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Honesty Is the Best Policy

I had another post all planned out about my ride on Tuesday and today but then I realized that it was another post where I talked about Katai being a little sore or off and that by now anyone reading probably either thinks that;

A: My pony is broken
B: My pony is broken and why haven't I called the vet
C: That I'm a horse hypochondriac (spoiler alert, this is a little true)

So, I decided that instead of posting that again I'm going talk a little about what this is all about. Call this a little personal therapy session if you will ;-)

The first thing that feeds into this is that Katai is extremely honest. She really is a sensitive flower and is very clear about things when they don't feel completely well or if she's even slightly sore or uncomfortable. It doesn't mean that I give that any less weight to what she tells me, just that I need to translate that from the normal equivalent and I'm not very good at that.

who could say no to this face
The other thing is that I am a bit of a horse hypochondriac. At any small slight shortness or sore muscle (I poke and prod at her after ride especially if there's any type of shortness or attitude) and look for that kind of stuff. Plus, then when I find something like that I never know when I should actually ride and when I should call it and give her the day off or maybe just walk.

I know that I baby her too much but I'm just not sure what's ok. I know that to get her strong enough she needs to occasionally work with sore muscles, after all I do the same, but at the same time when is that ok and when is it not.

This also always gets worse when I fall in love. I had some horrible experiences when I was growing up on the farm. Many animals that I loved died and some in horrific ways. Sometimes they were babies or young animals that just shouldn't have died that early in their life. I learned to keep my heart at bay and now it takes me years in some cases to actually love. I've only just started to really be able to give my heart to Katai and with that comes treating her like glass. Also, every time she's a little off I start trying to pull my heart away since part of me seems to think that every time she's a little off it's a career ending injury or something that will lead to needing put her down.

Crazy I know but those scars are going to take awhile to heal since they were the first 20 or so years of my life.

So, my question to you is when do you call it. When do you ride through soreness and when do you call it and either do an easy ride or not ride at all. Or, is your horse the stoic type where you never know and just give them an easy day after you know they've had a tough one.


  1. This is a hard one. Irish sounds the same as Katai- any little injury and he needs nursing. Truth is, he loves to be fussed over. I think I go by feel. Some days I'm achy and a little sore but I need to work through it- not take the day off. So if it seems like muscle soreness I work through it but gently. If he's lame I let him take some time off.

    1. Thank you Teresa! This is very helpful and gives me a little more feel on how to manage this. I love honest horses but it does always feel like I'm trying to translate her honesty into "normal" horse.

  2. First of all, hugs for you! It takes a lot of guts and introspection to recognize that about yourself. To answer your question, it depends. ;) You have to know your horse. Dino always gets the day off after a show, clinic, or other very hard ride. Then he gets an easier day when we go back to work, because he'll probably be feeling a bit stiff and sore. Sometimes he comes out feeling a bit stiff or short, and usually some long & low stretchy work really helps work out the kinks. If they don't work out, THEN we have a problem! Since Katai is such a sensitive princess, my approach with her would be to try and work her out of any 'offness' first and see if some stretching helps before jumping off the ledge in panic!

    1. Thank you Alli :) I really appreciate this because I know how amazingly you care for Dino and he's just in such amazing shape. I'm going to try to take my worrying down a notch and try this next time. Normally I give up on working her if she's still off within about 5 minutes but from comments I'm getting the feeling that I should continue with some easy stretchy warm up type work for a little longer before I panic ;)

  3. Love Alli and Dino's advice above. Bridget gets the day off after a show or clinic. On a normal day, I walk around anywhere from 15 to 30 min. If she's stiff and not working out of it we'll follow that with a walking only hack. Maybe I've been lucky, but she always feels good by the end of the ride.

    1. Thank you T! I think that Bridget and Katai are in a similar place so this is really helpful. I love the long walk. I do walk quite a bit but not for that long. I think I'll add longer walk/warm up to rides where she seems a little stiff and see what happens.

  4. Whisper is stoic and rarely lets us know if she is in pain. I have to look for clues. Is she struggling with a canter lead? Is she struggling to bend? Is she just plain grumpy?
    I've not determined a good evaluation system, so I have to get someone on the ground to take a look. *shrug*
    At one point, I took her to a lameness evaluation. $200 later, I was informed I had a perfectly sound horse. Found out a month or so later, she had a huge muscle knot in one hip.

    1. This is exactly how I feel a vet visit would go and because this has happened enough with my pony where she seems off and then works out of it after a few days I think I could have spent over 1K in lameness evals by now haha

  5. I think this is when it's so important to know your horse and trust your gut. Is it physical lameness today or is it mental lameness? Sometimes the mental lameness is the day that needs to be given off instead! :P

    1. Such a great point! When I've had Katai outdoors and she's all excited and forward I don't see any "offness" but when she's indoors and a little more bored I see it more. Makes total sense :)


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