Monday, April 4, 2011

It's all on our shoulders!

It's spring again and folks are starting to head for their horses and it is sad with every new year I get the tight feeling in my gut knowing what I'm am going to start hearing of tragedies in accidents and sadly deaths.
All to often the horse gets blamed and pays with it's life and it was humans who let the horse down, not the horse that let the human down.
Many different scenario's will be become all to real in the coming season.
Even when we do everything right things can go wrong.
Many will be of horses that have sat all winter and were working well last fall. But understand they have been standing all winter and on what we know as unemployment and have again established strong herd dynamics and we all to often think because we want to ride them now they should willingly do so. This is not alway the case and it is wise to go back and review ground work and establish your old relationship getting them back to work.
Also get them conditioned for the work expected, don't just tack up and head out for 2 hours first ride and expect them not to be sore the next day. It is all to often I see folks year round not ride their horse 6 times all year or just before a big weekend ride of 4-7 hours per day and wonder why their horse got sore or was unsettled. Often we see white marks later with next new seasonal coat growth show up from this too and it's not that the saddle did not fit but the back was not conditioned to carry weight again, hence the back gets sore and white marks from saddles. The horse has not been conditioned to carry it's self in a weight bearing posture.

Sometimes a horse does not want to go back into work as it just says no from having bad experiences it with the rider before and just zoned out then and is not willing to now.
From my own experienced in a case.
I rode a horse that was not mine but had been recently purchased by the new owner after a clinic on a trail ride. I knew where the horse had come from and who had trained it. I was right and it was a well mannered well trained horse and had a great ride.
Knowing the new owner it ran through my mind that this one she could not have messed up already.
1 year later I rode that horse again on a trail ride and it was a mess, scared of everything and would spook and spin, kick out at other horses, it went down pinning me to the ground till it got up and continued on. In one year the wonderful horse had lost all confidence and was fearful of the world and nothing I could do on that ride would fix it. She was a rehab horse that was going to take much training to bring her back. Sad thing was she was sold as a brood mare with the new owners not knowing her new fears and problems believing she was the same horse I had ridden the year before.
Hence my dislike for horse jockeys that are just good marketers and not horseman.

Below is a link to a pdf file on a recent e-mail I shared with a new owner of a young horse. The names have been removed as it's not about who people are but the willingness of a good owner to ask the right questions and the value in the information I shared back to help . Just another scenario that can and has thousands of time before taken place.
I love how he later stated he was glad saying he did not listen to his friends as his BS detector was telling him not too.

So in closing here, sometimes those of us that teach are not the most popular of teachers.
OK sometime we receive hackles up just because of what I term the claw factor, jealousies or even just competitions no matter what we say it's not OK ,but about pure individual issues inside themselves and we pay the price through their bad mouthing and slander along the way and they love to bully others into believing they are right, the more followers they get the more they feel empowered in their convictions. Other times folks feel threated by teachers in that they are so honest in delivering information to save your selves and your horses and it's not alway conducive to the fantasy the people want to hear.
Often folks just are willing to do steps A,B, C and are not willing to also do E,F & G hence their failure and then it's our fault.
So just know ,for a good teacher it's not about us, but you, your horse and your success.
Teaching honestly not a popularity contest , it's a service to our communities in which we care deeply about and we care deeply about you!
We don't alway tell you what you want to hear but thats not our job, but it is our job t share what you need to hear weather it's received well or not.
So all be safe this year, use your common sense and don't ever be afraid to get help or ask questions.