Happy Horse Season everyone! It is that time of year again when we Canadians can fully appreciate our horse companions without freezing our toes off. I was inspired to write this blog post during a weekend at Palgrave as the vet for the horse show. Palgrave is otherwise known as the Caledon Equestrian Park, but I have been calling it Palgrave since I was 10 years old so the name has stuck.
Horse Season – it isn’t just Horse Show Season, it is everything equine, whether you ride your horse competitively, ride for fun, work with them from the ground, spend the spring greeting new foals, or simply love watching them from afar, this time of year is just the best. On my drive to the show I drove past a group of friends hacking through some fields beside the road. The day before that I had arrived at a schooling barn just in time to see a group of kids and their ponies out to graze while they dry from their baths. Everything about this weather is screaming “Be outside with your horse!” Winter here in Canada is long and cold; most of us simply bundle up and spend some time with our horses without truly enjoying it in the way that we can in the summer. There is nothing I love more than watching a content horse graze at the end of the day, something about it is just good for the soul.
If you have never been to a large horse show or the backside at a racetrack, please go and allow yourself a moment to stand back and observe the horses and people warming up or waiting to go in the ring. This brings the most incredible collection of people who are all there because of their love for horses, their athletic ability, the freedom they give us, and their incredible hearts. You have the riders, athletes themselves, working with their horses to achieve new goals. You have the grooms, up at dawn to provide these horses with whatever they need, always ready with a towel to wipe a face or just a pat of reassurance. You have the trainers, constantly assessing what the right step is for their human and equine athletes. And you have the show parents – they may not understand their child’s love for these crazy horses but they are there, providing water and shining boots.
There is something magnetic about horses isn’t there? It is that something that makes it hard to leave the barn on a beautiful summer night, even when all of the work is done. Even though summer time brings the sweat, the flies, the impaction colics from not drinking enough, the skin hives from unknown allergies, the lameness from hard ground when it hasn’t rained, or the laminitis from fresh grass when it has – somehow all of those stresses and frustrations melt away when you make that perfect jump, perfect transition, or catch the sunset as you return from the perfect trail ride. All of the special care and extra work is worth it for those magical moments with a horse.
I am not going to use this blog as a platform to discuss deworming strategies, or making sure your horse is drinking on hot days, or protecting your horse from ticks and mosquitoes. Talk to your vet about all of those things when planning your summer.
I do want to use this blog post to encourage everyone to take as many of those magical horse season moments as they can, and to appreciate each one, because before we know it, it will be winter again!
As the saying goes, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man” (or woman!)