Sunday, July 27, 2008

Trails, Horses, and Contradictions

This morning very early we trailered out to rendezvous at a favorite nearby ski-trail system which we enjoy. I am so happy: Johnny self-loads!! I learned a new technique for this and he now marches on all by his lonesome without me having to lead him and clamber out the escape door praying I don't get my foot stepped on in the process.

I'll describe the technique in a later post and try to include video, but for now: I am developing the theory of Horse Contradictions. I will not win a Nobel prize for this but bear with me.

Theory of Horse Contradictions: for every strong opinion that X will kill your horse immediately, there is an equally passionate opinion that unless you give/do to your horse X you are practically an abuser. For every opinion that X is good and perfectly safe, there is an equally passionate opinion that X is almost certain to kill both you and your horse, if not the entire equine population of your state. For every opinion that if you train your horse with X technique you are doing him a favor, there's an equally passionate opinion that you will quickly drive your horse insane with X training.

I have developed this theory out of hard struggles with equine cognitive dissonance. I now listen to everything with an open mind, but I no longer believe everything I hear about horse training and horse care, even if the person saying it has huge credibility and is obviously a horse dude/dudette of great experience. I just listen and ponder.

Example: A horseperson who has my complete and total respect for his long years of retraining problem horses (who were headed for the meat auction) to be great trail partners, really chided me for riding in tennis shoes last week.

There was a reason! I had a post-surgical wrap on my foot and no safer riding shoes would fit over it; the tennies would unlace to a great degree and voila I could ride.

However! I got the lecture and he was so sincerely worried that I think I ruined the ride for him. He says tennis shoes are terrible if you get a fall/drag situation; they adhere to the stirrup and also don't come off your foot.

So who forgot his boots and had to ride in what foot gear this morning??!!

In fairness I have to say: he took out the laces and made sure he could step out of the tennies easily. So everybody check your riding shoes, or not! Long live the contradictory horse/human relationship.


Mrs Mom said...

I Love It! You summed up pretty much the entirety of the equine industry in those simple, well spoken words. Fantastic!

*ahem* I too have been guilty of forgetting my boots and wearing my trusty Nikes in places that they should NEVER EVER EVER be..... Bad MM.. bad bad...

Glad you got to ride though! Looks like you had a fantastic time. Glad you found the self loading too!!! Being IN a trailer WITH Horse has always made me very aware of how small it is in there.... and just how small I am next to even a 12 hand horse... ;)

Flying Lily said...

LOL Mrs. Mom I would wear thong and pasties if it meant I could trail ride versus not; and believe me the raccoons would be running scared from that sight; you are obviously the same kind of gal only as regards ride vs no ride! And yes, the being in trailer with horse feels just wrong -- in so many ways. So let's drink a toast to the self-loading horse!

Mrs Mom said...

LMAO... What a picture! hehehe... Wonder if they make pasties that are GARGANTUAN size? LOLOLOL

Bet I got a thong in the drawer somewhere... oh-- wait--- hehe... *ahem*... umm... I think I wore that right before i got pregnant last time with Wrecking Crew.

Might need to rethink my atire some! LOLOL

Riasing my glass to you! A Kahlua Miklshake was just CALLING my name today ;)

To self loading horses, and a Flying Lily who has a wonderful way with words... :)

Flying Lily said...

Mrs. Mom: Toast to your health! Keep that thong in the back of the drawer unless you want another Wrecking Crew in your life - LOL that would be a blessing!! He's a darling...

jesterjigger said...

Lmao...I used to ride in nothing but tennis shoes, a t-shirt, and jeans. No helmet, gloves, boots, whip. Boy, how I've changed!

Is that an Equispirit I spy behind the gorgeous palomino? Sounds like a fun trail ride, footwear aside. I used to be scared to post pictures of me riding without a helmet, now it doesn't matter because I always wear one! I still ride bareback in tennis shoes though, or clogs.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well I guess everyone has a different opinion on everything equine. So you have pretty much hit the nail on the head with this post.
Hope your foot heals quickly so you can get back to safer footwear for riding.
I love self-loading horses, everyone should have one!

cdncowgirl said...

You said it! Everyone seems to think their way of doing things is THE way to do things.
I like to read/watch different clinicians and take what is useful to me or the situation I'm in.
Two of my three horses are a dream to load, even though I go in with them. The third... I walk up to the trailer and when he starts to get in I get out. He used to be a dangerous loader (and unloader) but we've worked through that now. For him the key seems to be leaving him untied.
Looks like you had a nice ride!

ps-I've gotten hung up with my riding boots on. It can happen in ANY footwear.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That's a funny story. I recently switched from wearing slick-soled boots to ones with treads because the ones with treads were looser in the ankle and allowed me to get those toes in and heels down. I expected my equitation instructor to chew me out, but he said they were fine.

Flying Lily said...

Jester, yes that is my dream trailer, Equispirit 2-horse straight load with extra length in the horse section for hay storage. I love it. It even has fans for the horses' faces, up in the corners of the roof. Johnnie is in high cotton riding in that thing!

GreyHorse, Cdn, Nuzzling: I do believe the only way to be truly safe with horses is to stay 100 yards away from them at all times! Easier on the wallet too.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

FL-you hit the nail on the head!! Congratulations-I think you have reached a level of horsemanship that not many people get to these days.

I get beyond irritated with people who gasp and go--OMG, you don't give your horses shots for every possible virus--OMG, you don't shoe your horses--OMG, OMG!! There comes a point when a person has to use their own brain. Take in the info, evaluate it, use what works for you and keep moving in the direction that benefits you and your horse(s).

And you are 150% correct about the safest place for you and your wallet is 100 yards away from ANY horse-LOL-that really made me laugh!!!

20 meter circle of life said...

Opinions are like, well you know. You make the best choice you can at any given time.

OneCowgirl said...

Ok, so I load dudley into a big ol' stock new trick is to clap my hands and say "get in the trailer dudley" the other day he was standing in front of the truck - and I clapped my hands and he walked to the end of the trailer and got in. But of course, the next day he completely failed and kept walking past the trailer. One of these days he'll get it. Wouldn't we all like to have a horse like Rex Peterson's Hightower??