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My Equine Handling Reflection

In 2014, I was approached about exercising a young, green gipsy cob, having never had a loan horse I wasn’t sure what to expect. Working in a riding school meant that there was little opportunity to ride youngsters. Not being the most confident rider, I was understandably nervous for the first few times I rode him. I started off lunging him, as he wasn’t a forward horse unless he had been spooked. At the start of each session, he was well behaved until we swapped reins and he would decide when he had had enough. After completing about two-thirds of a circle he would give the incorrect bend to enable a changing the rein and would get out of completing the circle. I found the fitter he became, the less he would back off. It especially helped by carrying a dressage whip in each hand for this purpose. A study observing Pony Club horses by Buckley et al. (2012) also found that obese horses were more likely to be worst behaved. 

Overall the experience became a positive one, as it gave me more confidence and also resulted in a fitter and healthier horse. However, being a small female and the horse was a large stocky cob, it made it challenging to bring him back round. In the future, I would look into strengthening my muscles with the use of weight training, so that my muscle wouldn’t fatigue as early. As been proven by Morton et al. (2016).

Reflecting on previous experiences over time aided me in improving my equine handling skills. For example, by carrying two dressage whips, it aided me to ride both sides of him forward together by creating quicker reaction times, as I had struggled to beat his reaction times beforehand. The effectiveness of reflections has shown to improve goal-directedness according to Bundick (2011), which is important for practitioners. Without being able to have a directed goal, patients can’t be treated effectively and produces an unprofessional image.

References

Buckley, P., Morton, J., Buckely, D. and Coleman, G. (2012) ‘Misbehaviour in Pony Club horses: Incidence and risk factors’. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45(1) pp.9-14.

Bundick, M. J., 2011. The benefits of reflecting on and discussing purpose in life in emerging adulthood. New Directions for Student Leadership, December, 2011(132), pp. 89-103.[Accessed on 23rd November 2016]  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/yd.430/abstract

Morton, R., Oikawa, S., Wavell, C., Mazara, N., McGlory, C., Quadrilatero, J., Baechler, B., Baker, S. and Phillips, S. (2016) ‘Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men’. Journal of Applied Physiology, 121(1) pp.129-138.

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