For years before we opened the training program at the ranch, we used the advantages of a few good Spring Soaks. If you haven’t ridden your horse in the last few months, give some thought to the technique. It’s simple and effective. Catch your horse, saddle and bridle him, then tie him up to stand for a few hours. As he stands, maybe even impatiently for a bit, he starts to “soak”, i.e. to think about his job and accept the idea that it’s time to go back to work again.
Think back to your school days when you had the Summer off. By the end, your mind really wasn’t interested in studying or spending time in a classroom. The first week at many schools started on Wednesday or Thursday to give you the opportunity to get used to the idea again. A “soak” is the same principle. It puts the horse under your control, but without risk while he accepts the idea that Winter is over and it’s time to go back to work.
Most folks work full-time at their job and have a difficult time imagining being off work for a couple of months unless it was due to an injury or a layoff. But, try to envision a situation where your company shut down for two months and you were so valuable that to make sure you were there when it reopened that it paid you for the months you were off. A full paycheck with no responsibilities for several months is exactly what your horse just received. He’s just a little lazy from it and not 100% ready to give up his freedom and doing things his own way. He would just as soon keep getting the paycheck because he’s so valuable to you, but without having to show up for work.
If you haven’t tried a “soak”, you might find it really beneficial before you climb aboard for the first ride of the Spring.