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Why is my horse lame?

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

🐴 Allow Room for Error 🛠️





One of the most crucial parts of any plan is planning for the unexpected. Think about it – this applies to life as a whole.


For those who are self-employed or work hands-on for their time, feeling in control of their lives is common as they are their own bosses. However, when they go on vacation or face an injury, the money flow halts. For those living paycheck to paycheck, this could have a significant impact on their mental and physical well-being.


Similar parallels exist in the world of horses. During successful performances, the feelings of accomplishment and progress can be overwhelming. While celebrating these moments is vital for our mental well-being, do we prepare for scenarios when the plan doesn’t unfold as expected?


The solution is simple: Leave room for error when projecting future outcomes.


This isn't just about numbers; it's more of an art than a science because humans often make decisions based on emotions. Observing patterns among horse riders, trainers, and therapists, there's an unending pursuit for the next goal – whether it's improved flexion, a stronger canter, more softness, consistency, or simply a sound and performing horse.

Are our expectations too high? Do we rush to the next solution because the previous one felt short-lived, or did we not allow sufficient time for the solution to yield results?


Morgan Housel offers an approach to investment that can be applied to life: Assume future returns will be 1/3 lower than the historic average, ensuring a safety margin. This approach doesn’t guarantee 100% success but allows for unexpected events.


Examples of unforeseeable events abound: a breakdown of a horsebox on a motorway, a severe injury in the field, unexpected surgeries, flooding due to burst water pipes, unexplained lameness – these have happened to someone, somewhere.

The key lies in preparing for the unforeseen. Protecting against these unpredictable events involves avoiding single points of failure. Just like airplanes have backup plans, and those backups have their backups, how can we apply this to our horses?


From my experience and learnings:


  1. Lower expectations.

  2. Embrace good and bad days.

  3. Practice gratitude for what you have.

  4. Cultivate a relationship with your horse – understand their personality, likes, and dislikes. This will prepare you for potential box rest and enhance your partnership.

  5. Diversify your training.

  6. Enhance your groundwork skills. Time spent working with your horse from the ground not only improves their posture and performance but also deepens your connection and understanding.


🌟 In the realm of horses, the best preparation might not be to predict the future but to be ready for any surprise it might bring. 🐎

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