I know, you think I've gone completely nuts.....skiing???
It was something I was told, back in a previous lifetime when I could, occasionally, be found on the slopes. The reasoning was this: In week 1 you get to where you ended the previous year, so in week 2 you improve.
Ah, that makes some sense, right?
We also had an understanding that you took day 3 off skiing and spent it in a mountain restaurant or otherwise relaxing. Those of you who have read Day 21 of this series will understand why that was my favourite ski day (for 17 years), haha. On day 3 your muscles are tired and in that state you're more likely to have an accident so better to rest up and prepare for the next ten days of first chair up in the morning and being swept down by the piste groomer at night.
OK, so how does this apply to your horse training?
I think a lot of people get stuck when their horses have been off work for a period. The longer the break, the more worried we seem to become about getting back on and we often end up feeling that we have to start again at the beginning. Well, like skiing, we don't, of course.
What we must do is ease back into it gently (that's our taking day 3 off analogy) and expect the horse to have to be reminded about a few things - perfect recall is unlikely but it's more likely than needing to begin again!
Horses have great memories for well-learned lessons. This doesn't mean 'good' lessons in terms of what we want them to know or how we would like them to behave, it simply means they remember those patterns that were well established.
Over the following few posts, I'm going to discuss bringing a horse back into work but in the meantime, if you've had a horse that was out of work for a while, how did you feel about bringing it back and when you did, were you surprised by how much it remembered? Let me know in the comments.
If you'd like this series delivered directly to your inbox, click here.