Horse Sense

People often equate love with petting or feeding their horses, and although those are good things, it very often distracts us from the “best” thing to grow them – as well as we humans.

Isn’t it good timing to talk about warm-up in the winter time (and true love any time)?

Our main focus is to warm up a horse mentally and encourage them to be thinking rather than reacting. If we do it right, we will have just happened to warm them up physically also, as well as accomplishing the former with ourselves. A good warm-up before riding does at least three things for our horse-rider team: It promotes a clearer communication flowing between human and horse, builds confidence between the dance partners and detects any possible problems that might be encountered between this team.

Warm-up can be defined as practicing on the ground the same exact things that would be done on the horse’s back. It’s especially important if the horse is not ridden much. It is also a good way for a horseperson to gain more skill reading a horse so they communicate clearer.

It helps us practice to be a better boss. I have observed that bosses are not very effective if they are not well grounded. When we are well grounded then we become more sensitive to the true situation. I like calling this the Jesus Christ perspective; the God-in-the-flesh example of Jesus himself. This perspective helps us nip things in the bud before they get bad. It also helps us make the right decisions and helps our timing get spot on.

I always like to tell people that our time on the ground watching a horse move and moving with them gives us a DVD in our mind that we can play back anytime. We can see in our mind how a horse needs to move in order to perform the same thing when we are riding them. The feel when we ride combined with the groundwork helps us get the bigger picture.

The exciting thing about the true Christian life is how well grounded and realistic it is. We recognize how b-b-b-b-bad to the bone we all are, therefore we “should” set up our lives in such a way that it is harder to miss the mark, fail, “sin” or whatever we want to call it.

We know the true Christian perspective is not to blame the horse, dog, weather, our big toe or other people for something we could have set up in our routine to help counter our badness. Is it not great we can decide to live and love with horses and others, choosing to spend our time in preventive and positive reality rather than the normal blame game that happens instead?

In other words, warm-up with horses is another way to truly love them with a side benefit of staying warm and in shape in the wintertime!

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email:

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