Have you ever wondered why a good horseman can work with almost ANY horse and develop a rapport (a working relationship built on trust) where the previous “issues” seem to melt away with a bit of time?
That isn’t horse-whisperer / magic stuff, it is just knowledge folks.
I’ve watch it over and over.
Many of us working in good circles of horsemanship know those horsemen and women that can take most any horse (I know there are occasional exceptions), overcome the issues people claimed they had and have them working with them like a charm in just a little while. . .
Most of us can remember seeing the horse back in the hands of those with less skill, and the issues coming back. That is a people problem. It isn’t the horse’s problem.
- Owner, “I can’t get my horse to do this.” Quality trainer gets on and in 14 minutes, horse does “this” without hesitation. Sometimes they find a source of pain or they sort out the issue on the horse’s level. . .but they look for an answer because a good horse person knows most of the time. . . there is an answer.
If you’re really looking for the an answer to a problem, you don’t throw away your paper with the question on it, having learned nothing, to look for a whole new sheet, new problem. You solve the first problem.
The horse is literally almost NEVER the brain and body at fault.
You Are. We are. A Person was/is.
We create the issues. We grow the issues. We blame the horse. We pass him down the line to someone else equally green and unwilling to learn. We doom the horse.
Eventually, the horse, treated unfairly and unwilling to believe he will ever get a fair deal, ends up in on a truck headed to Mexico, and the person who started out failing that horse (now doomed) is on their 12th horse, looking for the “One” who will mesh. The person keeps ruining horses. The horses keep meeting bad ends or suffering a lot because someone comes to their aid.
The truth is, outside of competition needs or rider / horse handicaps, most any horse, if you are committed to learning, have a good support base and are working with a knowledgeable trainer for the long haul, can work for you for a long time, and often, that means forever.
We talk about the unwanted horse issue, the overpopulation issue, but rarely do we stop to admit the truth is. . .we actually have more of a rider issue, a horseman issue.
I’ve said it before. I’ve said it a lot. I haven’t said it enough.
Horses are returned, labelled, sold, traded and dumped over and over, when almost every single time, a person could have recognized their lack of skill was the issue and opted to learn instead of continually seeking out another, then another, then another. . .
I’ve been to the sale barns for almost 30 years. I’ve known horse traders, dealers, casual owners, breeders, competitors, trainers and everything beyond – before – between.
The issue 30 years ago, the issue now (though it is growing larger). . .is we are churning out horses that don’t receive an education, and even when they do, there is a well intended person there to undo it, sure they were “born with enough skill” to care for and ride. . .
Let’s be clear: No one is born with enough innate ability to stop learning. You’re possibly born with interest, natural softness, patience and balance. . .sure. . .that isn’t enough by a long short. It is a nice start, if you’re lucky enough to be one of those folks. You’ve got a million miles more to travel, if you’re willing.
Experience and learning from those who have already walked miles beyond where you are is so vital, so needed.
Being willing to learn, admitting you do not know, admitting 3 summer rides on trail ponies at a camp didn’t make you a horse trainer. . .it can make all the difference to a horse. At the very least, it saves their life. At the very best, it means they get a fair deal, that they are someone’s partner.
So when you see someone going from horse to horse, always presenting a reason why that last horse didn’t work for them, try to steer them a better direction.
Suggest a trainer, suggest getting help with that horse, suggest having fortitude and commitment to learning. If they listen, you’ll have done the person and horse a favor that will last a lifetime.
Awesome meme credit to the MadEquine