Are you having trouble finding time for your horse?

My friend and student, Joan, and I were chatting in her lesson and she said that her motto lately when it heather_nelson_liberty_training_find_me_instagramcomes to finding time for her Morgan, Baxter, is “DO SOMETHING.” I laughed, because that’s been my theme lately too.  (Keep reading for a tutorial on how to teach your horse to roll a ball).

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and to decide that if I can’t spend an hour or two training my horses, then there is no point to working with them. But that’s just not true! I can develop my horse’s minds and bodies in short increments and best of all, once I show up to my horses, I often realize I had more time than I thought.

I have two horses that I want to give equal time to. I’m a multi passionate person and I’m excited about so many different pursuits.

In horse land:

heather_nelson_liberty_training_canteringI’m back to riding and have found an instructor, Amber Wilson, that I really click with. She would love if I was 100% committed to dressage, schooling daily. It feels so good to have my body back to health and cooperating with these lessons. I’m learning so much and she’s moulding me like play dough into a better rider. But as you know, riding isn’t really my big thing.

Practicing liberty is vital to my coaching and it’s my passion! My horses thrive during liberty and it’s the activity that they ask me for (when they aren’t asking to eat…again.) I dream of the day that my horses are completely balanced while dancing around with me. I know that dancing will cross right on over to my dressage. I see it happening already.

My friends ask nearly every weekend, “Come riding on the trail!” I love the scenery and it’s such a vacationheather_nelson_liberty_training_swim to get out off the farm and out of the ring. Lately I’ve been trying out swimming with the horses and it’s refreshing in the heat!

I’m also practicing in hand Straightness Training lately with Marijke de Jong’s online home study course. She recommends I practice twice a day…

In the real world:

I work two jobs, try to work out regularly, maintain a home and farm, as well as put on at least one workshop a month, sometimes two. (Geez there was a lot of the word “work” in that last sentence.)

There is this little thing called rest and socialization that I try to get in as well. Forget about actually meeting prince charming because if he rides up on his horse, he’s probably just going to ask me to put some schooling on that critter.

Reminder that the early bird deadline is coming up for my July 18-19th workshop July 6th.  There are still a couple of spots left!

So when am I gonna get all these horsey practices in??

heather_nelson_liberty_training_teach_ball_rollingThe truth is, I’m not going to get it all done. But I can do SOMETHING.  I can keep the ball rolling by
choosing to practice a little something on a regular basis.  So that’s how I’m operating these days. I try to do something every day. Maybe all I get to do is ten minutes of liberty right before bed time. Some mornings I get out of bed at 5:30 am and get some arena schooling in before work. Nearly every second weekend I hit the trail with my friends at least once. At the moment I’m trying to switch horses every second day.

It was easy to stay in bed and say, “I’m too tired to go out and do something with the horses.” or to tell myself “Hey I work so many hours, maybe I should just skip this one out today.” but the reality is if I don’t do something then nothing gets done. Then the horses fall by the wayside AGAIN and it’s me that misses out, because I love being with them.

I’ve discovered that if I just do SOMETHING, even if it’s little, it still develops my horse and I. Something might even be sitting and journaling with the horses for 20 minutes.  Or it could be spending ten minutes working at stretching in hand to develop flexibility.

I have big goals and I know that if I spend my time thinking that I don’t have time to get the big things accomplished, then the little things never happen.

The good news is that each of my horse pursuits compliments the other so although I don’t get to practice all of these great activities each day, they crossover and help each other. A bit of liberty goes a long way to help my horses stay willing, a trail ride keeps them fit, in hand ground work and dressage balances and strengthens their bodies.

If you want to get more riding in, but you just don’t have the time to groom, tack up and untack then a little bit of liberty play goes a long way. If you are lucky like me, then your riding coach might even think you’ve been doing your homework because all your liberty play will result in a cooperative and balanced riding partner. 😉

So get out there and do something! Let me know how it goes!



Comments 2

  1. Great article, Heather! I found it helpful for how I feel many times with my three horses. It isn’t all about the riding for sure. Horses weren’t born with riders on their backs! 👍

    See you on June 4th.


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