Many people feel like everything is over when the autumn comes, the competition season is finished and in Iceland the travelling on horseback is behind us. In the old days and actually, not very long ago all riding horses in Iceland had holidays from the beginning of September until Christmas. People took the shoes off and put the horses together into large fields where there was plenty of grass so that they could get fat, supplies for the winter and there they would leave them until December, when a new riding season would start.
You can always find a discussion about wherever the horses should have holidays or not, especially the competition horses. In my opinion a short holiday is a positive thing, but not to get the horse totally out of shape. I am talking about a break of two or three weeks. A longer holiday can simply be lighter training, for example to train this horse only as a hand horse.
The autumn is the right time to reflect the last season, to think about the success we had and the “problems” or better to say what could have been better. Try to find out the routes of a problem or something that was difficult; than take a look at the classical training stages and find out how far back you have to go to make things easier.
The autumn is the perfect time for gymnastic work as well as education work. Work with your communication with the horse and that will improve your riding as well. Make sure your horses reactions to the age you give it each time wherever it is inside age, outside age or rein contact are in good shape and if not, polish these buttons.
The German language has many nice words that express both feelings and technic in riding, one of these words is “Durchlässigkeit”, the Swedish horse people sometimes use the word “gennomsleppighet” (excuse the spelling Swedish readers). In Icelandic we have a nice word with the same meaning “gegnumflæði”. The meaning of this word is that the age you give to the horse go through it and are reacted on without hesitation and extra tension, meaning there are no side effects, only the correct reaction. This we will reach trough a lot of training and education and I would say that a horse that fulfills this idea is well educated and trained.
If there is an English word for this phenomenon that I don’t know about (with this meaning) and somebody out there knows about this, please let me know. If there isn’t but somebody has an idea, please also let me know.
Trausti Þór Guðmundsson
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