Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quick Tip #89--Hit The Right Books

Unfortunately, it is just as easy to learn the wrong way as it is to learn the right way. When one factors in the threat to truth created whenever agribusiness or the established horse world has a financial interest in getting horse owners to believe that up is down, and white is black it is no wonder that so much misinformation about horses is taught, read, and, unfortunately, learned by those who would otherwise seek to do what is best for their horses.

It is best to immerse oneself in facts before wading into the world of ignorance that will confront the new horse owner. Start with a solid overview of horsemanship. Read, 'The Revolution in Horsemanship" by Dr. Robert Miller. Then drink in everything you can find that Buck Brannamen wrote. Understand Mark Rashid's writings. Read a few of the basic "how to" manuals like those by John Lyons and Clinton Anderson.

Then read "True Horsemanship Through Feel", Leslie Desmond's great adaptation of Tom Dorrence's wisdom. Then read it five more times.

Read "Soul of a Horse" to understand how to properly care for a horse. Read Pete Ramey's work to understand how to properly trim hoof.

Lastly, stay current on medical research regarding equine health and nutrition. We are learning more daily about complex issues like metabolic disorder and how to best condition horses.

What is set out above is a prescription to learn what yur horse needs you to know. . Beware of those who are drawn to horsemanship because they view it as a set of rules with which they fiercely identify. These people teach dogma, not science. They can recite a rule for every suggested action--e.g. "No horse should be ridden until it is seven years old--No one over 5'2" should ride a horse less than 15 hands--A horse can carry 20% of its body weight--Shoes are required to keep a horse's hooves in balance--Blankets must be worn anytime temperature dips below 45 degrees"

They have codified ignorance and declared it to be  law.

Most importantly, always keep in mind that if your horsemanship is not making you into a better person, it is failing. If you do not become more kind, more wise, more generous, and more courageous--your horsemanship is failing you.

And you are failing your horse.

With enough dedication to learning anyone can come to understand horses nearly as well as does the little girl in this picture above. Its never too late to learn and it is never to early to start learning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is one of my favorite underlying subjects...commerical exploitation for profit without responsibility.. (This makes me happy I am not an attorney, Steve..too hard to fish them out..this blog might be the best approach.)
I was writing one of my interminable comments on a thread in one of my horse boards the other day, and it turned into an axiom that I will keep. I mentioned that 51% control and 49% affection is the foundation block of a solid relationship with the horse, and one lady replied that that was the most elegantly stated method she had heard..and promptly adopted it..As Buck says, "There's a change." So I credited Steve, and plugged this blog. Guerilla marketing at it's finest..I continued on in the discussion saying that "Good horsemanship is 99% thinking." It does the horse no good at all if the human does not think..and think critically. It matters not one iota what any person on earth says or does if it is not the correct thing for you and your horse..particularly you and your horse together. I might be able to take Jaquima and mecate and develop your horse into a light reined bolt of lightning..but you and your horse might be happier together in an S hack or egg bit snaffle..every team is a different dynamic, and must come to their own understanding..Think for your horses folks.
How does this apply to natural horse and hoof care? It applies the very same way. Walt Whitman penned the statement, "Examine all that you have been told, and discard that which insults your soul." What insults my soul is stalls and shoes, blankets and mineral blocks, fat, sick,and lame horses that, rather than being a strong, healthy partner on the trail or arena, is a constant source of worry and unnecessary financial drain. Healthy horses are easy and less expensive to keep, sick horses are a vet and drug salesman's delight. Well, some vets anyhow...
Ours is a path to keeping horses as inexpensively, effectively, safely, and happily as possible, without taking shortcuts. There are no shortcuts, but there is hard nosed common sense to be considered and applied to every facet of your horse's life.
Read Soul of a Horse. Think for your horse, that he be able to carry you farther and with greater joy for you both. Beware those with a hand out shaped like a hand up. Caveat emptor. That could be phrased better, but my latin is poco a poco, Let the buyer beware, but let the buyer also realize that he or she may not need to be a buyer at all.
A note on the list of books above, Pete Ramey has recently declared his first book to be obsolete..I do not know if he has written another..the information in it is not bad, but Ramey feels that we have advanced now much farther than what he originally wrote. Go to and see what he has to say. his DVD series "Under the Horse" is a very good starting point, followed up with the articles on the site. Here is a critical thinking hint, The cost of those DVD's is offset very quickly when one takes one's horse barefoot, and trims his hooves one's self..about four farrier visits quick...not to mention the saving in vet bills later on in the horse's life when his feet go bad from standing still in shoes too long...
Equus Cavallus has been on this ball of rock for 55 million years, and has had a pretty good run..keep them as wild as domesticity allows..your horse will love you for it..even if the feed and supplement salesman does not, but that is his problem..he can sell hog and cattle feed to somebody..maybe it will clear his schedule a bit. -Lloyd