I have this little joke with Miles about how he has to “earn his keep” every month. When he’s bad, I threaten to let him live outside, but when he’s good I tell him he’s earned board for another month. On Sunday and Monday, Miles earned his May board.
We’ve reached the point of spring in the Midwest where all it does is rain and the pastures are saturated, and complete mud pits. While I’m definitely grateful for the warmer temperatures, Miles isn’t happy being stuck inside so much. Less turnout means more energy and Miles doesn’t always use his enthusiasm for good.
The concept of “managing” a horse wasn’t something I thought much about before I bought Miles. My first horse didn’t really require any management, he was a yes man and very easy going. Miles is more opinionated, and certainly not a glass half-full kind of guy. Over the last four years I’ve learned that winter is the most difficult time of year for Miles and that it requires very thoughtful management. Part of that is also managing me as a rider… which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Each year I’ve tried something different, and while I hesitate to say it out loud in case I jinx myself, so far this year’s plan has been the most successful.
I have to confess that I was the tiniest bit nervous for my lesson on Thursday. Miles and I don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to jumping indoors, and we hadn’t done much riding (much less jumping) in the last two months. In fact, the last line of jumps we conquered was at our horse show in October. With our clinic looming closer and closer, I figured I should probably make sure the wheels didn’t rust… and that I hadn’t forgotten how to jump my horse.
Miles and I have been together for 3 years now, and I think I’m finally starting to really figure him out. It sounds silly… like why would it take me 1,095 days to understand my horse and his needs? But that’s honest to goodness what it feels like. After our stellar final show of the season, I backed way off of riding Miles, and I plan to continue to only ride him lightly throughout the entire winter. So, what’s he been up to then?