Wednesday, 25 November 2015

If your horse got his own way.....

I came across this blog post today: If your horse got his own way.....

I'm sure a lot of people out there found it rather amusing. But I just found it very sad.

I find it sad that probably the majority of horse owners in this country really believe that their horse does things like kick the door or break through fences just to annoy them. I find it sad that they believe their horse would prefer his "big, comfy stable" to being outside. No stable is big to a horse. In fact, I would say keeping a horse in even the biggest stable is about the same as keeping a human in a Portaloo....yes, I hear people telling me all the time that their horses are waiting by the gate to come in at night because they love their stable. But do they really love their stable? Or have they merely associated coming in to it with getting a bucket of feed?

And then there's the feed. Yes, horses will be happy to eat oats and other hard, starchy, sugary feeds, but it's not what they've evolved to eat. I wonder how many of these horse owners know how their horse's digestive system actually works? Do they know that starch can only be digested in the small intestine and too much means that it passes into the hindgut and has a negative effect on the bacteria therein? Do they know that the horse's stomach continually produces acid (unlike the human stomach) so leaving a horse shut in a stable with nothing to eat for hours (because just how long do you think that haylage will last him? All night?) is a very good way of giving him ulcers?
Yes, of course he wants to roll in the mud. He gets itchy. If they insist on rugging him, he can't scratch his itches so well. It's like the difference between scratching an itch directly on your skin or through a really thick jumper. I know which I prefer......

Breaking through fences to be with his mates - is that just to annoy them? Or have they stopped to think for one minute that he's a prey animal that's evolved for millions of years to feel safe in a herd with a whole load of other prey animals and really isn't happy being kept on his own because they are worried about him getting hurt if he's allowed to be a horse in a field with a bunch of others....?
If I'm honest, I reckon many owners can't spot the signs that their horse is stressed and unhappy with the way he has to live and the way he is treated. Many owners aren't really interested in questioning any of the "normal" ways humans "manage" horses. Many owners have never given a thought to how a big heavy bit or a tight noseband feels to their horse. Or how being ridden with a heavy hand on the reins must feel. The list goes on.......

So what do you think your horse would really like to do if he could plan his own day? Try thinking about everything he does from your horse's point of view rather than your own convenience. If you have gaps in your knowledge, if you merely do things because your yard owner/trainer/vet/farrier/best friend tells you that's how it's always done, why not try to find out more about alternative ways of doing things, find out how horses think, how they would act and react if allowed to display natural behaviour, find out why horses do the things they do, find out what horses really want?

Here are a few places to start:

Epona TV
Good Horsemanship
Inside Out Hoofcare
Hart's Horsemanship
Anna Blake Equestrian
Mark Rashid Horse Training

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hear hear! Cracking post.

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