Helping you find ways to use your mind more and rely on your muscles less as you continue your horsemanship journey.
Welcome to Senior Horsemanship, where we delve into the joys and challenges of horsemanship in our senior years. While physical and mental changes may limit our strength and agility, we gain patience and humility, relying less on muscle and more on our minds. Our horsemanship journey shifts towards building relationships and finding personal satisfaction rather than focusing on competition or achievements. We also explore the spiritual and psychological aspects of the senior part of life and how they can enhance our horsemanship and overall well-being.
For many of us, returning to horsemanship as adults can be a humbling experience. We may realize that our bodies may not be as resilient as they once were, and that’s okay. It’s during this point in our lives where our passion, willingness to study, patience, creativity, sensitivity, and diverse experiences become invaluable assets in our horsemanship journeys.
If you find yourself resonating with these sentiments, we invite you to join us on the path towards better horsemanship in the senior part of life. Let us harness the power of our minds, deepen our understanding of our equine companions, and progress together with our horses, fostering a trusting relationship built on respect and communication.
Now, here’s a shocking stat: equestrian sports top the chart with 50,000 trips to the ER every year for concussions and brain injuries! 😱 That’s more than any other sport in America! 🐎
And here’s the real kicker: if you’ve had three or more concussions in your life, you have a way higher risk of cognitive decline later on. 😔 Every concussion, even a moderate one, increases that risk. Protect your brain! ⚠️ #BrainSafetyMatters
In his book, Begin and Begin Again, Denny Emerson says, “there’s a longstanding joke that catching the horse bug is like catching malaria — once you have it, it never goes away. But the form your horse obsession takes is up to you, just as mine is up to me. They are all valid. They are all of equal merit. The point I would hope to make is that my choices and your choices are all valid as long as we adhere to the first principle of horsemanship — that whatever we choose is always in the best interest of the horse.”
So better senior horsemanship talks about ways to work with our horses while following that first principle of horsemanship. That whatever we choose to do with our horses is always in the best interest of the horse.
In his book, Outlive, Dr. Peter Attia says “Longevity has two components. The first is how long you live, your chronological lifespan, but the second and equally important part is how well you live — the quality of your years. This is called health span …” For horse people, our health span is also likely to be close to our horses span.
We realize that our ability to care for and enjoy our horses depends in part on our physical, mental and emotional capabilities and the quality of our life.There are things we can do now to make it more likely that we will be capable of working with our horses next year and for years to come . These often require work on our part, but the payoff can be a greater likelihood of more years with horses and more years to enjoy doing other things we love.
In a post on his Tamarack Hill Facebook page, Denny Emerson says “One thing that we ought to do, but tend to avoid doing, is to make plans for what will happen to our animals if we die or become incapable of taking care of them.”
Most of us have prepared an estate plan which divides our assets among our heirs and hopefully gives directions to our executors. But what happens to our horses if they survive us? Far too many horses are not trained or are neglected in the final years of their owners’ lives. They may be euthanized, sold for slaughter or sent to a rescue organization if they are lucky. There are steps we can take now to make it more likely that our horses will be welcomed into new homes.
No, we believe that horsemanship is an art and a science. It rewards creativity and experimentation. We hope that the ideas presented on the website, in the videos, in the podcast and the comments help you with your horse.
Most of us find that we can’t work with horses the same way were able to work with them when we were younger. We don’t have the same strength, balance and coordination at 70 that we had at 25. However, there are things we can do mentally to compensate for those changes and there are things we can do physically to improve our strength, balance and coordination. So the information on Senior Horsemanship is focused on ideas for improving what we’re doing now with our horses and also increasing the likelihood we’ll be able to work with our horses for years to come.
“Planning for after me” is frequent topic on various Facebook groups for older horsemen and horsewomen. If you adopt a horse from a rescue like Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, you don’t need to worry about the future of your horse if you can’t care for it anymore. Bluebonnet will take your horse back and find it a good new home.
Not all equine adoption organizations work this way, so check the organization’s policies before you adopt.
There are some very active Facebook groups like Equestrian Seniors and Still in the Saddle Over 70 that offer members great opportunities for sharing photos and also sharing encouragement to continue their horsemanship journeys. The goal of Senior Horsemanship is to complement the social features of those groups with other information about using more mind and less muscle to improve our horsemanship, increasing the likely length of our “horse span” and planning for the future of our horses if we can’t care for them anymore.
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