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Do You Feel Guilty if You Make Your Horse Do Something?

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  • Do You Feel Guilty if You Make Your Horse Do Something?

    I'm not talking about putting a hose down his ear or up his nose, I'm talking about the day to day stuff. Yes, I am going to put this winter blanket on you before I turn you out. No, you may not rush through the gate and yank on me. Yes, I am going to wash and rinse your head, you have enough mud on it to start a farm. No, you may not pin your ears at me and rush up when I come in the stall with grain or hay. I expect to be able to make the horse do something it may not like or prefer, without any OMG of guilt on my part. Isn't this normal for dealing with an animal?

    Would you also feel guilty if you made your dog come in out of the rain so he can't roll in the mud, or brushed your long-haired cat even if he didn't like it? I just think - in the kindest possible way - we can feel justified when we boss our animals around for their own good, and/or to make life easier for us. Am I wrong?

  • #2
    I do not feel in the slightest bit guilty.
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


    • #3
      Not about day-to-day stuff like that because he loves to be in out of the rain/wind/sun/mud etc...you get the picture. He loves his blankee.

      What I feel guilty about is that I am *bothering* by riding him. I was raised by a mom who was constantly telling me to stop what I was doing because I was bothering people, to come away from those people because I was bothering them. I was 64 before I realized that the only person I ever bothered was HER. But that's another story!!

      I have had to work really hard to change my thinking. Because I bought him for riding!!! He likes being ridden!!! In fact, for him, riding is mommy and me time. He really loves me as a people and loves doing things with me. Even just having him in his stall while I clean it or hang around putzing in the barn. But I still worry a little that I am bothering him.
      Ride like you mean it.


      • #4
        Huh – nope, never felt guilty doing the stuff you described. I feel that I am firm but fair with my horses. A bit less firm than the punishments the herd bosses dish out at turn out time!

        I feel twinge (but I wouldn’t call it guilt) if I accidently hurt them (catch a rein on a passing gate, accidently poke a wound I am treating). But I apologize to the horse – by calming them, and then rewarding them for their cooperation.

        But no, I do not feel guilty when working with my horse! Especially when doing the “good for them” stuff.
        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


        • #5
          No. They get food, shelter, veterinary care, attention, and a guaranteed home for life. In exchange they follow a few rules and behave when I need them to.
          "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams


          • #6
            Now and then... but whenever I'm around a horse or dog or cat who has never had any structure or rules I realise that the structure and rules that I impose really make my animals better adjusted, calmer, healthier and better able to deal with the human dominated world we all live in.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              I feel guilty about riding them especially in the indoor. I try to make it interesting and rewarding for them but always feel that I am intruding on their time. I keep telling myself that this is their job and after all I do for them they can spare me an hour.

              Needless to say I think that is one of the reasons our training progress has been so slow.


              • #8
                Nope. He has a job just like I do, and I dare say that his is much easier. He only has to work for about 4-6 hours a week, doesn't have to deal with a crappy commute, and the drama in his life is kept to a pretty bare minimum. I don't ask him for much...a little leg yield here, a little shoulder in there, a bigger trot here, a more collected canter there...c'mon, how hard can it be? Plus, I only growl at him when he doesn't pay attention, trips, and then practically falls on his face (he has moments of being A.D.D..."Oh, look...the neighbor kid is on his swing-....oh, wait...a deer!") or if the little dickens keeps trying to take advantage of my weaker right rein and pops that right shoulder out. I like to remind him that it's a good thing he's big and pretty
                "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GypsyQ View Post
                  No. They get food, shelter, veterinary care, attention, and a guaranteed home for life. In exchange they follow a few rules and behave when I need them to.
                  Exactly! I work 40 hours a week so that my horse has everything she needs in life. I do not feel guilty about the 1 hour or so that I am asking her to do what I want! She has the other 23 hours in a day to stand around and eat. Rough life!


                  • #10
                    About as guilty as I felt about making my son go to the dentist or do his homework.

                    In other words, nope, not at all.
                    "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                    • #11
                      The beauty of it is to make your idea become their idea.
                      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                      • #12
                        My boss makes me get up 5 days a week, brush myself off, and work in exchange for the money to feed, clean, house myself. He doesn't feel guilty.

                        I make my horses work for 20-30 minutes in exchange for food, cleanliness and shelter.

                        They come out on top. Guilt<0.


                        • #13
                          I feel guilty about the major things- like when I sold his pasture buddy, or when he had to move into a regular stall for the winter, instead of his nice big paddock and run-in stall. When he has to stay in for a day or two after chiro. Things like that make me feel guilty, because I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand why his pattern has been disrupted.

                          I do not feel guilty for making him behave when he's doing things that could be dangerous.

