On the way to Day 3 of our Immersion week, my car’s tire blew out and dear Suzette and her husband Ron came to my rescue. I was very fortunate… it happened when I was driving slowly where I was able to safely pull my car off the road, I was near home, and I had good friends to come help me out. But being the horse geek that I am, I can’t help but relate this incident to horses.
One of the things we spend a lot of time helping our students with is the concept of a Pre-Ride Checklist. The Pre-Ride Check has the following purposes:
– To “take your horse’s temperature” physically, mentally, and emotionally. How is he feeling today?
– To prepare your horse physically, mentally, and emotionally for the job you’re going to do under saddle. A Pre-Ride Check for a calm walk-trot ride in his “home” arena might be VERY different for a Pre-Ride Check for galloping and jumping at a competition, or trail riding in a new environment with a large group of horses!
– To assess yourself and make a plan for the day’s session based on how you and your horse warm-up together.
Now, I do a Pre- DRIVE check on my car before a long drive, which entails checking my tire pressure & lights, checking my fluids (or getting an oil change), and making sure I have some emergency cash and my cell phone charged. But I neglected to even walk around my car prior to driving it to work the morning of the tire blow out. If I had, I might have noticed that the tire was already low or damaged.
How often do we take our horse for granted and skimp on our Pre-Ride Check or ignore signs from our horse that he is not as prepared as he could be for the job at hand? Being in a hurry or assuming everything’s fine with out checking can get you in trouble with cars and horses!