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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Christensen

Learning from Chaos

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. We all know that horses are an emotional rollercoaster, but typically the highs and lows seem to space themselves out at least a LITTLE bit. These past weeks have just been one after another. Horses are definitely a wild ride, but there are lots of lessons to be learned from the chaos.

The weekend before last I was supposed to take a student to a show. It was going to be her first time out at first level, and she was really looking forward to it. The week before the show, her horse started limping. It seemed like foot pain. She put pads on her mare's feet and took her to the vet in hopes of being able to fix it in time, but no such luck. Unfortunately, the mare just needed some time, and we had to scratch. Ultimately the horse's comfort and well-being always comes first.

trotting horse lunging

Meanwhile, another student returned from a two week vacation, excited to ride again and gear up for her own show season. Day one back from her trip, she took her dog to the dog park. A big dog crashed into her leg and messed up her knee. She hadn't even been able to catch one ride on her horse before she found herself in a full leg brace. Now we're just hoping that she won't need surgery, and all of our show season plans have changed.

Fortunately there has been some good and exciting news as well. At the end of April, one of my clients and I found a horse that we are partnering on, and we brought him home! His name is Prince. He's a ten year old Westfalen gelding, and he is SO sweet. We love him, and we are so excited to see where our journey with him takes us... Pending of course that chaos all works in our favor and he and I both stay sound and functional. Who knows! You never know. Regardless, we've enjoyed him for these past couple weeks. One thing that the unpredictability of everything can teach us is to be grateful for each and every day that we are able to ride. Currently, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to ride Prince, and I'll enjoy it as long as I can!

Westfalen dressage gelding

I had two wonderful lessons last week with my trainer, Garyn Heidemann: One on Prince and one on my mare, Resolute. Side note - now as of today, suddenly Resolute is limping on her right front and may have an abscess (or some other kind of dramatic, suddenly-we-can't-walk-at-all kind of lameness)... So there goes my plans of continuing to practice all the things from our lesson... You REALLY never know with horses.

This past weekend I took a student to her first ever horse show. It was nerve-wracking and exciting for her all at once, and in the end it wound up being a big victory. Her horse wasn't perfect (she spooked at the judges box in the first test and broke gait up to canter in the second test's trot work), but she rode through it effectively and wound up winning her class! I was so proud of her. Today, she got kicked in the face and had to go to the emergency room. SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE HECK, WORLD???

Horses are chaos. They break. We break. They break us. And every now and then we manage to actually ride them. Every now and then when we do, those rides actually go the way that we hope they will. We live for those moments. We need to cherish them and never take them for granted, because we never know when something will happen that takes that away from us. And we never know how long it will be until we get it back again. Somehow, we have to keep going through all of that and stay sane... Or at least sane enough to keep showing up at the barn and being there for our horse. One thing that the chaos has taught me is to go with the flow more, because we really never do know. As soon as we make a plan, something changes it. That's been a helpful lesson for me.

It's hard to stay sane through it all sometimes. There are a lot of emotions that go along with all of the chaos of horses. That's part of our ultimate goal with Hypno-Ride: To help riders control their emotions and mental state through the chaos of their own personal journey, whatever that may be, so that they can be present in the moment with their horse and make each day the best that it can be.


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