I have been thinking about the subject of babying our horses lately. There are many ways we "baby" them. Can you think of times you think "man you are one spoiled pony"-- for your horses?
Watching them hang out indoors with their fans, and seeing sunscreen on their pink noses always makes me smile. Don't get me wrong they deserve it. They work hard for us and they are our family. They deserve the best feed, treats, and treatment that our stretched out budgets can provide-- it's just funny ain't it?
(Bodhi snoozing under a fan after his pedicure)
As Bodhi returns to his old self from his injury he also turns a year older. I think I have been a cautious trainer with him as the breed is slow to mature, and more recently cautious because of his injury. I try not to work him too long, jump him too often, bore him with drills, or ask him questions he is not ready to say yes to.
I am wondering if I baby him too much though? The answer is probably yes. I really want to make training fun for him and as stress free as possible. I also know that stress is what are muscles need in order to grown and what our brains need in order to learn.
I think maybe my plan so far has been a good one. I baby him because he is a baby. I am quick to reward and I have tried to instill a love of learning. Kindle the curiosity that usually dies in maturing horses. I think now that he is finally getting to the age where all green lights say "Go!" I am going to start work on more mental and emotional toughness. This means more repetition, longer rides, more difficult questions with maybe smaller rewards? Of course I am going to stick to positive reinfocement! I am thinking about shifting how much I expect and ask for though. I know he is not going to catch up overnight! I can't be upset if he still wants to be a baby. I just have to stay calm, correct and ask for a little bit more. I think he is ready. I think he can do it.