Almost 20 years ago I began my educational venture into the world of natural health. The first course I took was a herbology course, that’s a story we’ll save for another day. One of the first things that course encouraged its students to do was to buy a stethoscope and get used to listening to lungs. To the local pharmacy I went, and although they thought it was an odd request they ordered me a stethoscope. I even got my choice of colour.
Monday July 20, 2015 I got home at 2AM, quickly checked the horses, brought in the dogs and promptly fell over in bed. A few hours later I staggered outside to care for the herd. With the hay shortage and moving I made the decision to use the good pieces from the 3 not so great bails I had leftover from last year. The first two feedings went well, everyone was happy and glad to have me back home again. I opened up the next bail Tuesday morning fed like I normally would. I left the horses and headed back into the house. A few hours later I came out to find find Pan wheezing with great force. She has had small reactions to hay before this but I thought she may be sensitive to the dust.
It’s amazing how many details you can remember when you need to make the right choice for someone you love.
The worry in Pans eye has been worrying me for years now. As I look through the photos of our time together as far back as I can find she has the look of concern all over her face.
Our life over here at The Bird House has been changing as many of you already know, and unsettled feelings are more than abundant right now. As the clock ticks onward towards our move, and we busy ourselves with all the details of finding a new home, our animals are here at this place, seemingly frozen in a confused state in time.
This realization brought to my attention that I have a tremendous responsibility to fulfill. A responsibility to keep as much of her nature as alive as possible.
At first this responsibility overwhelmed me. I've witnessed so many broken horses that the fear that I may be the cause of another one terrifies me. This led to carefully analyzing the relationships in my life. Not just my horse relationships but all relationships.
My in laws found me just the other day out for a walk with Tonka, and they like so many other people, gave me a hard time. The normal response I get from people while out walking with my 10hh pony is “Oh is that like walking your dog?” or when I’m out with Pan, my lovely 16hh Tennessee Walking Horse I get “Shouldn’t you be riding the horse?” Lets face it people are used to seeing dogs and their owners out for walks, all the time. Why? Because it’s good for them!!
Walking your dog is so good for you and your dog there are entire TV shows dedicated to it. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisper, and he’s just one for example.
Well walking your horse is just as good for you and your horse as it is for you and your dog. My dogs are actually feeling a little ripped off right now, because the horses have been getting all the walks. I could go on and find studies to share with you about how much hand walking helps develop the top-line creating a stronger back before you climb on them this spring. Or we could discuss how the body builds bone tissue, and what a great service you will be doing the bones and joints before you go adding your extra weight to them after a winter off. I have however decided to share with my experience as a horse owner and what I’ve noticed with my own equine partners since we’ve begun hand walking this spring.
I was recently inspired by a friend and client of mine, Marie from Handy Hay Nets, who takes extraordinary care of her horses. She was telling me about how the beginning of her horse’s best riding season was the year she had to hand walk him for a month prior to riding him. With Pan’s back issues, Tonka’s lack of doing anything for the last decade, and me not knowing Jazzie in a working relationship, this sounded like a really good idea.
For the last week now I’ve been devoted to making sure the horses are out and walking as often as possible. Unfortunately Jazzie is still snowed in so we’re doing what we can in the paddock.
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