Horses aren’t just recreational vehicles to be sold off as commodities when times are tough. They’re pets and partners representing ‘me time,’ emotional bonds, spiritual enrichment, psychological stabilizers and confidants. Before you decide you can’t afford a horse anymore, consider the real costs – and try to get creative about how you may be able to hold on.
Popular horse blogs and successful equine industry businesses are incorporating video into their marketing mix. Early this year I set a goal to learn more on this front and make it a regular component of the Horse Sense and Cents blog.
Yes, horses are naturally flight animals (although our eight-year-old Thoroughbred farmhand Cowboy would beg to differ on this point), but there’s nothing natural about riding and the way horses are introduced to this activity – or treated as seasoned mounts – will affect how they handle each new request.
There’s something about that delightful moment when a horse transforms from a confused, dangerous or resistant combatant into a grateful peer. That awakening when he decides you’re a friend to be trusted, appreciated and part of a team is incredible.
Genetic wiring, prior experiences, personality styles and horse proclivities all play a role in designing an effective strategy to build a partnership with the horse. If you’re not keeping your horse in the conversation, you’re losing opportunities to bond on a much deeper level.
Even though Rain Man was potentially one of the most dangerous horses we’d encountered, there was something about this comical kid that stole our hearts.
If you think your horse learns to trust you because you run him around in a restricted circle until he’s exhausted, think again. Some practitioners boast ‘licking and chewing’ as a sign of submission and associated respect (and this is something to be proud of?), but this can also signal stress.
Well, maybe horses are more forgiving than humans, but they remember. Plus, anyone who thinks they’re “teaching their horse respect” with what they do to the equine vs. how they relate to him is living in a dream world. Sure, you can gain his fear, her obedience, his compliance and her cooperation, but you’ll never win a horse’s trust with an end-game in mind that doesn’t include the equine in the conversation.
Even if you don’t think the horse should be part of the conversation, if you fail to incorporate his personality and issues into your training plans, you’re bound to get hurt.
Of course, almost every business-savvy multiple-horse-owner who has engaged vendors for training find themselves stuck with a bill that delivers a horse that is not only ill-prepared for the stated job request, but also set back by human mistakes made in the ‘schooling’ process, ONCE. What really puzzles me is why there are so many who go back for more.