#TwoHearts. Horse and rider are a team unlike any other. The International Equestrian Federation came up with #TwoHearts to highlight the unique relationship between horse and rider to connect with a larger audience during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
#TwoHearts. Equestrian is a team sport in more way than one. You and your horse are team, and then you and your teammates are a team as well. Teamwork is something that can only be achieved when there is respect and understanding, which comes with patience and hard work.
In New Jersey at Knightsbridge I had the opportunity to ride a lot of different types of horses from hot headed mares to dead in their side geldings who literally did not want to move no matter what you did. I’ve been on horses that bucked me off, spun me off and just took off with me, so basically what I’m saying is I’ve had a very diverse set of experiences with horses. However, I had this one horse that I recently spent the majority of my time riding, the one that I fell in love with a bit more than the others, her name is Darla. I spent the last 6 months with Darla forming a bond.
I know there’s a lot of people out there who are wondering how it’s possible to get an animal that weighs like 1200 pounds to do what we want. Well the truth is the bond that we form with the horses is the key. Darla knew my footsteps coming down the barn aisle and she would stick her head out to say hi, I knew that when she cocked her head to the right side it meant she was itchy and wanted a scratch behind her ears. The relationship that I formed with Darla is like the one that a dog and their owner form. Both form out of trust and love. Horses and their riders are like those best friends that can finish each other’s sentences. That’s how well we get to know our horses and that’s how we get 1200 pound animals to jump over poles and logs and over water because of the trust that we have.
For the PSU riding team we don’t have just one horse to form a bond with instead we have to be able to read the language of the horse that we are riding for that day, since every week we ride a different horse which presents a different and new challenge. We do this because as part of the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) we draw horses at horse shows and show them without any prior experience on them. Since with this we don’t have the time to create a long lasting bond, we have feel what he needs so that we can work together, like if she or he doesn’t like to much pressure on their mouth or if they are lazy and need a strong leg.
Rider and Horse are a team just like any other team in sports and they have to work together to achieve their goals the only difference is that your teammate happens to be a 1200 pound horse with a mind of their own. The key just like other it is with other teams is trust.