April 20, 2001, Newsletter Issue #34: Tragedies Into Triumphs For The Rider

Tip of the Week

On the short term, if a Rider is out of commission for less than six to eight weeks, this is relatively short term in length of a yearís Riding Events/Shows/Schedules. It is still possible to do something dramatic in competitions, events or schedules.

What do we do when the Rider will be unable to ride for a short period of time? It is still very important to the bond of dependancy and comraderie between horse & Rider for the Rider to get to the barn on the same schedule as before the tragedy. The Rider may not be able to walk their own horse (or lease or lesson horse), or even groom it (if you are wheelchair bound for even a temporary period), but you still can be there for moral support, to feed "goodies" and to let the horse know that the commitment to excellence between you still exists. This is an excellent time to learn how to lean on and request support of others without making them feel used! This is just an excellent time for thinking about the feelings of others both human, and equine and making valuable contributions to relationships that can and do continue for years after the tragedy is long over! Depending on your situation, try to find some one that can work the horse for you on the same schedule that you were on prior to the tragedy, EXCEPT be there as a contributing spectator; not to critique or to condemn, but to encourage, and to support, to offer help as you are able to give it, and to convey your appreciation.

When the tragedy will be long term, or over six or eight weeks; then some necessary questions need to be asked. Will this have the possibility of effecting the ability or quality of Ride that the Rider has performed at in the past? What are the chances of the Rider being able to continue Riding? And in the same discipline? Can another member of the family or a friend continue on the same horse? You ask these questions in order to make decisive steps towards formulating the best outcome for everyone concerned in regards to the most frequently expected outcomes in the same situation.

Yes, miracles can & do happen, but it is far more advantageous to decide, and to work on steps of order to a predicted goal; (rather than depend upon the divine miraculous intervention of a possible fantasy or delusion in the hopes that faith in an outcome will far out weigh presumption of the situation). GOD does and will come through, but more often than not, it is from working towards the goal of the expected; as it is GOD that can and does provide that drive for excellence! It is up to us though to live and do as though GOD wonít provide a miracle; yet always in grace and love, we learn to trust GOD to know, and to be the sole decider, if it is in the best interests of all for a miracle to happen.

In long term assessments, it is easier to sell a horse that is fit, ready and as soon after a tragedy than it is later on. If arrangements can be made for long term leases, and this is an option that the family can assume, then it is a valuable one. If the quality or the ability of the Rider is suspected in any way to be adversely affected, then it is better to sell the horse (or let the lease lapse or stop the lessons) that you are with currently, and when the Riderís condition has stabilized, look for a mount more suitable for the Riderís level at that point in time. There are far too many recorded incidences of $$$ and horses being laid to absolute waste from improper horse/Rider combinations. Most frequently, the Rider being over horsed, based upon the thought that the Rider will be at the Horseís level one day...this is a thought that predominently never works out that way! Horses donít wait for Riders, Riders wait for horses!

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