They're Not Machines
This post is something that I’ve been wanting to write for a few weeks now. The reason why I have been putting it off is because I didn’t want to make a rant type post. I don’t want to sound negative. On the other hand, I do feel very passionate about this topic. So I felt like I should talk about it.
Horses are not machines. They have feelings and minds of their own. They do not have to do anything a rider says right when they ask it. They do it because of the bond they have with their rider.
Makes sense, right? Well, not everyone thinks this way. it seems
See, I’m lucky enough to ride at a beautiful facility and I’m surrounded by some amazing horses and riders. I’ve seen them put in the effort and work for the love of their passion. But I’ve also seen some people do the opposite.
I’ve watched one girl brush and tack up in ten minutes, ride for half an hour, untack and scroll through her phone while the horse dries off, quickly brush the horse and put him back in his stall. She’s in and out of the barn in under an hour. This is just the routine that she has. Some people might not see anything wrong with that, but to me it just seems selfish. The horse just spent that ride working hard for that rider. Trying to please her. Yet she doesn’t reward him or spend time with him. If he fidgets on the cross ties, she gets annoyed. If he paws or looks for attention, she ignores him. But she’ll take selfies with him to post on her Instagram account.
Is anyone else seeing the problem with this?
This really bugs me even though it’s really not my place to say anything about it. It’s not like she’s abusing the horse. She’s just not spending time with him.
For me, I want to spend every minute, every second in the moment while I’m with the horses. I would be there 24/7 if I could. Regardless if that’s brushing or riding or cleaning up. No matter what the horse.
I always make sure to arrive 30 minutes before my lesson. I take my time brushing and tacking up. I look for cuts and scrapes or if they seem a bit stiff when I brush them. When I jump on, I let them walk around for a bit. I let both my horse and I loosen up before we get to work. When I dismount and bring them back to the grooming stall, I make sure that they’re appreciated for all of their hard work. While they’re cooling off and their sweat is drying up, I’ll take the time to wash and put away my tack. I’ll continually keep my eye on them and talk to them. I’ll also play around with them and take out my camera to snap a few pictures. Once they’re dry, I’ll brush them again and put on their blanket if it’s cold outside. They always get a treat before I put them back in their stall. I’ll also hang around in their stall for a bit with them. I’ll give them a few pats and make sure they’re settled before I leave and close the door.
I’ll admit, I do take my time when I’m at the barn and I may be there for 3 hours. But it’s because I make the time and it’s because I love what I do. It’s my favourite place to be. If I’m busy that day, I might not stay as long as I would like to, but I always make a point to make my horses feel appreciated. I’ll always thank them for all of their hard work and I love encouraging their playful personalities while I’m around them.
Each horse is different and they all have different needs. One thing that stays true is that they all have hearts. They all have minds. And if you want to have a good relationship with your horse, I truly believe that spending time with them out of the saddle makes all the difference.
I’d love to know what you guys think about this topic. How important is your connection with the horses that you ride? How much time do you spend at the barn? I’d love to know!
Until next time, happy riding!