                          I do feel guilty when he's bored because of something I'm doing- such as when he has to stand in the indoor arena while I clean his stall, or when I'm working on my equitation and make him do seemingly endless downward transitions while I try to keep my shoulders back, for example.

                          I feel a twinge when something I'm making him do results in him getting hurt through his own stupidity- like when he rears on the trailer and beans his weird little head.


                          • #14
                            Why on earth would I?
                            I would (do) feel guilty about not doing these things.

                            I would feel guilty about doing things that could hurt them or put them at a disadvantage/danger.
                            I do feel bad when I pet my kitty and get her inadvertantly staticly charged - the ZAP is not what I was going for

                            But keeping their fur mat free, their bodies clean and warm? nope, no guilt.

                            But then again, I have practiced guilt free living for the last 15 years....going on 16. The only guilt I feel is from not making him do the things he has to do (not a horse, but could be a mule, when he isn't an ass... ah, bad puns!)


                            • #15
                              Nope, I don't feel the least bit guilty for making him be obedient. I EXPECT obedience, he gets corrected if he is NOT obedient. He has standards of expectation to meet, because his obedience is IMPORTANT to our relationship as Handler/Rider/Driver, and doing is what is requested of him.

                              I have ALWAYS expected obedience, with corrections given if I don't get what is asked for. I don't correct severely unless it is REALLY important. He needs to "get" the wrong answer to request/question is correction, FAST or someone could get hurt. If I mess up, ask wrong, misspeak or mis-signal, I apologise, pat horse and we try again. He is pretty forgiving, which is why we have the kind of horses we do.

                              An equine of any size is NOT a pet. Size, hard hooves, make it easy to hurt things around them if they don't obey. With our Driving competitions, it can literally be life-endangering if horse doesn't obey EVERY TIME you ask things. They get NO SAY in choices when we say "go there" or STAND. They MUST do it or someone WILL get hurt, could be themselves!!

                              I enjoy using and being around horses who are good mannered, forgiving types that don't over react to various requests or surprises. We work hard to get them trained that way, keep them trained that way. Starts as soon as they are purchased, learning the words and corresponding behaviour, or from foals to adults.

                              I hate being around disobedient horses, pushy, rubbing, getting into stuff, moving around. Owner just keeps repeating commands with NO CHANGE by equine!

                              As mentioned, horses don't really work THAT MUCH for us, that they can't be very obedient when we are handling them, asking for various behaviour like blanket putting on or removal, clipping etc, along with being ridden or Driven. With all we do in labor, spend on them, obedience is the LEAST they can give back!

                              Our horses are extremely well behaved in all our activities. We get compliments on them when we go places, surprise at how they ALL behave. The only trick is having high expectations, accepting no less from the animal, correcting what is not wanted EVERY time you handle them. Horses like knowing boundaries, but being herd animals they WILL try moving up in status now and again, pushing to see that boundary is still there. No guilt on correcting a horse, using a horse, and actually making it work HARD. I work and pay to keep our horses so we CAN use them!!


                              • #16
                                Not sure I understand the post, does ANYONE feel guilty about doing any of those things?

                                I always tell my mare I feed you, clothe you, get you regular pedicures and dentist work and supply you with cookies, the least YOU can do is tote my fat happy butt around for a trail ride for 2 hours a MONTH! LOL!

                                She still doesn't agree. We discuss this several times during said trail rides.
                                I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

                                Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.


                                • #17
                                  Do I feel guilty for making my horse behave as a safe and solid citizen? And for making him learn "useful" skills? Aw, hell no!

                                  My plan is to keep him forever, but life happens, and if I ever have to move him down the road, I want to know that he's got the skills and the manners to help him find a soft place to land, and hopefully to be loved.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                    I do not feel in the slightest bit guilty.
                                    Spot On! My "nags" get the full health, farrier, dental, room & board. With a barn maid (me). They get feed, watered and bedded downed. If they are outside in cold weather, they have blankets with a big round hay bale. Plenty of water. With an outside run-in.

                                    Nope. Don't feel guilty at all.

                                    If any one of them have a problem with me taking one of them for a ride....I just can perfect my "CTJ" persona.


                                    • #19
                                      It would never even occur to me to feel "guilty" for any of the above.

                                      However, I did feel horrible after the completion of a Christmas parade in 2010. It was insane. Screaming people, children running under/around horses grabbing candy, redneck on his stallion running up my mare's butt, etc. etc. etc. Total chaos with no organization whatsoever. Thankfully, all Penny did was jig thru it all. She never got ugly or misbehaved.... but I was a wreck!!!!

                                      When we finally made it safely back to the trailer and I dismounted, I hugged that mare's neck and vowed outloud NEVER to do that to her again!
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                                      • #20
                                        No guilt for me. If anything, I feel proud that I don't allow myself to be bullied out of doing the necessary stuff to my gelding. As for riding? No, no guilt there either.