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Should you?

Should you?

Postby Tess and Organza » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:54 am

Ride your horses for their well being?
Not sure if we've had this come up before...sorry of Im being senile. Im fairly sure we have gone into this a bit before ?
Im raising the question as although most of you will probably find the idea of not riding your horse a bit pointless as in why deny yourself the pleasure, whats been occuring to me recently is the necessity physically for my horses.Im talking muscle loss.
I think that some horses maybe most love to hack out for many reasons not just because its fun but because they need to move to trek to run...its how they are built.
I stopped because...oh shucks its no secret here that Im mad as a box of frogs...but the darker side, also no secret is periodic very debilitating depression and anxiety. I more or less have stopped riding. Ok Ive stopped riding. For two years I have not been on a horses back.
I have told myself its ok because
Organza is worried out hacking but actually looking back that possibly began when I started to get really poorly.
Horses are not there to be 'used'
Countless reasons why its ok in fact perhaps better that they dont go out.
But I can see the muscle loss and the boredom now that their field is small particularly and Im fairly sure they need physical entertainment!!
What to do? I havent changed over night and sadly will probably always be mentally unwell. I suffered childhood depression so unfortunately when that switch was thrown because in those days people covered it up rather than sorting it out,it stayed on and although Im now good at using immense force sometimes to turn it off it always goes back on when Im not looking. Been much better since the end of the summer as Ive taken up running and walking which helps enormously...and makes me think about them who would probably really like to do the same thank you...!
Problem is my anxiety.
I have some ideas about how I could get Kiki back out because I am much more up for trying these days, albeit carefully...but Ganza? This question could apply to people with physical illness too that stops them riding.
How does everyone else see this? From the horses point of view?
And is in it fact a huge diservice that I am not taking them out?
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Re: Should you?

Postby Chevalblanc » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:19 am

When I kept mine in that little field I felt obliged to take them out regularly because as you say, it's tiny. We used to take Sky & Kinns for walks round the village in hand, didn't have to go miles, just enough for a change of scene. They seemed to enjoy it, not least for the chance to munch grass on the verge.......

But now our horses are in a 15 acre field and I have noticed that they seem to want to follow us out of the gate from there too. Tari is particularly keen to get out and about, even a little walk down to the school and back gets her vote. The 6th horse in the field, Lily, a retired racehorse, always wants to come out with us and interact with us as her owners don't do anything with her any more - is that because she fancies a change of scene?

So I guess what I am saying is try to at least get the out in hand sometimes, start with Kiki and see how it goes if you just take her over the road for some grass? Also there are lots of in hand exercises you can do to to build up some muscle, you don't have to ride. Again, we used to do little polework/agility things just in the courtyard, that way the others will still be in view and there shouldn't be separation anxiety issues.....

We'll get them started at Christmas :xmasgrin:

So in answer to your question, I don't think you necessarily have to ride horses for their wellbeing, but maybe you do need to provide other activities as domestic horses don't have to spend all their time moving over vast distances foraging just to survive any more......so at least from a physical point of view they need regular exercise.

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Re: Should you?

Postby FlorayG » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:31 am

yes I'm with Helen on this one - if your horses have plenty of 'environmental enrichment' (i.e. a big field with room to run, hedges and differerent terrain and plenty of company) they don't 'need' exercise at all. Yes they may lose muscle but a horse only NEEDS muscle in order to work so if they're not working they don't need it.
However if they are very restricted in what they are able to do in their home environment then I think they need to get out regularly - although they still don't need to be ridden. Some friends of mine have horses at home on 4 acres, they don't ride but each horse has several visits a day, grooming, walking out, doing tricks etc. They all seem content. They are all fat and sloppy... :xmaswink:
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Re: Should you?

Postby Tess and Organza » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:29 pm

I do all those things apart from the going out!! Apart from Netty who walks out every 2 weeks with a friends little girl...i just go for 30 mins round the village. We muck about with tricks etc but nothing particularly gymnastic! My dream is to have land and woods for us all. Agree with you both of course just need to sort out the nerves issue...Ganz is a bogger offer even in hand as Helen knows..big road and railway line here :?
I used to have a dually which meant i could hang onto her when she stressed out but someone nicked it from the livery.
Im thinking micro distances now on a long rein nearer and nearer the gate in company of the others till things are safe and calm.
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Re: Should you?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:20 pm

You are very honest and open about yourself and your demons Tess :hug: and it sounds s if you understand your limitations, which is a great thing :thumbup: and it is no good putting yourself out of your comfort zone taking them out if it is going to worry you. I am also of the opinion that riding isn't a must, but some undemanding time, regular handling and a bit of groundwork, is essential for their physical and mental wellbeing.
I think that horses, like humans, are never satisfied. I also think it is good when they show they want to be with us and do things. They can also have the effect on us of making us feel guilty for not providing entertainment :xmaslaugh: when they give the look, as if to say "off out again? What about us?" :xmasgrin:
Helen will sort you out with some ideas I am sure :thumbup: and I would love to come over myself in the new year as I won't be able to join you in December.
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Re: Should you?

Postby Trudi » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:43 pm

I think everyone else has said it very well already Tess, I won't repeat the already excellent advice.
I think that having a plan to do something with them would be great for you- doesn't have to be going out but ultimately that would be lovely for all of you. Just working on being with them with good personal space and teaching them to walk with you etc will raise the spirits.
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Re: Should you?

Postby spottygiraffe » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:32 pm

They don't care if they are ridden or not. Yes they need exercise but it can be in any form. If they just hang out in the field than they don't even need muscles, but having tone and flexibility will help them as they age. I find that mine go really feral if I don't do anything with them, so they need to be kept ticking over to be safe for the farrier/vet etc. But they don't need you to sit on their backs.
Sarah x

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