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    [RC] Night Riding/Confidence in Horse - DVeritas

    In a message dated 9/9/02 2:19:44 AM Mountain Daylight Time, mmieske@xxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

    The night riding really had me concerned but I have a
    confidence in my horse now that I didn't know I had before.

    This statement really struck a chord with me.
        I'm not sure I can articulate why, but I'll try.
        I think Maggie might have touched on an aspect of endurance riding that often is overlooked.
        That is, the "tasking" of the horse and then the "trusting" of the horse.
        Conditioning, proper nutrition, saddle fit, etc. are very important facets of endurance riding and receive alot of attention on this forum, and should.
        Building a horse from the inside out is as well.
        When Maggie rode Malik in the dark, she had spent the day with him.  Day had turned into night and some of the responsibility for their well-being slowly, and almost without notice, transferred to the horse.  He was tasked with dealing with the situation and then trusted with successfully "getting them home".
        Alot of endurance riders experience the exhiliration when the realization comes over us that the horse CAN be trusted, CAN be relied upon to do more than trot mindlessly mile after mile.
        It solidifys and expands our human/equine relationship...our very being.
        When we share in the smallest (or largest) of accomplishments the horse grows, we grow.
        We can only grow as a horse/rider team when we "ask" for that growth.
        Asking can take the form of:
           1. Mounting/Dismounting quietly from the off side
           2. Changing diagonals regularly without encumbering the horse's movement
           3. Stopping quietly on the trail and standing still while we rummage through our pommel/cantle bags for bubble gum, gu, to answer the cell phone, etc.
           4. Drinking and eating while on the trail (the horse, I mean)
           5. In tough footing, i.e., mud, loose rock, etc., slowing down and moving carefully through it.
           6. Riding in the dark, with soft contact
        My point, when you ride, interact WITH the horse.
        Don't just sit on the horse trying to dictate speed and way of going.
        ASK things new of him/her.  Allow some room for the accomplishment of the task, subtlely guiding the horse.
        When the responsibility for getting "down the trail" is shared between rider and horse, a unique aspect of horse/human relating is touched upon...an aspect that will truly make endurance riding more than just "enduring".