December 2021 – Mid Month Update

Holistic Horsekeeping – By Madalyn Ward, DVM

The TaiYin Schoolmaster

Tanq is my TaiYin (Earth/Metal), Morgan gelding. I have been working with him to teach a teenage girl to ride. Tanq has taken his new job very seriously and not only is he teaching his student but he is also teaching me how to teach. 

At first when something wasn’t going well I assumed Tanq wasn’t understanding what he was being asked to do. I have come to realize that Tanq is doing exactly what his student is asking him to do even it it is not the intended task. His student is having to learn many things at once so sometimes one rein may not release when when the other rein is pulling. Tanq simply walks sideways when this happens. 

I noticed that Tanq would often finish a maneuver and start immediately backing up. I would remind his student to release pressure on the reins. If Tanq is being asked to move his hindquarters sideways but his student is accidentally cueing with both legs Tanq charges forward. Just what he is being asked to do. 

When trotting, if his student leans too far forward to too far back he stops. When she is practicing riding with the reins in one hand and using only her body to guide Tanq he can make some pretty ugly faces. Tanq is just reminding his student that she needs to use her seat, hips, as well as her legs, and rely less on the reins. When everything comes together, Tanq performs perfectly. 

I never imagined how much fun it would be to teach someone to ride with a horse that already knows and understands his job. This is even more rewarding because Tanq has Insulin Resistance and a few years ago was too lame to even ride. With homeopathic treatment, very regular hoof trimming, a low sugar diet and Lean Muscle to help with carbohydrate metabolism, Tanq is sound and fit. Tanq also gets the Earth balance formula for a week or two during changes of season.

These management practices take some extra time and money on my part but the reward of seeing Tanq doing something he loves is well worth it. 

Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Madalyn Ward, DVM. Copyright (c) 2021 and Madalyn Ward, DVM. All rights reserved.

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