A LABOR OF LOVE -
DESERT HORSE EQUESTRIAN SERVICES
A few months ago I got a phone call from a University of Arizona grad student asking for help with a project. Photographer Hannah Gaber Saletan was looking for a subject to feature in a multimedia project and, because of past experience with and love of horses, she thought shadowing a horse professional for a day would make for good visuals and sound.
I was a journalism student once upon a time, looking for interesting sources for class assignments. So I was happy to help and curious to see what Hannah would come up with.
If you’ve never done it, having someone observe what you do on an “average” workday is pretty interesting. That which is routine for you becomes newly interesting when observed through someone else’s eyes. Hannah followed me to two clients’ places, one where I was exercising a horse and another where a shoer I had recommended was evaluating horses for a potential change in hoof care and where I was teaching a lesson.
It was a pretty average day, but describing to an interested observer what I was doing and why I was doing it made it more interesting for me, too.
I am sure you all have had something in your life that you thought had so much more potential than met the eye at first glance. Like an old car or motorcycle that needed some fixing up to be a bad-ass ride. Something used that would end up being better than one you could have gotten new. You could just feel in your gut that all it needed was some TLC to make it shine, that it would surprise everyone who only saw only the black and not the diamond that lay beneath.
The same kind of phenomenon exists in the horse world, something that all horse people understand to their core. It is so profound to experience when it happens each and every time for each and every one of us. It never seems to get old, it never seems to be any less exciting, it is never taken for granted. From horse to horse, person to person – we all believe in it, we all feel it, we all share this common thread from the magic of horses.
A CONDITIONING PROGRAM OF EXERCISES &
ROUTINES FOR YOUR HORSE
Jec Aristotle Ballou, author of Equine Fitness, A Conditioning Program of Exercises & Routines for Your Horse, had me from the first paragraph of the first chapter.
“It frequently surprises me how little equestrians seem to know about how their horses’ muscular systems function. Many riding frustrations can be answered and questions answered with a rudimentary understanding of basic anatomy and muscle function, so it is important to understand how and why the horse’s body does or does not respond to what we ask of it every day.”