t tell you what you need to do to fix it, but that’s the job of the saddle fitter! Being able to identify if your saddle is fitting incorrectly is a massive advantage and will save you a lot of money and grief in the long run! Horses are constantly changing as we get better as riders and learn to work our horses in better ways. And because of this, we need to get our saddles fitted more often than what some of us think!
So, it’s super important to be able to spot when your saddle needs adjusting!
We all want to be the world’s best one day, in whatever area we decide. And if you look at the people at the top of those areas, they know a lot more than just riding. They can pick lamenesses, ulcers, back problems, all from just looking at them work. They know what feed is suitable for which horse, and they know all the best ways to deal with minor injuries. Being the best involves a lot more than just the stuff you see on the stage. So why not start now?