Monday, December 5, 2016
Ask Yourself: Is This A Horse Problem?
I have to somehow protect myself from being drawn to the various horse forums that pop up on my computer. Viewing these questions is bad enough. Reading the answers is even worse.
Why do so many people who are fairly new to horses voluntarily degrade the quality of their lives by seeking the opinion (in reality the approval) of the anonymous experts of the internet as to how they should interact with their horses?
Start with the obvious question. What has the established horse world done for horses? It has created an agribusiness that produces a food/supplement regimen that produces more obese, laminitic horse than the nation has ever seen. It is based on the horrid notion that a horse's worth is somehow related to its sales price. It has supported horse slaughter and has stood firmly in the way of efforts to improve the quality of horse's lives through natural horse care, natural hoof care and natural horsemanship.
What has the established horse world done for people? It has created a system of unnecessary and harmful "requirements" for good horsemanship that place the cost of owning a horse completely outside the budget of working families. It has taught 12 year old girls that they should sell their best friend and purchase another horse who can be awarded a strip of cloth of a different color at the next assemblage of such experts at a horse show. It has taught people that the competition horse is of more value than one used "just" for trail riding. It has taught people that they need to have a trainer solve all the problems that arise between them and their horses.
And most of all it has taught them that their horses are disposable.
Why would I possibly want their opinions on anything at all, much less something as important as the relationship that one can have with a horse?
I am often asked why I do not encourage my little riders to become involved in more competitions. The math is simple. Competitions create many more losers than they produce winners. And regardless of the color of the strip of cloth attached to the horse's head, the net impact of competition on horses at large is a tremendous negative.
I believe in self competition. I want riders to compete, not among others, but entirely within themselves as individuals to see how much time they can spend with their horses, how quickly they can release pressure, how healthy they can maintain their horses, how comfortably they can ride, how gentle they can be, how firm they can be when necessary, how kind they can be to their horses and to other people and how much factual information they can learn about horses.
Forget the color of the strip of cloth.
The only goal worth seeking is to use your horsemanship to become a better person.
Posted by Steve Edwards