Compliments for my horse’s appearance and manner of going always make me feel good. When a professional, like a trainer or vet offers compliments, it makes me feel even better. And in the past few weeks, Eli has received many compliments, on both his coat and his gaits.
So why change anything? Why not just keep doing what I’m doing? Because change is the agent of continual improvement in the quest for perfection. Adjustments are necessary with the seasons in horse care, so to that end, Eli is going on a little diet. His coat is glowing, and his gaits are getting comments like “hack winner” and “why don’t you do the derbies?” (ha!) and that has got me thinking his look is more pudgy hunter than fit jumper. Part of this is because of the weather–lots of rain means I’m grazing him more and riding him less, so he really is a few pounds overweight. My trainer agreed that we could cut his grain just a bit for the summer, but his hay, the grazing, and the supplements stay the same. At least the grazing stays the same until the grass turns into stunted brown toothpicks later in the summer.
Not to mention, I am in NO WAY a hunter rider, and while Eli might have the right moves, his brain seems a better fit for the jumper ring–he gets so amped off-property and that doesn’t work at all in the hunter ring. Plus all the fences look the same and I inevitably go off course. So into the jumper ring we go, and it’s my job to keep track of Eli’s fitness for the discipline.
How do you decide a discipline for your horse? I know many readers & bloggers have already covered this topic, but it is constantly of interest to me, especially because often times a rider’s desires and a horse’s suitability fail to cohere.