As winter approaches and I have more time to pondor life's questions and after I rode a horse that considered not moving of my leg was a good idea, I began wondering. Back in the day, we rode on grass, no such thing as "footing", horses were asked to do their job with no question and if they did question, it was demanded that they do so. One or two saddles that fit, no matter what, maybe adding or subtracting pads. Obvious pain/lameness was dealt with correctly.
Now, we approach riding and training with an eye to the horse's comfort, adjusting or getting new saddles for each individual, good footing, total and complete physical work ups when the behavior is less than stellar, including massages and chiropractors. All is good and the well being of horses should be our foremost concern but what I wonder is how much behavior do we attribute to discomfort issues when in fact it is just plain ol' naughty horse behavior?
For example, say horse has an issue, it is addressed in all ways possible, any problems are corrected yet horse still misbehaves. Do we feel there is something still going on physical, or is the horse just being difficut? When do we push;when we do know there is actually no pain to cause the bad behavior?
I think that's where open communication with a good trainer is invaluable. Someone who can hear and respect your horse parent observations and tell it to you straight when your horse just being naughty.
Remember back then 15 was old and they were often dead by 20? My horse just won his event on Sunday and he will be 25 in January.
Yep. There used to be a lot of pushing horses through pain instead of asking them to willingly participate without pain.
That said, I believe not exposing horses to varied terrain can affect soundness negatively. Yes, it should be done slowly and mostly at a walk at least to start, but horses should get exposure to a variety of footing types which many don't. And I love that my next door neighbors' backyard is at the end of the arena and they often have parties. I don't want a horse who will freak out because of a judge's stand, and having live bands playing while I ride on a regular basis and crowds of 50 or so people, kids on trampolines, diving into pools, chasing goats - all help him "get over it."
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
I think part of it is the role of horses transitioning from more of a tool (i.e. plowing, transportation, etc) and/or "stupid creature" to almost strictly a hobby and to many people a member of the family. The more people's impression and use of horses change, the more we worry about their well-being, mental issues, etc. Which lends itself to people being overly cautious. It's great that more technology is available to us for diagnosing problems, providing better nutrition, creating products with the horse's comfort in mind, etc, but we must also always remember that horses have a mind of their own and will use it. I also think it depends on how open minded the handler is. Is the person set in the belief that all horses must be coddled or "manhandled"? What you are taught, what you believe, and what you choose to learn and acknowledge all come into play.
"...That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear." --Stephen King
Maybe it is me, but I think back when I was learning (which was the early 70's) overall horsemanship was taught, it was well rounded. We had to do EVERYTHING. Groom, tack up, handle the horses, trail ride, clean stalls, take care of the horses, etc. If the horse was disobedient,we did not immediately look for excuses (saddle fit, he is unhappy, he needs a supplement etc). We learned how to ride effectively and used common sense to diagnose issues. I did hunt seat, eventing and competitive trail riding. Same horse, same Stubben Siegfried. Looking back, I KNOW that saddle was probably too wide for my horse truth be told. But I NEVER had an issue, put 3 pads on the for 100 mile ride and went...got high scores with no soreness or issues. The majority of the riders I know now did not get a well rounded education before becoming horse owners. There are too many dishonest money grubbing trainers that don't want their clients being too educated. Too many hypochondriacs too....